September 21, 2019

Serious Semite: Single in the City 

“There aren’t enough people to date in Los Angeles,” the locals say. “There are too many people to date and too many choices in New York,” East Coast residents say. Something is rotten in the state of Jewish dating.

The New York excuse that “it’s hard to settle on someone because there are too many choices” is like saying “there’s too much money in my bank account” or “there are too many kosher-certified, consciously cultivated, ethically sourced organic vegan products at Whole Foods.”

How can there be a problem in Los Angeles when it has the most beautiful residents per capita on the entire planet and new people arrive every week?

“Young professionals” is a euphemism for single people, but with so many recurring faces frequenting singles events year after year, are they single professionals or professional singles?

“Many people lack urgency,” said Beverly Hills clinical neuropsychologist Dee Gaines, who sees a pattern of people who are long-term singles, keeping their options open beyond their apparent “best before” sell-by date. She commented that “many Los Angeles singles date on autopilot. They have lost touch with the behavior and mindset it takes to get married and stay married.”

“My next plan is to set up a nationwide ‘Finding Mrs. Freed’ tour.”

Some people choose not to get married, Gaines said, “because they believe they have everything they need with finances, health and career. Later in life, many change their values and priorities, realizing they miss the human bonding, a family, but at that age and stage succeeding in finding an appropriate and compatible spouse is much harder.” She encourages action. “You must ask yourself — would you take the alternative of not knowing what it is like to get married, of loving a child? It breaks my heart to see so many people miss the train they wished to catch because they didn’t have a grasp of time.”

In “Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laura Sessions Stepp outlines how many men and women spend a lot of time exploring a lot of relationships and generate a long list of requirements for a potential partner. These checklists feature unrealistic objectives.

Jillian Strauss’ book “Unhooked Generation: The Truth About Why We’re Still Single” compares today’s dating checklists with our great-grandparents 100 years ago. Their three questions were: “Is this person from an appropriate background and religion? For him: Can she bear children? Can she keep house? For her: Is he sober? Can he support a family?” That’s it. God help us all.

My checklist is short and I remain optimistic even though five eligible Jewish women in L.A. recently declined my invitation for a date. The only explanation must be that they are racist against English people.

Still, I have plenty more options because there are 7 billion people on Earth. That said, only about 18 million are Jewish, 9 million are female, 5 million are married, and only 250,000 are of marriageable age. About 125,000 of them speak English, 1,000 are Sabbath observant and 900 have boyfriends. Sixty-nine of the remainder include my ex-girlfriends, 28 of the rest have said “no,” which leaves me with three remaining options. Awesome. I have these three dates lined up next week.

Gaines leads Jewish singles education with her rabbi husband, and dismisses the “rules” of dating. “To get married, you need to disrupt the game, surprise and be surprised. See the beauty in the external and internal. A social trend in our era is to focus on self rather than the other, on materialism of financial growth rather than building a family.”

Is everyone ready? Gaines describes those who are “marriage ready,” and those who “need some self-improvements. For example, they could get in better physical shape, become more emotionally available, avoid ranting about previous dates, improve listening and learn compromise, flexibility, listening, punctuality and how to dress to impress nicely. Some individuals have clinical psychological issues and must address those before they are ready to date successfully.”

My next plan is to set up a nationwide “Finding Mrs. Freed” tour, and spend every month visiting a different city to date the locals. Each participant will receive a free commemorative T-shirt and enjoy an evening of cultured conversation. I just won’t tell any of them I am English.

Marcus J Freed is a Los Angeles-based actor.