Monday, September 1, 2008

Are My Standards Too High?

Back in May, I started writing as a staff voice on the Union for Reform Judaism’s newly launched blog. Since then, and after hearing repeatedly about my escapades in dating, "lovingly" referred to by me as marching in "The Schmuck Parade,” a number of colleagues and friends have told me that I should write a blog. Finally, I’ve decided to take these folks up on their suggestion. At this point, I’m not sure exactly where this writing pad of the 21st century will lead me, but I’m glad you stopped by and hope that you’ll come back again soon.

OK…ready? Here goes…

Frustrated with jdate.com, match.com and other internet dating venues, I’ve been posting serious W4M (woman for man) ads on the dating/romance/ltr section of craigslist for some time now. Needless to say, the replies and some of the dates that have resulted have been quite an eye-opening experience and in recent months, I’ve picked up on some “do’s and don’ts” that I’d like to share, particularly with the guys who answer such ads.

1. Please read my ad carefully. It will tell you a fair bit about me and what I’m seeking in a relationship.

2. If you are married, otherwise engaged in a relationship, or looking for a FWB (friends with benefits) or NSA (no strings attached) encounter, please do not respond to my ad. It will be a waste of time for both of us.

3. If you do choose to respond, please take a few minutes to craft a personal response. I’m no English teacher, but complete sentences, proper grammar, punctuation (especially the correct placement of apostrophes) and capitalization, as well as proofreading and spell checking will earn you bonus points.

4. Please do not send me the canned response, one liner, photo or phone number you send to everyone – including to me on previous occasions.

5. If I share my photo and you are interested enough to want to continue the conversation, please send one in return, preferably one in which you’re not wearing sunglasses, but you are wearing a shirt. “Pic?” is not an appropriate response to my ad.

6. Please respect the age and religion parameters set out in my ad. A "40-something DJF seeking an age-appropriate Jewish guy" leaves some room for interpretation, but if you have to ask if you're too old or too young (or comment on the fact that you think you may be), you probably are. And, if you have to ask what the "J" stands for, forget it.

7. Please do not email me endlessly. If you're interested in moving the conversation forward, it would be great if you'd suggest that we speak on the phone and/or meet for coffee or a drink. If you're not interested, it's even easier: don't hit "Reply." I'll get the message.

8. Please do not ask for my phone number unless you intend to call. If you do intend to call, please don’t wait three weeks to do so, and when you do, please call at a reasonable hour, preferably before 11 p.m.

9. If you ask me to meet you for coffee or a drink, I don’t expect you to wear a suit and tie, but please don’t show up in a sweatshirt and sneakers or with five o’clock shadow (unless it is after work). And, since you invited me, it’d be nice if you’d actually spring for the coffee, too.

10. Please refrain from using excessively foul language. It’s a turn-off.

11. Likewise, please don’t try to impress me with who you know, how much money you have, your job responsibilities, your globe-trotting travels or your high-powered friends and relatives. I really just want to know about who you are as a person – not about all your worldly trappings and accomplishments.

12. If you want to be in touch again after we meet, that’s fine, but please don’t say you’ll call or email if you’re really going home to look at the newest craigslist ads or jdate profiles.

13. If you leave it up to me to be in touch after a coffee date and I don’t call or email, please don’t contact me to ask why I haven’t called or emailed.

14. Oh yes, one more thing: Thanks for reading and good luck finding whatever it is that you’re seeking in this crazy cyber-marketplace.

So...what do you think? Are my standards too high?