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My Second Date with Online Dating

Looking for love online. Again.

I think I’m ready to test the online-dating waters again. It’s been a year since I cancelled my JDate membership and for those of you who’ve yet to venture into that world, let me tell you, it’s not all roses and butterflies.

Before I joined JDate the first time, I was more than a little hesitant. Was my future husband really waiting in a sea of thumbnail-size photos on a computer screen? I naively watched a series of success story videos showcasing elated Jewish couples parading their newborn babies, outfitted in over-priced onesies and matching headbands. I bought a three-month membership that night.

My dating history is quite the melting pot, and at this point, I think I’ve seen a little bit of everything. I don’t have a type exactly. And because I’m a hopeless romantic who lets her imagination run wild, I often end up with men that make zero sense for me. From a professional football player to a backwoods country boy who drove a pickup and owned a Schipperke mix named Dolly, my dating dance-card runs the gamut.

That said, before JDate, I’d never dated a Jewish guy seriously and I figured maybe that’s where I was missing the boat. What’s that they say in West Side Story — stick to your own kind? Maybe there was something to that, I thought.

Sadly, turns out it’s not that simple. My last JDate boyfriend — we’ll call him Mr. Emotionally-Stunted Jew Boy (ESJB) — taught me that lesson firsthand: There are just as many Jewish dirt bags lurking online as there are gentiles.

Don’t get me wrong. ESJB had his good points. Fantastic sense of humor? Check. Intense chemistry? Check. Emotional intelligence? Not so much. And that’s where it seems a lot of men fall off. Somewhere between being a boy and becoming a man, so many 20-something guys (and often older ones too — eek!) seem to get stuck at Man-Baby Central where maturity is a sparse commodity.

I’m not talking adorably immature a la Seth Rogen in Knocked Up. After breaking up with me several times — including once on my birthday — ESJB had the nerve to text me asking for provocative photos while out drunk with friends. This from a man with a Master’s in Education. 

And I found lots of men like him online. I avoided the obvious losers — shirtless bozos posing with expensive cars, ‘hey baby’ IMs — but the real jerks were harder to spot.

Mixed in were the ones who said they wanted a relationship in their profile but actually just wanted sex (shocking, I know), the ones who wanted to exchange endless flirty e-mails but couldn’t hold an in-person conversation, and of course, the guys whose eyes rarely met mine because they were too busy ogling cleavage.

It seemed for every normal guy, there were nine more that sent me running the other way. I started to wonder if I was just supremely unlucky in love or if finding a solid guy for any girl was like solving a Rubik’s cube with one hand tied behind my back. Was I stuck in a Sex and the City episode? Ugh. How cliché.

Finding out that JDate wasn’t the Holy Grail was a bit of a blow, but I’m hopeful that this time around, armed with a bit more experience, I may just find what I’m looking for.

So it’s time to get strategic. And that’s where you come in. As I’m working on my profile, and really giving some thought to the type of guy I’d like in my life, I want to hear from you. What’s the one thing you’ve learned from online dating that I have to know before I dive back in? They say one in five relationships starts online — share your tips with me in the comments below or on Facebook if you got ‘em, and I promise to let you know how jumping back into online dating goes in the coming weeks.

Editor’s note: The next column installment will run Dec. 26.

Sally Higginson December 09, 2011 at 05:38 PM
oops. I meant undervalued
John Brinkmann December 11, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I cant speak for on line dating services Joanna but I did enjoy reading your bit---and look forward to future installments...To weigh in with my own two cents all the same, I'd say it's only a matter of time before before "the right guy" ventures into your life---He might be at an on-line dating service or even as simple as waiting in the same line with you at a grocery store---Keep an open mind and don't rule out chance meetings...I agree with Brandy that one needs to focus on personal wants, needs, and expectations---and this is not being selfish---it's imperative that you know your better half will always be there for you---and likewise...There's always going to be give and take, and some bumps in the road----but long term happiness comes from full commitment to work things out no matter how tough things might get...And there in lies the secret---never commit to anyone unless your fully confident their committed to being on the successful side of the 50% chance for failure...All best wishes to you and that lucky guy---he's out there---you just haven't met him yet---;>...PS---sorry but I have to take you to task on Seth Rogen in Knocked Up...As much the "slacker bum" role he plays, I found the movie's most endearing quality was how Rogen rose to challenge of parenthood and became a man.
Kathy Ruhnke December 12, 2011 at 09:44 PM
I really don't want to dissuade you from exploring dating possibilities, but I came across this and ... well, let's hope this guy is the exception and not the rule. http://thestir.cafemom.com/love_sex/129871/this_is_officially_the_worst
Erin Krex December 28, 2011 at 07:34 PM
I met my husband 10 years ago on Jdate. We JUST celebrated our 9th anniversary. I have to admit after I had dated everyone with the charateristics I thought I was looking for on jdate I changed everything like age, divorced etc and found my man. I emailed him and we went out for lunch. We were married 9 months later and VERY happy! You might think you know what you want, but try something totally different and you might be surprised.
Dafna January 09, 2012 at 09:16 PM
FYI, Plentyoffish.com is a terrible site. They send you tons of spam and advertising, and when I requested to be taken off of the site, they did not and have still not removed my profile. You get what you pay for with this site (which is nothing)! If you're looking for free, try OK Cupid. Although I am not an advocate of any online dating site.

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