What happens when you mix turkey with latkes, bellies full of grandma’s kugel (or is that only a Thanksgiving tradition at my house?) with eight crazy nights, and the Pilgrims with the Maccabees? Why, Thanksgivukkah, of course! As I learned from the tiebreaker question at Sixth & I’s trivia night last week, this union of the two holidays, where the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide, won’t happen again until the year 79811!! (However, if you count an overlap as the first night of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving, then it will actually happen in the years 2070 and 2165. I definitely hope I get to celebrate with both pumpkin pie and jelly-filled doughnuts when I’m 89 years old… assuming I still have some teeth left.)
In the spirit of both holidays, I’d like to share eight reasons we should be thankful this year, as it relates to dating:
1. Online dating exists.
Do you think the Pilgrims in 1621 had a way to meet people across the field, let alone across the world? Their best place to flirt was likely over the ear of corn they were growing, not on their couch in their jammies using some new-fangled technology we like to call the Interwebs.
2. We have options.
We live in a time when, for most of us, the choice of the person we date and/or marry is ours and ours alone. Of course, parents have some influence in this decision, as do friends, but you ultimately get to choose the person who makes you the happiest. Arranged marriages were the norm worldwide until the 18th century. I’m just glad we live in this day and age.
3. Interracial and interfaith couples are becoming more widely accepted.
A study published earlier this month by Kevin Lewis, a UC San Diego sociologist, suggests that racial barriers to romance are not as insurmountable as we might suppose. He did his research by analyzing the patterns of 126,134 OKCupid users in a two-and-a-half month period. He found that, while people often still mainly reach out to others of their own racial background, they are, however, more likely to return a cross-race email than previous research would have led to us to expect. And, once they have replied to a suitor from a different race, people are then themselves more likely to cross racial lines and initiate interracial contact in the future. Baby steps…
4. There is more gender equality, especially with online dating.
While I am still a proponent of chivalry when it comes to opening doors and paying on a first date, I also strongly encourage women to reach out first online with an email if someone strikes their fancy. And, if someone is trying to have an e-lationship, then I also recommend that women suggest meeting in person. This is the better option to dropping communication completely simply because no one knows the appropriate time to ask for that cocktail or coffee.
Now, we gaze at the Shamash!
5. Dating apps exist.
This is similar to #1 above, but this time, all you have to do is click, send a few texts, and then meet. Easy as pumpkin pie!
6. There are events galore for meeting people.
Between the aforementioned trivia night, Shabbat services, community service events, and, of course, the infamous GTJ happy hours, there are so many places to meet people for networking, making friends, and dating.
7. DC is a young city.
In 2010, which was the most recent comprehensive age demographic data I could find for DC, the population of people aged 25-34 was 17.1%. While this number may not sound high on its own, it’s the highest percentage of all age demographics. For the entire US that year, people aged 25-34 represented 13.4% of the entire population. Obviously not everyone in this group is single, but at least the odds of meeting someone in that age range are slightly higher… unless Hugh Hefner is your type.
8. DC is fun!
My next article will consist of fun and cheap winter date ideas. Just for a tease, you could show off your triple Salchow at the new Shaw Ice Skating Rink, go to the Museum of American History and impress your date with your knowledge that it was the Battle of Baltimore that inspired Francis Scott Key’s lyrics to our National Anthem, or indulge in a salted caramel hot chocolate at Co Co. Sala. Calories don’t count if it’s below 40 degrees out.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and please remember the miracle that is Thanksgivukkah… one drumstick, doughnut, and date at a time.
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.