“I’m looking for a princess” and other online dating profile gems

These have been some of the biggest turn-offs for me when reading people’s online dating profiles:

  1. I am very good looking. (If you put a picture, let me decide for myself. If you didn’t, I’m feeling a tad suspicious.)
  2. I am funny but also serious. (Are you also tall but short?)
  3. I love going out but I also love staying in. (Opposites remind me of Sesame Street! I love Sesame Street. I also hate it. No I don’t.)
  4. I’m done playing games. (I’ve never played games… Could you explain what games you’ve played exactly?)
  5. I’m not like all the other idiots out there. (I think you just disproved that.)
  6. I’m not writing anything about myself here. Words are overrated. This site sucks… And the rest you’ll have to find out when we meet! (“When”?!)
  7. I am so impressive and wonderful. I’m also extremely modest. (Will you marry me?)
  8. She should be beautiful… (And your very subjective opinion of beauty entails… what exactly? No, I don’t really want to know.)
  9. She should be beautiful… On the inside and out. (Uh huh…)
  10. I’m looking for a princess. (*barf*)
  11. You’ve never met anyone like me. (Was that you helping me count my blessings?)

What would be in your list?

What shidduch crisis?

So much ado about nothing…

Check out this article about the fight against bachelorhood. Could you get more hysterical? Actually, hysterical in all meanings of the word. My God! The “matchmaking commandos” who are going to “storm every neighborhood in Israel.” The parents with insomnia, rabbis in a state of shock by this “urgent problem.” It really is quite appalling!

I have actually taken to the street as I eagerly wait to see us all die simultaneously of singlehood and, while we’re at it, global warming, too.

Needless to say, I am absolutely sick of being called a crisis. Yes, there is a “bachelorhood phenomenon,” and there are crises within the phenomenon (which I’ll expand on in a second) but the phenomenon itself seems more like a healthy reaction to certain changes in our society than anything else.

What type of changes? Well, for example, a very obvious one is unhappy marriages!

Worried we're contagious?

I actually think that people waiting to get married to the “right one,” even if it’s at a relatively much older age than was once accepted, is a healthy reaction to seeing close up and personally how miserable marriage can be with the wrong person (and attitude, of course).

I’m quite sure that it is much lonelier to be in an unhappy marriage than to be single. To pressure anyone into marriage is totally irresponsible. Pressure me to try a piece of the cake you just baked? Fine. But pressure me to get married? I really don’t see how anyone could pressure anyone else into such a serious constitution.

But I thought we do want to get married!

So, you might ask, what about the fact that many of us singles do want to get married? Does that not make it a “crisis,” the fact that we’re not succeeding in this task?

First of all, no, it doesn’t necessarily make it a crisis. People want all kinds of things and the lack of that thing, even for a large number of people, doesn’t mean it’s a crisis.

And what about the fact that so many people are honestly unhappy being single? They are sad and lonely being alone. And they yearn to be part of a couple, part of a family unit, sharing intimacy with someone, poppin’ out the babies, staying up all night, being exhausted…

Oh, I digress.

Both those points are totally legitimate. They are more legitimate than anything any “professional” or parent will say about the situation. A person’s preference to something, a person’s personal happiness – these are important things.

But I really wonder how much of a single person’s misery is their own and how much of it is based on the belief that their lives are just plain wrong and they don’t really deserve to be happy until they are responsible and right enough to get hitched. How much of singles’ misery is based on the fact that instead of living life to the fullest, as much as is ever possible (and it’s never totally possible so don’t idealize marriage too much), they are putting their lives on hold because they’re single?

I think it is a sin – a plain ol’ sin – to put your life on hold because you’re single. We do not know when things will happen (including death, btw, in case you didn’t think about that) and the fact that we all expect something to happen within a certain time frame when it isn’t something we totally control, is most probably slightly insane (to put it lightly).

We should be living our lives! Doing fun things. Studying, if we want. Travelling, if we want. Doing things that make us happy. Not feeling pressured to do things that make us miserable just to prove we’re being “responsible, one-track-minded singles.”

And that brings me to the true crises.

#1 People not being nice

Like anything in life, bachelorhood and specifically dating, are great opportunities to work on ourselves. The fact that there are so many stories of people not treating each other properly is absolutely terrible. Forget trying to get us married, dear professionals. How about focusing on something we all need – hitched and unhitched alike – and that is some good beatings for not treating each other kindly and respectfully. This is crisis #1 and I only wish that people would pay more attention to it.

#2 Unhappy marriages

Without a doubt, unhappy marriages is a much bigger, more devastating problem, than singlehood. The poor unhappy, lonely and trapped souls. I cannot imagine the anguish of being in an unhappy, or teetering marriage. Not to mention the heart-break and deep pain surrounding divorce. And, with so many unhappy marriages happening as we speak, you prefer to try to push more people into marriage (yes, push, by using fear tactics, among other things)?

As I said before, I think that hesitating before marrying is a pretty smart thing. And only in quite a few more years will we see really how many people never ended up getting married. Meanwhile, I will mention that I am surrounded by “older singles” getting engaged. They waited till they met someone with whom it feels right. And, as one groom-to-be said to me, “I think our generation is incapable of compromising on who we choose to marry.”

Why is that a bad thing?

#3 Unhappy people

All the shoulds in people’s lives are leading to so much unhappiness! I should date. I should get married. I should feel badly about not being married. I should worry about my biological clock. I should go to the singles event. I should go on that date. I shouldn’t buy a couch because I’m single….

It is a sickness. I know so many people who broke away from the shoulds of religion and then returned to religion in a much happier and healthier way. I wish people would do that with their singlehood. Ask themselves what is true about their shoulds and leave behind whatever isn’t (no matter what their rabbi says).

Put them all together and you’ve got…

I truly believe that if focus were given towards #1 working on ourselves as humans, #2 working on ourselves as couples and #3 trying to feel fulfilled and happy with whatever we have right now, more singles would find their besherts and be able to move onto the next stage of their lives with a much higher percentage of happiness after tying the knot.

It is not that I’m saying we shouldn’t be trying to get married. I myself don’t cease to make an effort to meet my beloved. Because that is what I want. But I don’t believe that wanting something very badly needs to make me feel like there is something wrong with me just because I don’t have it.

I don’t feel like a crisis and I wish people would stop freaking out about me and find something else to freak out about (global warming is all the rave, maybe you could check it out).

Look, as always when I rant, I feel badly to seem unappreciative of all these people’s efforts. But I think I have a right to be sick of being called a crisis and I think it’s OK that I can’t somehow find it in my heart to appreciate those who are pointing their crisis fingers straight at me. If you’re worried about the community, miserable marriages (and, God forbid miserable children) are way more detrimental than any happy or unhappy single. You might want to take a good look at that problem before you tackle me.

P.S. The name of this post is inspired by Benji Lovitt whose blog about Israel is called “What War Zone?

Photo by ralphrepo on flickr.

OKCupid.com – For Jewish dating too

I’ve never specifically endorsed any dating site in the past since for the most part they are all the same structure. Sign up, look at profiles, pay if you want to contact someone or if you want to read a message someone sent you (besides supertova which is free). And the build of the profiles is almost identical on all the conventional dating sites.

But I keep telling people about OKCupid because it is such a different online dating experience and so I feel it’s time for me to write about it here.

It’s free.

First of all, it’s free. Free free free. Did I mention that it’s free? Moving on…

You get matches that are appropriate for you.

No, it’s not a Jewish website (I did not mean to mention that right after the free thing!). But it is set up in a way that you can really have it geared towards who you are. In all the time I’ve been on (a few months), probably 99.9% of the guys who have contacted me have been Jews living in Israel. The site automatically sends you suggestions and there too mine are always Jewish men in Israel.

This is not the only reason I think that it doesn’t actually matter that it isn’t a Jewish site.

It’s *gasp* enjoyable to use.

Dating needs to be made as enjoyable as possible. This site is headed in that direction. There is actually something funky and fun about the site and when you visit it, you might actually feel a little funky and fun yourself. Even if it’s a dreaded dating site you’re visiting.

I honestly think it would be amazing if more religious people came on because the whole site seems to be more conducive to meeting interesting people than other sites. I know it’s possible that if you’re on the site long enough, there too you’ll feel like you’ve milked it for all its worth but it just seems to be different people than I’ve seen elsewhere online.

Higher quality

One of the main issues I have with jdate is that the majority of people on it in Israel don’t fill out their profiles. You’re lucky if there is a freakin’ photograph of this supposed potential match. And then these people who couldn’t even be bothered to tell you one thing about themselves contact you. Um, hello? It’s a big world out there. I need something to go on!

For some reason, most of the people on OKCupid have taken the time to fill out their profiles. It is possible that it is attracting totally different people than the other dating sites but my main theory regarding the amount of info up about the “average” (Jewish Israeli male) user is that the profile is way more fun to fill out.

Yup, it’s a pretty different style than what we’re used to. The questions are more creative and that seems to bring out a creative side in people. It asks you questions like: What are the six things you couldn’t live without? And: I’m really good at… And: What I’m doing with my life (instead of: I work in…). You’d be amazed how people answer questions that are worded differently.

Actually, reading people’s profiles can be an amusing past-time there! :)

The Google of online dating

OK, I’ve exuded enough enthusiasm but one more thing that is important to mention about OKCupid. It has been called the Google of online dating by the Boston Globe. This, I think, is because they are going all out figuring out algorithms for putting the “right” people together. They are taking the huge amount of information they are getting from the activity on the site and analysing it to understand what different kinds of people like, etc. They have a blog that is actually quite fascinating to read. Warning, it can be a little un-religious at times but if you’re up for it, I definitely recommend taking a look.

You can read about all the (very young!) people behind this enormous project on their about page. Wow they’re young!

Look, it’s new to me so maybe that is what makes it that much more exciting than the Jewish dating sites but I don’t think so. It is a very different experience for the better and tachles, I’ve met some interesting and nice people on the site, even if I have only gone out with a couple of them. I have found it to be a more quality experience than elsewhere.

And the minuses are:

I guess I’d say the minuses I have seen are that first of all of course you still must remember that people are people and not everyone is necessarily what they make themselves out to be. I went out with one guy from there who I was very excited about from his profile and then I felt like he was a totally different person in person. I was actually freaked out by that experience and shied away from OKCupid for a couple months after that. It almost felt like because the site is conducive to cool profiles it’s harder to tell when someone isn’t so cool.

Another negative would be that it is obviously missing some questions that might be important to religious Jews. The amazing thing is, though, that anyone can create quizzes on the site and someone could create one about religious issues which could totally become popular amongst religious people.

And one more negative (and this will probably be the biggest negative for some women especially): You do have some pretty random people looking at your profile. I’ve had a couple of Jordanians check me out, for example. None have contacted me but if there is already something uncomfortable about having your pictures and information up for strangers to see, it feels quite a bit more uncomfortable when it is totally “random” people taking a peek.

I recommend!

Either way, in general, it’s a cool site and I see that it already has a lot of non-Orthodox Israelis on it. I can totally see it becoming a nice change for the more traditional or religious Jewish crowds too. Now just for someone to start the trend…

If you check it out, let me know what you think!

P.S. FYI, they already offer a search of only Jews. Also, a user named Nevuchadnetzar has created a “How Jewish are you” test. I think there needs to be a more religious one created (though from a quick peek at his profile he seems to be religious himself) but point is, it’s possible.

The dating process in 8 “simple” steps

This is the dating process broken down into eight steps. Of course it only takes one side into consideration; add a second side and the whole thing might become a tad more complicated.

Here they are:

  1. Find someone you would at all consider dating.
  2. Make sure the really basic things (the huge deal-breakers) match.
  3. See if you enjoy the person’s company.
  4. If yes, keep hanging out.
  5. Find out what is wrong with the person.
  6. Decide if those are things you can live with.
  7. Find out if the other less important deal-breakers match.
  8. If you think you can live with a) what doesn’t match and b) the things that are wrong with the person, and c) if you still enjoy their company, get married.

Photo by Tim Green aka atoach on flickr.

I am a bus driver (and a rock)

On the bus now (with my fellow plebeians), we were driving up to a stop where a woman was sitting looking in the wrong direction. I was curious what the driver would do. He slowed down until he caught the woman’s attention and she immediately got up to get on the bus. Despite that he acted considerately, I did not see her thank him. Either way, the driver looked like he couldn’t care less that a) she wasn’t paying attention at the stop and b) she didn’t seem particularly appreciative.

And it made me think. In dating, I am like the bus driver. I pick people up every once in a while (hopefully less frequently than the driver) and I’m picking them up at different points in their lives. I could be picking someone up when they’re going through wonderful things in their lives and they’re feeling very happy and strong, and I could pick someone up when they are in a very unhappy place, dealing with lots of challenges.

So, I like the removed attitude the driver seemed to exhibit as if the woman’s actions had nothing to do with him. I know I’m totally reading into what I saw but I still like being able to learn something from it. Her actions really didn’t have anything to do with him. She seemed very distracted and it didn’t matter to him. He just did his job of picking her up.

What a beautiful thing to be focused on doing your job.

Photo by foxypar4 on Flickr.

Messy relationships and Korean TV

What a perfect couple in a perfect world!

I know, that title is totally unattractive because who the heck cares about Korean TV besides me (and one other highly intelligent person I know)? This is not very good marketing on my part but if you’re reading this, I guess you clicked anyway.

OK, so here are my latest thoughts on relationships: They are messy. We freak out every time something gets messy but that is crazy considering messy is practically part of the definition of relationships!

I was thinking about this yesterday when I was watching love story movies at an event in Jerusalem in honour of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love (it’s today, btw). The funny/sad/interesting thing I noticed was that the movies I saw were all about heartbreak.  Um, it’s LOVE day, not heartbreak day!

But they weren’t only about heartbreak. They were about ups and downs. Sometimes it ended on a down (but you couldn’t help but hope a little) and sometimes on an up (they lived happily ever after). At first this theme bothered me but then I realized it is more realistic than just showing lots of happy people loving each other.

Now about Korean TV

One of the things I love in the Korean shows I’ve seen is that people say what they’re thinking to each other. We (read “I”) can deliberate for days over having to have a serious, possibly hurtful, possibly relationship-defining conversation with someone. But in the shows I’ve watched, most of the time, they just say what they have to say. They just put it out there.

I LOVE that. And it makes sense. Difficult things come up. We have this perception that the lovey-dovey relationship is the norm and everything else is bad and unhealthy. But it isn’t true. Lots of communicating and some difficult discussions is the norm.

So, I was trying to figure out what I want to write in honour of Tu B’av (how could a blog about dating not have anything about Tu B’Av?) and this is my message. That we should all be able to find someone we are interested in enough that we find the strength to bring up difficult topics with them. That we find someone that something about them makes us want to keep getting to know them and get closer to them. We should be able to remember that difficult topics is the norm and so not freak out too much about having to bring them up and that the struggle should still be minimal and lead to many very happy happily ever after endings very soon.

Happy Tu B’Av!

Photo by epSos.de on flickr.

When you lose something you cannot replace

You know where that’s from, right? The song “Fix You” by Coldplay. But it is the version sung by Young@Heart that just makes me cry every time, it’s so touching.

The thing about dating is that there is this recurring feeling of loss. The main thing we lose over and over again is hope. You have a date, you have an inkling (or more) of hope that something could come of it, and then it doesn’t happen. And there is a little bit of heartbreak every time.

No, it is NOT just a cup of coffee.

But I was thinking… Loss is such a major part of life. One of the main human fears is focused around loss. We are so scared about losing things, especially things that are not replaceable (like a limb, our health, our lives, the lives of others…). And so I wonder, is there a way to make peace with all the loss that is such an inevitable part of life? First of all, realizing it’s just a part of life reminds us we aren’t alone in the experience. Everyone has things they lose or fear losing. Second, maybe then it won’t be so shocking every time.

Many times people have told me I write what they are thinking/feeling. I am not sure if that is the case this time or if I am alone in this feeling of recurring loss through the dating process. Can you relate?

And just one more idea… I heard someone say this yesterday:

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as it seems.

Long-term relationshipitis

There is a very contagious disease going around called Long-Term Relationshipitis.

There are some topics I stay away from for the wrong reason. The reason being that I have very strong opinions on the topic and I am worried about offending someone. But I am feeling so compelled to write on this topic and considering I had one long-term relationship that ended with a break-up, I feel I can rightfully write about this and you can all just assume I’m writing about myself and not take personal offense.

Really this blog post should be shorter than that introduction above because basically all I have to say is: STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really, what else is there to say when it comes to long-term relationships? No, seriously? What, that you’re still learning about each other? That maybe the issues you have will be worked through outside of marriage and then finally you’ll be able to get married? That you have some very specific problems with each other but you’re hoping that by dating for a few years you’ll finally figure out the solutions? That you’re scared there is nothing better out there so you’re dragging each other along for a painful ride?

I’m so upset about this because it so deeply pains me. I just look at long-term relationshipers and feel such empathy towards them. That feeling of getting older, feeling comfortable yet uncomfortable. Wanting to get married already but feeling something so strongly holding you back that you just can’t do it. Trying to convince yourself every morning and every night that things are good enough between the two of you. Crying and having a freak out any time you do consider breaking up because your half comfort with each other seems more doable than having to go back out into the dating world. And to be alone… And who knows what the future holds so lets just keep this mediocre thing up.

From experience, there is life after long-term relationship break-up. I promise. No, I didn’t say it’s an easy life but in my experience the pre-break-up was way harder than the post-break-up. Of course everyone will have different experiences but the fear of breaking up, the pain you experience for both you and your partner as you imagine going through it, is way harder than actually doing it. And then at least there is hope! I mean, as long as you’re with the wrong person, it’s confining and is like a dead end. The moment you release yourself from that, there is reason to hope that something better can come along.

Of course there is the possibility that you are with the right person right now… What do I know. I don’t know you or your relationship. But if you have lived the relationship responsibly (aka, communicating with each other, trying to work through things a normal number of times, getting help if ever necessary) and the problems persist and they are serious problems, say goodbye, please.

Photo by CarbonNYC on flickr.