JDate? It's an Argos man-catalogue

I like thumbing through the brochure but there’s nothing I really want

By Venetia Thompson, July 22, 2010

Well, it's over. It's actually been over for a long time. Don't get me wrong, it was fun whilst it lasted, but I just can't do it any more. Something has changed irreversibly. It's not you, JDate, it's me.

Like many Jewish - or in my case, Jew-ish ­- girls in London, I woke up one morning a while ago and decided that, having never really dated a Jewish guy, it might be time to try some out.

I was warned by a girlfriend that JDate is just like a Jewish version of the gay phenomenon Grinder (which, if you have an iPhone, tells you exactly how far away you are from the nearest "up for it" gay guy) and that most of her friends just use it for "hook ups".

When I looked at her quizzically, she quipped: "Oh come on, Jews feel far less guilty about no-strings fun if it's at least with another Jew.

"And JDate is the perfect vehicle for that."

He asks if you minded when he touched your knee, and if he should kiss you now

I soon discovered that the men on JDate can be broadly split into three categories. There is Slightly Sleazy Lawyer/Banker (he has reasonably good banter, is funny, picks up the bill, then asks if, earlier in the evening, you felt uncomfortable when he touched your knee, and should he kiss you now?); Slightly Greasy Wideboys (a faint smell of hair gel, sweaty, middle management, balks when two glasses of wine cost more than £10); and finally Inexplicably Strange Stalkers (always found loitering outside whichever bar you've chosen to meet at, perhaps a slight stutter/eye-infection/twitch, edges closer every time you take a step away from him, asks a series of inappropriate questions, but otherwise he's passably attractive).

It's like speed-dating the cast of a Coen brothers film - and those are just the ones that make it out of cyberspace into reality.

To get to this stage, you would have sifted through the really hot TV vet in Bristol who almost definitely doesn't exist; the small but perfectly formed guy holding a dog in his photo, who lives in Marina del Rey, California, but "likes to chat"; the many crazies who have to be blocked after they incessantly instant-message you; and various relatives of friends (never forget how small the Jewish community is - it is inevitable that you'll eventually find yourself in the pub in Hampstead wondering where you recognise someone from and then remember you've had a JDate encounter, or you'll come across a familiar photo and realise it's your best friend's brother).

And then, of course, there are
the messages from 18-year-old Israelis, wooing you from Tel Aviv in wonderfully incomprehensible pigeon English, and the New Yorkers proffering a never-ending supply of bagels and pickles if you get on a plane.

Being on JDate is a full-time occupation: you either need to be unemployed or have a PA to last longer than a few days.

It turns dating into something akin to shopping at Argos - page after page of gold chains, garden furniture and gym equipment that you could probably make use of if you had to, but that you don't really want. And yet you keep turning the page regardless, in awe of the vast selection of stuff you will never buy, but that someone, somewhere, eventually will.

Last updated: 1:24pm, August 13 2010


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