Journalist melts JSwipe with kitschy Hanukkah dress
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Light my fire

Journalist melts JSwipe with kitschy Hanukkah dress

Molly Tolsky uploads photos of herself in festive attire to a Jewish dating site -- and gets some greasy responses

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Molly Tolsky poses in her Hanukkah dress, Bryant Park, New York, 2017 (Marissa Roer)
Molly Tolsky poses in her Hanukkah dress, Bryant Park, New York, 2017 (Marissa Roer)

There are many reasons men swipe right on a woman’s profile. But would a velour dress bedecked with Hanukkah menorahs and dreidels be one of them?

This is what Molly Tolsky, editor of Alma, a new 70 Faces Media online community for young women without children, wanted to find out.

Armed with only a kitschy dress and a JSwipe account, Tolsky recently set a lighthearted, revealing investigation, into motion. She updated her profile on the leading Jewish dating app, using photos of herself modeling the dress and a variety of cheesy pick up lines.

Molly Tolsky poses in her Hanukkah dress, Bryant Park, New York, 2017 (Marissa Roer)

As she reported in an Alma piece titled, “I Wore a Ridiculous Dress in All my JSwipe Photos & Things Got Weird,” Tolsky, 31, received a range of legitimately weird reactions that ranged from bizarre to confused to disgusting.

The responses tended to vary according to the different pick up lines she used: “Looking for someone to light my fire” (for the casual connection); “Looking for something to last more than eight days” (for the commitment-minded); and “Looking for Drake” (Tolsky’s last ditch effort and “most honest” opener).

One apparent dandy didn’t even seem as interested in Tolsky as in knowing whether they make men’s pants with the same pattern as Tolsky’s kitschy dress. And some men responded as though they didn’t even notice the Hanukkah dress. Or maybe they did, but didn’t care.

Screen shot of a conversation between Molly Tolsky and a ‘suitor’ about her Hanukkah dress. (courtesy)

Tolsky, former editor of Jewish parenting site Kveller (also from 70 Faces Media), took it all in stride, using flirty humor as she engaged with the various respondents.

She told The Times of Israel that her favorite exchange was with a guy who was really not up on his Jewish history:

Respondent: Hey where is the fire to light it

Tolsky: The Second Temple 

Respondent: Where is this Temple around

Tolsky: Jerusalem, around 516 BCE [sic]

Respondent: Where is that

Tolsky: New Jersey

It seems Tolsky herself was confused about the date of the successful Maccabean Revolt in 165 BCE, but such a mistake can be forgiven when the rest of her undercover reporting here sizzles.

Alma editor Molly Tolsky, 2017 (Marissa Roer)

What turned out to be a funny and telling glimpse at Jewish online dating started with a mid-November online purchase of the $30 dress together with a matching pair of velour Hanukkah overalls from Target. Tolsky wasn’t even sure where she was going to wear these items.

“I only bought the dress because I thought it would make for some hilarious Alma content, but I didn’t know exactly what. Honestly I planned on taking some photos in it and then returning it. Definitely never planned to be seen wearing it in public,” Tolsky told The Times of Israel.

Screen shot of a conversation between Molly Tolsky and a ‘suitor’ about her Hanukkah dress. (courtesy)

The dress, with its ruffled shoulders and faux-velvet fabric, reminded Tolsky of the dresses she used to wear as a competitive figure skater when she was a girl. So, she thought it would be fun to wear it while skating in Manhattan’s Bryant Park.

Tolsky asked Marissa Roer, a video editor at 70 Faces Media, to photograph her skating, but it turned out that the day they went to Bryant Park, the  rink was closed. Instead of taking pictures of Tolsky gliding on the  ice, Roer took ones of her posing in the dress against a backdrop of winter holiday decorations.

“I still really want to go ice skating in it, though,” she said.

After seeing how well the photos came out, and on the advice of friends, Tolsky loaded them to her JSwipe profile.

Molly Tolsky poses in her Hanukkah dress, Bryant Park, New York, 2017 (Marissa Roer)

The editor wasn’t surprised by the kinds of responses she received —including the raunchier ones. They were not very different from what she usually gets, she said.

“I think they were actually pretty similar, just that the corny pick up lines and sexual innuendo had a Hanukkah theme,” she said.

Tolsky said that for better or worse, the only way to meet men these days is online. She has used both Jewish and other dating apps, and has found that they are only suited for casual dating.

“[They’re] a nightmare when you’re looking for something more serious — which I am. I assumed guys on the Jewish ones would be smarter, nicer, funnier, more relationship-minded — but nope.” Tolsky said.

Fortunately, Tolsky did meet “a good guy” on Tinder, whom she has been dating for the last two months.

Screen shot of a conversation between Molly Tolsky and a ‘suitor’ about her Hanukkah dress. (courtesy)

Although Tolsky isn’t a huge fan of holiday-themed clothing, this entertaining experiment has softened her stance a bit.

“If Target makes a velour Passover dress, I’d be all over it,” she said.

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