Back in 2004, a very serious relationship with a non-Jewish girl ended and, as a result, I was determined that my next girlfriend would be Jewish. So I did what most Jewish guys in my position would do: I joined JDate. However, after a series of terrible first dates (at least a dozen by my count) and too many ignored e-mails to count, I was soured not just on JDate but on online dating in general.
Fast-forward to 2008, when I was working at Beth El Congregation in Baltimore, Md. My intern at the time, Danielle, who was a student at a nearby university, was tired of hearing me complain that I was single and suggested that I reactivate my JDate profile and start looking again, having removed my profile completely nearly one year before. I refused and, yet, unbeknownst to me, Danielle reactivated my profile for me. When I discovered what she had done, she convinced me to at least spend one day browsing through the profiles and contacting some girls. While browsing through the new profiles that had been added in the past year, one in particular caught my eye – Davina. I sent her a flirt and expected nothing in return, as this had happened so many times before. But a few days later, to my delight and surprise, I received a message . In contacting her back, after three days of no reply, I assumed that she was not interested. However, to my surprise once again, on the fourth day she wrote back to say that she had been extremely busy with school, work and her birthday the previous weekend and that she was interested in getting to know me more.
We spent a week exchanging e-mails and then a week after that on the phone before deciding to meet for our first date. Unfortunately, our schedules were so busy that there were no nights where we were both free for nearly a month. I jokingly suggested that she could always be my date to a fraternity formal, as I was the chapter advisor for the University of Maryland for the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and she agreed! It turned out that some of the undergraduate members of that chapter were friends with her twin brother and so, between knowing people there and not wanting to wait a month to meet me, it was decided this would be our first date.
The night of the formal I drove to her parents’ house to pick her up, where she met me outside the garage. As I got out of the car, I saw her standing under the lights and was taken aback by how beautiful she was. Was it love at first sight? No. Did I know right then and there that I wanted to marry her? No. But I was extremely excited for the night ahead and the subsequent drive from Baltimore to College Park. Our time spent together at the formal also confirmed my initial excitement. When the formal schedule for the event ended, we decided to head back to Baltimore but we did not want the date to end. She said that some of her friends were at a bar downtown and it just so happened that I knew the general manager, so I sent him a text message and got him to put us on the V.I.P. list so that we did not have to wait in line or pay the cover charge. Of course, as soon as we walked in, I realized that I had just taken her to a bar that played only hard rock music and where all of the bartenders wore nothing but lingerie. But she took it all in stride and even paid for one of the bartenders to pour a shot of tequila down my throat. It was then, after she had accompanied me to a fraternity formal and then this bar that I knew there had to be a second date.
Our first of many kisses would be that night in her parent’s basement, having dropped her off after the bar but neither of us wanting the date to end. Our next date was the following weekend and this continued on for a little over a month when, after returning home from a solo cross-country road trip, I asked her to be my girlfriend. The following November I told her I loved her while on a carriage ride through Central Park and the June after that (our one-year anniversary) I asked her to move in while on vacation in Las Vegas. I knew the next step—a proposal and subsequent engagement and marriage—was on the horizon.
A year later, for our two-year anniversary, I told her that we would be going on a cruise that coming August. Six weeks before the cruise, while returning home from a work-related road trip, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to marry her and, with that decision made, there was no reason to wait any longer. As soon as I got home I told my parents of my intention and, with their blessing and the diamonds my grandmother had left me in hand, I went to the jeweler and told them that we had less than six weeks to get a ring made in order for my plan to work. Five weeks later the ring was hidden in my tefillin bag, the one place I knew she would have no reason to look.
The following weekend we flew to Miami and boarded our ship for a five-day Western Caribbean cruise. I knew that I wanted to propose before the ship set sail so we would have time to call family and friends before losing our cell phone signals. As soon as we got on the ship I knew that I wanted to do it outside on the deck. So, after lunch and one tour around the ship, I convinced her to go back outside where, in front of the water slide, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. Now we are engaged with a wedding date set for November 12, 2011. We are extremely happy and very much in love and look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.
Our advice to any Jewish single person out there looking for their special someone is to never give up. Davina was lucky in that she found me soon after joining the site, having done so after deciding she wanted to start dating Jewish men only following a trip to Israel. But I was on the opposite end of the spectrum, having a profile on and off JDate for sporadic periods of times for over four years. I was determined to find someone Jewish but was growing increasingly frustrated over the series of bad first dates or, even worse, the countless girls who never wrote back. But if I had given up, or if she had refused to even join in the first place, we never would have found each other. So don’t give up and keep looking for that special someone. They’re out there, and with a little faith and a lot of persistence, you will find them.
Davina and Micah