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Travel Tips

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Way back when I was working in broadcast media I planned on moving to New York one day. So, every time I went to visit (which was often) I would change my JDate profile to show the zip code of the friend’s place where I was staying. I would then check out my NYC prospects and even set-up dates if there was someone interesting enough. I was honest and would add to my “About Me” paragraph that I was looking to move to New York.

If you’re just going somewhere new for a weekend and you don’t plan on ever going back to that place, then it’s not worth taking the time and making the effort to change your profile. If you do decide to go down that route, then don’t be surprised if it’s just a vacation fling.

I never did end up moving to New York, but knowing that there were impressive prospects there was exciting. If you are on the fence about moving somewhere, looking to see what — or rather who — is out there is a great way to help you make up your mind.


Don’t Let an Opportunity Pass You By

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

We all have crazy schedules and many responsibilities. Everyone has a life outside of dating and relationships, and sometimes it is difficult to find time to see someone you like. That’s why you need to take opportunities when they arise.

If the school you teach at has early dismissal before a long weekend, then make a date for the afternoon rather than going home to catch up on sleep. If you can stretch out your lunch hour and sneak back into the office late, then go on a date in the middle of the day when you don’t have to cut it short and rush back. If you have a busy weekend with out of town family, then break away to have a brunch date or a coffee date, or even a walk around town.

Bottom line: If you want to see someone, then make the time to see them.


What You Do on a First Date is as Important as Who It’s With

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Single Life

Recently, I went on a very formal first date. I was flabbergasted when he showed up with a giant bouquet of flowers. I’m rarely speechless, but I think the flowers overwhelmed me from the start. While I appreciated them, I had no idea how to interpret the gesture, and was a bit freaked out. They’re still brightening up my apartment though, and now I can breathe easier knowing that they aren’t a declaration of love by someone who I’ve known for less than two months.

We went to a symphony and dinner, ate dessert, and sipped wine. I felt a bit out of my element; I’m more accustomed to starting out with a low-key first date. Being wined and dined isn’t something I expect on a first date. I just like to talk, laugh, and get to know each other in a casual setting. I decided, after a lot of confusion and conflicted feelings, to give this guy a second shot to wow me… in a way I am used to and comfortable with. So we went to a casual dinner, walked around a park, and had ice cream.

After the formal date:

  1. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back out with him and felt bad about myself
  2. I was exhausted trying to interpret what had happened on our date
  3. I didn’t think he was able to read my signals and vice versa

After a candid discussion and a good dose of humor, he asked if he could try again in my style. No red carpets, no flowers.

 After the casual date:

  1. I felt at ease and able to talk more freely
  2. I thought we had much more in common and walked away feeling good about myself
  3. I had no problem sending or receiving his signals

When planning a date, make sure to think about who you’re dealing with. Not everyone likes the same kind of first date. Starting out with daytime coffee is a great go-to if you’ve never met. If it goes well, you can extend the date. If not, you only waste 45 minutes to two hours of your life. It’s not super creative, but it’s tried and true. If you have met before, try to match the date to their preferences. Some people might love skydiving as a first date, while others might have a panic attack. I am in the latter camp. I would avoid trying to sweep someone off their feet on a first date. There’s plenty of time for that later on in the relationship, and you may end up accidentally sweeping them out of your life.


Play Date

by Aaron under Date Night,Entertainment,Judaism,Single Life

When I was little (okay, sixteen), nothing was cooler to me than action figures. I would manipulate Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into teaming up with Spider-Man and Wolverine to take on the evil likes of Magneto and other villains. It gave me such a feeling of joy to sit and play with my toys and create new stories.

As the years went on, I started to grow out of my toys and into dating. As an adult, dating became one of my favorite pastimes. However, while Shredder and Spider-Man have yet to show up on any date I’ve been on, one of my favorite traits about the dates I’ve been on has been the imagination and effort put into them. Sometimes I’m the one with a brilliant idea, or sometimes the girl comes up with something fun, and sometimes it’s a combination of the two.

Regardless of who takes credit, it’s always fun to do something different. I always wanted to explore Dallas more before I left, but even my last dates there were still very basic: bowling, dinners, etc. I explored things on my own, such as two-stepping and indie concerts, but never had such fun dates.

And yet, when I was away, I became a master of fun dates. I guess it started with a date in Arkansas that stretched all the way to Memphis, but since moving to New York I’ve discovered the beauty of exploring a city with fresh eyes. Some people might groan at the touristy things to do in a city, but sometimes tourists go places for a reason. Though Times Square would still mostly be a no-no in my eyes, there are a lot of great options in the Big Apple and elsewhere.

My dates have been as simple as a Shabbat walk in Central Park or watching the sun set on the Hudson, or extravagant as trips to Coney Island and the Empire State Building. Being in New York has allowed me to see things with a fresh eye and excitement, and I think that fresh way of thinking has really enhanced the dates I’ve been on recently.

We all want to see the world from fresh eyes and be whisked away on an adventure, and you don’t have to be new to a city to do it. Try to take some time to go to that touristy place around you where no locals ever go — from Graceland to the Fort Worth Stockyards to the World of Coke to the Sears Tower. Sometimes things can be pricey, but they can also provide a new adventure, and definitely something different (and also probably more worth paying for than a dinner date). I don’t see myself playing with action figures any time soon, but in a sense the world is the greatest play set I’ve ever had, and I love trying new combinations of characters and places in it.


Is That Your Nephew or Your Son?

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

After taking the cutest picture with your nephew (or niece), you decide to upload the photo as your main JDate profile pic because you look great, it’s current, and you want prospects to know that you’re a family person.

There’s only one problem: all anyone will see is a kid with you in your photo, and they won’t bother looking at your profile essays to find out who the kid is.

After taking the cutest picture with your son (or daughter), you decide to upload the photo as your last JDate photo of 12 pictures because you look great, it’s current, and you want prospects to know that you’re a family person.

Problem? Your prospects may not notice that one last photo buried amongst the rest, and are surprised when they find out you’re a parent.

Whether you’re the aunt, uncle, mom, or dad, there is a right way to post a photo of you with a child on JDate. A photo with family should be the fourth of your half dozen or so photos after face, full body, and a fun pic. Use the space to describe who is with you in the photo, and then talk about it again in your “About Me” paragraph. If it’s not your kid, then simply make note of who the cute kid is and how much you love family. If it is your kid, then succinctly describe the situation without getting into too much detail and without going into any drama, and make sure you mark the places that ask if you have a child!

Including photos with a cute kid is a good idea when executed correctly. Follow the above instructions to avoid any confusion.


Safety First

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Online Dating,Single Life

I date a lot of guys, and I like to think that I do a pretty good job vetting the guys and assessing their character. However, I’m still pretty wary of first dates. Safety tends to be compromised when people get complacent. If it’s a first date, I meet in daylight and in public. I never let them see where I live: not the neighborhood, street, or building. If I can safely take public transit, I do. If not, I don’t typically go directly home from the date unless it’s more than a 15-minute drive. Call me paranoid, but I know that sexual assault and rape unfortunately happen.

Rewind to last year. I went on a date with a guy who I’ve known since I was 16. I thought him to be an upstanding person. He had just moved into a new house a few hours north of mine. After spending a day together, his mom made us a healthy dinner that we ate with his family. The whole thing seemed very sweet and wholesome. He then took me down a hallway to his new room. I sat on his bed to take off my shoes. My feet were tired and swollen after a long day of walking. Next thing I knew, he had one hand down my pants and the other was reaching into my bra. Since things escalated very quickly, I had to fight him off a bit. He was being very aggressive and his eyes looked mean in a way I’d never seen before. Luckily I nipped things in the bud very quickly, but I was taken aback by what happened. I was heartbroken that someone I had trusted – and someone I had known for years – turned out to be so shady.

My good female friend always says, “If you’re only friends, you have to ask before you stick your hands where the sun doesn’t shine.” Clearly my date didn’t know that. Of the nearly 30 dates I’ve been on, only one has taken a scary turn. However, one is enough. One is too much. And not everyone escapes as lucky as I did. Maybe you spare yourself that one date by being slightly more careful. I think it’s well worth the trouble.

Click here for a full list of safety tips from JDate.


Half-Truths & Omissions

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Call it what you want, but when you aren’t telling the truth — the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – then it’s lying.

Telling a date a half-truth now because it sounds better than the actual truth means that if the relationship progresses, the whole truth will eventually come out… and then your now boyfriend/girlfriend could be upset that you weren’t entirely honest from the get-go.

Omitting the truth is another form of lying. When the truth comes out, you will end up with more issues then you would if you just told the truth from date one. I’m not saying you have to be an open book and admit everything under the sun, but when the time comes to be clear on a topic, do so! Think about the repercussions before you decide how to answer – is it worth not being forthright?


How NOT to Ask a Girl Out

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Single Life

The other day, I got a random text from a guy I’ll call, “Joe.” Joe just graduated from my university, but I don’t know him very well. I would barely even consider him an acquaintance. I never gave Joe my phone number, but he appears to have it and use it liberally from time to time.

Whenever I don’t know someone, or they give me the creeps, I leave their name out of my phone to remind myself to be wary of them. To put things in context, I first met Joe when I was sober and he was very drunk at a college party. The only thing I remember from that encounter was his awful pickup line, “You don’t dress very cute. You should probably just take your clothes off.”

Back to a few nights ago: I got a text from a number saying, “I’m in your area. We’re going out for drinks Friday.” It took me a minute to figure out it was Joe.

A lot of guys think that being ultra-assertive works well for them after the nice guy approach fails. I am going to a charity event Friday night, and I let him know that I was unavailable. He said, “Saturday then.” I told him that I already had a date on Saturday. He said, “Well that guy probably sucks. I’ll show you a real good time.” It was hard to find a place to interject with a firm, “No.”

I found his attitude highly off-putting. Maybe Joe has tried to be nicer and less forceful in his approach in the past and it hasn’t worked. Being a doormat isn’t a great strategy most of the time. Although a lot of guys make the mistake of being an overeager puppy, at least puppies are sort of endearing. Joe didn’t ask me out. He told me he was taking me out. His approach took away my ability to weigh in on whether I want to go out with him. I had to be very direct to shoot him down, and honestly, I’m not sure all girls would feel comfortable being so blunt.

If your strategy for asking someone out isn’t working, trying the exact opposite approach may not be the way to go about it. The other person needs a polite way out if they are uncomfortable or uninterested. You can’t force someone to like you.


How to Tell the Beaus from the Shmos

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

It’s so easy to come off as the “perfect” prospect online, and on the phone, and even during the first few months of dating. This is when people are on their best behavior, they are charming, they only reveal the best parts of themselves. Well, that’s how it usually works. I’ve been hearing story after story of people showing their true colors on a first date.

From the guy who admitted to having a foot fetish while staring and salivating over his date’s feet five minutes after sitting down for dinner, to the guy who invited a woman over after a nice dinner only to have her find his bed covered with dozens of stuffed animals and him asking her if she liked “furries” (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried), to the gal who used the ingredients in her side salad to begin precociously exchanging sex stories with her date over entrees as he sat stunned.

In these instances it was easy to bid adieu to these shmos, but most times people hide their vices better… and for longer. Hopefully your dates’ vices are no more than just being mildly OCD or quoting Friends and Seinfeld every other sentence. Beaus do exist, but no one is perfect — just know there will always be something you don’t like about everyone.


A Gentleman’s Guide to Man-Dating

by Aaron under Date Night,Single Life

It was seven o’clock on a Sunday, and I was frightened. I had already postponed our meeting thanks to a broken 1 train, and I was schvitzing from the bus ride. But I walked into the bar, ready to finally do this. It’d been a while.

We spotted each other right away, and though we’d never met, we instantly recognized each other as the people who had messaged each other such things on Facebook as “yo” and “wanna grab beers?”. It was so nice to have found this again.

“This” was friendship.

Moving to a new city was scary to me in many ways. I didn’t know anyone initially (luckily a last-minute roommate change meant I was living with a good friend who is also Jewish), and meeting new people in the big city can be tough. I was lucky to have mutual friends setting us up. So if you’re looking for new friends, whether in a new city or not, here’s some tips I’d like to offer:

  • Tell your friends you’re looking. Like with dating, it’s easier for people to set you up if they know. And in this case, much less threatening to their relationship with that person if things go south.
  • Even if you don’t plan to drink beer, go to a place that sells it. One of my best man-dates in the city was at a burger joint where the other guy drank some beers while I downed chicken fingers.
  • Reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while. I met a guy in Barcelona who lived in New York and we reconnected, and I reached out to friends I met once in college.
  • Work at it. For me, this has been a big one. Moving to a new city has meant I need to be proactive about my relationships. People will seldom go out of their way to make new friends, but building habits by staying in touch with people is a great lesson for all of life.

Though dating has been great here, I think friendships are also a vital part of life, especially with little family around you. Even if you’re not in a new city, try reaching out to friends of the same gender you may not have seen in a while. Building your network is vital, and you never know who might know a nice, Jewish girl (or guy) they never would’ve thought to introduce you to otherwise.