A Jewish Matchmaker’s Advice on What You Shouldn’t Reveal on a First Date

You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is never more applicable than on that nerve-wracking first date. In this world of online Jewish dating and Jewish matchmaking, if you’ve made it past the horrific photo and profile screening and actually scored a genuine date, you should consider yourself lucky. Getting to date #2, however, is not a given, and your behavior now just might be the make-or-breaker. Are there things you should and shouldn’t reveal on a first date?

Obviously you’ve dressed appropriately and gussied yourself up to show off your best physical assets, and hopefully your conversation will reveal some shared interests between you and your date. But just how much do you disclose about yourself and your personal history? Let’s make it simple and cover the five topics you should NEVER mention on a first date under ANY circumstances. Is that clear enough?

1.Past Relationships: Asking if your date has ever been married is a legitimate question, but that’s where it should end. On a first date you don’t need to know the who, what, why, and how of that relationship. And you don’t need to provide this information about yourself either. This advice also applies to any past date. Do not discuss these relationships/dates and most of all – do not BASH your ex (or ex’s). Nothing is less appealing than someone who is still so bitter that they feel the need to trash -talk an ex. Given the fact that there must have been something about the person that attracted you in the first place, if you trash talk them now it only makes you appear to possess either bad judgment (why did you date them in the first place?) or confirm that you’re still hung up on them. Neither of these conclusions places you in a positive light.

2.Medical Issues: Wanna put your date in a squeamish state of mind? Start talking about the rash you developed at the beginning of summer, or how the doctor keeps upping your Prozac dosage. Or maybe you prefer to launch into a discussion of how Siamese twins runs in your family or how there seems to be a history of dementia on your mother’s side. Many people do this on a first date out of nerves. Believe me, medical issues are not to be shared on the first date. In fact, you may be better served by keeping these beauties under cover until you’ve returned from the honeymoon.

3.Family Problems: if you want to put your date off for life then take note. Giving your brother the ten – year silent treatment? Hate your sister and think her kids are holy terrors? Well, you may have a point but on a first date it is better to mention only what family you have. You also don’t need to get into the difficulties your Aunt Shifra is having getting pregnant or discuss the exploits of that scandalous womanizer – your Great-Uncle Moishe.

4.Money Woes: The whole neighborhood is whispering about your past – due credit cards and the local mini-market has your bounced check stapled near their cash register, but if you’ve scored this date, he/she might be the one person in town who doesn’t yet know you can’t balance your checkbook. Please, don’t be the one who breaks the news. Steer away from all money topics including how much you earn, your clever trick of paying the minimum on your credit cards with other credit cards, and your entrepreneurial method of selling food stamps on EBAY for gas money. Oh, and don’t ask your date for their salary quote either.

5.Religion and/or Politics: Briefly disclosing that you’re more liberal than right-wing, or that you follow a Modern-Orthodox stream of Judaism rather than Reconstructionist isn’t a bad thing. As a matter of fact, aside from the inexplicable love between hard-core democrat James Carville and Mary Matalin – his Republican Consultant of a wife, I would venture to say that being on common religious and political ground is going to make your bond stronger. Unleashing two terms of pent-up aggression towards the Bush administration and that fiasco in Iraq over your fat-free cappuccino, however, is not the way to forge it. Religion and Politics are touchy subjects for everyone no matter what their beliefs and you’re probably not going to agree on every facet, so let’s leave this alone for now. Bring it up once you’ve gone out a few more times and your date is aware that you’re not a fanatical republican-hating, love bead wearing, anti-war hippie throwback.