There’s a train of thought that you shouldn’t take things too seriously when it comes to dating, that if you’re relaxed and not “looking” for your husband or wife and just out to have fun, then you will meet someone. I agree and disagree. I believe you need to make an effort to find your dates — improving your JDate profile, expanding your search preferences, going to Jewish events — and you should take that process seriously, but once on a date, you shouldn’t act like you’re on a mission. No one wants to feel such pressure while they’re on a date. You should have fun on your dates whether you know right away that he or she is not your Beshert or if you don’t figure it out til the end of the night. You made the effort, you’re dressed up, you’re meeting someone new — don’t take yourself too seriously and try to have fun regardless of the circumstances. Life is too short. And if the date is an absolute disaster, take it in stride and then have a few laughs with your friends about the absurdity of it all. If the date is awesome, you know your date likes you for you and not for the fake persona you put on.
Going on JDates can be fun and entertaining (or dull and torturous, but this column is dedicated to the former!), so how do you turn a JDate into something more?
After the first date, a man who is interested should call the woman within two days, if not the next day. You can even send a text later that night or the next morning saying how good of a time you had – but don’t get in the habit of texting at this stage! (My anti-texting rampage is yet to come.)
When you call after the first date, make immediate plans for a second date, preferably within the next week. You don’t want to lose momentum. You’re getting to know each other, enjoying each other’s company and building on the chemistry. If you know you have a business trip, try to squeeze another date in before you leave or make plans in advance for when you return. Whomever is out of town should try to call once or twice while away but otherwise, you shouldn’t be spending too much time on the phone at this point, just let the other person know you are definitely interested and not blowing him or her off.
When you plan the second, third and fourth dates they should continue to be casual, comfortable and full of quality-time. That means no friends, not too much alcohol and no weddings of your third-cousin-twice-removed. Get to know each other sober and alone before introducing each other to your crazy fraternity brother or even crazier Great Aunt. Daytime dates are also a good option. Go for a walk in a park with a picnic basket to eat while you watch the sunset. Go to the zoo, the fair or an amusement park, or even miniature golfing or go-cart racing. Find a fun activity that will allow your inner child to come out, where you can laugh, and engage in some physical contact that’s not overtly sexual.