Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Feast or Famine

Another dispatch from the hilariously unpredictable world of dating:

After a March that might charitably be called slow (and, uncharitably, dry as a bone) I am suddenly faced with: 1) two dates this week; and 2) two unsolicited messages of interest from promising-looking JDaters in the metro area where I live. This is not bad news. I realize that things are cyclical. In February, if you remember, I had three first dates--and, sadly, no second dates. When things are bad, I tend to get really really pessimistic and sad, never remembering, of course, that they will probably improve. By "improve," I don't necessarily mean that I will start dating someone seriously--only that I will get a date or some interest from people on JDate or Frumster. I know intellectually that after Pesach, a lot of people join JDate, because who wants to be single at a seder with his or her mom, aunts, and grandma there? My family is actually extremely tactful about this, but I know that is not the norm.

So, Katrina, you might ask, is there a problem here? Thanks for asking. Yes. After over a month of feeling bad about myself (and gaining some weight as a result), I'm not sure how to switch over to confident Katrina, the super dater. I don't know what to wear. I think that maybe I should lose some weight before contacting the JDaters, although I actually know that is ridiculous, since it's Pesach, when coffee cake is considered breakfast. I am really stressed about being judged, appraised, given the once-over, etc., although of course I realize that I will be doing that to the guy as well.

If anyone wants to help me get psyched--I have a date tonight!--please feel free.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another 5,000 Down

Or that's how it seems, anyway. In the last two or three weeks, it seems that a lot of friends or acquaintances or random people I read about on blogs have been getting engaged or married. On one level, I am certainly happy for them. Some are older than me (although some are younger--back to that later), and they must be happy and relieved to have found their other halves. On another level, though, I have to admit that I'm bummed out, not for them, of course, but for me.* I have lived in the place where I attend grad school for 4.5 years now, and as I look back at the single people I met when I first got here, a surprising percentage are engaged, married, or in serious relationships. Or maybe it's not surprising. Maybe it's more surprising that I'm not in a relationship, even though I have been (once) in the past. This fuels a common fear that I have about being left behind. As I have talked about in at least one previous post, I have never exactly been at top of my class in terms of social skills and relationships. High school was not good. I had a few close friends in college, but I didn't have a circle of friends until a year or two into grad school, i.e. when I was 25 years old, younger than the age when some people I know are getting engaged and married now. Since then I have felt ready for dating, but things haven't really been going that well for me, and I worry about being the one left standing alone. Sure, there will be a few others, but that doesn't make me feel better, nor should it.

In case you were thinking, "But Katrina, you're only 28; that's not that old," I would like to respond. Objectively, no, that is not that old in this day and age, given my demographic. But, the older I get, I have observed, the more discouraged and semi-closed-down the members of my (already so small) potential dating pool get. As I was discussing with one comically mismatched date in December--since we both realized we were comically mismatched about 10 minutes in, we were free to ruminate on the larger dating situation--it seems that the older people get, the more narrow their criteria get, when in fact those criteria should be getting broader. Call it the "I waited for this?" syndrome. This is only matched, on the guy front, with the "I'm suddenly tired of dating and will marry the next girl/woman I see," which is frustrating for the clearly smarter, funnier, cutier girl/woman whom you wouldn't even think about dating a year before because she wasn't a supermodel.

So, I open this up to the floor. Please don't all tell me it's okay, because I don't feel okay, and teh reality isn't okay, as we could all see from the article Shira linked to last week. The New York Times also has an article today about the reasons behind the man shortage, but I won't link to it here. Single people, do you share any of these feelings? I am trying to date (not too successfully, but I'm trying), so this isn't about my being depressed and hiding in a corner. Guys, is there some kind of faux pas that women commit that turns you off every time? And for pete's sake, people; if someone writes to you on Frumster, write back, even if it is just that form letter. Not knowing is worse.

*And I really don't believe, except in my really down moments, that not being happy for someone guaranties poor results in the dating/marriage department. It's hard to imagine that life is that clear-cut.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The US vs. Europe: A comparison based on experience and, of course, blatant generalizations

By "the US," I primary mean the Northeastern US, and by "Europe," I primarily mean western, continental Europe:

US: Jews of lots of different types
Europe: unaffiliated Jews, charedim, kiruv-niks, Chabad

US: kosher food
Europe: not so much, although Chabad is happy to feed you

US: eruvs
Europe: yeah, right

US: sense of humor
Europe: varies greatly; Italy=yes, Germany=no

US: awkward Mulim/Christian dynamic caused by Republicans
Europe: VERY awkward Muslim/Christian dynamic caused by everyone

US: factory farming
Europe: grazing sheep, horses, goats, etc. visible from trains

US: Suburban sprawl
Europe: When you leave a city, there are actually green fields and the aforementioned animals

US: some interest in climate change
Europe: small cars--very small cars; very thin aluminum foil; those new futuristic windmills

US: speaky English
Europe: Dave Barry: "your average German speaks better English than your average US Congressperson"; Katrina: this is depressingly true, although it says more about Congress than Germans

US: decent toilet paper
Europe: yeah, right

US: public transportation outside NYC? Who ever heard of such a thing?
Europe: excellent public transportation

US: college professors who almost always know that women can walk through doors and put on their own coats-unassisted
Europe: this knowledge is surprisingly lacking

US: I often sleep
Europe: I am writing a blog post at 7:00 am when I have to be up at 8:30. Bon soir, folks.