Dating Games

So, I remember that time a guy brought a pack of cards on a date. It was from a board game, but the point was to ask people things you would never otherwise ask them. Like, personal questions. Sometimes nosy. The second one that came up for me was, “What’s the most embarrassing thing in your bathroom?”

“Uh…” I said. I could think of a lot of things in my bathroom that would be embarrassing to talk about on a first date.

Needless to say, that game didn’t do much for our date, which died in the water.

I’ve had a card game like that (The Ungame) be more successful later on in the dating, like, once you’ve actually got to a point where you feel comfortable discussing, at least, the contents of your kitchen, if not your bathroom.

Anyway, SYAS has entered the dating card game game.

Some of the essential questions it covers: “What do you think of a woman earning more than her partner?” & “What would you do if you had to entertain a 5-year-old for a day?”  & “Do you prefer meat, dairy, or pareve?” (What?) Well hey. If you don’t get any mileage out of the questions, you might get some out of making fun of the game.

Ungame - Jewish version

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SYAS and Me

“You have a suggested match from YourFriend on SawYouAtSinai!” exclaims the flagged email at the top of my inbox. I’ve been staring at it a for a week now. So I unflag it, but refrain from deleting. I don’t know why. I have no intention of clicking through.

About five years ago, an identical email did get me to click through. I set up a profile just to find out who the guy was. I was disappointed, after all that effort,  to find out that I couldn’t see the guy’s name without plunking down cash. So i  logged off, but let my profile hang around a while. And that only got me more emails about matches being sent to me. Finally, I caved.

I signed up.

That credit card charge for 9 months of service could be described as the biggest instantaneous waste of money of my life, excepting the time I got a speeding ticket. My membership expired after 9 months without my having a single date to show for it. Somehow, I managed to refrain from renewing.

But my profile was still out there, floating around in Sinai-space. And not realizing that I wasn’t a Gold member, shadchanim would occasionally throw a match at me. But, as I explained to one shadchan, it never seemed worth $18 for just a chance at a date.

Things finally came to a head earlier this year when a SYAS shadchan  actually called me to ask what was up with my profile. “I see you’ve let most suggestions expire,” she said.

“I can’t exactly accept or reject,” I pointed out. “I’m merely a non-metallic member, restricted to hands-tied gazing at nameless profiles.”

“Oh,” she said. “Well would you like to sign up?”

“No, not really,” I said. “I can get no dates myself, without paying for the privilege. I can even get dates myself, often enough to keep me happy.”

“Well you’re lucky then,” she said briskly. “I recommend that you delete your profile.”

So I did.

But SYAS works on the candyshop principle. They keep dangling things in front of you until you give in and go inside. And the crazy part is, all the teasing and advertising and carrot-waving is done not by SYAS itself, but by well-meaning volunteers. All those friends and unpaid shadchanim who say “I saw this guy I think would be great for you on SYAS.”

You hear it a half-dozen times and it starts to get to you. Especially during dry periods when you start to doubt that you can find someone on your own, while everyone seems to know someone for you on SYAS, and maybe you’re going to die alone with cats because you’re too much a parsimonious curmudgeon to just sign up for what you know is an awful experience but which is also some kind of Singles Tax every woman must pay until she’s neatly stashed away in some man’s care.

Let’s be straight about this: The site isn’t exactly philanthropic. The singles can’t set you up with their discards, and the shadchanim aren’t allowed to bypass the website. Really, there’s no option but for you to bite the bullet and plunk down the cash.

But then my inner cat-lady says “No! I will not cave! I will not spend good, hard-earned money on a fruitless service with a debatable ROI!” And thus inspired, I straighten my back and stand strong against temptation. I can do this.

In fact, just typing that paragraph so inspired me that I think I’m going to delete that email. Thank you, YourFriend, for thinking of me, but I will stand strong.

Besides, I’d have to set up my profile again.

Stuff Marrieds Say to Singles

Oh you’ll find someone. It’s just taking a little longer because you’re very special and need a very special person.
That’s a segula for getting married.
*Crash* Mazal tov! It means you’re getting married this year.
Really? That’s your criteria for a husband?
Well what if a man didn’t have that?
You know, you might be saying no to a lot of great guys.
I’m not saying that you’re too picky, but… you might be a little too strict in what you’re looking for.
Have you tried shadchanim?

Have you tried Saw You at Sinai?

Have you tried Frumster?
There are some very yeshivish guys on Frumster.
Well have you looked? So how do you know?
Sometimes I wish I’d been single for longer.
Enjoy being single! It’s so nice not to have to think about what your husband wants all the time.
You’re young! What are you so worried about?
You know, my daughter said the entire sefer Tehillim after each friend’s wedding, and now she’s married.
It could be worse – you could be in a bad marriage, or worse, ChvSh – divorced.
Don’t say that! Chas vishalom!
What do you mean you don’t want to get married?
You can’t imagine what it’s like to be married.
I thought I was happy too before I was married, but, it’s not the same.
You’re just not a whole person before you’re married. I can’t describe it, but, you’re just not able to fulfill your potential. I know I sound crazy, but it’s true.
I have to find someone for you.
My husband has a lot of friends. I’ll find someone for you.
So, my husband has this friend? He’s perfect for you! You don’t mind someone shorter than you, right?
I don’t know… my husband doesn’t have a lot of friends.
We’re really bad at setting people up.
Don’t give up; your turn will come.

The New Midterms

When I was in college, I would inevitably received a rash of redts during the most inconvenient times of the year: midterms and finals. When I graduated I worried that I would no longer receive any matches.

For a while it looked that way. Although I was driving in to New York City every 5 weeks, I inevitably spent those long weekends with friends and family, not with dates.

Then, with a long stretch of no major Jewish or secular holidays, I decided to just hang out in OOT for a few months, sans pilgrimage to the Big Apple. I booked a plane ticket for Pesach and planned to let my car grow fat on so little exercise as a daily commute.

Naturally, my phone started ringing off the hook. As did my Facebook account and SYAS profile. Three separate women who I’ve never even heard of called me up to say they had a guy for me. An old classmate sent me a FB message with the same content. And a rash of pre-accepted matches landed in my SYAS inbox. Naturally (and uncreatively), every one of these guys is located in New York. (Except for the Baltimorian being redt to me to for the third time.)

This is even worse than finals.

When you get set up during finals, you can play a scheduling game, where you space your dates conveniently between your finals. But when you’re planning to be OOT for four months, there’s really no two ways about it. Nobody can sustain a 4-month telephone relationship, so either you’re dating or you’re not.

And I’m not.

So what do you tell a shadchan when you’re in this position? Where were you two months ago? Come back in two more? Is he willing to travel?

Beats me.

And, it just occurred to me, it gets worse.

Because come Pesach time, all the eligible bachelors born and bred in this area of the USA are going to be heading home for the holiday. All the  shadchanim within 2.5 hours of my new town will be ringing my cellphone to set me up with them… and I’ll be in New York.

Probably dateless.

C’est la vie.

See No Sinai

I didn’t renew.

After nine months of trial, I let my SYAS membership lapse. In those nine months there was a grand total of one guy who I yessed who yessed me back, and he never called.

I asked some other people what their stats were for the site.  Most of the conversations went something like this:

Me: How many dates have you gotten out of it?

She: You mean like, actual dates? Um… two.

Me: So you’ve had phone calls?

She: Yeah.

Me: How many?

She: Oh, maybe ten.

Me: Over the course of how many years?

She: Um… [starts counting, stops] I don’t want to think about it.

Right. So, I’m batting a better average than that just sitting in my armchair waiting for people to call. And for this I have to pay? Not happening. See ya, Sinai.

Talking Point: Disabilities

I found this post about the “disability” question on SYAS intriguing because, well, it’s something I’ve never thought about. I disagree with the author’s fundamental premise that the questions on the profile are irrelevant. Yes, they can be narrow, personal, and even a little weird. But the point is to help shadchanim narrow down the possibilities, and until someone thinks of a better way, leave it.

Some of the questions are there specifically to prevent people from going out with someone they’d later find objectionable for reasons that could have been clarified beforehand. Like “are you a ba’al teshuva” or “are you disabled.” I’m not saying whether I believe it is wrong or right to discriminate based on these factors – merely that people do. And if those people found themselves on a date with someone who they discovered to be a BT or disabled, they would probably reject them immediately. The result is that everyone has wasted their time and the daters are frustrated or hurt.

But what about the people who don’t care or have never thought about it? Having to choose a box to check off means they have to make an impulsive decision, and, well, the very fact that the question is being asked suggests that one’s answer should be “no.” People who might have cheerfully gone out with either label won’t give themselves the opportunity.

So, good or bad? I don’t know.

Weigh in below.