Sept. 15, 2006
After Friday dinners
World of potential opens up in online dating.
This is the first in a monthly series on Internet dating, as
well as general dating dos and don'ts.
So, it's another Friday night and people are mingling after a big
Shabbat dinner; or maybe you're at another Saturday night Jew-Do.
You chat with a few friends, survey the familiar crowd and begin
to wonder if you can get home in time for Letterman.
Just as you're about to make a safe exit, Mr. Talks-so-much-about-himself-you-want-to-chew-your-arm-off
comes up to start a conversation. Politely, you listen for an appropriate
amount of time before you mention to him that you have some schmaltz
at home you have to render and head for the door.
"What is wrong with this shtetl?" you ask yourself.
And the answer is right there in a shtetl, even when a sizeable
percentage of people come out to an event, that's not very many;
and usually it's the same faces over and over again. Socializing
at dinners and parties might be fun, but you're not meeting new
people. So if local events are drawing small crowds of just one
or two hundred, that means there must be many people who just aren't
Well, if parties and Shabbat dinners aren't their thing, where do
you find them?
One of the best routes, and still getting better, is through the
Internet. Using sites like www.jdate.com or the new www.jisinglesbc.com,
as well as non-Jewish-specific sites that let you search profiles
by religion, will let you open up your world of dating and help
you find those who might be socializing in different circles. In
addition, you can tell a lot about a person by making first contact
online, thus avoiding the scenario mentioned above.
Let's say you were to meet an individual who tended to talk about
his business, his income and his material wealth to the point where
watching Ben Mulroney on the yappy ET Canada is sounding
good. If you met this person at a party, face-to-face, you could
be cornered for a good 20 minutes before feeling enough time had
gone by to excuse yourself to the washroom (to look for an Aspirin).
But if you were chatting with him on a dating site, or through instant
messaging, it's quite likely this self-absorption would come through
loud and clear and you could let him chat away as you make some
coffee, talk on the phone or play Texas Hold'em online.
Conversely, suppose you spot an attractive, interesting-looking
woman across the room at a Jewish function. You might venture over
to start a conversation, only to find out the extent of her Jewish
cultural knowledge is limited to designer clothing and the diamond
trade. Since you started up the conversation, an average amount
of guilt and misguided optimism that "there's more to this
person" would probably keep you stuck in that twosome for a
good 30 minutes.
In addition to being able to multitask, if you were chatting with
either of these people online, you could excuse yourself much more
quickly and easily.
While it's true that you must meet people face to face in order
to get a full impression of what they are like, time spent chatting
with people first online or on the phone, combined with seeing a
photo, allows you to "meet" a greater number of potential
dates and find a lot more people who share your interests.
The tricky part is writing a profile and asking the right questions
online in ways that will bring out the most relevant information
that you need to know before making a decision to meet.
Upcoming columns will deal with how to write a good profile; how
to move from Internet site to messenging, to phone, to meeting in
person; and how to have first dates that always end with both your
Baila Lazarus is a Vancouver freelance writer. She teaches
a course on Internet dating through the Vancouver School Board's
continuing education department. More advice can be found at www.tastierdates.com.
Sign up for online dating at jisinglesbc.com.