The unstoppable and sexy Mae West once said, “Save a boyfriend for a rainy day – and another, in case it doesn’t rain.” I couldn’t agree with her more, which is why, on a rainy day in July I decided to re-activate my jdate account.
I signed up for jdate (the most famous-notorious?-Jewish dating website) when I was a freshman in college and became too quickly bored with the liberal arts boys at my small college. I liked online flirting, my mother wasn’t around to tell me it was unsafe to lead boys on, and I wanted to make my quasi-boyfriend jealous. The five or so boys that I ended up chatting with on a regular basis was exciting for me; I got high off their IMs and occasional phone calls; it gave me confidence to know that someone, someplace else was thinking of me. Photoboy, one of the boys that I became very friendly with, ended up calling me one night (after I checked with everyone on my floor to see if it was smart to give out my phone number to the response of a lot of shrugs and “just do its”) and we hit it off. We sent each other pictures and videos of our dorm rooms; we even bought a fish together (I bought it and kept it, he named it: Daffodil). He was charming, funny, and in Chicago. I was happy to have the attention, smitten, and in New Jersey. It was safe, fun, and it kept my mind off of the boy who slept in a bed with me, yet didn’t want much to do with me. Things with Photoboy faded out (he’s getting married now!), but the memory of having someone to talk to during a very confusing freshman year will always make me feel safe and wanted.
It was probably because Photoboy and I had so much fun with the late night chats that I decided to re-activate my account. Admiral Adama and I officially ended things recently so I knew I didn’t want to jump into anything too quickly, but I didn’t see the harm in browsing the man-catalog and seeing what’s out there. I logged into my account, which I hadn’t done in forever and couldn’t stop laughing at what I had written as a silly 18 year old. Did I really tell people I was a radio DJ? (I was). Did I really say that I want someone to cuddle with? (That is all I really wanted at that time). My About Me, as an eighteen year old stated, “I am a radio DJ and love music from the [I’m not sure what happened here…] and basically im a really sweet, kind-hearted person who has had some heart breaks and i am ready to totally commit to and love someone else. (only if you are between 18-21 please!)” First of all, way to go with the grammar. Second, I had had one heart break, not some, so I don’t even remember WHO I was referring to, third, I was in no way ready to commit to someone else-I was still running around my floor kissing boys-what was I thinking?
I sat down with my sister, J., and we decided to revamp my profile. I needed to figure out my “pitch.” That’s the thing about online dating; like applying to college, you need to put yourself in a pretty little box and give the ad pitch to the world and see who picks up on it. We decided to go for terse, funny, and simple. I stated where I grew up, my job, and that I’m looking to make friends. My ideal relationship? Communication, honesty, and chemistry. What am I looking for? Someone who can make me laugh. And breaks into random dances. Simple. My perfect first date? Any date that ends in Tasti D Lite can’t be a bad one.
That basically sums me up: random dancing and Tasti.
I put up two pictures and clicked the search button.
Within hours I got an IM on jdate. Here’s the thing that’s funny about IMing on jdate: for some reason, chivalry isn’t dead on jdate.com. In order to IM someone you need a paid account. My friend, BeautifulRedHead, a former Jdater, pointed out that it’s mostly the men who pay for the accounts and therefore, the men who are able to reach out and IM the women. Chivalry? Frugality? Men showing how much money they have? Interesting. More interesting is that for extra bucks a month, you can highlight your profile to another color. Not only does it make you stand out from the crowd, and not only does it show you’re serious about dating because you paid for an account, but it means you have the cash money to pay for your own account (though, how many Jewish mothers slip their sons some money to pay their jdate addiction? Probably many.) Guys think (not wrongly, most of the time) that girls are turned on by money; highlighting your face is like putting it on a dollar bill-you got the money, honey, I got the time.
I went to the guy’s profile and saw he looked okay, seemed decent, so I accepted the IM. It was very late at night and he had just gotten back from drinking. He was, of course, an investment banker from NY. 24. Dark hair, lots of muscles. Pug like face. Nothing special. We chatted for a minute, the usual, hey how are ya’s and where are you from…nothing impressive. He asked to Facebook me (oh, what a generation we live in!) and I hesitated. Here’s my thing: I will give away only the same information I would give to any guy at a bar to a guy online. I wouldn’t give a guy I just met at a bar my last name, so I didn’t want to give this guy my last name. I wavered on the question, asked J., and she said, why not-so I told him and he friended me. I friended him back. Checked his wall (boy, does the saying “writing on the wall” mean more nowadays or what?): nothing scary. Then, the conversation stopped. Nothing. Nada. “That was lame” I told J. He never responded again. I de-friended him. Never heard from him again. I was drunk-dialed through jdate and forgotten about in the morning.
The next morning I woke up late to discover that I had gotten a lot of profile views on jdate. Sweet, I thought, I’m finally popular somewhere! There was a variety of men who checked me out: younger men (18 years old), older men (45 years old), good looking men, weird looking men, men who I couldn’t tell if they were good looking or not. I have to say, it felt good to know that men were looking at me; I felt wanted and beautiful-all this from a few clicks!
The next guy to IM me was MusicTeach, 28, from NY. He’s good looking…as far as I can tell. Two pictures were very good looking, and one was confusing, but I clicked accept. I liked his “about me”, he’s an artist and a teacher, and I especially liked that he said, “I’m really just interested in meeting some new people and taking it slow.” Perfect. We talked for a while during that night-he was friendly, understood where I was coming from about taking it slow, and made me “LOL” for real. Always a plus. He said he had to go to Florida the next day and could he have my number to call me; he said, “I’m going to ask for your number tomorrow anyway, so why don’t you give me your number now?” And I replied, “That’s funny, I wasn’t going to give you my number tomorrow!” He laughed and said he understood I was being safe and would I mind giving him my screen name; again, I told him that I didn’t use instant messenger (which I do) and he could contact me through jdate. He obliged, nicely (I always love a guy who doesn’t say “come on!”) and promised to IM me through jdate while he was away. The next morning, I happened to be up super early and he was on. He IMed me and we talked for a minute about cooking, he said he was going to go back to sleep. I spent the next hour trying to google him and figure out what school he taught at, to no avail. All I know is that he’s a music teacher in the NY public school system. I was interested to see what school it was, but I didn’t want to ask because I didn’t want him asking me where I teach. It’s been a few days and I haven’t seen him online on jdate, perhaps he’s busy partying it up in Florida? I liked him for a few reasons: he made me laugh, he asked me about me, and he didn’t put any pressure on me to meet him.
(update: he contacted me last night not on jdate.com, but through match.com–he’s a double hitter–signed up for two (or more) dating websites–and paying for them! Anyway, he said he wanted to tell me about his trip and to email him back, which I did, with my screen name, too.)
Which brings me to man #2. SATtutor is 26, also from NY and runs his own SAT tutoring business. His pictures were the stereotypical jdate photos: two very posed, almost headshot-like pictures, and one of him after running a marathon. He’s good looking in that big lipped, bright eyes sort of face. Almost like a sitcom character. He IMed me and I checked out his profile; I especially liked what he wrote about in the “I Am Looking For” section, “Windows down. Radio blasting. You are singing along extremely loudly. Probably some dancing too.” That pretty much is me, so I thought, let’s give it a go and see if this guy really means it. He was nice; to be honest, I don’t remember much of what he talked about. He said he likes to drink wine, he works out, and he works a lot. We talked for about an hour and he asked for my screen name. Again, I was hesitant. I told him if he told me something funny he could have it, but instead he asked me when we could meet because what was the use pursuing this if we had no chemistry. I told him what I often say, “all in due time!” Perhaps with a winky face, I can’t remember. He didn’t seem to like the answer because he quickly ended the conversation and I didn’t hear from him for days. He finally IMed me with one of those very masculine “Well, look who it is” remarks. We chatted a bit here and there. Nothing to get me excited about seeing him. Just the other day he invited me out for coffee; now, when I get invited to coffee, it’s usually an afternoon or evening thing. But, no. He wanted coffee at 11pm. Weird? Perhaps not weird as much as socially different. I told him I was busy this weekend and we could maybe meet up next week. I’m not attracted much to his pictures, but they are a little headshot-like, so maybe that’s what’s throwing me off. Further, we chatted last night and I asked him about his family and siblings, etc. He told him his parents weren’t married anymore and got strangely bitter about it. I told him neither were mine and that was cool that his parents’ weren’t married (I said it more eloquently than that) and he got weird and signed off, again. Seems to be a habit with him. Perhaps online life (and behaviorisms) echoes in real life? Absolutely.
I know I should be more open about giving out my screen name, I mean, it is just a screen name (though, mine is my first and middle name–but, I also have this is also the name of my online store, so it’s out there anyway)…but it’s simply not about the screen name, it’s about this pressure thing. Perhaps it’s just the men on jdate (I’m on a few dating websites, mostly to compare and contrast-the write ups on those will come later), but the whole theory about women being the pushy ones seems to be thrown out the window. I talked to a few more men on jdate and within five minutes of talking to them they all asked for my phone number and when we could meet. That’s just not me. You’re probably wondering then, why is she doing this online dating thing? I find it fascinating. I love meeting new people. I have no objection to meeting men I meet online, but give it longer than one online chat to tell me that you think I’d be great in bed (which a guy said), or that you want to take me to the Caribbean (yep, that too)…you haven’t even seen me in real life, so slow it down a bit. I think internet dating is hysterical and wonderful-everyone should give it a go. For someone that’s been out of the dating loop for almost four years, it was important for me to have a safe outlet to flirt with men again-thank you, internet. Don’t get me wrong, either, I am flattered when these men tell me I’m beautiful and ask why a young sexy thing like myself (his words) is on a dating website-but, this whole, let’s get this meeting thing over with so we can sleep together (i.e. and see if we are compatible) ideal is very unappealing and slightly gross. Whatever happened to, let’s get to know each other, let’s talk, let’s discuss music and books and weird internet dating stories…no, they want to push it, since when have men become so pushy? Was it in the last four years I was in a relationship? I didn’t get the memo when I became single; perhaps it’s because the men I was interested in four years ago (18-20 year olds) weren’t thinking about marriage or settling down, and these men are? Perhaps. But, why don’t they remember Newton’s third law of motion? If you’re going to push me, I’m going to push back.
We’ll see what happens with all these jdaters. I don’t think I’m destined to marry any of them, but what do I know? It’s fun to flirt and meet people and I’m shy in bars, so maybe this is a good way for me to start.
Have you ever online dated? Met people you met online? What was that like for you? What websites did you use?