All right, here’s the thing. I’ve had hundreds of coffee dates over the years and have used hundreds of opening lines. Some clearly work much better than others. In addition, I’ve spoken to scores of fellow daters of both genders for their experiences with same. And have also studied the 15-volume Encyclopedia of Least Successful Coffee Date Opening Lines for Jews. Bottom line: you receive the benefit of all this study and experience. Why? Because a) You’re fellow Jews. b) Better you hear it from me than have to face it out on the street, and c) It was either this or “Least Delicious Jewish Delis of All Time.” You’re welcome.
So, now, for your dining and dancing pleasure…
The Top 10 Least Successful Coffee Date Opening Lines for Jews
- “You look tastier than brisket.” This line is a bad choice on so many levels. Obviously, it’s way too forward a line to use on the first date, let alone as the first words uttered. In addition, isn’t dating enough of a meat market without your actually comparing your date to meat? And, finally, if your date is vegetarian or vegan, this would be extra offensive. (Which doesn’t mean you can change it to, “You look tastier than tofu.” But nice try.)
- “Sorry I’m late—I lost track of time while taking an audio tour of the Holocaust Museum.” That’s how you spend the few hours preparing for your date beforehand—touring the Holocaust Museum? To put you in the right mood? There are far more subtle ways of letting your date know that you’re Jewish, sensitive, and have an appreciation for your people’s history and suffering. Trust me, when your date says “Never again!,” it will only be in reference to one Jew.
- “Hi, Laura!” While this opening line at first appears fairly neutral and innocent, upon further examination, it is revealed to be completely inappropriate for one excellent reason: her name is Amy. Your words, then, illustrated one of three things: a) That your memory is already fading. b) That you’re dating so many women that you get them mixed up. c) That you’re drunk or high. Either way, you’re going to have to do some fancy talking to get out of this one.
- “Are you Amy?” In this case, you do get her name right, but despite having seen the nine photos she posted of herself on JDate, you’re still not sure it’s her. This sends her the message that her photos were so old or bad that you needed verbal confirmation that it is, in fact, her. And then, of course, if she responds, “No”, you’re left to wonder if it’s really not her, or if she was so put off by you, that she decided to pretend it’s not her. This is what social scientists refer to as a lose-lose proposition.
- “I haven’t been this excited since my vasectomy!” TMI! Oh, sure, you didn’t want to have any kids and you hate wearing condoms, so you thought your vasectomy would kill two birds with one stone. Still, it’s way too early in the relationship to be over-sharing. Especially since it’s not yet a relationship. And you don’t even know whether there’ll be a second date. Which, after you’ve uttered that line, there probably won’t. So, while conveying excitement is good, try, at least for the first date, doing it in such a manner that you don’t include a procedure you’ve had on your penis.
- “Next year in Jerusalem!” “Jerusalem” refers to the future city — and its Temple — to be rebuilt when the Messiah comes. Most traditional Jews feel quite comfortable expressing this messianic longing at the end of the seder. But you’re not at a seder and this is not a religious situation, unless she says, “Oh, God!,” and not in the good way, when she sees your face. So, forget “Next year in Jerusalem!” Feel lucky if your date suggests, “Next week in Starbucks.”
- “Good Shabbos.” Okay, it wasn’t enough that you both met on JDate and her name is Rivka Feinblatt? You’ve got to go with the Jewish passwords, too? Why not also ask her if she knows what a mezuzah is and if she can produce her Bat Mitzvah certificate? She gets it—you’re both Jewish. But apparently not that Jewish, as you both drove to the coffee shop on Shabbos!
- “Does this yarmulke make my head look big?” Yes, to some women, size matters. But, no, they’re generally not referring to the size of your skullcap. Anyway, isn’t it enough that you were both on JDate? Must you further prove you’re one of the Chosen People by wearing your yarmulke to the date? What’s next, recite a portion of your Haftorah from your Bar Mitzvah? Tell her your favorite Jackie Mason jokes? Prove you’re circumcised? But, enough about the mistakes I’ve made…
- “Finally! A stunning Jewess with child-bearing hips!” Okay, it’s weird enough that you’re proclaiming your desire to have children with her before you’ve even said hello. What, exactly, are child-bearing hips? Hey, are you calling her fat? And just the use of “Jewess” alone could be an understandable deal-breaker. Probably best to keep this particular thought inside your head.
- “My treat for dinner if you can guess where I have my tattoo of the Wailing Wall.” First of all, in case she kills you after hearing that remark, you won’t be able to be buried in a Jewish cemetery, due to your tattoo. Psych issue #2: a tattoo of the Wailing Wall? Really? Was the one of the mikvah ceremony taken? Whatever happened to a rose, or a skull, or “Mother” inside a heart? Finally, if the tattoo is on your a**, do you really want the first words out of your potential soul mate’s mouth to be, “Your a**?”? Maybe try, “Nice to meet you” first, and then build to the tattoo challenge. I’m just saying.
Mark Miller is a comedy writer who has performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs and on TV, written on numerous sit-com staffs, been a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and is a current humor columnist for The Huffington Post. His first book, a collection of his humor essays on dating and romance, is: 500 Dates: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Online Dating Wars. But, he says he’d trade all his success away in a minute for immortality, inner peace and limitless wealth.