Are you still single and looking for love on JDate?
In “Secrets of a Jewish Mother,” Jill Zarin wants to know: Why are you not dating anyone yet? Have you asked everyone you know to set you up with someone? Have you gone online? What are you waiting for?
In our exclusive interview, Jill Zarin shares her top tips from her new book “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” on how to navigate the dating scene, find true love and build a life filled with happiness and success.
Kris: What led you to write the book?
Jill: I wanted to write a book for the longest time. I had a lot of things I wanted to write about and my sister and I thought the book should be called “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” and that we should write it with my mother and sister. It’s lonely being at the top and I wanted to share this with the people I love the most. I like doing things together as a family and now we are doing the book tour together, television and media together and we are ultimately all enjoying the success together.
Kris: Did the show inspire you to write this book?
Jill: My mother Gloria was the breakout starlet on The Real Housewives of NYC after she gave advice to Bethenny. There was an overwhelming response and thousands of people wanted similar advice. We realized that not everyone grew up the way we did and had that quintessential “motherly” and involved parent. Our mother Gloria was very affectionate with us and we wanted to share that gift with everybody. We asked people what they wanted to hear about and everyone wanted to know “How did Jill become so successful?”
Kris: What role did your family play in your success?
Jill: I grew up with amazing parents who always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be and they would always be there to support me. With my first business, my parents gave me $10,000 to start at 23 years old. My parents had the faith and trust to invest in me. They always told me I was the smartest and I was the prettiest and that really resonated because it gave me the confidence I needed to succeed. If you are always told you are smart and beautiful, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What is most fundamental to you in terms of working hard?
Jill: Education! Education builds a foundation and it is fundamental to a Jewish upbringing. My family always pushed me to excel in school and at the end of the day you have nothing without an education. I believe it should be mandatory to go to college. Being American and being Jewish, you don’t even realize how lucky you are. Education should be required- through my success is the fact that I have a solid education. I learned how to write and I learned how to think.
Jill: Ask everybody in the world you know and tell them you’re single and you’re looking! The man of your dreams won’t fall in your lap; you have to find him! Once you leave the college environment of socializing, you are likely to meet someone at work. Online dating is another great way to meet someone, and we actually talk about JDate in the book. You need to be safe about Internet dating- do a credit check or security check on your date to make sure they aren’t pretending to be someone else.
Kris: What are your deal breakers?
Jill: He must not be stingy- we hate cheap! Never marry a stingy person; it will ruin your life! People should also marry their own- Jewish people should marry Jewish people- this is very important for the values of children. People should be brought up in a similar background and upbringing. Two conflicting belief systems are confusing for children. Also watch out for a man that is overly possessive, jealous, lies about money- a man who insists on controlling the purse strings will ruin your chance of happiness.
Kris: What are your must haves?
Jill: He must be kind, have a good sense of humor, be loyal, generous and dedicated to you. He should love you a little more than you love him. He should also be kind- always give your spouse five minutes of understanding. Always be on your toes, and always make sure your husband is on his.
Kris: What is your best advice for singles?
Jill: Trust your gut! My best piece of advice is to trust your instincts. If you don’t think he’s right, he’s probably not right. You should always give people a chance- I call it the “two date” rule.
Kris: What are your top tips for singles?
Never leave a stone unturned
Like a good sales girl, never leave a cold lead. If somebody says, “I have a guy for you,” you have to go on every single fix up you get. You are not allowed to say no- even if you don’t like him, you may like his friend.
Get out of your house
You won’t meet anyone sitting at home!
Dress for success
First impressions are the most important thing you’ll ever have in your life- whether it is meeting your in-laws or going to an important business meeting, always dress respectfully and always look your best.
Put away your devices
Email and texting is ruining true romance. I have a rule- no talking on phones in the car or on a date. The worst way to start a relationship is by texting on a date- when someone’s Blackberry ® is sitting on the table every time you go to eat, you feel the table vibrating! No phones at the dinner table- put your Blackberry or iPhone ®in a vault when you go on a date! It is rude and disrespectful, and you will never get to know someone if you are more glued to your device. I suggest turning off the phone before you walk into the restaurant. If he refuses to put down the phone, then he shouldn’t be out on a date. If the business call is more than a ten-minute call, then re-schedule for when he has time- you are not his secretary!
Avoid stingy men
If a guy can’t take you out for dinner and pay, then you don’t want to go on a second date with him. However, you have to go where he can afford to take you. Learn how to communicate that he is paying for the date- but he gets to pick wherever he wants to take you. I have a rule- whoever picks the restaurant pays, so if you want to go somewhere extravagant then you can pick the venue. Diners have the best value, and there are a ton of nice diners in metropolitan cities, especially Manhattan.
Don’t order a lot if you know he doesn’t have a lot of money. This isn’t the last supper- you’re not going to the electric chair; eat before you go out so this way you don’t feel guilty he’s paying.
My other dining tips:
Follow the leader
Don’t eat like a pig on your first date
Never order more than the host who is paying is ordering
If everyone is ordering chicken, don’t come in and order lobster
If someone else is treating, you order less than the host
Kris: Do you believe in traditional courtship roles?
Jill: The man should plan everything in the beginning. People shift roles in a relationship, but in the beginning, old fashion is always the best rule of thumb. I will tell you, I once set up a friend of mine with a guy and he didn’t pick up the tab- I will never fix him up again- it was so rude and gross!
Kris: What are some Secrets of a Jewish Mother that you would like to share?
Jill: Never be less than who you are- you can only step out of your comfort zone for so long. You can pretend to be someone for a very short period of time; you have to be who you are and he should love you for it. If he doesn’t, he’s not the right one.
Nobody’s perfect, so why should he be?
No just means you didn’t ask the right question. You didn’t ask it right, so go back and ask again.
If you want unconditional love, go buy a puppy.
Just because he’s imperfect, doesn’t mean he won’t be perfectly right for you.
Kris: Do you have any fashion and makeup tips for single women?
Jill: Yes, my favorite fashion and makeup tips from “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” are:
You are what you wear. If in doubt, do not wear it. If you don’t feel good in your clothing, you will radiate insecurity and others will notice.
Fake eyelashes do open your eyes. Try them.
Moisturize your face and hands as often as possible.
Do not buy a piece of clothing just because it is cheap or on sale. There are tons of stores that have fabulous clothes for less, so make sure that you love something before you buy it.
If you know you are being photographed, photograph yourself first before you leave. Often, you will look great in something in person but not as great on camera. Take the photo just to make sure.
If you wear lip liner, keep checking it.
Don’t fidget, play with your hair or bite your nails. Also, don’t slouch.
Always bring a sweater. The Jewish mother is never without a sweater.
More beauty and fashion tips can be found in the book.
Kris: What are Gloria’s “Must Have” Qualities and “Must Avoid” Qualities in a husband?
Jill: Gloria’s “Must Haves” are: Generosity, Dedication, Kindness, Fidelity, Ambition, Fatherhood Capabilities, Brains, Sense of Humor, Age Compatibility, If you are Jewish, he has to be Jewish too.
Her “Must Avoids” are: Possessive Jealousy, Dishonesty, Stinginess, Violence of any Kind, Addiction to Drugs/ Gambling/ Alcohol, Stubbornness and Stupidity.
We sum it up best in “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” when we say “If the guy you are dating falls short of any of these qualities, move on. The right guy is out there. It is better to be alone than end up with someone who makes you miserable. If you are in a terrible relationship, gather your courage, cry on your best friends shoulder and get a divorce. Life is too short to stay sad forever. Marriage is not supposed to be a jail sentence.”