I received a Hanukkah gift a few days early… the gift of JDate. My friend, Sheilah, thought that a little online dating was the needed defibrillator to resurrect the dating slump I’d been in for a few weeks.
“This will work. This will make you see the light!” my friend exclaimed with a knowing spark in her eyes.
Hanukkah isn’t the time to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I gladly accepted the gift of… a potential new boyfriend. After all, it’s way more interesting than a pair of socks. I set up my profile, and waited for the fish to start biting. Within the first day, my profile had a lot of action- many views and several messages. Some of the men were actually cute and interesting, whereas a few were absolutely perfect for someone else.
The responses got me to thinking…
Hanukkah was beginning just a few days. What would it look like if I had a first date every night of Hanukkah?
With that, my Hanukkah mission began- eight crazy nights with eight crazy dates. Was I totally insane for burning the candle at both ends? Would this experience be HanukkahMAZING or a HanukkahTASTROPHY?
There was only one way to find out- Operation Eight Crazy Dates was officially born.
It’s important to note that my Hanukkah dating mission, like all dating, is a numbers game. When it came to potential candidates, JDate offered up less than 30 single men between ages 45 and 60 located within a 50-mile radius of my home. Of the 30, there were roughly 12 that intrigued me. Much like the Miss Universe Pageant, the top 12 were narrowed down to eight excellent contenders for my mission.
[Tweet “I Received A Hanukkah Gift A Few Days Early. The Gift Of JDate @CraigRogersNYC”]
Here’s a quick look at the results:
- A super-nice man that would make a fantastic friend if not boyfriend… when he’s in town and not working. Not a full-time NYC resident, which he neglected to mention in his profile.
- An accomplished man with a rather stellar resume whose head was bigger than a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloon (Calvin Klein never named a fragrance “Narcissist” because you can smell it a mile away and it’s not sexy).
- The man that had very little to say (could be nerves; could be no personality).
- The man that was difficult to look at because he was so flipping gorgeous (I suffered gladly).
- The man that provided a conversation that I simply didn’t want to end (and was the official poster child for my perfect type and yes, my favorite).
- A no-show (that’s ok too… it happens when you source dates online. Instead I went out for a drink and by accident caught up with a man I dated a few months back.)
- The man who should have joined JDate a year from now because he’s WAY not over his Ex (it happens quite a bit, regardless of how you find your dates).
- The man who sent 26 messages within a five-hour period following the date (I dismissed him before I could find him in my driveway).
Final verdict… a Festival of Lights or a Festival of Frights?
Of the eight dates, I would have a second date with two, and those two have expressed the same sentiment. 25% success rate is pretty amazing. Of the remaining, there are two more that I really hope develop into friendships. They’re really great guys that will make someone a fantastic partner… just not me.
In total, that’s a 50% success rate of making a connection, and that’s what JDate is all about.
Would I recommend JDate to a single? Absolutely. JDate is easy to navigate, and the profiles are arranged in a way that you really get to a good thumbnail about potential dates. From a straight dater standpoint, there’s a good inventory of singles, whereas I did find the inventory limiting for us gay men. Perhaps it means that all the gays have transitioned from JDater to married. According to a 2011 study of 1000 Jewish Internet users, 52% of marriages that started as an online date started with JDate. Match.com came in at 17% and eHarmony at 11%. Of the same surveyed group, 63% said that JDate would be the source of their online dates, which was more than three times those that answered Match.com and 11 times more than those that responded eHarmony.
Operation Eight Crazy Dates was an exhausting undertaking, but I always remembered that the best oil comes from the most pressure. It would have been very easy to allow the not so great dating experiences cast darkness on my mission, but to really feel the spirit of Hanukkah you have to accept the light. Sheilah said I’d see the light, and thanks to this experiment I did. And I learned a very important lesson…
To spread light to others, especially to your date, you need to have light in you.
Performing this self-imposed task really taught me the importance of staying in the light. When you’re at your wits end on the dating merry-go-round, you simply can’t give up and dwell in a place of darkness. The fortitude to continue the quest for that relationship you desire may seem impossible to locate, but it’s there.
Find it. Embrace it. Keep your light burning with each and every date.