Jacob Manczyk was properly suited up in khakis and button-down shirt at a recent Jewish singles night. He is a currency trader, and he lives on the Upper West Side. He claimed, quite credibly, that he is looking for a nice, single Jewish girl. “It’s hard to find someone you’re compatible with,” he said. “You need the physical and the emotional attraction. I’ve met some very nice, intelligent women at events like these, and we’ve connected in that way.”
Wait, so, that means the nice, intelligent Jewish girls aren’t… aesthetically pleasing? “Oh, shit. Oh, no. I didn’t mean to say that,” Mr. Manczyk muffled, face in his hands. A pause. “No one is going to read this anyway, right? Right. Are you single?”
But matchmaking is where Mr. Manczyk draws the line. “It’s an act of desperation, it’s unnatural. I wouldn’t want to tell my kids I met their mom through a matchmaker.” But the single-meet up scene hasn’t done the trick either, right? “Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m the one with the problem, the relationship issue. Maybe I’m the fool.” He looked up, eyes bright. “How old are you? Could you take off your glasses?”
“There is one client here tonight,” said Shoshanna Rikon, the infamous Jewish matchmaker. She gestured towards one of the only singles left at the bar, a dark-haired, thirty-something shmoozing with a blond, suit-clad Wall Street dude. Reel him in, girl! “But it’s hard for them to say that they are a client.”
Ms. Rikon, there to provide counsel on this recent evening at the singles-mingle night at the Makor/Steinhardt Center, said she has around a thousand customers; her five years of work have produced five marriages, six engagements–and two babies named Shoshanna on the way.
In addition to matchmaking, Ms. Rikon offers lectures on topics from New Agey (non-verbal communication) to practical (marrying rich). The top three essentials for ensuring the temple membership, the German cars, and a good summer camp for the kids? Know how to dress, where to go, and what kind of job to have. “You don’t want to be just arm candy,” Ms. Rikon said. “You gotta look the part, but nothing raunchy. No fishnets.”
Michelle Lee, a 33-year old lawyer, is a JDate member and regular single event attendee. How has the matchmaking been going, the Transom asks. “I’m still single,” she sang. And the JDate, the singles events? “I’m still single,” she repeated.
The man she’s with, Dave Sanders, 39, is an engineer from Queens. He answers for what she’s looking for in a man. “You know, someone blond, blue eyes, likes to ski and travel,” he said. The Transom cringed as he described himself, but Ms. Lee giggled.
Ms. Lee then said that she had to leave. Mr. Sanders claimed that she’d been saying that for over 45 minutes. “We’ve been talking about bad names for Jewish children,” Mr. Sanders said. “Jesus, bad. Adolf, very bad.”
They’ll get to the good names later, they said. For now, the talk is margaritas, next Thursday.
“He was going to ask me out for them officially, before you got here,” said Ms. Lee. “Bitch.“
— Amy Lieberman