Jewish Dating in New York: AKA Dating Disasters in the Big Apple!
Jewish dating in New York is a whole different story. After a year in Israel I was very torn still as to whether I should go and live there. I was thinking of making ‘Aliya’ but I didn’t really have the guts to go through with it. Last minute I chickened out – New York was beckoning!
They say you either love or hate New York. I’m a big city girl, and I love London, so it goes without saying that I love New York. The previous Winter I’d visited for a couple of weeks to try it out. At this point, as I wasn’t an Israeli citizen, I used to go to Israel on a tourist visa so could only go for three months at a time. To break it up, I decided to go to NYC. This was Christmas 2009. I went with the mission to see how Jewish dating in New York would be.
Now everyone says you can’t just go to NYC on your own without knowing anyone or without a job. However, when I get a bee in my bonnet (which I did) nothing can stop me. I was hoping to find my Jewish husband there, despite everyone telling me there are about five women to every man and what a nightmare Jewish dating in New York is. Many of the men are gay. However, I was determined to go, so went. This is a good example of when I try to do something nothing can stop me.
The odds were really against me as I didn’t know anyone there and didn’t have lots of money to throw around either. I knew Americans are a sucker for an English accent. That Christmas I received so much attention. Suffice to say I loved it, apart from the freezing weather of course!
I then went back to Israel for two more lots of three months. It got to August and I had started the Aliyah process, but NYC was still beckoning. My ego had enjoyed a great three weeks there. The memories had remained prominent in my mind!
That August, (2010) I left Israel. I threw a pool party on the roof of the Marina Hotel. This sounds very glamorous, I actually just had a guest list for the venue. It was a goodbye party for the amazing friends I’d made Tel Aviv (TLV). Still really torn on where to live (London v TLV v NYC) I went back to London to rent out my flat for the year which I did and flew to NYC.
Luckily the timing worked out very well as it was the Chagim. So I headed to the shul on the Upper West Side and the MJE (Manhattan Jewish Exchange) where I immediately met people who start connecting me with others. For the first few nights I stayed with this old woman in her room. She slept in the lounge in her flat. Her apartment was very well located on 72nd St. It was, however, old and full of those thin cockroaches that like to inhabit a lot of the more traditional apartments in New York.
After a couple of weeks, motivated by not wanting to see these awful roaches all over the kitchen, I managed to find myself somewhere else. I rented a room from a girl who was ill. Sadly, because of this she had to go back to live with her parents. I shared the flat with another nice girl. It was on 96th St and Columbus, near Central Park and was more than adequate for my needs.
So there I was in NYC already on Jdate. However, no one had told me the rules of dating in New York! …
Some basic rules of Jewish dating in New York
The most important thing people need to know is the expression ‘are we exclusive?’. Essentially when you’re on the dating scene in New York the chances are the guy is dating, even sleeping, with other women at the same time. This is considered acceptable until you commit to being exclusive with someone i.e. only seeing one person. It is especially usual for guys to do this, although girls do this too!
Like most places arrange to meet someone on the corner of your street and don’t invite them up to your apartment.
I always still like the guy to pay for the first date, despite fumbling to look for my purse and meekly offering to pay the tip. I feel being in New York, which is such a money driven place, he should too!
The most depressing thing about my New York dating experience was that after a while of getting no-where with the dating sites and knowing my time there was finite I had to resort to the Shudchun.
My experience with the Matchmakers
They upset me as, not only did they sometimes refuse to take me on as they had too many women and not enough men, but they also told me I needed to be dating at least 50 year olds (I was 39yrs at the time). I guess this wasn’t so outrageous but I had a problem with dating older men full stop. I’d had a string of boyfriends who were three years younger than me. No wonder I wasn’t married as they were all gorgeous but in no rush as they had plenty of time, so didn’t like the pressure I gave them to settle down! Even though I thought I didn’t give them pressure. I just had to get NYC out of my system.
Funnily enough, some of the worst Jewish dating experiences in New York I had were through this certain matchmaker. You can read about them in this blog. The sad thing is the matchmakers are almost as desperate as you are to marry you off. I always feel like they’re saying ‘he has two eyes and a nose and you’re both Jewish so you should date’!
Just try everything!
Anyway, essentially if you are in the space of desperation to find your Jewish prince, as I was at this time one has to resort to every possible channel of Jewish dating in New York.
Actually there is no shortage of places to meet people in New York. Especially where I was living on the Upper West Side. Even the black cashier wished you a ‘Shabbat Shalom’ on a Friday night there were so many Jews! It felt like every other corner there was another shul (slang for synagogue). There was on shortage of Jewish organisations where you could go to hear a talk. Obviously you were really there to check out the talent!
What are your stories of Jewish dating in New York?
Please comment below or share your experience here. You’re also welcome to write to me if you’ve got queries or want to know more. Or you can add them in the comments below. I’d love to make your journey easier than mine has been!