Cyber Shidduchim

13 Apr

The only times I have looked at  dating websites were:

1) The time I should have been studying for my chem final and decided it would be more interesting to match up (in my head) people based on their profiles (it was entertaining, okay?).

2) Today while I am sick in bed, with little to do.

The first time I looked at Frumster, it was all just a game. I didn’t know the people on the site. I wasn’t looking to get married. It was merely an act of curiosity; being a voyeur in a world quite different from my own. However, when I went on today, it came with dashes of shock:

Hey, I know her!

I was only looking through the girls’ profiles to see how many girls around my age were using the site. Sure enough, there were quite a few. Then I went to see if guys my age were using the site. It is understandable that young 20-something year old girls are taking every possible tachlis trail possible, but 20-year old guys? Probably not. But sure enough…

Hey, I know him too! What? There’s a guy from Nowheresville, USA on this site? My family is from Nowheresville, USA! Who is he?

Like the sun breaking through the obscurity of dusk, the truth dawned on me. People really do use these dating website thingies. I mean, I knew people used them, but people my age? Using a dating website always had that…stigma. Like, if you use a dating website you can’t get a date yourself. Is that the truth or is it just another way of opening up your options? If you open an account, how do you know that your definition of “Modern Orthodox Machmir” and his definition aren’t grossly different? How do you know they’re normal? If he’s interested in you, he just sends you a message? That’s it? No third party intervention? I’m not necessarily opposed to a guy asking a girl out on his own, but meeting a total stranger with no one else involved? Isn’t that…scary?

What are your opinions on dating websites? Should dating newbies be using them or are they geared toward experienced daters?

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6 Responses to “Cyber Shidduchim”

  1. Shades of Grey April 13, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    I’m a bit wary of Frumster and Future Simchas, but I very heartily endorse YUConnects/Saw You at Sinai. The key difference is that you won’t have shady guys stalking your profile/messaging you – they actually use shadchanim/connectors who read through the profiles and then send you suggestions. Depending on what kind of membership you have, you pick 1 or 2 people to actively search on your behalf (sometimes they’re people you already know, and other times you can meet/speak with them to get to know them better).

    The only downside, in my experience is sometimes getting inundated with suggestions. You get the chance to read the profiles sent to you, can call references numbers, and then reply yes or no (with a reason, be it looks, hashkafa, personality, whatever). I’ve had times where I replied “yes” to a bunch of promising candidates, only to be shot down by every one of them, so it can make you a little antsy. Though, this is from a guy’s perspective – the connectors could send the guy suggestions first (which they usually do), to the girl first, or to both at the same time. I was even sent a suggestion wherein the girl had already accepted, which was a little weird (we didn’t end up going out). It’s also a little awkward to get multiple “yes” replies at once and have to gracefully opt out of the one or two that aren’t your #1 choice by emailing the shadchan. However, everyone I’ve had to do this to were very understanding and explained it to the other party.

    I hope that makes sense… I have a post that explains this a little more coherently: http://walkingthegreyline.blogspot.com/2009/10/when-it-rains-it-pours.html

    • coralcap April 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

      I’ve heard pretty good things about SYAS/YUConnects. I know a few shadchadnim who work for SYAS, and I respect each of them very much. It’s definitely a route that would leave one feeling more dignified (as using a third party generally does, at least in my experience). I haven’t used it yet, but I figure if I come upon a “drier season” I’ll sign up for it.

      • Shades of Grey April 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

        That’s why I signed up, actually – no friends or regular contacts were suggesting anything.

        Also, YU/Stern students get a free gold membership (meaning 2 connectors and receiving up to 10 suggestions at a time) if they register while still in undergrad. It’s pretty nifty.

  2. Princess Lea April 14, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    I’ve gotten . . . well, a creepy vibe from dating sites. For one, I have no idea how to classify myself, as “heimish” is never an option. Then, when I was bored and scrolled through the guys profiles, you know how many have “looking for gorgeous, slim, chick” (or something along those lines)? Real catches.

    Every time I’ve thought of buckling and going on SYAS, I’ve thought – Heck, people who actually KNOW me can barely get it right. And yes, while they have had 900+ members matched, there are 33,000 people on this site. Plus, $13 a month?

    I’ve concluded that at this point of my life, I’m not comfortable with it. No one else close to me or my family met that way. I’m gonna stick with the system that has worked for my people so far.

  3. coralcap April 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I know, PL, the guys are there can be so creepy! In one guy’s answer to what he was looking for he said– “Nice legs, small waist, gorgeous face…lol just kidding, although it would be nice if she had all of the above.”

    Who in their right mind would ever respond to such a guy? It makes me appreciate just how menschlech the guys I’ve been out with were.

    SYAS does seem like it gets a little pricey, but it could be a wisely chosen investment. Dating is like Atlantic City; the odds are always against you but the only way to win is to play. It’s just another way to say you’re doing your hishtadlus. If one feels they have enough resources then there’s no reason to use it, however, for OOTers or people looking outside their daled amos, it’s definitely a useful resource.
    And if one is a Stern girl/YU guy…why not? It’s free.

    • Bored Jewish Guy April 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

      I’ve never used any of the sites mentioned but I think SYAS should not be considered a dating site and given the stigma that applies to dating sites. Really it’s just a way to connect with shaddchanim over the internet, at least that’s how I understand it.

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