Dating Daniel Rochkind Wasn’t Awful, So Let’s Hold Our Judgment

The news of Daniel Rochkind giving up “bikini models” is just about everywhere today, but I actually did date him.

If you haven’t already read today’s New York Post, yikes, it’s basically a bunch of pages with words and then one giant article about how Daniel Rochkind gave up dating bikini models for his soon-to-be-bride, a “softer beauty” named Carly who just happens to be the daughter of the matchmaker responsible for their love. All I can say is holy crap, this guy was just fed to the lions much in the same way every man who has ever passed through Kris Jenner’s daughters ends up mangled and chewed up. Let me explain.

Way back in 2010 I somehow met Daniel Rochkind, a then 30-something bro-like dude who was still very much trapped in his college sports obsession. His main focus in life at that point was attending just about every University of Maryland sports rally and game that existed (insert eye roll, but I’ve always held the belief that if a man’s hobby isn’t violent or sexual, support it).  He was gainfully employed (at least I assumed, because at that point he owned a sparsely decorated condo on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a weekend place in the Hamptons), generally grounded, and if anything — just kind of dorky.  It was the dorky side that kept me dating him for the two months or so we saw each other. At the time I was a 25 year old single mom to a one year old little boy, and dating for casual fun wasn’t my thing at all. He knew that. He respected that.

I wasn’t the type to be out partying, going to three or four meals a week, or missing bedtimes and nighttime bottles. I really, really cherished the time I had with my son. Daniel never met my son as I kept that part of my life extremely private until I felt like I was in a very serious relationship (like with the man I would soon after meet, marry and have three more children with), but he often brought little baby and toddler toys on our dates as gifts in addition to flowers and all the normal romantic stuff. They were thoughtful touches, and if you’re wondering, no — we never slept together. We never did much at all in terms of physical intimacy, and he was a total gentleman when I expressed a few times that I was not really going to be “there” emotionally for a long time. 

According to the article in The Post:

“I could have [anyone] I wanted,” says Rochkind, now 40 and an Upper East Sider with a muscular build and a full head of hair. “I met some nice people, but realistically I went for the hottest girl you could find.”

Really? I mean, I am confidant that 25 year old me was fairly good looking before the sands of time got me to nearly 33, through four pregnancies, and a lot of life, but I wasn’t a professional bikini model by any stretch. I may have owned two bikinis total at the time of our dating, actually.  Daniel, if my brain isn’t a completely Swiss cheese-like lump of mush, was a sort of gentle and socially awkward creature.

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This was a man who picked out and bought his car, a Lexus RX 300, based on whether or not it would be good to put carseats in. For a man who hadn’t had any sexual contact with me, that was a pretty generous and soft-hearted thing to do. Not the kind of thing a narcissist who only dates bikini models and ends up in the newspaper might do. Even in the newspaper article that came out today, his non-model bride appears to be a very pretty, radiant, and fit woman. Any normal person with 20/20 vision would see there’s no downgrade in being with her on a physical level.

This is me around the time I dated Daniel Rochkind. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a bikini shot.

I’m not insulting the journalist who covered this story, either, so there must be another reason for all this crazy media hoopla, right? Right, and if you’ll follow my trail for a minute, something smells super fishy on the end of Janis Spindel, the matchmaker who magically got press here just for throwing her soon-to-be son in law under the bus.

He has since deleted his Facebook profile, but posted this early this morning

As a professional writer I’ll tell you the whole story stinks of a PR pitch to begin with, and sometimes those are entirely okay, but not when they hurt the lives of normal-ish people to suit the ego desires of someone with a business. Somewhere between a publicist emailing The Post, a fun writer taking the bait, and Daniel believing he was going to get a taste of what 15 minutes of fame might be like, Janis’ business was getting the boost she wanted. I mean, how else is she or her matchmaking business going to make a headline? Let’s be realistic. Let’s take a minute to digest that Kris Jenner reference again.

She’s quoted in the story:

“I gave him my card and said I have the perfect girl for him,” recalls Janis, founder of Serious Matchmaking, based in Midtown. “Successful men who are in shape have the pickings when it comes to dating, [but] eventually they want a woman of substance.”

Just about every somewhat successful to successful single person of reproductive age in NYC has heard from Janis at one point or another. She’s relentless, but lacks any level of human-to-human compassion or genuine interest. Every person is a stepping stone to another person in her eyes, and every next person is a stepping stone to another dollar or bonus. She once reached out to me in 2009 to say how impressed she was with my success at the time, and how she had so many people for me to meet — and then gasped when I told her about my son. “Well who is going to want some girl with a baby? Sorry, you’re not someone that can be helped.” I hadn’t asked her for help as she actually reached out to me, and somehow her almost son in law wanted me just a few months after that interaction because the universe likes to laugh at us all. I’ve heard from more than a few friends over the years though about the sort of horrible interactions they’ve had with Janis, though, and how she will chew up and spit out just about anyone or anything in her path if she feels like it’s good publicity for her.

Daniel Rochkind, a sort of nerdy guy with cute old parents in Long Island, was the perfect prey for Janis. He was the right level of insecure (when we dated he was actually taking protein powder supplements if that paints the picture for you), socially awkward, and gentle-hearted. 

RIP, Daniel Rochkind’s innocent internet presence. You’ll be remembered by those who actually knew you for your weird but tolerable obsession with the “Terps,” and mediocre beer, bro-dudes as friends, and a general willingness to give whatever you have to the people around you. May the mourners of Zion bring real you comfort when you realize this is your mother in law for life, because that’s how marriage works.

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Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce’s aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber


  • NYCGuy

    OK, well … I can’t speak for the motivations for the article. But I can tell you this. I know Janis and Carly. You claim that she “lacks any level of human-to-human compassion or genuine interest”. Let me set you straight, Bryce. We each have our own unique personality. Janis is a blunt, often unfiltered, straightforward, tell-it-like-it is person. Yes, she’s a promoter and a strong businesswoman driven by the desire for success. And yes, from time to time, she says something that perhaps would have been better left unsaid. There are those in the dating world (check Yelp) who claim that his approach helped them, btw. In any case, Janis is one of the most family-oriented people I have ever met – consistently sets aside time and effort to bond with and spend time with her family, whom she cherishes. I have spoken with her personally about Carly’s engagement and about her feelings towards Carly, and she was SO full of joy about it that she was brought to tears. That is NOT the mark of someone who “lacks any level of human-to-human compassion or genuine interest”. And if I recall correctly from your “stint” on Millionaire Matchmaker … you didn’t exactly come across as a very compassionate person either. Now, maybe that wasn’t an accurate picture of you. But maybe the one you’re painting of Janis isn’t either.

  • Unityyy

    Yup, I had the same opinion. This whole ‘fiasco ‘ of an article was meant to promote this greedy woman and her equally greedy daughter’s desire for more money through shameless self promotion. I laughed hysterically when I googled these two kooks and realized that their article completely backfired by throwing this poor guy under the bus. They really screwed him. But, then again, I’m pretty sure he knows just how vapid and lacking of character the Spindel women are in real life . I suppose they deserve each other… but he will never live this garbage down. Hope it was worth it, Dan. These two witches now control your life. Maybe they’ll buy you a non pretentious Hermes belt to ease the pain.

  • Stacy

    5 bucks says that NYCGuy commenting on this article is actually Janis herself. Everyone that has come across the Spindel women knows how horrible they are! This poor guy needs to run… and run fast!