How I Met Your Stepfather

different chuppah

As we discussed several blogs ago, finding the not-quite-perfect dress for your mid-life wedding shouldn’t be your sole focus as the big day draws near: sooner or later, you’re going to have to pick a husband to complete your look.  And while I’m a big proponent of The Old Ways Are The Best Ways school of thought, I get that you’re far less likely now than you used to be to meet guys by cruising the Avenue on Saturday nights, or lending them your History of Theatre notes, or going to the Field House on Nickel Beer night in your highest-waisted, stone-washed jeans.

But then how will I find him, Heather, you ask, how?

To which I say, as the young people do these days: ai uh oh.  I’m a “fashion” “expert,” not a “matchmaker”; do I look like Patty Stanger to you?  (Hint: even if you don’t know who this is, just say “no.”  Especially if you’re expecting me to cook your dinner.)

Okay then, how did you meet yours?

I’m glad you asked (and not just because this allows me to cut and paste the following)!  The answer, like me, is easy: I met him online.

As it happens, my new husband and I are what’s known as a “JDate Success Story.”

I know what you’re thinking (because my Verizon router has begun to pick up brainwaves from at least seven streets over, and you forgot to lock yours with a password).  You’re thinking: If I eat two York Peppermint Valentine Patties right now, I can just have a banana for lunch.

Oh wait, no: that’s what I was thinking.

What you’re thinking is: Ick.  Succeeding at dating is like winning at parenting: only assholes think they’re competing.

Yes!  Exactly!  I’d say “ding ding ding,” but that would imply that you’ve won a prize for thinking, and not only is that the very thing we’ve just indicted above, you and I, but I’m afraid that I’ve already given out the Thinking Award to the guy halfway down Solway Street for Wait a minute: it’s President’s Day Week.  I guess that means the garbage goes out on Wednesday night, instead. 

But as Jdate, an online service that’s been matching up Jewish singles with other Jewish singles (or, in my case, kind-of-Jewish singles with Jewish guys who’ve recently left their wives, as well as non-Jewish singles with Jewish singles, or non-Jews with kind-of-Jews, or non-single-Jews with single non-Jews with big boobs) since 1997, would have it, couples who meet through their website and subsequently marry have achieved “Success Story” status.

And JDate loves to talk about its Success Stories.

No, it loves to mathify its Success Stories, pie-charting and bar-graphing and “5 out of 9 Jews”ing them until you remember—phew!–that you’re not really a journalist and don’t have to do any actual research for this blog after all.

Though for you, my darling 54* readers, I did.  And I discovered that the website’s motto du jour, emblazoned over a blurry photo of a groom, a rabbi, and an even blurrier bride standing beneath a chuppah (a traditional Jewish wedding arch; see photo, supra), is “Find Someone Whose Mother is Just as Excited for This Day.”

Which, in my case, is kind of hilarious.

Let’s mathify it, shall we?  My mother 1) wasn’t Jewish, and 2) is dead.  More awesomely, the motto riffs off the stereotype of the Jewish Mother longing for her daughter to marry a nice Jewish boy–preferably, a doctor–and while 3) I did marry a Jewish doctor**, my mother 4) was a Christian Scientist, who’d have been all 5) I’m happy that you’re happy, so I’m going to try really hard not to show my disappointment on your special day.

And while my husband’s mom was really nice about it, I can’t say that “excited” exactly captures the mood she sported at the second wedding of her 60-year old son to a woman who has upped the grandkid gift-giving ante by three.

But it doesn’t matter, because: Success Story!  We win!

And we weren’t even playing the game.  At least, not according to the dating “rules.”

For one thing, I was already seeing someone else****, and had only kept my profile up on JDate so that I could continue to play on the message boards there (a story for another blog).  And he wasn’t even a paying member of the site—just a browser, scrolling through the photos.

At least, that’s the way he tells it: he stumbled across my picture and just threw money at the site until they let him send me an introductory email.  (Okay, fine, that’s not the way he tells it.  But if he cares so much about telling it right, he can get his own damn blog.)

Which proves that, at least in his case, all that stuff you waste time writing, if you waste time writing profiles on dating sites, is completely meaningless.

Whereas I had exactly the opposite experience: I fell for him without pictures.

In fact, I fell for him without pretty much anything at all, except for the knowledge that someone who’d looked at my photo (JDate notifies you about stuff like that) had left his profile entirely blank, but for a single word: “Droll.”

True story.  True “Success Story”: he had me at “Droll.”

Because who does that?  Who summarizes himself in one funny little word?  In one stunningly compelling, funny little word?  Who has the self-knowledge and the moxie and the heightened sense of irony that allows him to fill out the story of himself by compressing it into the one thing it turns out actually matters more than almost anything to someone who, if she’s anything like me, is me?

Well, not my husband, in this case.  Seems he’d just jotted the word down as a note to himself before he went ahead and completed the profile, and JDate makes you wait hours before it deigns to upload your info.

Still, when the rest of the info finally did upload, most of it, luckily, was, indeed, droll (including a photo of him carefully studying a copy of “Dating For Dummies”).

And then we started writing to one another, and I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I didn’t tell him, until about three emails in, that I was seeing someone else, and wasn’t free to date him.

As fate would have it, my Future JDate Husband (tm Jami Comins Schultz) knew the guy I was seeing.  And whether fate would have it or not, he knew a couple of details about that guy that proved, as I’d begun to suspect, that he was the type of guy one often encounters on dating websites: a big fat lying liar and a totally shady asshat.

But that’s also a story for another blog.  A JDate Failure Story, if you will.

What matters is that I dumped that guy and started dating “Jack,” and the rest, as they say, is mystery.

History. 

Sorry, my blood sugar’s a little low.

What’s that, you think?  You think I should have another York Peppermint Valentine Patty?

Excellent thought!

You win the thoughts!

Especially because I’ve had to revoke the Solway Street guy’s award.  Excuse me while I use the router to send him a thought of my own:

Thanks a lot, asshole.  President’s day ISN’T a garbage holiday.  Next time, keep your thoughts to yourself. 

*Excluding the 51 or so who are, in fact, me.

**Though I make no claims re: niceness.  I mean, he’s nice to me, of course. But I’m pretty sure*** it’s not the first adjective that springs to the minds of others.

***Actually, I’m completely sure.  See Verizon router discussion, supra.

****Oh sure, go ahead and judge.  But remember, when you go to cast your stone, that “you” are mostly “me” (see *, supra*****).  Ouch, amirite?

*****”Supra” is Law School for I’m going to pretend I made that point already, above.

About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona way back in the 1980s and has put it to scant use ever since, publishing a few short stories in now-defunct magazines (including American Short Fiction) and storing a handful of novels in now-defunct boxes. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, in a new house with some of her children, her new husband, and a bunch of old stuff that totally doesn’t go together. Especially the cow creamers.

3 responses to “How I Met Your Stepfather”

  1. Lauren says :

    You got droll, and I got a drunk Mormon. That’s *so* unfair.
    xoxo
    Dood

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  1. I Married a Man, Not a Religion - March 5, 2014

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