When my friend Meredith decided to join JDate, the biggest online Jewish dating network, I encouraged her participation, but I didn't follow suit.
The idea of uploading flattering photos, filling out mile-long surveys, and presenting the well thought-out, wittier version of myself had no part in my lackadaisical lifestyle. The notion of engaging in cheeky e-banter and phone calls exhausted me; I had no idea how I would have any energy left to set up dates and subsequently go on them. Besides, I had a boyfriend.
Meredith was prepared for the bouts of typed exchanges. Unlucky in love, she referred to recent dates not by their given names but by their offense: there was the guy who sent her a bill through the mail for half the cost of their dinner and movie; the guy who went to the bathroom to "freshen up" and returned with no clothes and jazz hands; the guy who told her he'd take her to Hawaii on a business trip if she dated him.
Meredith hoped the internet held better prospects than the New York City bars. At the very least, she could see potential suitors without the obscuring haze of dim lights and alcohol.
My life seemed so much easier in comparison. I had a perma-date for movies and coffee, dinners and plays. I didn't overanalyze what towear, when to call, or how much makeup to put on. I forgot what it felt like not to be a "we."
Then I got dumped. I was stunned into inactivity, unable to decide on a next move. That’s when Meredith convinced me to skip the Ben & Jerry's, don my best bikini, and dive into the dating pool.
It had always been important to me to marry Jewish, so I tried to search strategically. Growing up on Long Island, I attended youth group activities organized by my synagogue, hoping to find my soulmate nibbling a piece of matzo in the corner. When that didn't work, I enrolled at Brandeis University after reading about its massive Jewish population. When destiny didn’t come to my rescue, I moved to Manhattan and awaited fate on the 6 train.
Instead, once in the city, I found myself thrown into a world of single twentysomethings, all prowling for love.