Handing Over the JDate Keys to My Mom

Five Ways I Was Doing Internet Dating Wrong

lily padula

By Jen Glantz

Published February 11, 2014, issue of February 14, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

‘I have a good feeling about this,” my mother says. Which is refreshing to hear, since we are talking about my dating life, and most conversations about my dating life just turn into nonsensical debates over why the heck I’m still single — with an added serving spoon of Jewish guilt for me to do something about it.

And I have tried to do something about it. Really, I have. I’ve been to the Matzo Ball in three different cities, shaken the hands of many strangers at a Jewish singles speed-dating event and even attended Sabbath dinners in Manhattan from the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side, in hopes of meeting my very own prince charming mensch.

But it hasn’t been easy — this whole dating thing.

After getting sick of ordering take-out for one on a Saturday night, wrestling with the absurd idea that I’m destined to be single for the rest of my life, and becoming even more exhausted with going out to local bars and getting hit on by guys with tequila breath, I decided to do something about it.

Which is why when I finally told my mom I gave in and joined JDate, she nearly suffocated me with pure, unadulterated happiness.

There was nothing even remotely similar to JDate 30-something years ago, when my mom was single. People didn’t have to rummage together the right words to create an online dating bio, and there weren’t any back-and-forth online chats to be had before an in-person introduction was warranted. To her, the idea of JDate was probably similar to being a kid in a candy store. Except the candy store is a website that hosts information and photos of local Jewish singles, and the kid is a 25-year-old who could have her pick.

“Mom, it’s not that easy,” I try to tell her after spending nine months on the site and going on as many dates as I have fingers on one hand.

The problem, she concluded, must be me.

So, one breezy September evening, I gave my mom the verbal okay, my user name, my password and my attention. I let my mom take over my JDate account for one night.

Within the first couple of minutes, I noticed that the kinds of profiles we were clicking on or were later impressed by were very, very different. Here are just five of the lessons my mom taught me about how to approach online dating.

1. Read the bio first.

When you’re looking at profiles on JDate, the only information you see about a person at first is the user name and the picture — so, what attracts you to the profile is either the funny name the person chose or his or her photo. Most of the time it’s the photo, and when you land on the page, you want to click and see more photos first. My mom, however, scrolled straight down to read the person’s words. She didn’t skim through it like I sometimes do, and she didn’t just read the bio — she made it a point to read everything about the person before she did anything else.

Lesson: A starting point in establishing a strong and lasting connection to a person should begin with whether or not you are attracted to his or her personality.

2. Choose appropriate pictures

My mom was instantly turned off by guys who used pictures of themselves standing very close to other girls (this didn’t really bother me). She didn’t waste time with guys who had pictures of themselves looking trashed at bars or raves (that’s something we fully agreed on).

Lesson: Post photos on your profile that your mom would be proud to show her friends at mahjong or that you’d use with your LinkedIn profile. Though dating and interviewing for a job are different, they are the exact same thing in the power of a professional first impression.

3. Be honest — be you.

The profiles my mom enjoyed the most were the ones that were honest and revealed something about the person that was specific and different. A fact or two about the guy’s interests, his life, his family, made him stand out. The profiles that were skimpy with information were ones where you didn’t find out much about the person and therefore didn’t have much with which to kick off a conversation.

Lesson: Reveal some fun facts about who you are in your bio. Take the time to write it, rewrite it and constantly update it. The more you identify what you enjoy in this world, the more people will want to message you.

4. Make the first move.

When my mom finished reading a profile that stood out, she wanted to instantly send that person a message. She wanted me to reach out first — which was different from my normal mantra. Normally, I’d wait for the guy to message me first, which I’ve come to realize is overall a waste of time and just immature.

Lesson: After reading someone’s profile, send the person a message right then and there. The information will be fresh in your mind, and even if your message is not overly witty or perfect, just reaching out and making the first move shows the right amount of interest.

Online dating can be time consuming. It’s not enough to just throw up a profile on JDate and sort through the messages whenever you feel like it. You need to do more than that to find someone, to feel something.

After my mom picked out profiles that she liked, I messaged a handful of the guys I liked, and went on a date with one guy who stood out for several reasons — including the mention of a special bond he has with his mother. So we met in person and talked for a few hours, and found that we would make better friends than anything else. That happens, and that will happen a lot. But it’s okay — it got me off my couch, into a clean pair of pants and in the company of someone who could potentially flip my heart upside down. That’s just how this whole dating thing works these days. It takes a few clicks before you find the “one.”

Jen Glantz is the author of “All My Friends are Engaged” (Thought Catalog, 2013), a book of dating disaster stories. Contact her at thethingslearned@gmail.com or on Twitter, @thingsilearned.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.