Make a List, But Check it Twice

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Ah, the checklist. That necessary evil of dating where you’re forced to reduce the totality of the human experience into artificial and contrived parameters. Anyone who has ever been asked, “so what are you looking for?” has had to have their list memorized to deliver an elevator-pitch like succinct response. Dating sites like JDate force you to literally check off boxes to describe yourself and search for others. Naturally, people resist being placed into such boxes to the point where saying you “don’t fit in a box” is such a cliché that JDate could probably add that option to their profiles.

CRTV-1337-thumb-RJYThe trouble of course is that while websites, singles, and even shadchanim recognize both the utility and limitations of checklists, few people consider what these checklists really mean. Take the popular example of a checklist gone wrong is the “white tablecloth” requirement, where potential mates are rejected based on the content of their linen closet. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the absurdity correlating tablecloths with maintaining a successful relationship, and instead suggest that the tablecloth symbolizes a personally important religious aesthetic. Anyone who could appreciate someone saying that Hannukah just isn’t Hannukah without Bubbe’s Famous Latkes can understand the value of religious sentimentality.

Remember what I wrote a few weeks ago about dating and hope I think what applies there also applies to checklists. Every item represents a possibility, or based on one’s experience, probability. A PhD usually indicates a person is reasonably intelligent or values knowledge, which yeshivot one attended can be indicative of religious upbringing, etc. It doesn’t matter if any of these sorts of assumptions are true, or if they’re relevant to the essence of the person in the present. What matters isn’t even what people think about the checkboxes, but how they imagine what the relationship would be.

Unless you automatically accept every single dating possibility which comes your way, you’re going to have some standards about the people you date. And if you’re in any way serious about having a relationship, you’re going to want to maximize the potential of the date being “good” however you want to define it. Checklists aren’t about separating the naughty from the nice (it might be, but since this is a Jewish dating website, we’re keeping things clean), but playing the odds to have the best chance of having a decent date.

The question is less about the checklists, but how much of them are dogmatic deal breakers. If you happened to hit it off with someone who didn’t have the right box checked, would you call it off or would you give it a shot? Obviously this is up to you, but every now and again, it’s worth checking in on our checklists.


The Perfect Woman

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Who’s your idea of a perfect woman? We know she’s Jewish. We know she is your personal idea of attractive. She’s probably smart and educated, nice and sweet, funny and fun, athletic and active, easy-going and independent, and so on. Does she exist? Probably. In some variation of your list with certain items having more cut of the pie than you may have thought you preferred. No one’s perfect. As you meet more women and date more women and fall in love with women and get rejected by women, your idea of a perfect woman is going to change. And then you’re going to meet a woman who doesn’t fit your list and yet is the perfect woman for you. I had many a man tell me I was their idea of the perfect woman, but none of them proposed. Conversely, I wasn’t what my now husband thought of as his ideal woman and I am nothing like his exes and yet here we are, happily married with a kid.


Self Set Standards

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Everyone knows I had a checklist of what I was looking for in my husband. It was long and detailed, and eventually I transferred it to a spreadsheet and gave the items numerical values. Of course that’s a tad immature, and some have even been appalled at the concept, but really it served to remind me what was important so that I didn’t get swept up by lust. The scorecard determined which traits were non-negotiable and which were nice to have but not a necessity. “Jewish” was the most important with a value of 100 points but that was the only one worth that much – basically it was a given so if any man wasn’t Jewish, he would never “earn” enough points to be worthy (of me, at least).

The traits which followed in importance were worth 10 points and decreased in value down to 5. Anything that wasn’t 5 points didn’t need to be on my list. I made the list at 16 years old, and as my age changed so too did the numbers. Some moved up, some down, and some were eliminated altogether. The Tamar at 18, 21, 25, still wanted the majority of the traits, but as I got older I realized which ones were realistic, which were optimistic and which were fatalistic.

You should know what you want and how important certain items are, but you need to have more than the one non-negotiable. Jewish is a given, so what else is make-or-break? I had about 10 items which were worth 10 points each, but if a guy had at least the majority of those items then I would consider him, he didn’t have to have to be a Perfect 10. Such things don’t exist except in magazines with airbrushing. Just know which couple of items you’re not willing to budge on. For me, I never thought I would ever date a smoker and I ended up marrying one because he has enough of the other important things I do want that I could ignore an item here and there that I didn’t want (and since we got married, he’s quit smoking).