What I learned as a girl

by Aaron under JBloggers,JDate,Online Dating

My last name is Stayman, and I will frequently make a joke about my manliness when I introduce myself to people. Usually it’s something along the lines of “Stay-man, which I intend to do”. I have, however, somewhat been lying about that. I intend to stay a man of course, but I have veered a bit to the other side in a sense, too.

Back in college, some friends and I thought it would help our fraternity/Jewish groups to make a fake girl’s profile on Facebook as an entering Jewish freshman on campus. Using this technique we found a number of incoming Jewish freshman, men and women, who either returned our friend requests or were excited about our “existence” and friended us. We invited kids to parties and events using the girl and we set membership records for Hillel and the fraternity. No one ever noticed that first girl they talked to wasn’t there.

Not my proudest moment, but they called me the Jewhunter in college for a reason, and I was darn good at doing anything it took to get people involved. I called it quits after that, despite my fraternity continuing to do it in the coming year to see if lightning could strike twice (it didn’t).

So then this year I posted on Facebook for Chanukah that I would re-do anyone’s JDate profile that wanted me to. Surprisingly, the biggest response to my post was from females, and I started redoing profiles. In the last few weeks I’ve done some good ones, but my best one was for a close friend. It was my magnum opus, the greatest profile I’ve ever re-written from a pretty decently sized pool of profile re-dos.

There was one thing I forgot from my days of the fake Facebook girl though: men surprisingly forget so often to talk about anything but looks. So I asked my friend how her newly revamped profile was going. “Terribly,” she told me. “Everyone is just saying the equivalent of ‘you’re pretty’”.

I think on both ends, we misunderstand what it is we’re supposed to see in a girl’s profile. Most women I’ve helped have either way too simple or too complex of profiles (ie: 2-3 pictures and 6 adjectives and then a message me tag at the end, or the polar opposite with their overwhelming life story and the maximum on pictures), and I think that makes guys panic and talk about the only thing all of them have in common: being a girl. We message about looks far too frequently, and sometimes it’s because it’s all we can manage to easily take away. So ladies, be sure to add some personality, I know for me that is usually the biggest factor. I’ll definitely message a girl with a personality before I message a boring girl, the pictures only serve as a filter for whose profiles I’ll read (so in that sense, yes, pictures are important, too).

And guys, seriously, pick out things that show personality on both ends. You’ve got to be fun, so find things in the pictures that aren’t their looks, even if their profiles are fairly empty. If they’re somewhere exciting, like say a picture in Rome, ask about their travels. It’s all about the details, so figure out what you can talk about that doesn’t mention looks.


Electives

by Aaron under JBloggers,Judaism,Online Dating,Single Life

As my semester nears its end, I get to do that joyous thing we all love to do in school: choose classes for the next semester. For once I am in the first group to register for classes, but it is still daunting. In the spirit of relating most of my dating blogs to business school lessons, I thought about the electives I’ve chosen to take in the last year of my personal life.

For starters, I decided to leave my job in retail management. This decision initially stemmed from my unhappiness in the job, but ultimately came to be meaningful in taking me back to my favorite part of life, learning. I love being a student more now than ever, and value every second I get to spend learning new, exciting things about the world of business.

Then, probably the second biggest thing is my religiousness. I started keeping Kosher for the most part in the last year, getting rid of milk and meat combinations, then all treif meat, and ideally going fully Kosher when I move to New York in the coming year (which I am hoping to do for my internship, and am open to job offers if readers have them!). I wrap tefillin every morning that isn’t Shabbat, and I am almost Shomer Shabbos (hindered by driving distance to my current shuls, but another situation I intend to fix by next year). I feel prouder of my involvement in my religion, and truly feel like I’ve seen myself grow.

Lastly, there’s my dating life. In the last year I’ve opened myself up to a lot of different things. Different girls than I’d normally date, sometimes in different cities than I’d ever dated (or lived) in. And I can say hands down, this year has been the best year of my dating life ever. I think a lot of it stems from the previous two areas of my life, areas that have allowed me to feel more whole than I ever have. I come across as more open to anything now, and truly love the adventures my life has taken me on.

So those are my electives for the year. I’m sure next year will bring a very different set, and that’s great. Whatever your choices are, or have been, there is no one else signing up before you, either, and now is the time to start picking your electives, too.


I’ll Be There For You

by Aaron under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life

In one of my favorite shows, Friends, there is a scene in the fourth season finale where we catch Chandler in bed and as Ross leaves the room, we see Monica pop up from under the covers, and one of TV’s greatest (and funniest) romances begins to take off.

For a long time, that was my ideal romance. It happened to me a few times in college (too many of my favorite stories from college start with an “I have feelings for you, Aaron!” followed by a “So…do you want to make out or something?” awkwardly asked by me.), but for some reason it’s never lasted (even with my great response to people laying their hearts on the line to me!). I’ve had friends that I’ve gone that direction with and we’ve left it on good terms, but I’ve also ruined some friendships in the same way.

And yet I’m constantly drawn to that TV idea of Monica and Chandler. I’m sure I’ve got friends who would happily date me, and I’m sure most people do, too. It’s just as we grow older and don’t have school to provide us with a constant stream of new friends, we get scared of taking something to a different place. We worry it’d ruin the friendship, or just think that despite our constant hanging out and ability to tolerate and even enjoy each other, a relationship wouldn’t work.

But really, who better to date than people we already know we can trust and enjoy? As Rosh Hashanah came this year, I made a list of about thirty people, male and female, I wanted to get closer with this year. I regularly add to the list, and I also reach out to the people on the list for hanging out on my quieter nights (typically Thursday night dinners a friend and I put together). This is pretty much my biggest goal of the year socially, to grow not just the breadth of my network but also the depth of my relationships.

Growing friendships in Dallas has been something I’ve enjoyed over the years as I’ve rekindled friendships from Hebrew School and just learned to see people in new ways. We know faces, but getting to know real people takes some work. Sometimes when I try to open people up at events they get a little too open (telling me when they lost their virginity, exposing their long-hidden racism, etc.), but overall I love getting to know the faces around me when I go out. So next time you go to a big Jewish event, don’t just think “oh great, them again”, try to find something new about those same old faces around you. You might just find your Monica or Chandler has been in front of you all along.