Online dating in 2001 was not like it is today. At that time, online dating was for people who couldn’t meet people the conventional way; a blind date, the supermarket, or a laundromat. Fast-forward 12 years. There is almost something wrong with you if you are single and you haven’t tried online dating!
Now, let’s go back 12 years. I couldn’t believe I was about to go on JDate! It was my friend Aileen who told me about JDate in the first place. A special place on the internet for single Jews; how nice. I was adamant about not looking for a girlfriend over the internet, but I must admit I did take a look and eventually joined, but just to look around. Aileen kept insisting that I try it. She said if I did, I had to be honest when I posted my profile and use recent pictures! “Girls hate when guys post pictures from high school,” she said. “And don’t use picture slices (what you think is the best picture of you ever taken and so you slice out the ex)!”
Okay, what the heck, I thought, I’ll try it! So, I sat down and wrote what I thought was an honest profile and posted some recent pictures of myself. “I still can’t believe that I am doing this,” I said. After my first few dates I made a rule: all first dates will have a one-hour maximum time limit in a public place, no matter how good (or bad) the date is going! That way I can make plans for a second date, or get out of there if I need to.
Fast-forward 18 months
I had given JDate a try for about a year and a half. To be honest, I was about done with it. The end of the month was just around the corner and I actually remember saying, “November 30… that’s it, I am officially off.” But then, something happened.
My first contact with UK2LA was on November 28th, 2001. A new member, but no picture… here we go again, I thought. Yet, there was one line in this profile that caught my eye: “If I like you, you’ll know it!” Now I am a typical guy: looks are important, but not everything. And I don’t know what I’m looking for, but when I find it, I’ll let you know. I don’t think I am much different than any other online dater: even if you sound nice and we have a great conversation, appearance is still important.
So, I asked UK2LA for a picture. She replied that she has chosen not to post a picture at the current time. Hmmm, I thought, I guess I was okay with that (but I really wasn’t). Why didn’t she want to post a picture? What’s the matter with her? We exchanged email addresses anyway and continued to email into the middle of December when UK2LA asked me if I was now interested in a picture. I said sure. I received an email later that afternoon with a copy of a passport photo attached. Cute, but not my type, I thought to myself. Looking back now, I could never have been more wrong. Still, I emailed her my phone number and asked her to call me. Behind the passport photo was a beautiful voice with an English accent. We chatted for a while and I told her I would call her later if that was okay.
Helena and I talked often, almost every day, and I must have asked her out for coffee at least a dozen times only to be met with, “No I’m sorry” or “Would love to, but I’m not in the area.” I wondered what a guy had to do to get a date with this girl. Hanukkah, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day had all passed when I finally asked, “Would you like to go out to dinner?” “Yes,” Helena replied. I couldn’t believe it; I was actually going to meet her! We arranged to meet at Something’s Fishy in Woodland Hills, California on February 22, 2002. This date would change my life forever.
I was sitting at the bar inside when I first saw Helena through the window. She smiled at me and within seconds the restaurant door opened. I got up from my seat and we greeted each other with a small kiss on the cheek, almost as if we had known each other for years.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, English accent, there was no way this girl was Jewish I thought to myself. She seemed so nice though, I thought perhaps she only likes Jewish guys. We sat at the bar, ordered a couple of drinks, and chit-chatted for a while… a very long while. I glanced down at my watch when I realized that my one-hour first date rule had come and gone. We were having such a good time that we decided to get something to eat at the sushi bar and talk a bit more.
After each of us talked about our families, life experiences, work, etc., Helena told me her parents were having a Seder dinner in a couple of weeks and she asked me if I wanted to come to dinner.
With a puzzled look on my face, I said, “Why are your parents having a Seder dinner?”
“Because they’re Jewish!” she said.
“Your parents are Jewish?!?” I asked.
Helena looked at me as if I was nuts and said, “Yes, of course.”
To which I asked, “And you’re Jewish?!?”
Looking at me as if I was totally out of my mind, Helena said, “Yes, of course I’m Jewish!”
It was at that point that I told Helena I had been out with a lot of non-Jewish girls who told me they were looking to meet a nice, Jewish guy. We were now about three and a half hours into our date when I said, “I’m not used to dating Jewish girls, this is the greatest date that I have ever been on. I hope this date never ends!”
My grandparents must have been looking down on the two of us because this was a match that could only be made in heaven. I remember it like it was yesterday: our eyes meeting, the kiss on the cheek, the chit-chat, and then it happened… I met the love of my life.
One year, one month, and one day later we were married. It was March 23, 2003. Everyone at the wedding knew we met on JDate, so I didn’t need to tell the entire story to all of those attending. However, I ended my wedding speech with the words that I said on our first date: “This is the greatest date that I have ever been on. I hope this date never ends!”
Ten years later “the date” has not ended and, to be honest, I think we are both more in love with each other today than we ever have been before.
So why tell this story of JDate success now? Well, for two reasons:
The first is because I never actually thanked JDate for introducing us. The second is because this coming Saturday, March 23, 2013, is our 10th Wedding Anniversary and I cannot think of anything to get my beautiful wife. It’s not like she needs another bag or pair of shoes (and, yes ladies, I can hear all of you saying… “What did he just say? You can never have too many bags or shoes!”). Sure, I thought about material things like jewelry, a shopping spree, an exotic vacation, all of which I know she would love. However, it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. That’s when I thought about telling our story to the world!
So, I want to tell everyone who reads this that JDate really works! If it weren’t for JDate, I would never have met Helena. It’s funny to think we lived less than five miles apart from each other and we never crossed paths. We knew a lot of the same people, and we even went to the same places, but still our eyes never met.
Thank you JDate for helping me to find not only a beautiful, kind, loving, and amazing wife who keeps a wonderful Jewish home, but for helping me to find the one true love of my life as well!
And for all you naysayers who think it’s never going to happen for you, be strong, stay positive, and don’t cancel that membership just yet! Who knows, you may be just one click away from the love of your life.
Helena and Steven