How not to JDate

JDate, 4 UR M8! 

I have a vested interest in keeping this story going, because the owner of the PR Differently site and I disagree on how long the story will last. I say it’s got legs; hell, the urban legend version’s lasted four years, and this has audio!

Here goes.

For several years Snopes has been reporting a phantom cheapskate on JDate.

Claim:   Man invoices his date for half the cost of dinner when she renegs [sic] on an agreement to go out with him again.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2004]

Subject: Invoice 6/12/04
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 17:15:59 EDT

Dear Dana:

On June 5, you agreed to accept dinner, paid for in full, by me, based on your stated offer that we would go out again. In that you have ignored all overtures to said follow up meeting, you are hereby considered in breach of contract.

To that end, you are being invoiced for 50% of the cost of the dinner, pursuant to the offer. For the record, the offer presented you with the option of not going out again and paying for half of the dinner, or going out again and not paying at all. You accepted these terms, choosing to go out again, as stated above, but have since failed to deliver your end of the agreement. In that this was merely a promise to meet, and not a promise to marry, the agreement is binding under New York law and does not require a written agreement (i.e. statute of frauds).

Furthermore, this is absolutely not a joke.

Your share is 50% of $74.51 which is a total of $37.25. Payment in full is expected within 30 days.

You may remit to:
Andrew Goldberg
720 Greenwich Street, #4d
NY NY 10012

Origins:   This missive from a woman who meets a man through JDate (a Jewish singles network), goes on a date with him, and then receives an invoice for half the cost of dinner after supposedly reneging on an agreement to go out with him again began circulating on the Internet in June 2004.

We don’t yet know whether the message reproduced above reflects someone’s real experience…

What to do when you're dating a Jew: presumably not thisNow, it says “Status undetermined” meaning they don’t know if it is true, but the very fact that it was on Snopes, plus the sheer outrageousness of the story, led people to believe it was a fake.

It wasn’t.

From PR Differently, and you really must go read the whole thing:


Our story opens with some background: For the uninitiated, (those who don’t live in either New York, Florida, Los Angeles, or Israel,) J-Date is for Jews. I’ve used it. I’ve had a few good dates from it, a few horrible dates from it, like most everyone has.

And when you have one of those horrible dates, you chalk it up. “Oh, it was just dinner,” you say.

That’s life. There’ll be other dates. Right?

I mean, that’s what we all do, yes?

NOT DARREN SHERMAN. Darren just felt… Well, “wronged.”

So Darren asks Joanne out. Joanne accepts. They eat at China Grill. (Nice restaurant. I’ve been there.) Darren pays, despite Joanne offering to split the check.

At some point after the meal, Darren gets the idea that Joanne didn’t like him.

Rather than just chalk it up to a bad date (hey, it happens, right?) Darren… Well, Darren has other plans.


Ya know, some people are the type to let things go. Some people are the type to accomodate assholes. Some people are the type to hide.

And then there’s Joanne, who saves his harrassing emails, records his badgering messages, and uploads them to the internet, emailing the info to her friends, who email it to their friends, and so on, and so on… Go to the site for the audio and full saga. It’s delicious.

Bonus: naturally, people thought “oh, this is just an urban legend, too. There is no Joanne, no Darren. This never happened.”

Wrong-o, as this investigation by Lowdown proves:

Would-be Romeo Darren Sherman — until recently a little-known thirtysomething business consultant on the upper East Side — is fast becoming famous.

A China Grill manager told Lowdown yesterday: “I called Joanne. She filled me in a little bit — that this was a blind date, that she chose not to see him again. I said, ‘Hey, don’t worry about the bill.'”

Yesterday Sherman told Lowdown: “The whole thing is a hoax. … Please do not contact me again via phone or E-mail. Keep my name out of this. Don’t interrupt me. … Goodbye.” And hung up.

JDate spokesman Gail Laguna said Sherman has been suspended “for behavior that violated the terms and conditions of membership. … This is a great example of why we recommend our members go Dutch on their first dates.”

But then we’d have nothing to blog about, would we? The finale, from PR Differently:

Words fail me here, guys. And seriously – for a publicist? That’s rare.

And of course, much like the Ginsu Knives commercial, just wait. There’s MORE!

Yes, you read that right. Darren has told Joanne that he called China Grill to speak to the General Manager to explain that he should not have been charged for the entire meal – i.e., He expects China Grill to call Joanne and get her half of the bill, and credit his AmEx.

People, I have no motive for lying. You can’t make this stuff up. 


Finally, the fifth voice mail. From CHINA GRILL! They called, apparently as confused as we all are, asking Joanne what the heck was going on.

PR props to China Grill – When Joanne told them the story, they not only told her to not worry about the bill, but offered her a free drink the next time she stopped in. WELL DONE, China Grill’s GM. Someone got their PR training. Bravo.

Is he getting it yet?At this point, kids, that’s where our story ends. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Darren Sherman – Perhaps he’s filing a “stop payment” on his Amex Bill…

One thing we do know, though – (and how many times have I said this?) It you put it out there, either on a voice mail, email, fax, or the Internet, it WILL come back to bite you in the ass.

You don’t believe me?

Just ask Darren Sherman.


29 thoughts on “How not to JDate

  1. Wait, so who’s Adam Goldburg?
    Stories on blogs involving made-up Jewish names are the new black.

  2. In case anyone else is wondering, people are so terrified of lawyers nowadays that they do change names, even when the stories are true. It’s likely that someone changed the ID on this so that it couldn’t be confirmed, so that he, the gossip, couldn’t be sued for saying what was, essentially, the truth.

    Then again, maybe Darren (who has apparently been around JDate for a LOT longer than the four weeks he claims) trolls Snopes for hawt dating tips.

    “The new black” has jumped the couch.

  3. Ahh man, the world is full of loonies. Okay, since I have time while servers are rebooting, I’ll recount a tale which is recent in my memory.

    I recall one of the people who visited the Urban Mixer Christmas Eve dinner party. We’ll call her Ms. D for future reference. The party went well, we had a great dinner, I even chipped in and bought everyone dessert (some Turkish cookies on the dessert menu).

    Well, about three months later, I get an email from Ms. D ranting about how I added food to her bill that she didn’t order or consume.

    I’m thinking WTF?

    She continues to tell me that the dessert I ordered for her (and everyone else) caused her to have an anaphylactic reaction and she had to go to the hospital.

    Now really.. WTF!?! WTF?!

    Firstly, if you don’t agree with the bill FROM THE RESTAURANT, take it up with the restaurant, (and right away, not like three months later) yeesh. Just because you’re coming out to an event hosted at a restaurant doesn’t meant he host is responsible for billing you.

    Secondly, if you’re prone to anaphylactic shock, what the hell are you doing ingesting everything that comes to the table? … and if you’re in shock and on the way to the hospital, then why did you leave, then come back because you forgot your doggie bag on the table? hmm…

    Highly suspicious.

  4. There are dumb allergic people and non-allergic drama queens all over this world. Take a tip from this saga and call the restaurant. I bet she hasn’t contacted them at all. If she threatens to sue, demand her medical records be entered into evidence. If there are no medical records from that day or the next, there was no anaphylactic shock. Simple.

  5. #6 (“Joanne”) is really Darren, who would like to lead us to believe that this is not true, but cannot being himself to actually deny that he did this horrible. That would be a lie. So he be a complete jackass stalker but cannot bring himself to lie. How nice.

  6. Sorry for the typos above. I’m doing two things at once. Let me correct:

    #6 (”Joanne”) is really Darren, who would like to lead us to believe that this is not true, but cannot bring himself to actually deny that he did this horrible thing. That would be a lie. So he can be a complete jackass stalker but cannot bring himself to lie. How nice.

  7. No problem. The story is easily verifiable and has in fact been verified both by China Grill and by JDate.

    I don’t know whether it’s Darren or not, but it’s silly for anyone to expect that we’d simply take the word of some “Joanne” online. We didn’t just fall off the terminal truck, ya know.

  8. I am so sad. This Darren gives all other “Darren’s” a bad name. Since I’m a Darren I now have to explain that we’re not all weird.

  9. Raincoaster, why do you care so much about this? OK, the guy’s a loser. So what? The world is full of them.

    Why is everyone so interested in destroying this guy when he’s already done it to himself?

    Darren and you both need to get a life.

  10. Tonya, once upon a time there were two monks. They went on a pilgrimmage to a shrine, several day’s journey to the East. As they travelled, they encountered a princess, clad in gorgeous silks, standing by the side of a river.

    “Help me!” she cried. “I cannot wade the stream, for my silk robes will be ruined. Will one of you kind holy men please carry me to the other side?”

    And one of the monks picked her up and carried her to the other side.

    They continued their journey in silence for many days, till suddenly the monk who had not helped the woman turned to the other and said, “Brother, I am puzzled by your conduct. We have taken a vow never to touch a woman, yet you lifted that one and carried her all the way across the stream. How can you do this? How could you bring yourself to break this vow?”

    The other turned to him and replied gently, “Brother, I put that woman down days ago. Why are you still dragging her around?”

  11. Folks – this story is real…the original emails that were sent around had Darren full name, email, phone number, home address etc.. You can call him if you like, lots of people did. The police were called, so were the FBI who actually came to Joanne’s office. Joanne has made tshirts, you can support her by going to Darrenator.. you can also read everything on they have the final voice mail that was released on their site.. I think it is from the day after darren realized that all his messages and emails were released on the internet.. I vote that they are internet couple of the year..

  12. I think Joanne will probably have all the dates she can handle after the way she handled this, and good for her! As for Darren, he’ll need a sex change and a move to Antarctica. Remember all those “Where’s Salman” jokes? They’re about to be Darrenated.

  13. Pingback: raincoaster » what not to wear…on a date with Darren Sherman

  14. To Arnell in #15 – is Joanne actually the one selling the t-shirts? Well I didn’t feel bad for Darren before but if it’s true, I do now.

    If Joanne is making money from this, it doesn’t seem she’s as pure as has been portrayed. Perhaps she and Darren are made for each other after all.

  15. No, she doesn’t appear to be the one making the money. But if she were, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. When people abuse other people and the victims find a way to profit by it and get revenge at the same time, that’s instant Karma.

  16. If that’s the case, shouldn’t Joanne get hit with karma for profiting off the misfortunes of another? Speaking of that, how much did you win off your bet with prdifferently?

    The universe is watching. Maybe you should watch out.

  17. Hello Velma; I always liked you best on Scooby Doo…when did you become such a twat?

    I don’t bet money, for the simple reason I don’t have any. But that doesn’t stop me from winning; it just stops me from buying a round!

    Karma is fine with profiting off the self-inflicted wounds of others. Brush up on your Buddhist philosophy, sweetie. Darren has been making a parasitic ass of himself publicly for years. That someone should find a way to make money off it amuses the gods no end. If he were Catholic, he could argue that this trial should subtract from his time in Purgatory; time which, I point out, we are given for what we’ve done wrong on Earth.

  18. Actually karma is accumulated from our reactions to things. If you are act in a detached fashion without reaction to things, there is no karma. This whole story is about attachments and reactions. (Hindu works better for me than Buddhist.)

    How has Darren been making a “parasitic ass” of himself for years? This story just happened. I haven’t seen anything else on him. Do you have a personal vendetta against him or do you just enjoy kicking people while they’re down to avoid personal introspection?

  19. You need to read the whole story, not just the excerpts: Darren has, in fact, been doing this same thing for years. Check Snopes, check JDate’s statements, check Lowdown, check PR Differently.

    Velma, darling, why do you care? Why do you care enough to return to a weeks-old blog entry and keep hammering away at it? I blogged it because it was funny; total strangers come here and add funny and not-so-funny pieces to the story. Fine with me.

  20. Well first off, I appreciate “darling” more than “twat”. While I don’t know either party involved in this saga, I care because I know that the whole truth is always different than what is being reported. There is always more to the story. I think it’s horrible what Darren did, but think it’s worse that Joanne posted his personal information.

    I guess what put the bee in my bonnet was your posting on other blogs about how you’re trying to keep this story alive and made a bet about it. The whole sordid affair is distasteful and you just want to add fuel to the fire.

    Let it die a natural death and let both Darren and Joanne get on with their lives.

  21. But, given the information, we can make some determinations about Darren: namely that he’s a cheap, strange, and relentlessly vindictive sort of person. If his parents didn’t do the job of raising him properly, kudos to Joanne for making him realize that his reputation will follow from his actions. He’s a part of the online community, and it’s fair for her to alert the people there to what he’s like.

    I, along with Miss Manners, have zero problem giving people the reputation they deserve. And yeah, I suppose that Joanne is going to get a reputation as a woman who will take no shit…and who knows it’s perfectly legal to put that kind of public domain information on the Internet. Which it is. More people should know this; part of the reason there’s so much bad behaviour is that people think they can commit these acts with impunity because it’s illegal to say what they did, or to make it traceable back to them. It’s not; it is perfectly fair game.

    Maybe I wasn’t clear: I’m not trying to push this, or to keep it alive. I simply bet that it would STAY alive, all on its own merits as an Internet meme, and I have certainly won that. Your own continuing participation here is proof of the fact that this has a life of its own. It’s been on every type of media and if Geraldo hadn’t been cancelled I’d have expected him to turn up on Darren’s door. It is only a matter of time before Joanne gets a call from Oprah, don’t you think?

  22. Thank you for the clarification, since you wrote “I have a vested interest in keeping this alive”, I felt my comments were appropriate.

    As far as it being fair for Joanne to alert other people, yes, that is her right. But isn’t it her responsibility to use information wisely? Certainly post the story if you feel you must, but why leave his name, address and phone number in it? Should someone have come along after reading it and done bodily harm to Darren, she would be at fault (on a karmic level at least) for facilitating access to him, regardless of the fact that he left the message for her personally in the first place – not to mention the guilt I would hope she would feel from those actions.

    As I said, I simply find the whole matter distasteful. I include your actions to be as well. That being said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’ll simply agree to disagree with you on matters of gossip, profit and judgment.

    I agree that this has a life of its own but it will die down eventually. You are right that my continued participation is helping to perpetutate this. Therefore I’ll make this my last post and hope that you, Joanne and especially Darren can find peace and happiness at some point.

  23. My actions? Like blogging about something of interest to me? Guilty of that, for sure. Thanks for your wishes for my continuing happiness.

    Yes, I think we are just gonna have to agree to disagree. If it’s any consolation, my post on Blackzilla is totally outdoing the Darren and Joanne tale recently.

    As for the idea that putting a name, face and phone number to a story makes on guilty of possible physical attacks perpetrated on that person, I prefer to leave the responsibility for criminal actions on the criminals, rather than on the victims (“he was asking for it”) or third parties. If someone beats Darren up, it’s the fault of the attacker, not the fault of Joanne.

    Darren is listed. That is public information. There are no moral or karmic penalties for using information which is in the public domain for the purpose of giving someone the reputation they deserve.

    If someone sends me a letter, an email, or leaves a voicemail message, that belongs to me and it’s mine to do with as I see fit. Some people are shocked by this; I have a friend who won’t go out with me because she doesn’t want to read about herself in my blog. This issue is as old as writing itself; if you look at the world and don’t view it as “material” then you’re not a writer.

    In the words of the woman on whom a bratpack lit book was based, “Like, I knew Big Brother was watching, but I didn’t think he was taking notes.” Yes, he is. So do try to behave yourselves.

  24. This story is not a hoax. He contacted me as well. I have had it with jdate and have made my peace with this thru artistic expression!

    Please check it out

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