Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adventures in Frum Dating

Saw You at Sinai and Frumster. Yes, I'm on them both. They are sort of the only "legit" frum (observant) dating sites out there for folks like me. And so far, the adventure has been interesting.

I don't want to bash any of the guys I've spoken with or met, but I do want to give y'all a little taste of what it's like to be Chaviva in the frum dating world, specifically online, because let's be honest -- Colorado is crawling with attractive, single Jewish guys, but when it comes to hashkafah, there isn't such a match for me. (Yes, I know I "turned" my ex frum, but I'm not going down that road again. Meet me in the middle guys, come on!)

What other kind of convert would I be exactly?
I've been most active on Frumster. And when I say active, I mean it's that insane "click reply every two seconds" kind of active. As if magically out of the ether my bashert will both look at my profile and actually email me. 

You see, I'm discovering that people do a lot of looking and very little interacting. Or maybe it's just me? Those taking a gander at me have ranged from 24 to mid-50s, everything from divorced men to widows to guys with multiple kids that don't live with them (which always makes me wonder what the story is). I have a habit of finding a guy hilarious or interesting and sending a message. Most of the time, the bochur is kind enough to reply, but in that "I'm replying because I feel obligated so don't message me again" kind of way. No room for questions, no actually asking of questions.

I've met two of the three guys I seriously interacted with so far on Frumster. The third was LA guy, and that didn't work out for reasons not worth divulging here (yes, I honor and appreciate a bit of a private life!). The other two guys I met while out vacationing in Chicago. One of the guys' sisters had recently been married, so I got to be there for some hardcore segula wine. I drank it and prayed for my bashert to appear with a Houdini poof. I'm still waiting on that one. Both of the guys were really nice, but ultimately the friend vibe was stronger than the romantic vibe. In retrospect, and at the advice of another bochur I met while there who jazzed me left and right suggested that the next time I schlep across country to meet a fella I ask him to chip in on the gas. Smart thinking!

Although, truth be told, the next interested guy better haul himself to me. I'm a lady. Be a chivalrous white-horse toting gentleman, okay?

GOLD baby. I'm gold. 
On Saw You at Sinai, the story is a little different. You rely on shadchanim or matchmakers to do the kindly work for you. I'm okay with this because, well, it's easier when there's an intermediary. It's something I actually love about the idea of shidduch dating. On the other hand, I haven't been successful. Of the six matches, I declined three of them (with legit reasons, actually) and two declined me. The other is "active," and I'm waiting with utter anticipation praying that perhaps something positive will come of it. Everyone dreads a match "timing out" on SYAS. It can mean one of two things: The person is too scared to say "yes" or "no" because of what the other person may have said and/or they just don't check their SYAS account often enough. You pray for the latter. 

And then there's the old fashioned "who do you know" thing. That's failed me so far -- after all, I don't have a network of relatives around the world to help in the shidduching.

Oh dating. I'll be completely honest: I've never hated dating. People always show up when I'm not looking and I've managed a lot of long-term relationships and romances that have served me well. But things are different now.

Being frum means there are certain things you can't do before marriage, and it also means that in communities like this where the amount of frum single people can be counted on one hand that you're mostly alone in your endeavors. This isn't Washington Heights, folks. There are no singles dinners or groups of girls getting together to keep each other company. Don't get me wrong -- there are, as I said, lots of single Jews in Colorado. It's just being one of those in the frum category that puts you out.

It's like me, as a gluten-freegan, having a job in a kosher bread factory. So much to be had! But so much of which I cannot partake.

I'm trying not to get hung up on being a divorced convert. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if this very blog is getting me down when it comes to the shidduch universe. Anyone who Googles me will see that I'm quite ever-present on the world wide web. To the kind of men I might fancy, this can be a huge turnoff.

Patience is not a personality trait I harbor. Oh HaShem give me strength.