I'm Signing Up for JDateI make the decision while brunching with Megan. One month ago. I’m enjoying the good food and great company when this totally random dude who tells Megan and me he’s in his mid 50s — though he looks 100% buff and I’d guess him at 45 or 47 tops — comes up to us and starts talking. He says he’s been sitting at a table nearby and he really enjoyed eavesdropping us as Megan and I giggled and told stories to each other. “You girls look like you’re having so much fun, like you’re enjoy life.” I’m not freaked out because I think his tone is polite small talk with stranger not creepy, lecherous old guy. Still, part of me wonders: What the hell does he want? Why is he even talking to us?!?! I’ve been in New York too long. If the same dude came up to my table at a restaurant in rural Illinois, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Anyway. The guy goes on to explain he’s a native New Yorker and he loves all the different neighborhoods and he’s seen the city change so much and he opens his wallet to show us a picture of his father because he loves him so much and yada yada yada IT’S THE JEWS’ FAULT THE RENTS ARE SO HIGH IN THIS CITY!!!! THEY’VE [and, I’m directly quoting him here] “BEEN COMPLAINING ABOUT THE SAME THING FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS!!!”

Record scratch. I shit you not, Megan and I kind of tag glances at each other with wide eyes like: Are you fucking kidding me? Did he really just say that? It’s the 2000s, not 1930s. This is New York, not Kentucky. Is this guy for real? Unfortunately, he doesn’t stop talking and he keeps spewing a bunch of antisemitic bullshit. I don’t even hear him anymore because I start this crazy “what do I do?” inner dialogue: Do I go off on him and tell him he’s way out of line? Or, do I ignore him because he’s trying to pull me into an argument and anything I say will only fuel him? If I don’t say anything, will he think I agree with him? How do I tell him I think he’s an asshole without turning into the asshole who screams — because I know my temper and I definitely would’ve screamed it — “you’re an asshole” in the middle of the restaurant? And, so on and so on. Eventually, the dude walks away. I’m mad at him for being such an jerk, and I’m even more upset with myself because I didn’t do anything more than dismiss him by saying, “You know what? We’ve gotta go.” Megan and I get into this interesting discussion about TONS of stuff after that. I’m like, “Man, fuck him. How the hell could he say stupid shit like that without knowing anything about us? You’re white but you could’ve been Jewish. Hell, I could’ve been an Ethiopian Jew for all he knows. That boyfriend I almost married several years ago was Jewish.” So, time passes and we somehow switch the topic to dating. I have this random pro-Jewish moment / epiphany: I’m going to sign up for J-date. Why? Because: Why not? Why should I avoid a dating site simply because it predominantly features Jewish men? That night, I log onto JDate.com for the first time in my life.

“JDate was like this comfortable, trustworthy sweatshirt,” reads one of the site’s testimonials. My first thought? Who the hell doesn’t love a comfortable sweatshirt?!? I WANT A COMFY SWEATSHIRT!!! Great. I start setting up my profile. “What type of relationship are you looking for?” I check “a date,” “friend,” “a long term relationship,” and “activity partner.” In short, everything except “marriage” and “marriage and children.” This is fun, and it’s just like signing up for Match.com. I continue to the next page, but that’s where the site starts to show its Jewish card. Third question on screen two: “Do you keep kosher?” The choices are: “Only at home,” “At home and outside,” “To some degree” and “Not at all.” I pick the last one and I continue. Whew! So far, so good. And, I’m happy to see the “Your ethnicity?” question pop up because I think they’ve already taken it into consideration that the goyim are crashing the gates of the JDate.com party. Yay! I can’t wait to select “black / African American” but, to my surprise, here are the only choices:

  • Ashkenazi
  • Mixed Ethnicity
  • Another Ethnic
  • Sephardic
  • Will tell you later

Holy Moses! I don’t even know what any of those mean :( I click “Will tell you later” and continue to the next screen. Next question? “Your religious background?” Something tells me Dutch Reformed Protestant / Non-Denominational Christian isn’t on the list, and I’m right. Here are the selections:

  • Orthodox (Baal Teshuva)
  • Conservative
  • Conservadox
  • Hassidic
  • Modern Orthodox
  • Orthodox (Frum)
  • Another Stream
  • Reconstructionist
  • Reform
  • Secular
  • Traditional
  • Unaffiliated
  • Will tell you later
  • Willing to convert

Okay, so, maybe this is going to be harder than I thought. :) And, quite frankly, the next question is the one that makes me call it quits: “How often do you go to synagogue?” I stop filling out my profile because I feel like a poser. The site is sooooo not for me. Well, at least that’s what I thought until last night. Cut to dinner at Penelope with Andrea and two other women — one is Jewish. I tell her I’m considering signing up for JDate and, interesting enough, I’m surprised she really encourages me to go for it! But, I’m even more shocked by my own dormant stereotypes as well as what she reveals about her experiences with Jewish men on the site. “You know,” she starts, “I think it’s easier for non-Jewish women to find dates on JDate.” Now, I’m curious. She’s got my attention. “Really?” I scoot my chair a bit closer to hers. “Why do you think that’s true?” Kiddies, you’ll find out the answer to THAT … and hear other fun “Adventures on JDate” stuff … tomorrow. (I hate really really long blog posts.)

Image by Amos Chris