This past weekend I had the privilege of being “On the Couch” with Dr. Dorree Lynn for a lengthy radio interview to both promote my book How to Woo a Jew and to discuss matchmaking. Eventually, the conversation turned to sex, as such chats tend to do with a psychologist and sexpert for the post-50 crowd, and Dr. Dorree mentioned the increasing rate of sexually transmitted diseases for the older crowd.
STD rates are on the rise for the 50+ age group because people tend to think that condoms are only for preventing pregnancy, which they no longer need to think about. But apparently many of these mature adults are fun, frisky and, inadvertently, passing around diseases. I chuckle, not because this isn’t a very serious topic (because it is!), but rather I laugh because it makes me so happy to hear about grandparents getting it on! Keep your sex lives active! It’s healthy for your mind, spirit and body… when you add condoms to the equation.
I’m also encouraged by the sheer number of singles in the second half of their lives on JDate! Life is not over at 50, or if you’re widowed, or if you’re divorced after many years! Get on JDate, meet other singles, and have lots of SAFE sex!
As we enter March, so much begins to happen. This year, we’ve got Purim, basketball, and a sequel to 300. Madness is everywhere.
As for me, I’m missing all of it (yes, even that 300 sequel). And I couldn’t be more excited. I’m heading to Israel with the Jewish National Fund and helping to irrigate the Negev desert a little bit.
While I can’t wait to help Israel, what’s more exciting to me is the opportunity to just take some time away (not to mention being in Israel for Purim). It’s good to look away from the madness a bit — to not worry about a bracket, about what you’re going to wear to a party, or how to be part of the next big cultural thing.
I think one thing I’ve heard in common from a lot of people I’ve helped in trying to find someone in Dallas (including myself), is that sometimes an escape is vital. I love watching a city disappear from my sight as I fly away, and I like getting to start fresh somewhere, I think most people do. So it’s been a while since I last mentioned it, but be sure to make March a time to take a look at things and decide what you really want out of your time on JDate and your dating. Take a break from your normal life and see what you can change — Purim especially is a time of joy and finding new things, so if you haven’t been involved in Jewish life, now is a great time.
And if you have been involved? Maybe there’s only so much joy we can get out of one place. If you’re serious about finding something, take some time to book a vacation, make some long distance dates (or just don’t and let it happen), and try something new to make the madness a little more bearable.
New dating rule! From now on, you must ask someone “Are you in a relationship?” rather than asking “Are you married?” or “Do you have a girl/boyfriend?”
Why? Because if you’re engaged then the answer is neither of the above and if you’re dating someone seriously, but haven’t put a label on it, then it is also in between. So when you meet someone whom you’re interested in, ask “Are you in a relationship?” That way, they have to answer and clarify what that means to them.
under Single Life
The other day I was telling a co-worker that I’m taking a dating break. I just need some time to sit back, relax, and spend time by myself. Okay, maybe part of that has to do with the fact that I just want to watch season two of House of Cards. Whatever the reason, sometimes we all just need to turn off our phones, shut off our computers, and just focus on ourselves for a bit.
- Do: Give yourself some time off from dating if you need it. Whether it’s a week or a month, take the time you need to hang out with friends or catch up on your personal to-do list. Refresh and reset your mind, and your heart.
- Don’t: Drag this on for too long. Once you stop doing something, it’s easy to lose the motivation to do it again. When I stop going to the gym, it takes me months to start again. Whenever you decide to start this break, make sure you also have an end date.
under Single Life
We’ve all been there. You meet someone new, you get a name, and you think to yourself “what would get a conversation rolling?” It probably occurs to you that people like talking about themselves, and what could people love more than their job? So you ask it: “What do you do for a living?”
I’ll let you in on a secret. Some people like that question, but a lot of people see it for the conversational crutch it really is. Asking “what do you do?” is a faux pas in a few ways. For starters, you’re assuming all people like their job, and sadly that is not the case. I know when I was working retail I told very funny stories about things that happened to me (like a river of urine I found in my store), but it was the last thing I wanted to associate with new friends. Secondly, some people may take it as you trying to gauge how much money they make. And lastly, sometimes people just want work to stay at work.
When this question comes up, some friends and I have vowed not to reveal our jobs within thirty minutes of first meeting someone. We’ll say ridiculous jobs like bounty hunter, fruit bowl modeler, or selfie coach, and move the conversation along. So in order to help others make a more fun, lasting connection with a new friend, here are my three alternative suggestions for that rut when you need something to say:
- Talk about what’s around you. One of my favorite social rules is called “Observe, Share, Ask.” You see something in a room, mention something about it and how you relate, and ask something about the other person’s experience. For example, if I was in a room and saw a picture of a clown, I would say something along the lines of “did you see that clown picture? The circus always terrified me, did you ever like it?” This allows me to share a bit about me while sharing an experience (we both see the picture), and allows the other person to open up about their experiences.
- Ask how they got there. Whether you’re at a party, synagogue, or a singles mixer, ask someone who they know or how they found the place. This allows you to find mutual friends (this was my usual conversation starter at parties in college), and build a connection about any hooks that are revealed — they could be classmates, fellow natives, or mutual friends.
- Ask what they do in a different way. This is a fun one to me in that you still get to ask the job question — if they want to talk about it. An article I found on LinkedIn a while back had the amazing option of asking “What keeps you busy?” This is such an amusingly vague and open question that people can answer with anything from, “I blog for JDate and collect beer glasses” to what they do for a living.
Hopefully this sparks your conversations a bit, feel free to leave other ideas in the comments!
under Date Night
I always see articles on the internet that try to teach people about the perfect place to take someone on a first date. All the ideas I come across are very lavish, over the top, and truly a waste of time when you are meeting someone you know very little about – for the very first time.
- Do: It’s easiest to do something simple on your first date. I always recommend coffee or a drink. Something that allows the two of you to sit down and get to know each other for a little while. When there’s too much background noise or a crowd gets in your way, it becomes hard to truly get to know the person.
- Don’t: Do not go to noisy places. Save the movies for a future date. Go somewhere that’s close for you and them – no one is eager to travel a long distance to meet someone for the first time. Try to choose a place that’s convenient for both of you. You also want to select a time that is not too late at night in order to be considerate about the plans (whether it’s work or something else) that they have going on the next day. Try to make your first meeting a little after dinner time – especially if you are not planning to eat on your date.
Follow Jen here: @tthingsilearned
under Date Night
I’ve witnessed many dates where someone was so nervous they couldn’t even hold eye contact, or spoke so fast they couldn’t figure out how to end a sentence, or even (much to my wide-eyed horror) they actually tripped over their own feet.
These situations happen to everyone at some point — whether it’s because you’ve built up expectations of a prospect you’re about to meet or because you’re totally enamored with your date. Eventually there will come a time when you will need to compose yourself.
Take a deep breath. Smile. Remind yourself that the person sitting across from you is probably just as nervous. Perhaps even crack a joke to break the ice about the first date jitters. You can do this!
under Date Night
After hosting a HurryDate event last week, I have some advice that all singles who are planning to attend speed dating events should read:
1. Dress to Impress
There was a man there wearing a hat. Really? Just like your JDate profile photo, why on earth would you show up wearing a hat? There were ladies wearing sandals. Not only is it February, but there is nothing sexy about sandals.
2. Be on Time
It’s tough to start the event if all the people aren’t there. Check in and then go grab a drink from the bar.
Nothing says “approachable” better than a smile. That, and don’t cross your arms over your chest.
4. Be Conversation Ready
Most of the questions that can be asked within the five-minute time frame of the speed date are the obvious ones, so be prepared to answer: “What do you do?” and “Where do you live/Where are you from?” And try to answer with easy, one-line answers that you haven’t rehearsed.
5. Don’t Ask: “Why Are You Still Single?”
“Why are you still single?” and “What is your relationship history?” are questions to be saved for a later time. If someone asks you these questions during a speed dating party, then your answers should go like this, respectively: “For the same reason you’re still single, I haven’t met the right person yet” and “I’ve been in some meaningful relationships where I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want in a mate, and I’d be happy to share that with you on another date.” Then change the topic.
Finally, stick around after and socialize. You may meet another single to attend future single events with you, or you may get to continue talking with someone, like the couple who was still chatting an hour after the event ended last week…
Buy Tamar’s book How to Woo a Jew on Amazon now!
under Date Night
Bad dates: we’ve all had them. Some of us have them back-to-back, and we swear off dating to the point where we’d almost agree to do anything other than go on another one ever again. There’s a lot to do when you find yourself feeling annoyed by another bad date. The best thing, however, is to take a step back and — when you are ready — try again.
- Do: Talk about it. The best way to get over a bad date is to find a way to laugh about it. Maybe they were rude, or you did something embarrassing, or there was more chemistry in the liquid concoction you were drinking during the date than there was between the two of you. Tell your friends about it, or your roommate, or whomever will take the time to listen. The more people that you tell, the better you’ll feel — and the more you’ll be ready to move on and try again.
- Don’t: Sulk in it. Try not to replay the details in your head over and over again. Try to let it go before it overwhelms you. The more you think about it, the more it will start to become a part of you — and it’s best to avoid that.
under Single Life
So many people let love pass them by because they simply are afraid to take a risk and say something. Whether it be “What’s your friend’s number?” or “Are you single?” or “Would you be willing to set me up with your buddy?” or “Would you like to go out sometime?” or simply saying, “Hi! My name is…”
That’s all it takes to see if that girl you saw volunteering at the JDate event is available, or if that guy you saw hanging out by the kitchen at your friend’s party is Jewish. What’s the worst that will happen? You’ll find out the person is either not Jewish, not single, or not interested. No big deal, right?! Make sure you don’t regret not saying something.