For no particular reason, I was never interested in dating a Jewish man. I wasn’t against the idea, it just was not something I sought out. For my parents, I know they would prefer if I ended up with someone Jewish, but they wouldn’t ever speak up about it because all they really want is for me to be happy (awww). I had only ever gone on a few dates with one Jewish person in my entire life, and that was someone I met on Tinder.
But I had been thinking about joining JSwipe, the “Jewish Tinder,” for a little while, mostly for the Jewish-themed animated graphics when you match with someone. About a month ago, my cousin was the one who finally persuaded me. She told me that she had never dated a Jewish guy before her current boyfriend, and when she started dating him, it just made sense. There was a built-in connection, like they were instantly family.
So, I started swiping on JSwipe in the Los Angeles area (where I live) that night. Here is a recap of the first five JSwipe dates I’ve gone on and a grade for each date. Enjoy.
1. Rob: We met at a bar that was near where I work and he lives. I was excited to go to a place I had never been. The bar was nearly empty, so I was able to spot him right away, even though he looked strikingly different from his photos. Maybe he was thinking the same thing about me, because from the moment I walked into the bar and until goodbye, this guy didn’t seem interested in being on this date at all. He was from St. Louis, but had a good amount of family in the suburbs of Chicago where I’m from, so our background seemed familiar enough.
We talked about sports teams (a topic I always enjoy) and work. Our Jewish background came up only once when I mentioned that I work at bar/bat mitzvahs on the weekends, and we revealed if we had both been mitzvah’d (we had). During the short time we were there, there was clearly no chemistry, and the bar had gotten crowded, so we called it a night.
Final grade: D
2. Sam: We met at a restaurant in my neighborhood (a guy willing to come to the valley is already a plus). The place was pretty crowded, but we were able to get two seats at the bar. Right off the bat, I felt like this was a person that I could have met before. We were both from a predominately Jewish suburb of Chicago. We had both been in Los Angeles for a significant amount of time. Most of the talk was about work and family. Kids seemed to be important to him, which I believe is rare to find with guys in LA, and especially rare to find out on a first date. It wasn’t important to either of us if we ended up with a Jewish person, and it also wasn’t important to our respective parents.
We stayed for a while, and I enjoyed my time with him, but I am not sure if there was enough attraction there to pursue something.
Final grade: B
3. Ryan: This guy had put on his profile that he had never been accused of being a boring date, so I was excited to judge that for myself. We met at a pretentious (IMO) restaurant, and sat in the quite lovely outdoor patio. I wasn’t attracted to him, but I was hopeful his personality would sway me, or at least make it a fun night. He was new-ish to LA, and we mostly talked about LA vs. other places. The only mention of Judaism was when he called me “so Jewish” after a comment I made where I admittedly came off as an overly cautious person.
The first half of the date was enjoyable, but the second half of the date was… you guessed it, boring. Too many lulls in conversation, and I was ready to go.
Final grade: C-
4. Jeremy: We met for ice cream on a Monday evening. He showed up 30 minutes late, so I already had a bad taste in my mouth (though the ice cream quickly remedied that). The first thing I noticed when I saw him was how tall he was. I did not get that impression from his photos, and wow, this guy was tall. We sat at one of the tables inside, and one of the first things he told me was that he had recently found a place to live in a Moishe House. I told him I had never heard of such a thing. Later, we spoke about Jewish summer camps, which we had both attended in Wisconsin. We had both heard of the other’s camp, which I guess is likely to happen when two Jews are from the Midwest.
Throughout the short date, I felt zero romantic chemistry. He kept trying too hard to be funny, and I politely told him that I had to go home.
Final grade: D+
5. Noah: We both live in the valley, so we met at a bar in our neighborhood. He texted me that he was at the table in the way back (I love specific descriptions so I’m not nervously looking around for someone). After the awkward hug hello, he went up to the bar to order us drinks. It only took a few minutes for him to bring up JSwipe, which led to us revealing how many JSwipe dates we had been on (some), if we used other apps (a no for him, a yes for me), and if dating a Jewish person was important to us (a no for both of us). He told me that he was half Israeli, his father had lived there until he was an adult, and I realized his Israeli heritage was what gave him his good looks (you know it’s true).
Things were going well until he asked me if I go “partying.” I think I responded with, “How old are you?” because I hadn’t been asked that question since college, but we were the same age. He then told me he was going to “corrupt me” which was a first, and I felt like the date didn’t need to go on much longer. However, after he walked me to my car he did something I wish more guys would do on the first date: He ASKED if he could kiss me.
Final grade: C+
As you can see, none of these dates were great, but I think that’s a realistic outcome. Now that I’ve gone on a handful of dates from JSwipe, the main difference I’ve noticed from other dating apps is that I go into them wondering how the whole Jewish thing will come up, because there’s a good chance it will. I felt like “we’re both Jewish” was always in the back our minds, and there’s a comforting factor to that. I do think it is nice to have that commonality, and I am sure it would become more apparent if I continued dating them, but having a common background is not a necessity for me.
Final verdict? I will keep swiping on JSwipe, but no more than any other dating app.