TBT (2009) : JDate, A Time Before Tinder

tbt dbag dating jdate a time before tinder

In case you guys didn’t know, the gem that is Dbag Dating was first created in 2009, when I was twenty-two, unemployed and certifiably insane. My penchant for reckless globe-trotting and repercussion-free romantic trysts lead to a series of crazy adventures, some of which were chronicled via this very blog. Of course, right as it was starting to pick up, I happened to meet a boy and fall in love, causing me to abandon the project – and dating – altogether. Reading back, I miss the old me, with her wild antics and juvenile, tongue-in-cheeck musings.  And so, I have decided to bring it back in the way we resurrect all nostalgic memories on the Internet – with a TBT!

It all started with my friend Roxy, a source of inspiration to women everywhere. Roxy dates the way most of us only wish we could, moving from one guy to the next quickly and efficiently, sans unnecessary tears or emotional attachment. Her relationships always follow a similar pattern: Roxy meets guy, Roxy likes guy, guy falls in love with Roxy, Roxy loses interest and moves on. Sure, once in a while she meets a Dbag who beats her at her own game, but even then she doesn’t bask in a pool of prolonged heartbreak: if somebody doesn`t like her, that`s their problem, not hers. Determined to find her one true love, Roxy utilizes every available resource to meet guys. She is never too cool for a setup, a blind date, or any other contrived hookup format that mortifies most people.

Last summer, Roxy suddenly started going on a lot more dates than usual. The frequency increased from the usual 2-3 dates a week to about 7-10, high even by her standards. There were lunch dates, casual drink meetings after work, weekend brunches and walks in the park. The guys were all gainfully employed, well-educated, and came from good families. Their dates were quirky and interesting, refreshingly different from the usual club douches who rarely take you anywhere beyond the Meatpacking district.

Soon, we all started suspecting that something fishy was going on. Where was she meeting all these men? The girl works in fashion, for God`s sake. You can imagine my shock when Roxy announced that she had joined JDate, defined by Wikipedia as “an online dating service aimed at Jewish singles”. After all, it’s pretty much common knowledge that dating sites are where weird antisocial losers go to meet other weird antisocial losers. Where is the chemistry, the spark, the va-va-voom? (NB: Oh honey, if you only knew that one day you would be meeting most men via an app called Tinder, defined by Wikipedia as an “appearance-based match-making process”..) 

Nonetheless, curiosity soon took way of horror, and I sheepishly ask Roxy if I could log onto her account to check this thing out. It turned out that JDate was kind of like Shopbop, except that, instead of JBrands, you get to pick out Jewish boys. Being a snob, I immediately entered the West Village into my search criteria, and soon came across a cute 23-year old with a French bulldog and adequate eloquence and wit. He appeared to be a normal guy, somebody I would be attracted to if we were to meet in the real world. I was sold. I quickly put down my mother’s credit card number (as it later turned our, many people deemed it okay to do same thing, as though their parents still owed it to them to piece their lives together ), selected some sexy-yet-down-to-earth photos, and wrote a few lines describing myself as somebody who “might drive you a bit crazy”. I figured that in a sea of JAPs, a fair-haired Russian should give herself an edge. (I was also trying to distract from the fact that I`m only half Jewish and kind of the wrong half, but let’s not get into that.) I Hot-Listed Mr. West Village (that means adding to your virtual list of hot people, duh), as well as a few other geographically favorable, semi-sane-looking guys, and kicked back to wait.

A few days later, WV Cutie Hot-Listed me back, and we were soon sitting in a bar on Horatio street, chatting about our lives and numerous mutual friends. He was funny, interesting, most importantly, normal! Jdate worked! I felt like I had discovered the Holy Grail of dating – that is, until he texted me five minutes after the date had ended to ask if I would like to come “sleep over”. Huh?  

Despite this warning sign, I agreed to have dinner with WV Cutie the following week. Once again, we met in the West Village – on Perry Street, to be exact. It was over pasta at Extra Virgin that he mentioned that he rarely left his neighborhood. “It’s the best neighborhood in New York and they have everything here, why would I leave?” he elaborated. It was like the guy on SATC who wouldn’t leave Manhattan, except for this one was constrained to a 10-block radius!

Finally, after four more dates between 6th Avenue and Hudson street, I managed to convince WV Cutie to leave the premises of the West Village and venture out.. to The East Village! Unfortunately, it did not go well. The lack of Magnolia Bakery and the filth of Saint Mark’s place caused WV Cutie break out in hives and provoked a violent reaction. As the night neared its end, he turned to me and announced that if I did not finally come upstairs to “sleep over”, we would have to end it then and there. Alas, we had to bid adieu.

After the WV Cutie-turned-Loser, I went on five more JDates. In a way, I saw it as a social experiment. I was curious why all these guys, particularly the ones capable of meeting women in a normal social setting, would resort to a dating site. Most of the responses were pretty similar: they were too busy, too stressed at work, or unsuccessful when it came to picking up girls at bars. Most, like me, admitted that they were a bit weirded out by the experience. While I didn’t meet the love of my life, I did meet some interesting people, including a well-known British documentary producer who wants to cast me in his JDate documentary! Plus, JDate turned out to be the best ego boost ever: in just five months, I have had 750 guys message me. That`s about 747 more than those that have shown interest in me in the real world. If that`s not flattering, what is?

(NB: I abandoned Jdate sometime in late 2009. As for Roxy, she went on to marry, then consequently divorce, a man she met on JDate.)

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