It’s the moment you’re all been waiting for: Part IV of my series on online dating! Before I get into that, I just have to take a moment to wish all the felines out there a Happy National Cat Day! Take a moment to pet your cat, then read this post.
OK, now back to dating. For those of you who are new to O-HI-30, I consider myself an expert in the subject of online dating. What makes me an expert? Oh, just five years of on-and-off experience (mostly on) with the four different dating sites shown in the Quantity vs. Quality graph below. In Online: Part I, I explain how I got into online dating to begin with and provide an overview of the market as I see it. In parts II and III I provide deeper insight into Tinder and OK Cupid, respectively. In tonight’s post, I’ll discuss a dating site that most of you are likely unfamiliar with: JDate!
Why do I say that you’re probably unfamiliar with JDate? Because it’s for Jews! Yes, the “J” in “JDate” stands for Jewish. As in, a dating site for Jewish Singles. Think Christian Mingle or Farmers Only, except for Jews (and minus the commercials – the target audience is too small!). The need for JDate is real. Jews make up less than 2% of the US population, which means that Jewish men make up less than 1%! Combine that statistic with the very small population of Jews in the Midwest, and you can begin to understand the need for JDate.
Of course, the above implies that Jews actually care about meeting other Jews, which isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. I, for one, am not at all committed to the idea of marrying a Jew, which is a darn good thing seeing as I’ve never dated one (and only kissed one, which is a very small percentage…). Growing up on the West Side of Cleveland made me very comfortable being “the only kid in town without a Christmas tree”, and I guess that mentality has followed me into college and well after. So needless to say, I know very few Jews. I’d also consider myself a secular Jew – one that feels very culturally tied to the religion, but not religiously in the least.
That being said, I do care about raising my children Jewish – at least in some sense. My parents impressed upon me how much easier it would be to raise children in a Jewish culture if I married a Jewish man. That made sense to me, so a few years ago I set out to meet a Jew. And what better way than JDate? I wasn’t about to start attending synagogue, after all!
So for a small fee of just $40/month (much, much higher than other sites), join JDate I did. Right off the bat, I knew this site was….different. One of the very first questions they asked me – after my zip code – what whether I kept Kosher and to what extent. Um, is “bacon-enthusiast” one of the choices?! I was also asked what sect of Judisam I considered myself (again, is “bacon-enthusiast” an option?”), as well as my synagogue attending habits. Looking back at my responses below, I clearly was delusional when I completed this profile – I haven’t been to Synagogue on the High Holy Days in years, and as I said before, I’m more culturally Jewish than Reform (although I was raised Reform).
On top of the above questions, JDate also asks you a number of other basic questions, like height, hair color, and oh, WEIGHT. Yes, that’s right, I said WEIGHT. Now, mind you, every other dating side on the planet asks you just to describe your body type – “slender”, “athletic and toned’, “about average”, “curvy”, etc. But JDate? No…JDate wants a NUMBER. In my experience, most men think that all women weigh 110 pounds regardless of height or body type, so tell me, JDate – how does a number really help? You don’t believe that my body style is “Athletic/Fit”? You need a number?! Also, note that I do not weigh 132 pounds – in fact, it’s more like 135, but when I told my mother this as I was filling out my profile, she said – and I quote – “Oh, Honey. Put 130 pounds”. Classic Jewish mother – and to think she converted! Alas, I compromised with a nice 132. Because I’m sure if I had put the truth, all 135 pounds who have sent men running in the other direction.
The rest of the questions are pretty standard, with the exception of “Ethnicity”. It was a while ago, but I’m pretty sure I had to ask my Dad – are we “Sephardic or Ashkenazi?”
Once you get past their ridiculously expensive membership rate and their desire to know your weight, JDate really is a decent dating site – if all that you care about is meeting a Jew. After that, the rest is just as much a mystery as any other dating site. But I will say that in my limited experience with JDate, I did meet some higher quality men. The first time I joined, I did it for a single month with the mission of going on as many dates as I could during my break between semesters of my MBA program. During those one or two weeks, I went on three dates with three different JDaters. I don’t need to tell you that none of those worked out, but I can tell you that in general, I found the men to be of pretty high quality.
But here’s the kicker: there are NO MEN on JDate! I don’t know why this surprises me (see population comment above). By the time I do a little bit of narrowing down the search (and I’m much wider on JDate than Match.com), the search results in a whopping 50 or so men. And before you say, “well, 50 is a lot!”, let me tell you – it’s NOT. My Match.com search shows me at least 250+ men, and it’s far more picky. Not to mention the fact that at least half of those 50 men have not been active in months (meaning they probably met someone or just don’t care to date right now). And even worse, many of those men aren’t even current members of JDate – they let their membership expire (did I mention it’s expensive?), and yet JDate still leaves their profiles up available for searching. So really, the number of eligible Jews is very very small. Looking at the graph I created above, JDate should actually be so far down the Y axis (Quantity) that you can’t even see it – it’s way off the chart.
On top of these frustrating search characteristics, JDate is also one of the most annoying – dare I even say, unethical – sites I’ve ever come across as far as marketing practices go. For example, multiple times a day I receieve emails that say, “We’d love to introduce you to xxxx” – basically, just another guy who I maybe match with. Not one that emailed me, not even one that “flirted” with me – just another Jew on the site. They’ll also send emails with teaser subject lines like, “You’ll want to see this one” – effective, but also very immature. Just look at my Gmail account – JDate is to thank for well over 75% of the emails in my “social” folder (thank goodness Gmail invented that feature). Overkill.
And the worst part? They consider a “flirt”, which is basically the equivalent of a “wink” on Match.com or a “poke” on Facebook, to be an email. If you’ve never done online dating this likely doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but let me tell you – it is! Earlier this month, JDate sent me their 1,000,000th email, informing me that I had “12 messages waiting for me” and that I should subscribe to read them. Well, curiousity got the best of me, so I coughed up my $40 – only to find out that almost all of those messages were actually not messages at all – just lame “flirts” from men that live in Indiana – no message whatsoever. I was so mad that I called the company to demand my money back, but was unsuccessful. Needless to say, I made sure my account doesn’t automatically renew at the end of this month.
And this time around, unlike the time I joined a few years ago, I haven’t been on three dates – in fact, I’ve been on zero. I sent three emails and heard back from zero. I did get this one email from a real charmer, making me consider whether JDate should even be on the right side of the X-Axis (Quality):Say what?
In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of JDate right now. Perhaps it’s just because Columbus is too small a market for JDate – I’m sure it’s a different story in NYC and other big metropolitan cities. But if you live in NYC, who even needs JDate? Half the men you meet are Jewish anyways! It’s a good thing I don’t care much about marrying a Jew, because at this rate – I won’t be 🙂
Stay tuned for my final part in the Online series – my beloved Match.com! Shalom, everyone!