Table Manners

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

A recent story from my girlfriend about her date eating off her plate, and then finishing it off while she went to the bathroom, has inspired this post. Her date also arrived weighing 150 pounds more than his photo showed and he ordered more than a few plates of food for himself, which he polished off before she could eat half of hers. He committed a number of table manner transgressions!

  1. Unless you ask first, or your date offers, do not take a sample of your date’s food. In fact, asking if you want to taste each other’s food is a great way to break the ice.
  2. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse (unless you have kids and then keep your phone on silent on the table and don’t look at it).
  3. Ladies should not assume the man is going to pay. Offer to split and be prepared to have your offer accepted. Men should deny the offer in most circumstances.
  4. Be polite to the waitstaff.
  5. Your first-date behavior should be your best behavior!

My Phone Isn’t Ringing!

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I’m getting tired of women not returning calls. What do I do?


Dear Dead Ringer,

Keep calling. But first, analyze what you are saying and how you are saying it to see if perhaps you are being too aggressive or too much of a pushover. Are you saying too much? Too little? Have some sort of script ready, one for if the prospect answers and one for the voicemail. It shouldn’t sound too rehearsed but you need something to keep you on track. A phone call should last about 10 minutes and consist of you asking the girl out on a date. A message should simply state who you are, a quick reminder of who you are (example: …this is Mike from JDate…) and your phone number as well as a short but sweet farewell (I’m looking forward to hearing back from you soon). People get nervous when they are making their first phone call which is why people often go off on tangents. having a framework to follow will help you have confidence calling and that confidence will come through in your voice. And don’t abuse the phone. Call once and if you get the voicemail or she answers but can’t talk at the moment, then go ahead and try again if you don’t hear back after 2 days, but don’t call again after that. Twice is nice. In this circumstance the third time is not the charm, it’s overkill. So when I said keep calling at the beginning of my response I meant keep calling different women. The fact that you’re getting the phone number is a testament unto itself as that’s often the hardest part!

Rhythm and Timing

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

I don’t hear from some men for days, weeks, months even! Then they just act like everything’s fine and we can pick right up where we left off. It doesn’t work that way. There’s a certain rhythm to relationships, and I can’t get into a groove with someone I only hear from sporadically. These are eligible men, but we just never get anything off the ground because they can’t manage to communicate regularly. I call them prairie dogs — they pop up (text, text, text), then disappear (silence… a week goes by), then pop up again (text, text), then gone. And repeat! Some guys text me like that for months, never materializing, till I finally have to say, “Please stop.” It gives new meaning to the term “long-distance relationship.” The guy’s around the corner, but emotionally he’s light years away.

So what’s the ‘right’ timing for keeping in touch in early courtship?


Dear Rhythm and Timing,

Great question. The answer is obvious, but hard to face. If a guy were interested he would call — NOT TEXT — regularly in early courtship in order to make plans to see you as often as possible. A guy who texts you sporadically is simply trying to keep you hooked for when he’s bored or lonely. I know that stings. It sucks. But it’s the truth. If you don’t hear from a guy for a week or more between texts, then don’t wait for him to do it again. Tell him to stop. A guy who wants to date you will call within a couple of days of meeting you (or asking for and receiving your number on JDate), and will make plans with you for within the week. He will call you again to confirm the date and he will call you shortly after the date as well. Don’t confuse attention with interest.

Phone Etiquette

by JeremySpoke under Online Dating,Single Life

There are rules to follow when talking on the phone, and none of them apply to talking on the phone with someone you’ve met online. Do not use anything you’ve ever learned about how to converse when talking to somebody in this situation. This isn’t a conversation. It’s closer to some sort of horrible mix of job interview/wrong-number-dial-apology/call to senile grandparent. You have to present yourself in the best way possible, while simultaneously making sure that you’re loud and clear and slow and understandable. All both of you want to do is get off the damn phone so you can get back to your terrible lives of nothingness and loneliness.

However, there still are rules to follow when talking on the phone in this situation, they’re just different than the regular rules. You can’t just say, “Hi.” You have to explain everything. “Hi. This is Jeremy. We met on JDate®. I just wanted to call to see how you are doing. I hope you’re having a good week. I sure am not. My a/c isn’t working and I have gotten very little sleep. Also, my dog barks constantly until 5 am every morning. But yeah, at least work is good. Lunch was catered today. I thought it would be Chinese but it turned out to be Mexican. Now my stomach really hurts. Oh! Also! I went to the dentist yesterday. I had no cavities, and the hygienist said she could tell I floss daily, but I really only floss every other day. So now I’m starting to wonder if I should floss at all.” And then she replies with, “Hi.” Don’t you know the rules? You can’t just say hi! This isn’t a regular phone conversation! This is the worst of all phone conversations. You must continue talking more to avoid awkward silences. Say whatever the hell you want. I don’t care. Just good lord do not stop.

But seriously, this conversation must be short and superficial. You can get into the real stuff on the date, or maybe the second or third date. This is not the time for that. This is just the initiation, and though uncomfortable, it is tremendously necessary.

Also, it is not a good idea to be drunk or in any other way preoccupied during this first phone conversation. You have to be slow, focused, and clear. Don’t convey any sort of personality, or anything that could potentially put her off. There will always be time to put her off later, and that will probably happen.

Another Texting Rant

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

I received another cluster of emails last week from both friends and strangers ranting about text messaging before they had even met their prospect. Texting to make plans, texting to say hi, texting to ask personal questions, texting to flirt — but they haven’t even met yet! I urge the couple to get off the computer, but when I say to take it to the phone I mean by talking not texting. Don’t get to know each other via email, texting or phone calls — just get together in person! You already know so much via the JDate profile questions and essays, so don’t add any more pressure to the equation. But that’s not the point here: texting is impersonal and impolite. Texting gives off the vibe of a booty call. DO NOT TEXT! Texting is what you do with people you already know, who understand your sarcasm, who you know can’t talk at that time. Texting is not how you ask someone out or how you come on to someone or what you build a relationship upon. Go from a few emails on JDate to the phone to in person and see how it is and how you are together before you even think about putting your thumbs to the touch screen.

Ten Minute Rule

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating

I have a ten minute rule for JDate phone calls — once you meet a prospect on JDate and exchange phone numbers then the man should call within 48 hours of receiving the email and then spend 10 minutes on the phone. At this point in your relationship the phone should be used to make plans, not get to get to know each other further. If both of you read this post and therefore go into the phone call knowing it should only last 10 minutes and to use the time to make plans then the phone call should be easy-breezy. But you can’t assume someone has read this, which means the call should like this:

Guy: Hi this Guy, may I speak with Gal please?

Gal: This is she.

Guy: Hi, this is Guy from JDate. How are you?

Gal: I’m good thanks, how are you?

Guy: I’m great! I’m actually really busy today (say this even if you aren’t) but I wanted to call you because I want to make plans to get together before the week is over. Are you free either Thursday night or Saturday night for dinner (give two options)?

Gal: I already have plans Thursday (say this even if you don’t) but I’m available on Saturday.

Guy: Awesome, it’s a date. I remember you wrote that you lived Downtown. So would Restaurant #1 work or would you prefer Restaurant #2 (two options that are mid-priced but different in case she has a food preference or allergy, etc)?

Gal: Good suggestions! Restaurant #1 is one of my favs but I’ve heard great things about Restaurant #2 so let’s go there!

Guy: Perfect. I’ll make reservations for 8:00 and see you there, ok?

Gal: Looking forward to it. Thanks for taking care of everything.

Guy: Have a great week! Bye!

Gal: You too! Bye!

So as you can see, there was no pressure, it was easy and it was quick. The man was decisive and made plans and took charge. The woman was appreciative and agreeable. Dating is difficult enough; don’t make it any harder on yourself.

Continuity Confusion

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I am so confused and frustrated right now. I met this amazing girl on JDate. We went on a date in NYC and the chemistry was great. I called her a few days later and left a message on her phone. I received a text saying she was feeling sick that weekend. I understand completely and wished her a speedy recovery. Since then I have not heard from her. I just don’t understand why there is no follow up. I want to call her badly but think I should wait till after this weekend. Something seems strange, maybe she had a change of heart? But so suddenly? Event to just talk to her on the phone would be great but I’m confused on why she hasn’t been in touch.

Dear Continuity Confusion,

Go ahead and call her. I hate texts, but if she was sick then I’ll give her a pass for not calling. Some women want to be pursued and if she wasn’t feeling well she may be waiting for you to call and see how she’s feeling. I think it’s a bit presumptuous to think she’s had a change of heart. On one hand it’s only been one date, on the other hand you’ve only made one phone call. Take the risk and put yourself out there and make that call!

Disappearing Acts

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

I was on Facebook, catching up with “friends” when all of a sudden something caught my eye on the right side of the screen. It was a familiar picture listed under the “People You May Know” section and the name struck a chord. It was Greg, a guy I had dated pretty seriously in my mid-twenties until he disappeared off the face of the earth. Of course, by now I had gotten over Greg, the person, but what he had done to me had really hurt me and left a dating scar.

Greg and I met on JDate and spoke a few times on the phone before he took to me on an incredibly romantic first date. It was lunch at a really upscale restaurant on the water and afterwards we walked along the rocks. We made plans to see each other a few days later and soon enough we were seeing each other about twice a week except when one of us was out of town. When I hesitantly asked him if he would accompany me to a distant family member’s wedding he accepted without hesitation and was the perfect companion. We had a lot of fun together and even though we hadn’t had “the talk” there wasn’t any pressure or any doubt that we were headed in the right direction.

We had been seeing each other for two months when, for the first time, he didn’t call when he said he was going to call. I called him and, for the first time, he didn’t answer. I left a message but it was never returned. I waited a week and called again, no answer, left a message and never heard back. At this point I was beyond wary and wasn’t going to waste time stalking him but if he called me with a really good excuse I wasn’t going to give him grief either. He never did call and I never did see him again.

About a month later I ran into a mutual friend of ours and I asked her what was going on with him. She said she had recently bumped into him and his new fiancé. Speechless is not a strong enough word to describe how I felt at that moment. Chills went through my body, my heart started beating double time and I broke into a cold sweat. I don’t think I was asking too much for him to have simply called me after our last date and told me he had met someone and it was getting serious. That would have burned, yes, but at least it wouldn’t have as core-shattering as this news was.

I just don’t get why he couldn’t simply pick up the phone and break it off with me? Why would that be so difficult? I don’t care how non-confrontational someone is, it’s not like I could have slapped him through the phone (not that I would have) and he wouldn’t even have to look me in the eye. If I had started crying (which I wouldn’t have) all he’d have to do is end the conversation. It’s one thing to not call after a first date because it is, after all, just one date. But to completely disappear after two months of dating is rude and inexcusable.

Dropping the Ball

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

You can lead a camel to water but you can’t make it drink. The same goes for men. I can deliver a Perfect 10 Jewish goddess to a man’s doorstep, but I can’t make him call her.

Such was the case with Lawrence. Lawrence is a great guy: besides being really nice and having good morals, he’s also a successful accountant who owns his own place, has a fantastic sense of humor and a nice head of hair. His only drawbacks are his height – a whopping 5’2 – and his age – 39. Neither make him a lost cause, but those stats have made it somewhat difficult for him on JDate. Luckily he’s open to being set-up… or so I thought.

I consulted my database of single friends and found one girl in particular whom I thought was beyond perfect. Marissa is tiny and petite, just barely 5 feet and probably 100 pounds soaking wet, in her early 30’s and besides having a thriving career as a therapist, she’s also a lot of fun. Her family is active in the community and has a reputation for being a group of super duper nice people. Feeling like I had hit this one on the nose, I started facilitating the match.

I told each of them about each other and they both sounded excited and receptive. I told Marissa that Lawrence would call her and she agreed to let me give him her number. So Lawrence has Marissa’s number… but didn’t use it. One, two, three weeks went by and nothing. I ran into Marissa and she asked what was up and I didn’t have an excuse. Lawrence said he was interested in her so why hadn’t he dialed her number? When I approached him about it, he said again that he would call her and again failed to with no excuse. At this point Marissa was done, she felt rejected and had written him off as a loser. I told Lawrence that, since he screwed up, if he was still interested then he needed to call her and keep calling her until she answered and agreed to go out with him.

What did he do with my advice? He texted her. I seriously could strangle him. Now I realize why he’s about to turn 40 and is as lonely as the last macaroon in the tin after Passover. Marissa was smart enough not to answer the text and I advised her to disregard it and to give him a second (third? fourth?) chance after he put forth some effort. Then I gave Lawrence specific instructions to call her and leave a message and then wait two days and call her again. We’ll see if that happens. I don’t know who is more frustrated – me or Marissa. I’ve now realized that the only person holding Lawrence back from being in a successful relationship is Lawrence himself. If he calls Marissa, I hope she will give him a chance after giving him crap for waiting so long. But I’m not ever setting Lawrence up with another girl just to hurt her feelings before he’s even met her.

The (JDate) Rules

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

When you meet someone on JDate set rules cannot be applied. I am a big proponent of using JDate as a means to an end (meaning if you are on JDate then you should use the website to meet someone in person not just waste time trading emails back and forth). At whatever point you offer up your phone number (I recommend almost immediately) the clock starts ticking down from 48 hours — that’s 2 days, which is the expected time frame you would call someone if you got their number after meeting them at a bar.

But if the other person isn’t ready to call or isn’t totally convinced you are worth it, then the digits will be ignored and another email will be sent in its place. This is not always bad, but you should set yourself a time limit for a phone call, and when plans should be made by, before abandoning ship. Concessions need to be made, whether it’s allowing a phone call after two days, accepting a first date in the middle of the week or overlooking typos in emails and text messages. Relationships need compromise to thrive, even if that means meeting halfway from the first day.