Lobbying for Love with Meredith Fineman

Meredith Fineman is the creator of the Fifty First J Dates. She is photographed here in the Park Hyatt hotel in Washington, DC. Photography by Michael Woestehoff.

Meredith Fineman is a bonafide Washingtonian. She attended Sidwell for Friends and then headed off to the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Communications and blackberry messaging.

After college, she decided to move to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she worked for a marketing and communications company.

When she returned, Meredith joined J Date, the premier Jewish singles community online. After many hilarious experiences, she began “Fifty First (J)Dates” for her friends.

More than anything, TheFFJD is an attempt to satirize but also capture the changes that occur to young women, particularly when it comes to love and dating. Also, that sometimes girls are funny.

The Washington Lobbyist sat down with Miss J Date herself in the Park Hyatt on 24th and M Street in Northwest Washington to find out what makes a great date, how important is location, and does finding love worth the time and effort in DC.

The Washington Lobbyist: In your travels, do you have a favorite hotel outside of DC?

Meredith Fineman: The George V in Paris, because it is absurd and probably the most luxurious place I’ve ever been. Five Cool Rooms in Buenos Aires, because for the year I spent there it housed me for my first week while I looked for an apartment. It was a teeny boutique hotel that sort of looked like the inside of a cool start-up in San Francisco, but with Argentine touches like an asado, a special grill. It was also completely hidden from the street. The Four Seasons in Istanbul is stunning and in an old jail, which is awesome but also really weird.

TWL: Have you ever walked into a hotel, and thought “this is a great place to go on a date?” if so, where? Does that happen often?

MF: I happen to love hotel bars. And also minibars, but that’s neither here nor $9 cashews. I love design and interiors, and because of that I think hotels make great places for bars and dates. I think there is definitely some escapism about it too. Some of the best restaurants and bars are in hotels too, at least in Washington. I find it fun to play dress up and go on a date there.

TWL: You have a written guidelines, rules, dos and do-nots, regarding dating. What are three rules you live by when making a hotel reservation outside of the beltway?

MF: Location is the most important thing. If you’re in a fluffy bed palace but 30 miles from the center of activity, that doesn’t make any sense. I tend to prefer boutique hotels to large ones, but that being said, you can often find great deals on some of the bigger name hotels. Do your research. Any hotel is nice, just to be away and on vacation, but read user reviews. But scan the three-pager from the crazy Yelp reviewer who is extremely upset with some hand towel situation.

The Washington Lobbyist: Moving on to your specialty, before you set yourself up online to find love, do you recommend personal rules for yourself? (Always have him choose location, pay, transportation?)

Meredith Fineman: Breathmints. Is your skirt tucked in to your underwear? Do you have enough cash? Is your cell phone charged to call your friend and tell her that; (1) he is a psycho or (2) you’re getting married, tomorrow. Also, you are totally going to need enough battery life to read Twitter while you pee.

TWL: When going on a date, what kind of attitude should we (both parties) bring to the table?

MF: OPEN MINDEDNESS. Easier said than done. I don’t know, I just think try to present yourself as your best self because you really only get one chance to make a first impression. I’d also say try to learn as little as possible before the date. Don’t read over her Twitter feed and know that she’s having a reaaally hard time processing Nicki Minaj’s recent Grammy outfit.

TWL: Hotel lobbies are comfortable, compromising, but captivating. Do those discriminators also work for dating?

MF: As I said above, escapism can be very sexy. It’s important, however, especially if it’s a first date, to understand and respect the boundaries. You just want to be careful that the other party isn’t expecting anything you’re not.

TWL: For our single DC friends out there, should they stay optimistic?

MF: It is rough dating in DC. That being said, you never know who you’re going to meet. I find Washingtonians to be more interested and interesting than people in many other cities. The transient nature of the city and its power-hungry notoriety can make long-lasting love hard to find. That being said, I think there is plenty of opportunity. The idea is to get outside of your comfort quadrant. Go to different happy hours, take a new class somewhere, do something different. Online dating also helps.

Meredith is currently working on TheFFJD and turning it into a book. I also started my own digital PR company, FinePoint.

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