When I run into friends in the neighborhood, it’s usually in one of the grocery stores. When they ask, “Where’ve you been?” – because they haven’t seen me in a while – I always say I’m either working, home, or here shopping. The last time an encounter such as this happened, instead of catching up on each other’s lives, my friend asked if all the letters I publish and respond to are real. When I was asked that by an individual I was meeting with for work, then I knew I had to write this specific column.

She couldn’t get over the letter that was published back in January – “Double Trouble” – where twins switched places on a date so the other twin can give her true opinion of how she felt about the fellow her sister was dating. Believe me, no one doubts an outrageous story more than I do. I don’t want to be the gullible columnist who will believe anything sent to her. I do what I can to fact-check. I readily admit to failing Jewish geography; I have a small family, and I never went to camp or to seminary; but when I began working, I found out that my co-workers always won at Jewish geography. They come from large families, went to camp, and had siblings that married into large families, as well. I found it amazing, almost as if I can choose a name out of the phone book and one of them can tell me everything about that person, down to the secret ingredient that makes her cholent so tasty. I now use my network of informants to help me when I doubt the authenticity of an email. I called them when checking out “Double Trouble,” as well as other letters. Many times, they will know someone who has a cousin who lived next door to someone who may know the emailer or something similar to that. They provide a number, and so I call and start asking questions. This is in addition to me speaking to the emailer over the phone.

But I’m a trusting soul. When I was younger, I believed everything told to me. Why would they lie? But I saw the fun they had at my expense, so I did my best to smarten and toughen up. I’m sure a fake story has gotten past me once or twice, but not for lack of trying to find out if the facts are true on my part. Sometimes I think back to my dating history. I may pick up and read one of the five journals I kept while dating and read some of the best of my worst dates again. Then I think maybe these emails are true. Times change. I’ve been out of the dating loop for ten years. Just as technology evolves, dating has evolved, and so, too, people have adapted to keep up with the changing times. I’m not saying they have adapted well or not, but I find it incredible that people can say and act how they do on dates and not be embarrassed by their words or actions or how poorly they can treat another.

Would I ever think that a date would insult me, not once but twice on a date, and not only not apologize but be unapologetic about it? You remember the time when the date complained about seating arrangements in a restaurant and then complained that now he was “forced to look at you a whole night.” And then later when he said, “No way you look like _____ (celebrity). She’s hot, you’re not.”

Would I ever think that a grown man would insult and say awful things about his siblings, which would explain why he isn’t married, only to brag about how he verbally abuses his elderly grandmother to the point of her running out of the house?

I wouldn’t believe any of it, except that they both happened to me. So, ask me if I can believe “Double Trouble.” Unfortunately, I can, and the source that I spoke with basically corroborated the story. (For those of you wanting to know, the mother contacted me a week after the article was published; her son broke up with the girl because he wouldn’t be able to fully trust her again.)

But I am proud to say that there are some emails that set off alarms in my head, telling me the story wasn’t true or had been embellished just for dramatic purposes, for perhaps being chosen for publication. One such email was about how an uncle and niece were set up on a date and they didn’t realize who they were set up with until the first date when they met at a café. Excuse me? I don’t care if they texted before the date, but not to know the basic facts about your uncle/niece even after being given the name? That is incredibly unbelievable. Their names were not Avraham Goldberg and Sara Katz, meaning the names weren’t very common. But I would figure it out if someone the same age as my uncle, works in the same field as my uncle, lives in his neighborhood, and has the same name as my uncle was my uncle before the date! I’m to believe neither of them checked references or did a simple search? Even on Facebook or Instagram? Nah, not today. That email went into my FAKE file.

Another email that is in the FAKE file is when a couple got locked in Target on a date. I have been to Target hundreds of times. Some of those occasions were close to closing time. Announcements are made, staff searches out customers to let them know “The store will be closing in 20 minutes. Please head to the register.” I haven’t been recently in Target, but I’m sure a few staff do a quick check of the aisles either on foot or by looking at security cameras. Unless the couple was hiding and wanted to get locked in on purpose, or unless they were so captivated by one another that they couldn’t see or hear anyone but themselves and were impervious to all happening around them, then no, I don’t see how they could’ve gotten locked inside (and had to call 911 for help).

I openly write in the beginning of a column when a story seems like it’s made up – when the events seem so outrageous but the fact-checking adds up, but just doesn’t sit right with me. I am dan l’chaf z’chus, so I will go ahead and publish the letter and my response. If someone has lied to me by concocting a whole story and has answers to all my questions when I contact them, I can’t do anything about that. But I feel I have a responsibility to let my readers know that I have some doubts. If someone’s life goal is to get a fake story past Goldy, then congratulations. You can cross that off your bucket list. But I hope it’s not done or not done very often. Depending on the article, my heart may break for the writer. There are times when I can’t get the letter out of my head and will think about it long after it was published. So yeah, I hope they aren’t fake, because I’m sure others think about the letters, as well, and we care for the ones we feel were wronged in the situation.

I take my job as a columnist seriously. I publish letters that people can relate to and that touch my heart in some way. I do my best to respond to all emails in a way I would respond to a friend if she told me that this was her issue and didn’t know what to do or how to continue. Yes, stories have gotten crazier; but to my knowledge, everything I publish has happened to someone while dating.

Goldy Krantz  is an LMSW and a lifelong Queens resident, guest lecturer, and author of the shidduch dating book, The Best of My Worst and children’s book Where Has Zaidy Gone? She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..