Archive | January, 2011

Pretty Little Fly

27 Jan

Once upon a time there was a fly.

All her fly friends were dropping,

But she didn’t know why.

She asked around,

But not answer could be found,

So she figured she must drop to the ground.

On the ground her fly friends were happy.

On the ground her fly friends were great.

On the ground her fly friends talked about dresses,

Halls, flowers and a date.

“What’s going on?”  the fly asked her friends so confused.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what to do.

Everyone else dropped so quickly,

And I am trying to be like you.”

“Don’t worry,” said her friends.

“Your time will come,

Im Yirtze Hashem by you.

We so happened to find our fortune at the very same time,

But someday you’ll drop too.”

 

Timing is everything, Pretty Little Fly,

You will drop when you day is due.

It may seem like everyone else dropped quickly,

But please, enjoy being you.

Advertisements

The Store-Museum-Any-Place-You-Can-Only-Look-at-Stuff Date

21 Jan

Three sefiros down and one to go. You many be wondering why I put the Store-Museum-Any-Place-You-Can-Only-Look-at-Stuff Date as the highest and thus most challenging of all sefiros. Window shopping, art observing or exhibit exploring should be the easiest of all dates. Being in such a setting gives you a topic to discuss no matter how mouthy or mousy your are. You look at a painting, share a few observations about it and then move on to the next one. That kind of activity could last for hours. Have you ever been to the Met? The place is endless! There are thousands of possibilities for discussion!

They may be true if you are with a close friend, but most people have their filters on super-sensitive mode on a first date. The best part of going to a museum of any sort , but especially those of the art variety, is mocking its contents. Sure the big black splotch on the white canvas is someone’s life work, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I think it looks like a two-headed mole rat. And as far as the Museum of Natural History goes…don’t pretend you didn’t go to reenact the Dum-Dum scene from A Night at the Museum. We’ve all been there.

So as I was saying, as much fun as it is to poke fun at black splotches and massive stone heads, it’s a lot safer to keep the focus simple – you and your date. Mind you, the SMAPYCOLaP date can be a lot of fun, but you have to have a relatively firm comfort level with your date for it to be genuinely fun. If you are like me, you are generally cautious about what you say to people you don’t know well. Actually, I’m neurotically cautious. Only a little bit though. But let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about YOU and what you should keep in mind if you are on the above kind of date:

If it is decided that you are to go on a museum/store date, this is the key to making it fun- use your imagination. There’s plenty to comment on, but really, the true fun comes from what you make of your surroundings. Some examples are:

1) Modern Art: What could be more fun than figuring out what exactly an artist was thinking/smoking when they creating their masterpieces. With Jackson Pollock it is very easy to tell both: He was thinking, “paint is a lot more fun to throw than brush” and then second is cigarettes (he left some ashes over in this one). The modern art world is chock full of brain buzzers and open to countless interpretations.

2) The Rest of Art: Ever wonder why the socially privileged women of the 19th century put dead birds on their hats? That’s a really great question that might come up while scoping an art museum. You might not know the answer and you date might not either but it sure can be fun thinking up answers together.

3) Stores: The thing about stores is, if you aren’t going to buy it, you probably shouldn’t touch it. And when that store is the Hershey Store, that’s not just not fun, that’s agonizing! Look, no girl in her right mind expects her date who she just met to buy her a $30 Hershey Kiss, and no guy wants to spend that mind of money on a piece of chocolate he could buy for $2 at CVS. If you are going to go to a store, go somewhere that let’s you play around, like Toys R Us. Or if you are more in the mood to pick out the furniture for your future home, take a trip to Ikea or Home Dept. Nothing helps bring out the best (and worst) in people like deciding on light fixtures!

4) Aquariums: There must be a ton to say about fish. How else could they keep such places open?

5) Planetariums: Honestly I haven’t been to one of these since I was ten but I guess it’s not a terrible place to have a date. Wait… stars…cosmos…darkness…something tells me that can get a little bit awkward…next idea.

6) Amusement Parks: Have a day of fun in Hershey Park, Six Flags or Disney World! Don’t be shy when it comes to admitting fear of heights or weakness of stomach, because trust me, you don’t want your date to find out about that on the rides.

The SMAPYCOLaS date is definitely one that has to potential to make two strangers into two friends. If you are a naturally reserved person and take your time opening up to people, don’t pretend to be otherwise. Get to know the person at your speed. And between you and me shidduch searchers, you and I both know that all the the advice I have given, though as genius and witty as it might be, is meaningless when it comes to reality. The real deal is that 90% of what makes a date go well is who you are with. Maybe he took you somewhere crazy like the Bodies Museum or  upscale  like Le Marais  and you didn’t feel quite ready for that…but if the two of you click then, who cares? That “click” we are all looking for, that indication that I (you) can connect with someone else is in the Hands of G-d, not whether we went out for coffee or went mini golfing. So please fellow shidduch searchers, enjoy your dates. Enjoy getting to know new people. Most of the time there won’t be a click. Most of the time it’ll be, “nice to meet you but no.” But when you find that click, when you find yourself smiling without meaning to and wondering where time skittered off to, don’t worry so much about the details, because in reality, it’s those the simple things that are hardest to find.

The Activity Date

16 Jan

Some daters, especially seasoned ones, will try to spice up the dating process. I mean, how many times can you eat out before the bulge goes from your wallet to your stomach? I’m guessing you’d rather not know. Dating should be fun! If you’re going to spend a couple of hours with a complete stranger, you might as well do something you’ve always wanted do to but haven’t been able to find anyone to do it with – like ride the merry-go-round in Central Park or have a Ping Pong faceoff at Fat Cat. Those are indeed fun embarkments, but if you are going to choose an activity for a first date, you better make sure you are in fact fun. The reason most people prefer the first two sefiros is because generally, people are reserved when meeting someone new. You do not have to display a fun, creative or spontaneous disposition over coffee and a croissant. There is little risk in dining and schmoozing, yet when you’re off to great places (you’re off and away), then you’re inviting Murphy’s Law in ways you might not be capable of anticipating. So if you’re daring, adventurous and undaunted by the unexpected then go for it but I would suggest staying away from the following activities:

1) Bowling: There is one reason I don’t like bowling – no one lets me play with bumpers. But the reason I think a lot of people don’t like bowling as a date is because it involves turning your back toward your date when you’d rather them get used to looking you in the face. This can make girls very uncomfortable, especially if she can’t bowl. It’s a cute date idea in the movies where the guy can help her learn what form to use, but honestly, in real life, it’s the kind of first date most people just want to be OVER.

2) Biking: All I’m asking you is what will you do if the girl’s skirt gets caught in the chain and must be cut out? I’ve never heard of such a thing happening but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to find out…would you?

3) Build-a-Bear: For a first date? Really? Let’s say it doesn’t work out – who gets custody of the bear? I think it’s an ugly situation that can be easily avoided.

There are some activity dates are ehhhh, kacha kacha. Some people will enjoy them, other wills not. Again, there is risk involved, but for you it might be worth it.

1) Mini Golf: It’s definitely less strenuous than biking, but you might come into the same back issues as with bowling. It really depends on the person. I would suggest going to a place like Bogota where there are other options besides mini golf (their basketball hoops are actually a ton of fun), so if it’s getting uncomfortable or boring then there is something else to do without having to pull an emergency activity out of your back pocket.

2) Gaming: Going to a place like Dave and Buster’s  seems to be the cat’s meow these days, but I wouldn’t necessarily go rushing there for a first (or second) date. Air hockey and ski ball are a great way to nurture already existing bonds, but being that most people barely know their dates at first, there really isn’t all that much to nurture. The atmosphere of a game place is usually loud aka the perfect way to force your date to smile and nod rather than ask you what you said for the third time. If you already know each other and have a set comfort level than I wouldn’t discourage it, but in most cases I’d say stay away from anywhere loud.

3) Ice Skating: Ice skating is fun! It’s relaxing, it’s scenic and doesn’t involve much thinking. All you have to do is go around and around in circles til they pull out the Zamboni, and as long as the conversation is good, you’re good! The only risk you run is losing your balance and deciding whether it is less embarrassing to fall on your face or your bottom. Then your date must decide if s/he is supposed to help you up or if it’s better to leave you there for a short while and find someone of the same gender to do it. Hopefully you can just get up yourself, which would deflate your date’s embarrassment, but how about yours? There are many possible outcomes of such an event ranging from, “that was a one-and-done” to “and that was the moment I knew that I was going to marry you.”

 When it comes to first dates, and even second and third dates, you want things to be as relaxed as possible. Fun is not yet a priority. Fun is something you can have with your friends/with people you know and who know you. The shidduch pool is composed of lots of individuals, each one with a different comfort level around new people. Some people take more time to warm up, some people less, but the one planning the date (hey guys) must anticipate either kind of person. So if you’re more in the mood for laser tag than getting to know someone new, call up a few of your friends and shoot the night away, but for a date, keep it simple.

However some Coral Cap favorites are:

1) Grocery Shopping: I’ve never been food shopping on a date, but I imagine it being very fun. Walking down the aisles has a very calming aspect to it. Food brings out the best in people, especially when there is a lot of variety. You’ll learn all sorts of interesting fun facts about your date, like what their favorite foods are to what they don’t like and why (my grandma made me eat rice pudding every time I went to her house and now I can’t even look at the stuff!). Mikomos.com suggests going to Whole Foods. It actually sounds like a really fun idea. Check it out.

2) Ceramics/ Pottery: Going to a crafts place has all the security of a sit-down eatery without the eating. You have space to sit and schmooze, a normal noise level and a chillaxed atmosphere. Deciding what to make can be a whole adventure in itself — you can paint anything from napkins holders to a family of Ninja Turtles!

3) The Staten Island Ferry. Have I ever mentioned this one before? It has good views, a good atmosphere and it’s FREE!

NOTE: I used New York City examples, but you can find the equilvilent of each in your area by going to Mikomos.com.

The Restaurant Date

12 Jan

Girls love to eat. There is a reason that seminary girls come back to the States a little more filled out and it’s not because there was a veggie shortage at the shuk. You put a dozen girls in a cramped apartment, you give them a fridge, a stove, some cabinet space and a makolet down the road, and the outcome is inevitable. Most girls are not shy about eating. Donuts are good. Potato chips are good. Chocolate is very good. With few exceptions, all girls will admit to enjoying the (more than) occasional indulgence in the delectable and delicious.

But girls have another side; a more finicky side. It usually comes out in public places like engagement parties, weddings, shabbos tables or any other event where they feel on display. Everyone is looking. Everyone is wondering what she is eating, how she is eating it and why so much of it. Everyone is meticulously analyzing every thread of her skirt, every hair on her head and surmising the precise reason she used charcoal gray liquid eyeliner instead of plum pencil, which would have totally made her hazel eyes pop…instead of flop.

Welcome to the mind of a female.

That is why the Restaurant Date has been placed on the second rung of the first date sefiros. When you go to a restaurant, you are going out into the open world. The fact that you are a kosher-keeping Jew only intensifies the probability of being “seen” since there are only so many options. Obviously the above caricature of the female mind is quite exaggerated, but the truth of the matter is, most women aren’t in the dating world for the food. They’re interested in meeting the right person, and the best way for them to deduce who is best for them (and who they are best for) is by talking. Girls like to eat, but even more so, girls like to talk.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are a Guy:

1) It can be hard to eat and talk at the same time. And since we girls love doing both of those things so much, it’s hard to choose a side. If the date is taking place after a long day of work/school/both, we may involuntarily channel the ravenous beast seminary girl depicted in the introduction. In that case, food comes first. However if we aren’t all that hungry, then our brains shift into verbal mode. You’ll be lucky if half that $15 plate of fettuccine alfredo doesn’t end up in a doggie bag.  Of course, this could just be me…

2) There are few things more daunting than a restaurant menu, because although you have graciously offered up to half the Abigail’s inventory, we know there are at least two dozen things we cannot eat:

Fish has bones. Bones are choking hazards. No one wants to encounter the Heimlich on a first date.

Anything with sauce has the potential of ending up all over the face- hers if she ordered chicken or meat, yours if she ordered  gangly spaghetti.

Salads are risky because either we come off looking like a health snob or end up with gums full of seeds, spinach, carrot, lettuce, Bac-O’s, chicken, cheese and various other crevice-filling delights.

Gross. I know.

And no girl wants to be viewed as gross. It may take her some time to figure out what she is willing to risk compromising her femininity for, so don’t worry, she will eat something it’s just a bigger decision than you realized.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are a Girl:

1) Even though it seems like the whole world is looking at you, because as far as you know, everyone goes to Cafe K on Thursday night, no one is there to see you on a date. Is it awkward bumping into people you know with a guy you barely know? Yes, but this is the way it is now. One day you will probably bump into them on a date and not give two thoughts about it. You’re right, most people do talk and it’s annoying. Oh, you’re waiting for the good part? Sorry, haven’t though of one yet other than that one day we will look back on these days and laugh.

Things For Everyone to Keep in Mind:

The reason most people go out to eat is to enjoy quality time with someone they like. You have to be able to shut out the rest of the restaurant, the rest of the people and the hustle and bustle that does along with the mixture of the two in order to truly hear out the person you are with. Being that you most probably don’t know your date at the start of a first date, it’s hard to “hear them out” when you don’t know what they normally are like. Going to a restaurant adds unnecessary noise when really, all you’re trying to figure out is if there a second date is completely out of the question. If you are up for eating, then go for it. Most people do get hungry even if they are with a complete stranger. However do not be surprised if you end up with a girl who barely touches her food. It probably does not have to do with an eating disorder, but rather, she’s more interested in focusing on you than her food.

The Coffee Date

10 Jan

There is one of several reasons you find yourself on a first date:

A) You went to a shadchan, they did their job and found you a possible match.

B) You were set up by a thoughtful and loving friend who has his/her eye out for you.

C) You got a random phone call/e-mail from someone you don’t really know, but what they hay, you don’t have anything to do Thursday night anyway.

D) You met someone worth getting to know at a USBG and:

1) Asked them out yourself (generally applicable to males)

2) Had a middle man do the asking

3) Stalked them for an indefinite of amount time, trying to find some way of “bumping” into them, having friends casually drop your name in their presence and overall making sure they are aware are aware of your existence until they agreed to a date (generally applicable to females).

Whichever route fate has brought you to, now you are faced with the momentous occasion of a first date, and the question is…what should you do?

If I were you, I’d start with The Coffee Date.

Take it from a girl who’s been to Starbucks for just about every one of her first dates: it’s very hard to go wrong with coffee. The point of a first date is to make sure you don’t find each other hideous to look at and that some semblance of a conversation can be made. If either of those two components are missing, it doesn’t matter how fancy the restaurant is or how fun it is to paint pottery – there aint gonna be a round two.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are a Guy:

1) Girls do not like eating in front of people they do not know.  The truth is, if she is more interested in getting to know you rather than getting a free meal, she’s not going to want to worry about getting chicken Caesar salad stuck between her teeth. Sometimes it is not a matter of not liking to eat in front of people but more of the graceful skill necessary of conversing and eating (like a human being) simultaneously. Restaurants are nice, but so are cafes, so stick to that which can be sipped and have a good time.

2) Keep away from the Woo. Think you’re going to impress her by bringing along your guitar or showing her your mad Dance Dance Revolution skills? You won’t. Trust me. Unless she has verbally expressed a desire for you to strum your original ballads in public or to see just how smooth you move to “Rock You Like a Hurricane” DON’T DO IT. I know your music makes you who you are and that if you don’t showcase that part of yourself she won’t understand your essence, but I assure you, if the first date goes well and you start building a relationship, she will be more than thrilled to see what you’ve got, but until then, leave your skill at home.You think this is given knowledge? I did too until…well, let’s not go there.

3) There’s no need to spend a ton of money on a girl you’ve just met. I think most guys get that, but for those who think it’s more “gentlemanly” to take her to the yuppiest, fanciest place in town, just know that a girl with normal expectations might be thrown off by your grand gesture. It’s very nice of you to offer her the choice of being picked up in a Mercedes or a Cadillac, but no one likes a show off. Instead of giving the Prince Charming impression, you just might be giving the Daddy Warbucks one, so watch it.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are a Girl:

1) Dating is expensive. Not only does he have to pay for your food/beverage, he has to pay for transportation and if you are doing some sort of activity, unless that activity is riding the Staten Island ferry, he has to pay for that too. And helloooo, no worrying about stuff getting stuck between your teeth or your skirt getting caught in a bicycle chain or prematurely admitting your fear of heights…on the second floor of the Barbie section in Times Square. A simple date is a good date; it leaves less room for Murphy’s Law to come into fruition.

Things For Everyone to Keep in Mind:

Dating should be a fun and relaxed experience. When you get to the core of this dating phase of life, you realize that there is so little we have control over. Yeah, technically we are in charge of our actions and our speech and our attitude, but really, when you’ve been on enough dates to know that the best of dates don’t usually end in engagement, it’s very hard to deny that G-d has a plan and that despite how pleasantly perfect or ferociously flawed you are, He’ll bring you to the proper person at the proper time. The point of the first few dates is to see if there is chemistry. Do you like talking to this person? Do they like talking to you? Are you bored out of your mind, can’t wait for the next date or somewhere in between? Don’t get your tzittzis in a bunch over what to do and don’t become a mope of he just wants to sit and talk over a cup of Joe. Be real, be relaxed and enjoy.

The Four Sefiros of First Dates

5 Jan

There are many aspects in life in which challenge is welcome, but I think we can all agree that dating is not one of them. So you do hear the occasional story where a rather boorish dater pulls the keys out of the ignition at a red light or suggests using the massage chairs at Brookstone, but most people try to play it safe.  Especially on a first date.

As an official inductee of the the shidduch parsha, I have noticed a few things about first dates:

A) They have the potential to be incredibly awkward

B) They have the potential to be incredibly boring

C) They have the potential to be chilled out and enjoyable

Since A and B are options we would like to leave in the world of the hypothetical, I have broken down the plethora of first date possibilities into four sefiros, each one a little more advanced than the other:

1. The Coffee Date

2. The Restaurant Date

3. The Activity Date

4. The Store-Museum-Any-Place-You-Can-Only-Look-At-Stuff Date

If you think of any more sefiros of first dates, please share. Get ready for the Coffee Date in an upcoming post!