Some young Jewish singles may have thought, hoped, and even prayed that Internet dating services would render the fabled mother-as-matchmaker role obsolete. But in the case of JDate.com – the biggest online Jewish dating network, with 52,500 members in the New York area alone – it seems to have had the opposite effect. Fed up with encouraging their children to try JDate, computer-savvy Jewish mothers have taken things to the next level: They’re logging on for their children – even posing as them – in an effort to set them up.
Upon hearing of a JDate success story, Joyce, from Long Island, decided to impersonate her 24-year-old daughter. “My sister’s friend has a daughter who met somebody nice, a record producer, and they’re getting married,” she says. Joyce paid $28.50 for a one-month membership and started scoping out potential dates – “I was looking for a doctor.” The only time she felt weird was when someone asked about her interests, and she thought, How would a 24-year-old respond to that? Then she printed out and ranked some promising profiles, and gave them to her daughter, who’d been away on vacation.
The response: “She started crying that I ruined her life,” says Joyce. “It was over-the-top, scary.” Joyce’s daughter (who refuses to give any name at all) rolls her big brown eyes and says, “You’re lucky I didn’t sue you.”
Perhaps Joyce should have contacted Alon Gitig, a 27-year-old medical resident. He got an e-mail from “MamasLooking,” who said that her daughter, a Columbia student, was very pretty and had a nice body; she even included her daughter’s e-mail address. Intrigued, Gitig wrote to the girl: “I am very curious to see how this arrangement with your mother works.” The girl – if she exists – never responded.
JDate meddling can pay off, though. Just ask Rachel, whose mother decided to post her picture. Now she’s involved with a guy whose mother “also harassed him to go on JDate.”
Claire hopes she has as much luck – but not for herself. The 25-year-old went online as her (unsuspecting) mother last week, but she’s struggling with her profile. “I don’t want to say ‘I like to read,’ because that sounds so lame. But then I think to myself, She is in her fifties …”