As a 24-year-old single lady, the world of dating is a 180-degree difference from when my parents were single and mingling. My mom was always being courted and my dad was taking women out on proper dates. You know your parents are way out of the loop when your dad’s dating advice includes going to Studio Paris Nightclub at 9:00 p.m. (For those of you who have not been to Studio Paris, the nightclub crowd doesn’t arrive until at least midnight.) His thought process is that respectable men who want to meet respectable women are out earlier. I’ve accepted that for me, meeting a quality guy probably won’t happen at a Lincoln Park bar or a River North nightclub.
Last summer I came across an article in JUF News that discussed the book How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating by Tamar Caspi. Although I’m happy being single, a part of me is looking forward to the day I meet my dream guy. So, I decided to read the book, which I suggest you do, too. The book puts dating in perspective.
We work hard to get into highly regarded universities and rewarding jobs. We nurture our relationships with our families and friends, but we don’t put that effort into finding a life-long companion. I applied every piece of advice from the book into my life, but I learned from experience that certain aspects of the book weren’t working for me. I’ve learned what has and hasn’t been working for me while dating and wanted to share my thoughts with you:
Make a non-negotiable list
Set high yet reasonable expectations
Make a list of traits you desire in your future companion. In the future, do you want a Jewish partner? Do you want to have similar passions like jogging? I keep my list handy in my iPhone’s Notes application so that I can add traits at any time. I learned from Caspi that creating this list reminds of us of our true desires instead of being tempted by a seemingly nicer present option.
Date to learn what you like
What better way to learn the traits you want in a partner than by going on as many dates as you can? By going on dates with numerous potential partners, you begin to learn the signs of a true mensch or meshugener. Dating can be fun, or one of the most dreadful encounters you’ll face. It’s all about perspective. My advice is to look at dates as a way for you to get to know someone and let them get to know you while enjoying delicious drinks and noshing on a yummy meal. You might realize this person is totally not meant for you or be surprised at what you have in common.
Go beyond those Dating Apps
Get out and meet people in the real world
Personally, I’d rather use resources that are going to enhance my dating experience. We all know someone who met their significant other on Hinge or one of those dating apps, so we start believing the same will happen to us—and maybe it could. I’ve gone on a handful of dates through these dating apps, but I didn’t have much in common with my dates because the apps only show the surface level of its users.
Caspi advises subscribing to online dating resources such as JDate. As someone who subscribed to JDate for about six months, I went on only three dates with the same person until I realized we weren’t right for each other. Personally, I wasn’t profiting from the investment of money and time to produce my profile.
In addition to your dating apps and online profiles, my advice is to join organizations and group activities to meet more people who share your interests (I have to admit that was my dad’s advice to me. I guess he’s not totally out of the loop.) One way to meet eligible singles is by joining LEADS, a program created by JUF’s Young Leadership Division, which is great for creating relationships in a relaxed social setting.
I know the game of dating can be difficult to navigate and rules are always being added and subtracted, but I hope my advice can help you think through what is best for you.