Tuesday, September 18, 2012, was a big day in my life. Not only did I run out of the peaches and chipotle cheese that I bought from H-E-B the week and a half before, which caused me to open my fourth case of Texas peanut butter for a nice afternoon garnish, but I did something I thought I would never do in my life.
I joined JDate.
The term “JDate” alone makes some cringe. It evokes the scene of Jewish mothers, sitting together at a Mah Jong game, conjuring up creative adjectives for profiles unbeknownst to their sons or daughters, setting their children up for a date filled with more awkwardness than Kris Humphries at the Kardashian family reunion. It’s a guy that may or may not look like a mix of Seth Rogan’s body type with the social skills of Brick Tambland that is trying to make himself sound like a member of the Rat Pack, or a girl who swears she’s outdoorsy, when all she really means is she likes to watch the Real Housewives on her apartment porch, iPad and cold drink in hand with an apartment view of the local bar scene.
So I definitely exaggerated on that last paragraph. Point is, JDate , like most dating sites we see commercials for, is intimidating, especially being that its business focus is one small demographic. While JDate can essentially be equivalent to Craigslist casuals in places like New York City, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv, the problem arises in cities with smaller Jewish populations, where your “matches” are essentially the men/women you go out with on the weekends, with little hope of actually dating, or having an interest in dating them.
“Wait!” You say. “Why did you join JDate then, being that you live in a city with a smaller Jewish population than the amount of kids in Octomom’s household, and where most of the Jewish girls already know you from your partially witty status updates and not so romantic photos on Facebook?”
Simple. JDate allows another side of you that isn’t your Facebook. Yes, my JDate profile does resemble me in that it’s slightly sarcastic, mildly over the top, complete with conjured up rap lyrics that would make even Tupac jealous, but it is serious as well. It signifies to some women “hey, I won’t use verbs that I found from synonymous for howtomakemelookandsoundlikeaaronrodgers.com, and am a little off-base in how I come across, but also serious in being someone women would want to date and have a relationship with.”
Yes, some of the women in my small Jewish town might read it and laugh, but others may say “Hey, I never knew this side of him, maybe I’ll give him a shot”. This works both ways, when guys view girls’ profiles as well, even though many of us take one look at the photo and simply click “No.”
Even better, for some folks that aren’t exactly Shakespearean in their word diction, there’s a “flirt” option, which allows for slightly cheesy dialogue that is sure to make the opposite party crack a smile and maybe give an emoticon back. Being that I’m a paid member now, I tried this button twice on two different girls. After 4 days it has not worked, probably because A) when I flirted at the time, I had no picture, and had the term “body paint myself for UNT football games”, which probably made the girl think B) I was grossly overweight with more chins than the 2006 graduating class of Shanghai University and C) an overzealous sports fan with a hardcore alcohol addiction from August 30 (Chick Fila-A college kickoff) to February 3 (Super Bowl). Or they didn’t like a 24 year old. Either way, the flirt button is a great tool for those too scared to compose an e-mail.
What about those IT guys, whose eyes are constantly staring at a 30 computer inch monitor all day chatting with angry customers on technical support? Well never fear, you can chat real-time with people. Yes, for those in small communities, you’ll see that 95% of the JDate women online are from New York, Maryland, or Los Angeles, but when that person from your small Jewish town gets online, it’s a great chance for you to show off your words per minute speed and make an impression on a girl who might not have viewed your profile before. I might’ve gotten in trouble on my first day on JDate, since I was IM-ing women in New York about how the Giants are a horrible football team, but regardless, this option allows those a reprieve from daily work activities and a chance to make that online connection that wouldn’t have happened if you had just been talking to Ramesh from Outsource Inc all day. And heck, one day, with the right opening IM, that woman who you’ve been eyeing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, might get back to you with a follow-up emoticon.
All in all, JDate is an adventure, which is why I signed up. One year, less than $200 (50 cents a day really) with a chance to meet a bunch of new friends, or meet the person you spend the rest of your life with. It’s a low-risk, high-reward proposition, unless you’re the type who has a penchant for screwing up dates or conveying a false online persona similar to the man described in the Brad Paisley song. Will I have these same feelings about JDate on September 18. 2013, as I’m gearing up for a Cowboys Super Bowl repeat? Stay tuned.