Dear JDate,

cont-mt-ariella-toddI was a West Coast boy; she was a Midwest girl. I lived in sunny San Diego; she lived in windy Chi-town. So how, you might ask, did our two comets collide?

I had joined JDate at the urging of a Jewish friend. Never having dated a Jewish girl, I thought that this might be a good opportunity to do so, considering that I was 29 years old. When I told my dad that I was playing with the idea of joining a Jewish dating service, but wasn’t so sure that I wanted to drop the money for a membership (wink-wink), he sprained his wrist when he reached for his credit card. My old man whipped out his wallet so fast that not even Doc Holiday could have beat him in a gun draw. You have to understand that this was rather odd behavior coming from a man who parts with his money the way a Rottweiler does a bone. Can you tell he was a little desperate for a Jewish daughter-in-law?

So, I put up my profile with a photo and started to receive interest from some attractive girls. I also did some hunting myself. Not having much luck with San Diego girls, I ventured up the coast to L.A. Still, no luck. I did connect with a few girls via email and some by phone, but never felt enough of a connection to take it that one step further by meeting in person. After my one-month subscription expired without any prospects (cheapness supersedes desperation with my dad), I decided to go it alone, sans JDate, and continue with the strategy for meeting ladies that had always worked for me. Yes, I reasoned, I might just meet shiksas, but hey, at least I’d actually meet some girls!

The thought of JDate evaporated in my mind like the cloudy fog of a hangover. Then, one day, out of the blue, I received a very titillating email. Let me assure you that I couldn’t recall any details from any other emails I received from JDate hopefuls, but I can, to this day, recite this one chapter and verse. It started out with the immortal question: “How would you like a two-for-one?” Never mind the lurid, tawdry suggestions that this correspondence entailed. What kind of self-respecting Jew turns down a two-for-one bargain? This was a proposal that even I had to investigate further.

So, of course, I emailed the girl back and told her that under no uncertain terms, I was interested. Turns out, the girl who contacted me had a girlfriend, and they were moving to San Diego from Chicago. “Hottieheb,” as she referred to herself, left me her telephone number. I called, and I believe the first conversation lasted about five hours. I felt an immediate connection with this girl. She was funny, witty, bright and confident. Oh, yeah, and she was very modest. When asked to send me a few photos, she interpreted “a few” as in a few hundred. My inbox was overflowing with photos of coquettish poses and bright smiles and sun-kissed legs.

The day she arrived in San Diego, I was invited to her place. We went out that evening (sushi), and as we like to say, we’re still on our very first date. That happened nearly six years ago, and we’ve, quite literally, been together ever since our eyes made contact on that warm, summer evening of June 29, 2001. Appropriately enough, it was Shabbat.

So, four years of marriage and one son later, we are still making each other laugh and loving our life. We own a business together that we started shortly after we met. For me to say that this is a dream-come-true would be a lie. In order for this story to be a dream, it would’ve had to have been a story which I could’ve actually imagined. Finding this girl who is my best friend, my partner and my lover transcends any dream I could have ever dreamt. To tell the truth, I couldn’t imagine a day without her.

Thank you!

Tips for other JDaters:

As far as advice goes, I have to be honest that I really don’t have any. It’s like asking someone who won the lottery, “How’d you do that?” I just got exceptionally lucky.

However, I will offer this one piece of advice. I know we’ve all heard it before, but seriously, it’s so important to be who you truly are and not try to sell the other person on who you think they would like. I can tell you that even though I learn from my wife each and every day, I knew the person she was and I knew all the important qualities, like her character, her principals, her passions, her fears and her insecurities very early on in the relationship. I never wake up, look over at her and say to myself, “I don’t even know who you are!”

Be honest with yourself and with your dates. If you try to be something you’re not, you will only enslave yourself to that false image, and that’s not a very comfortable position to be in. Be yourself and be liked for who you are.

Ariella & Todd
San Diego, California

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