Playing With Matches

by Jennifer Garstang July 1, 2012


By Jennifer Garstang

I was completely meshuganah. Absolutely head over heels.

“This is the one I’ll be with for the rest of my life,” I thought. “This is everything I’ve been looking for!”

For the first few weeks, things were great. Then the drama kicked in, and I got dumped. Such a shame. It really did seem like the perfect job.

Love may be a battlefield, but dating is a job search. I realized this when I dove (or rather, was forcibly tossed, fully clothed in business attire) back into both the dating and unemployment pools in rapid succession. I can feel your skepticism through the print on this page, but fear not, Dear Reader, for I shall explain. Once I have, new comparisons between jobs and dates will start popping into your head unbidden (you’re welcome):


1. Work or romance, you can find them online.

Pop quiz: Which Web site lets you post information about yourself (including a personal summary, education and work experience), search for individuals matching certain criteria and even have suggestions sent to your email? If you answered “LinkedIn,” you’re correct! If you answered “any dating Web site ever,” you’re correct!

When searching via the Web, it’s a good idea to do a Google background check before getting too involved. (I mean, what if they’re into all sorts of shady stuff? There are a lot of creepers out there. The same thing goes for potential dates!) Also, the ones posting on Craigslist are usually pretty sketchy, and if they send you an email like this: “hi how ru? id likee 2 hire u. $$$,$$$!” don’t respond. (Seriously. Don’t.)


2. If you’re on the market, Jews will hook you up.

You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, try going to temple more than once a year. You’ll see what I mean.


3. It helps to understand your own motivations.

Are you in it for a long-term commitment, a fun short-term encounter, an experience-builder, or just a way to pay for dinner?


4. Whether you’re on a date or in an interview, the rules of etiquette are virtually identical.

I’m not saying show up in business attire to your date and send a formal, hand-written “thank you” after (that’d be kind of creepy). But if you’re serious about them, don’t show up to your first meeting dressed like a nafka! Wear something flattering but appropriate. Also, don’t be late, don’t show up drunk, don’t start texting and don’t start talking about bodily functions. (Seriously. Just don’t.) You shouldn’t badmouth your previous S.O. or job (no matter how fun and relevant to the conversation it may be). And in either case, remember: the person on the other side of the table is probably just as nervous as you are!


5. Even the best ones will occasionally ask you to do stuff you don’t find particularly fun.

But if they’re right for you, doing those things suddenly won’t seem so unappealing.


6. If you post bad stuff about them online or start checking out other ones, you’ll probably get dumped.

They have browsers too (dumb-dumb).

7. If they expect you to dress up every day, they’re either very sophisticated or way too full of themselves.

Also, if they never spring for a nice lunch, they probably aren’t a keeper.


8. They may not be Jewish, but they’d sure as heck better be supportive of the fact you are.

If they think your “Chai There!” shirt is hilarious, that’s a good sign. If they ask whether or not you speak “Jewish,” that’s not such a good sign. Of course, even if they are supportive, they’ll probably still make keeping kosher very difficult.


9. The one you had in high school is probably not the one you’ll have for life.

Neither is the one you had in college. So be darn sure you want them before packing up and moving for them.


10. Good luck getting them to cover your health insurance.


Of course, there is one more big similarity I haven’t yet mentioned: job or date, your mother will have lots of advice (and she’ll probably try to invite all their friends and relatives over for dinner). But no matter how much you roll your eyes and shake your head, you’ll know deep down Mom is always right.


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