I think I’m ready to test the online-dating waters again. It’s been a year since I cancelled my JDate membership and for those of you who’ve yet to venture into that world, let me tell you, it’s not all roses and butterflies.
Before I joined JDate the first time, I was more than a little hesitant. Was my future husband really waiting in a sea of thumbnail-size photos on a computer screen? I naively watched a series of success story videos showcasing elated Jewish couples parading their newborn babies, outfitted in over-priced onesies and matching headbands. I bought a three-month membership that night.
My dating history is quite the melting pot, and at this point, I think I’ve seen a little bit of everything. I don’t have a type exactly. And because I’m a hopeless romantic who lets her imagination run wild, I often end up with men that make zero sense for me. From a professional football player to a backwoods country boy who drove a pickup and owned a Schipperke mix named Dolly, my dating dance-card runs the gamut.
That said, before JDate, I’d never dated a Jewish guy seriously and I figured maybe that’s where I was missing the boat. What’s that they say in West Side Story — stick to your own kind? Maybe there was something to that, I thought.
Sadly, turns out it’s not that simple. My last JDate boyfriend — we’ll call him Mr. Emotionally-Stunted Jew Boy (ESJB) — taught me that lesson firsthand: There are just as many Jewish dirt bags lurking online as there are gentiles.
Don’t get me wrong. ESJB had his good points. Fantastic sense of humor? Check. Intense chemistry? Check. Emotional intelligence? Not so much. And that’s where it seems a lot of men fall off. Somewhere between being a boy and becoming a man, so many 20-something guys (and often older ones too — eek!) seem to get stuck at Man-Baby Central where maturity is a sparse commodity.
I’m not talking adorably immature a la Seth Rogen in Knocked Up. After breaking up with me several times — including once on my birthday — ESJB had the nerve to text me asking for provocative photos while out drunk with friends. This from a man with a Master’s in Education.
And I found lots of men like him online. I avoided the obvious losers — shirtless bozos posing with expensive cars, ‘hey baby’ IMs — but the real jerks were harder to spot.
Mixed in were the ones who said they wanted a relationship in their profile but actually just wanted sex (shocking, I know), the ones who wanted to exchange endless flirty e-mails but couldn’t hold an in-person conversation, and of course, the guys whose eyes rarely met mine because they were too busy ogling cleavage.
It seemed for every normal guy, there were nine more that sent me running the other way. I started to wonder if I was just supremely unlucky in love or if finding a solid guy for any girl was like solving a Rubik’s cube with one hand tied behind my back. Was I stuck in a Sex and the City episode? Ugh. How cliché.
Finding out that JDate wasn’t the Holy Grail was a bit of a blow, but I’m hopeful that this time around, armed with a bit more experience, I may just find what I’m looking for.
So it’s time to get strategic. And that’s where you come in. As I’m working on my profile, and really giving some thought to the type of guy I’d like in my life, I want to hear from you. What’s the one thing you’ve learned from online dating that I have to know before I dive back in? They say one in five relationships starts online — share your tips with me in the comments below or on Facebook if you got ‘em, and I promise to let you know how jumping back into online dating goes in the coming weeks.
Editor’s note: The next column installment will run Dec. 26.