December 4, 2009
Issue: 10.11
Being and Nothingness

During my long journey as a Jewish single trying to become not-so-single, I have tried the various Jewish dating sites—JDate, JPeopleMeet, Jewish Café, and JRetroMatch as well as the non-Jewish sites— and eHarmony. What I present here is solely my experience and is not intended to be a definitive critique of these sites.

The Jewish sites. JDate is the most well known and, at one time or another, nearly every Jewish single has used the site. JDate has “something for everyone,” providing many ways to connect, ranging from an IM to an e-mail and everything in between. I have found that, often, when I’ve been IMed, “Hot Listed,” “Flirted” with, or “Clicked” on, the men do not follow through with a real contact, let alone a face-to-face meeting. Like a Seinfeld episode, these options can encourage a perpetual state of “nothingness” in terms of finding someone who is serious about being in a relationship. So I have learned to wait for an e-mail contact from men who are interested in talking, meeting, and then some.

Despite these potential drawbacks, it’s better than JPeopleMeet, which allows you to sort matches only by state. That may be fine in Rhode Island, but it is disconcerting in California. Further, like JDate, they make it all too easy to initiate meaningless contact. Without any awareness of how I did this, I sent a “Flirt” to two men. JPeopleMeet is a lot less expensive than JDate, and it appears that there is a correlation between the cost of membership and the quality of the members. You get what you pay for.

Still, it is better than the Jewish Café, where the men, at least those who have contacted me, barely speak English! I’m not talking about their being inarticulate or grammatically challenged. Rather, these are men for whom English appears to be not a second, but a third, language. What am I to think when a man tells me that I have “dizzly” eyes? Yet, there is one thing that I enjoy about this site. These men, from G-d knows where, have quite the romantic streak and have no hesitation saying that they are looking for love and marriage. While this is a refreshing change from the other sites, I wonder whether they are also looking for a green card.

Then there is JRetroMatch, which, similar to eHarmony, does not provide an opportunity to scan profiles. Rather, you get to choose your matchmaker, who, in collaboration with other matchmakers, sets about finding your beshert. You also fill out a profile, which your matchmaker reviews and follows up with a telephone interview. I love the concept; it’s the execution that leaves something to be desired. It seems that, despite the time that my matchmaker spent getting to know me, my matches have no rhyme or reason. Lest I appear ungrateful, due to the generosity of a benefactor concerned about the intermarriage rate, I have a free membership. So who am I to complain?

The non-Jewish sites. is a site that I could not tolerate for more than the three-day trial period. When filling out a profile, you are asked to list your best body part (my brain) and whether you have any tattoos or body piercings (my earlobes) and whether you would be bothered by those of someone else. Who would want to meet someone through a site where these are some of the criteria?

Finally, there is eHarmony, the most expensive site of all, which, conceptually, is based on the most relevant criteria—personality traits and their compatibility with the same in another person. I find it difficult, however, to believe that a computer can match two individuals in this way and, in my experience, I simply was matched with every somewhat age-appropriate Jewish man within a 60-mile radius. However, there is something to be said for their approach. Any man who is willing to spend three-plus hours filling out an exhaustive (and exhausting!) personality profile, who has no opportunity to scan profiles, and who has to wait for the site to send a match is interested in more than a good time; he is interested in a relationship.

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