I’ve already alluded to the one life-long commitment that I’m willing to make: to The Washington Post. To give you an idea of the depths of this commitment, when I was younger and I got in trouble, my parents punished me by taking away my paper privileges. That’s right: I was forbidden from reading The Washington Post for weeks at a time. Among the columnists that I read regularly, I am addicted to Carolyn Hax’s advice column (and live discussion). She has very emphatic views on about online dating, which she elaborated on in today’s column:
Online, there's no community investment. The reach and anonymity of the Web allow people to act like jerks without the normal social consequence of alienating the people they live, work and play with. Not everyone online will do this, but everyone can, and so some do. Some, too, are just trying to hide from social challenges, but that doesn't work either, as you've found. Lower thy expectations, drastically. Or, if that's too unappealing a thought, go back to dating off-line.
Her advice brought incited two trains of thought:
1) Given the cohesiveness and size of the Jewish community, are Jewish bloggers safe from the social consequence of alienating the people with whom they live, work, and play? I have seen some vitriol online and I have also witnessed the real world consequences of poorly thought out responses. To the extent that we feel anonymous, because our community (although often internally divided) is so small, inevitably, we will encounter those we patronize online. Those people we alienate may be our fellow congregants, fellow Jews in the Woods, fellow YU grads, fellow aunt’s cantor’s brother-in-law. In a similar vein, do online Jewish interactions substitute for real, live Jewish interactions? Is a virtual Jewish community the same as a real, flesh and blood Jewish community?
2) Jewish dating online! Now recently single, I have been inundated with the natural predators of the Jewish world: older Jewish women who know that their nephew is just perfect for me. Really. We’re besheret. Excellent. My personal life aside, there is not one single Jewish person I know who has not at some point tried J-Date (myself excluded). And of course, blogging about online J-dating proliferates, but the only site you really need to visit is Esther Kustanowitz’s JDaters Anonymous (also visit her other sites because she funny and insightful). For a more advice-based site, visit the Single Dating Service, which offers such useful advice as How to write an interesting personal profile and How to end a relationship