Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not so Bad After All?

At the end of this semester long journey I concluded that if I dated, the chosen ones would be members of the tribe, the Jewish one that is.

So, then why would I go on a date with a Vietnamese Buddhist?

Fuck, if I know. I guess I was just bored.

Bocher #3
Before my time on Jdate expired, I decided to reply to one last Bocher, and was intrigued when a 32 year old male messaged me letting me know he thought I ‘sounded pretty awesome.’ Included in the message was the minor fact that he was a practicing Buddhist, who ‘seemed to get along better with Jews.’

I responded with a flirty email in which I thanked him for the compliment and told him that his love of all things Jewish, women included, was because, ‘duh, Jews are awesome,’ and then asked him to tell me why he was ‘the shit.’

He wrote back with a long list of accomplishments ranging from independent film making, to photography, to trips around the world. He even included links to websites where I could learn more about his awesomeness.

I found this a tad narcissistic, the sign of a Grois-Halter (show-off) .But he was trying to sell himself, so I guess he was putting all of his mahjong tiles on the table.

And, I was impressed. This Jew loves ‘artsy-fartsy’ types, and classifies herself as one in training.

Three messages passed between us and I gave him my digits.

Later that evening my phone buzzed with a text from an overzealous Bocher.

It read:
‘I’m phone shy until we’ve met so just want to wish you a good night and hope to see you soon.’

That’s a little odd, (the phone shy thing) I thought.

In previous instances, I’d been weary to be the first to make the first call, considering that I’ve long believed that men should always be the one to make the first move. But, I also didn’t want to go on a date with someone whose voice I’d never heard so I texted him back asking if he opposed to me calling him that following evening.

He responded ‘no,’ and the following day, flooded my text inbox with a deluge of messages.

I remind you. We hadn’t talked on the phone, hadn’t met, hadn’t even set a time and date for a possible encounter, and yet he was still sending me a mass amount of text messages.
Odd #2

They read: (an abridged version)

‘I have to warn you, I lisp like Brando, whine like Pee Wee Herman and snortle when I laugh…’The next is a picture message of his lunch

Odd # 3

He then asked me what I was having, and I reply, ‘salad.’

Odd #4

He then sent me another picture message of his jdate account main profile page, then one of mine, and finally one of his work place.

Odd #5

Later that evening, as promised, I phone him on my drive home from class.

Within seconds of the conversation, things became lost in translation. I could not understand a word he was saying, hence the conversation was mostly me politely laughing, and then me saying ‘huh?’ ‘What was that again?’

All in all the conversation lasted about five minutes, and after it, all I know was that we had made plans to meet in the city at Cork and Wine Bar at 6 pm that upcoming Saturday.

I was reluctant to tell my sister. She recently told me she wouldn’t judge me if I were to get knocked up by 'Mr. Booty call', yet had previously told me that she’d like to beat the shit out of said man because he was a loser. As you can tell, at times she is full of bullshit.

She tended to judge, and a date with a 32 year old Asian Buddhist was sure to be met with lots of judgment.

But keeping things from her was like me holding my pee for a more than five minutes; unhealthy and hard.

Finally, I did, and surprisingly, she was somewhat positive. The only thing she questioned was the time; 6 pm. This seemed early for a date, considering most who choose to eat this early are the Bubbees and Zaddies (grandmas and grandpas), the Alter Kockers (old man or woman) , and those with young kinder(kids).

I agreed and texted him to change the time, and the place, b/c truthfully, I hate driving in the city.

‘Take the metro you say.'

I hate the metro. It scares me, and I can’t afford to arrive via cab.

He agreed to meet at 7:30 in Arlington at Eventide.

I arrived around that time, dashed to the ladies room to do a last touch up and waited for him at the door. Ten minutes later we met and walked over to the bar.

I’ll admit it. Sadly, physical attraction is a bit important to me, as are teeth, which he seemed to have few of.

Okay, so he had teeth, but many were missing, i.e., his ‘grill’ was majorly fucked up. We both ordered a glass of Pinot Noir, and he chose to order food. I chose not to, realizing that even a salad takes time to make, and truthfully I would have rather received a kaseer (enema).

I inquired the basic questions; about his job, where he lived, if he had roommates.
He answered: engineer, Silver Spring, MD in a large apartment with his two dogs and a roommate.

He then committed the same faux pas of Bocher #2; he started talking about his ex.

A few wise words to men: Never discuss your ex-girlfriend on a first date. It isn’t kosher, and it’s an extreme turn off.

In the midst of conversing, he continuously grabbed my hand, touched my hand, and tried to hold my hand, which is a major ‘no-go’ with me. I don’t like to be touched and prodded. I’m not a fan of hugs, hugging, or playful punches to the shoulder. I don’t even really like to cuddle.

During this time, he was extremely complimentary, telling me I looked like a princess, and he like the beast.

Finally, his lobster pot pie arrived,

with two spoons, of course, so he could try to feed it to me,
which he did later, as he asked what my father would think about me bringing home a Vietnamese Buddhist.

I know what Stanley would think, ‘What the fuck?’ Followed by another ‘WTF?’ and my mother’s ‘Oi Vay Iz Mir!’ (woe is me!)

He finished the pot pie, slowly, and eventually his glass of wine became empty. When the bartender asked if we wanted another (I hadn’t even finished my first) I say ‘no thank you,’ to which he replied,

‘You wouldn’t even share a glass with me?’

Odd # 6

I lied and said ‘it’s getting late (it’s around 10:30) and I have to be up early.’

He then attempted to help me with my coat, and wrapped his tan scarf around my neck, saying, ‘it looks much better on you than me.’

I quickly unwrapped it from my neck, thanked him, and handed it back.

He offered to walk me to my car and while walking tried to hold my hand. Finally, we arrived at my silver civic. I thanked him profusely for the date and gave him a hug making sure that my face was nowhere near his mouth, so he could not try to kiss me.
He asked if he could see me again, and I could not lie, could not lead him on.

‘Yes, but just as friends.’

He said ‘okay’ and sauntered away from my car.

All in all, only 6 Odds. Not so bad after all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I want my man in a Kippah

Some refer to dating as a learned art. There are hundreds of books, websites and essays that claim to have the answer to it,
And if you need a pocket sized manual, the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at Florida Institute of Technology has a handy brochure entitled, ‘The Art of Dating, which can be folded into any man or woman’s coat or purse and taken out in a time of need.

Some refer to dating as a necessary part of life, like death and taxes.
At one point or another, you’re going to enter into it and you must be ready with all the essentials; books, condoms, mace.

I wouldn’t quite refer to myself as an artist, but childhood paintings, sculptures and etched portraits hang upon the walls of my parent’s home, a picture of mine was even in the kid’s magazine ‘Highlights,’ yet the time spent sketching the faces, shading the outlines, and molding the clay, has done nothing for my skills in the supposed ‘art. of dating’

Because to me it isn’t an acquired art; instead, it’s torture, it’s a game, and rarely do I come out of it a winner.

In high- school and all throughout college I had a steady boyfriend; hence I avoided it all together. Unfortunately, these boyfriends were all drek (literally feces/ crap) which led me down a spiral of despair and onto the couch of a therapist.


She told me, “The men you choose are like rubber bands pushing you close and then pulling you away. You will be attracted to men similar to him [my current boyfriend] the rest of your life if you do not realize this.”

She then handed me a copy of ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,’ a prescription for Prozac, and a hearty thumbs up. I never returned to her office, her crimson colored couch, or to the annoying sound her Zen table waterfall made as the water rushed down it. Instead of making me feel comfortable, the consistent running of water made me feel like I had to pee every time I sat down. The good doctor’s similes weren’t my style, and she apparently had shitty taste in prose.

In June of 2009, Forbes magazine ranked Washington D.C. as the number 6 (out of 40) best cities for singles in the United States, yet ever since my plane landed at Reagan International, and I put my stuff away in Arlington, I’ve been single, extremely single. I wouldn’t even say I’ve steadily dated one man.

So, I ask, yet again, why?

Do I have too high of standards?
Do I even know what I’m looking for, and if that’s the case, why am I looking so hard when people keep telling me that when I stop searching, my bashert(predestined) will suddenly appear?

Prior to moving to D.C., not only had I always been single, I’d also never dated or been the girlfriend of a Jewish man. On my long list (yes there is a paper list) of requirements, this was absent, and it didn’t matter, yet now it does, and it’s not just my father, my mother, my sister, or my relatives who it matters to, most importantly it matters to me. My childhood and past have been marked by traditions, customs, and even food that are all Jewish in nature, and as I witness my sister’s Jewish marriage transpire, I realize that I cannot see a future void of this past and present. Judaism is part of me and I want it to be a part of the man I eventually meet and marry. I want the chuppah.

I want the ketubah, the Brit milah, Bar/ Bat Mitzvah of our kids.

I want the Kugel, the shofar, the mezuzah outside our door.

I want the Jew, not the fro, but I want my man in a kippah.

But, maybe it’s just not the time. Maybe I’m just not ready, or too jaded to see him if he’s standing there. Maybe, I should focus on me, and he’ll appear as my mother says.

Whatever the case, I’ve taken those maybes and decided to log off.

December 6 is my last day on Jdate.

It’s been fun, but too many ‘whys’ have led me to say,‘I just don’t think it’s my time to date.’

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bocher # 2

I find it sad that the sole stimulus for my own dating is due to a blog, because truthfully it’s the only thing at the moment pushing me out the door and into the arms of a single man.

That being said, last Saturday night I took another one for my online followers and met Bocher #2.

Prior to our date we exchanged the acceptable three message quota. I hotlisted, he messaged, and the fun began. His first email consisted of the typical reply to my despondent ‘about me’ section, which reads:

So, here's the deal, I gave this site a second chance, considering the first didn't go so well, but am sad to say that second chances just don't appear to be my thing. About me: I'm in graduate school pursuing an MFA in nonfiction writing. When I'm not writing or attempting to write witty essays, I'm either at the gym or with friends and family. I like to keep busy, and at the moment am doing an excellent job of doing so. I'd love to meet someone who respects me, gets me, and wants to want me. I've come to the conclusion that nice girls finish last, but hope that someday, someone will prove me wrong.

He responded with an, ‘I hope you haven’t given up yet. I’d love to chat, please respond if your time isn’t up.

It wasn’t the wittiest email I’ve received (one Bocher whose last name was Dore, commented that if we were to ever get married I might not want to take his last name), but physical attraction to the man who wore a baseball cap in two of his four pictures and looked more handsome than cute, more preppy than bad-boy, convinced me to write back, plus he was 30, thus fitting my age range of 27-around
34.(any single man over the age of 34 in desire of a 25 year old woman leads me to believe that he might be a paskudnyak (nasty fellow)).

Messages bounced back and forth. In one he mentioned that he’d moved to the area from Los Angeles in order to ‘start a career in international affairs,’ but in the proceeding one he revealed that he had lived in NYC the last year. The two didn’t quite equate, but I took it in stride and when he wrote, ‘I could show you at least one place that I like and that is easy going- the Brickskeller’ I replied coyly, ‘ So, are you asking me out on a date?’ He said yes. I gave him my number… He called…yadda yadda yadda.

After learning that I do not eat meat (I didn’t mention that I don’t drink beer) we decided to meet for Sushi at Sushi Ko , a restaurant in D.C. which he often frequented. The day of the date he texted me and said that we should probably ride together because parking ‘can be difficult.’ I assumed he was saying that he would like to meet at his place and ride together, which was a usual ‘no-go’ in my book of ‘what to do on the first date.’ No where in this ‘book’ did it say, ‘have him pick you up at your house,’ or ‘ride together to save fuel;’ instead, it read, ‘never have him pick you up at your place on the first date, he could be a stalker or a serial killer, and hence knowing your address could be bad,’ and ‘never ride together, one word, AWKWARD.’

But, I agreed to meet him at his apartment in Chevy Chase so he could drive us to the restaurant.
I arrived a little late and as I attempted to parallel park in a tiny space with my Honda Civic, I called to let him know that I was having trouble finding parking. He asked me if I was the car sticking all the way out onto the street, and I laughed, told him, yep, ‘I can’t parallel park, can’t really drive.’
Within seconds he appeared, looking very much like his pictures; handsome in a nice black wool coat, black dress pants and a stripped button down. He was also tall,
5’11.(check and check)

He told me to follow him and I could take his parking spot when we left. As he walked over to a number of cars, I wondered which was his. A man’s car says a lot about him. If he opened the door to the Lincoln town car on his right, I might assume it was his Bubbeh’s (grandmother), if he opened the car door to his left, a Volkswagen Beetle, I might have assumed that he felt comfortable in small spaces. Luckily, he opened the door of the khaki Jeep Wrangler, which said to me, ‘rugged, like a mountain man.’

On the way to the restaurant we bullshitted about our days. He told me that he was moving in a week because he couldn’t stand his upstairs neighbors loud foot stomping at 6 in the morning, and I concurred with his reasoning.

Once we arrived, I remembered that I’d been to the restaurant on another Jdate, and there was plenty of parking, plenty.

He’d made a reservation, but due to the small size of the restaurant, we still had to wait awhile to be seated. We sat in the corner and I learned that he’d gone to the University of California in San Diego and was in a fraternity, which led to us discussing fraternity life. I’d been in a sorority for 2 years at Auburn University, hated it, dropped out, and all in all wasn’t impressed by the experience. He understood, but had met some great guys in his and didn’t hate or love his fratastic years.

Finally, we were seated upstairs and he asked if I liked Saki. Considering, I’d been farshinkert (sloshed) on my first date with Bocher #1, and we all know how that ended, I decided to say yes, but only wanted a glass of wine.
I wasn’t quite sure what he did during the day (a.k.a. his job/ career), so, I decided to ask what a job in international affairs entailed.

He laughed and said,

‘Well, that’s what I’d like to eventually do, but due to the job market, when I got here no one was really hiring. So, when I passed by a shop with a ‘we’re hiring’ sign, I applied and got the job.’

‘And that job would be?’ I asked.

‘I work part time at the Fed ex Kinkos store.’

Now, I know I shouldn’t have judged because I work part time at Gymboree Play and Learn, making practically bupkis,(nothing) but I did, because two broke people does not equal a whole lot of gelt (money ); instead, two broke people equals a lot of dollar bills and no hundreds.

I continued to listen and gave him the benefit of the doubt. The economy sucks, at least he had a job at all, plus if I ever moved he could get me free boxes.
We gabbed about our aspirations, his ‘too work for an embassy or any form of international affairs, mine to ‘write something of substance, gain fame and fortune with a witty nonfiction book.’

Somehow the conversation steered towards expensive D.C. living, which led him to say:

‘I know it’s a faux pas to talk about an ex on a first date, but, last year when we lived together in NYC living was insanely expensive.’

I love it when people start off a sentence with statements such as ‘not to offend you or anything, but,’ or ‘I know it’s a faux pas but,…’ If you don’t want to offend me or you know it’s a faux pas then don’t say it, because you and I both know that what you are about to say is going to definitely offend me.

He then continued to talk about his ex-girlfriend for a good five minutes, and with the information I’d previously been given I concluded that they’d probably been broken up for about six months, hence there was no way he was over her, considering they lived together, and he most likely was simply looking for some toches (booty).

After the meal of one smoked salmon roll, one yellow tail nigiri, and one tuna nigiri, we walked to his car and he asked about us getting together again when he returned from his thanksgiving in Connecticut.

I said I’d like that and when he dropped me off at my car, I gave him a hearty hug, because I usually don’t kiss on the first date (unless I have been boozing) and he said he’d call me soon.

Besides for preventing a possible stalker situation, driving alone on the first date, allows you to review the dialogue, actions and intentions of the Bocher. Yes, he was a neshomeleh (sweet heart), opening my car door, telling me to tell him if I needed his coat if I were to get too chilly, but, unfortunately, all I could focus on was the faux pas, the ex.

I guess his thoughts were dissimilar to mine, because the next day I received a text from him which read:

‘Hi Dorie. Thanks again for coming out last night. I really enjoyed your company. I look forward to getting together again soon. Have a good Thanksgiving.’

I wrote back:

‘Yes, me too and thank you again for dinner. Hope you have fun in Ct and eat lots of turkey. You can tell me how it tastes when you return.’

Today, as I reviewed the texts, I noticed a red ‘x’ next to this outgoing message.

He never got the message.

Maybe, we won’t be going on that second date.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reflections/ Why?

This is my third time on Jdate, shalosh (שָׁלוֹשׁ) (3 in Hebrew). You’d think that after the first two times I would have thrown in the my tallit
(Jewish prayer shawl) and moved on to others means in order to bait Bochers, but I haven’t, which leads me to the question of, why? Why, when most of the men I’ve met and most of the dates I’ve gone on have been crazy?

14, that’s the number of Jdates I’ve been on, which is not a lot, but at the same time, it's not something I'd blow my shofar about it.


My first experience was interesting, not bad or good interesting, just plain ole vanilla yogurt interesting. Of that experience, I would say my favorite date would be date #2, Bocher #2, experience achat (אַחַת, 1). Bocher #2’s profile claimed he was 5’4”, which I took to mean that he had a sense of humor, because truly what man is 5’4?” I concluded that he must be at least 5’9.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt and a couple inches. But, on the night of date I opened the door to find a short skinny guy who was indeed 5’4.” In my wedges, I towered over him, which for me, was a new, odd experience. I’m 5’1”. I’ve never been the same height of any male I’ve dated, much less been able to clearly see over his jewfro.
A paper airplane could have soared over his head, and he might not have even felt a breeze. You get the gist. He was short. I was shocked.

Prior to the date, he texted me to ask if I’d be ‘kosher’ with first stopping by a bar that his friend works at for a ‘quick drink.’ On the first date, I feel it is necessary to well, lie. I pretend to be a low maintenance, carefree, go with the flow kind of gal, because most men do not like that in truth I’m a planner who makes daily to do lists, and finds pleasure in checking off completed tasks. That’s scary, not sexy, so, I tell him ‘sure, I love meeting new people,’ which is a complete lie, because I don’t like meeting new people, I don’t even really like people. (I’m slowly getting over this)

Shorty (I will now refer to him by this moniker) and I make our way to the bar. Once we arrive he parks his VW Rabbit in the back parking lot. (Sign #1). We do not enter in the front entrance; instead, he told me that it was ‘cooler to walk in through the back of the bar, more gangster.’ (Sign #2) He motioned me to the bar where does not introduce me to his bartender ‘friend,’ but instead, ordered two drinks for himself, one for me, and proceeded to hand the ‘friend’ his keys and tell him that his car is parked out back. (Sign #3) Prior to trying this website, I’d dated my fair share of drug dealers, or men who said they were just ‘helping out a few friends,’ so I knew a drug deal when I saw one, and yes, my friends, Shorty was a drug-dealer, and this was a deal.

I typically didn’t like to involve myself in illegal acts. (still don’t) So, after I confirmed my suspicion, I asked him to promptly take me home. He did, and I never saw him again.

I continued to date, but was taken aback by the number of men who didn’t pay on the first date, and didn’t look anything like their profile picture. I was frusturated and over Jdate, and as the website ‘Stuff Jewish Young Adults Like, states, I was ‘Liking to Hate to Like Jdate,’ a process which involved ‘ intitial charm’ followed by, a feeling of ‘distinct aversion to the site.’ The site continued to state that ‘typically, after a month, the JYA will deem Jdate “lame” or “desperate” and will claim to shun association with the site […] Finally, after a latency period of around 3 months the typical JYA will again overturn their opinion of the site.’

I guess I’m the ‘typical JYA’ because three months after cancelling my membership, I decided to give it another go. My favorite Bocher during experience shtayim(שְׁתַּיִם, 2) was a young man I shall call ‘23 and looking to get married,’ or ‘Mr. Marriage.’ This time I agreed to meet him at his apartment in Georgetown, because although I learned little on my first try, I did learn that you should always drive separately on Date #1. Awkward conversations are no fun, neither are awkward hugs, awkward kisses on the cheek, even awkward handshakes.

I arrived on a brisk wintry evening to find Mr. Marriage not yet ready, but willing to let me wait in his apartment while he quickly changed sweaters. I would assume that normal men his age would be listening to some form of rap, pop, or rock while getting ready for a date, but he was listening to the soundtrack to ‘The Beauty of the Beast,’ in French, and while I waited, he sang along. Throughout the entire date, he continued to sing, but he was nice and intelligent, so I decided to give him a second chance and a Date #2. This Date was much better than the first. We grabbed a bite to eat at the vegetarian restaurant on his block and then played Scrabble. Yes, it was dorky, but cute dorky.

After this date, I flew back to Alabama for the holidays, during which he incessantly texted me and on the Saturday I got home asked if we could get together. I said I was beat and insisted on Sunday instead. Sunday arrived and I was still jetlagged so I told him I’d have to cancel. He called me and proceeded to tell me that he was ‘on his way to buy me flowers and that he didn’t understand me.’ I told him that I think we needed to ‘slow things down,’ He went off and when I told him I didn’t understand what he was talking about, he said, ‘ you’re a writer, aren’t you supposed to be intelligent?’ I quickly got off the phone with him and never spoke with him again.

Now, to my present try, which as you all have been reading, has been just as amazing as the first two. I do believe that crazy Bocher #1 (of experience shalosh (שָׁלוֹשׁ)) is the craziest I’ve met while on the site. Yet, I haven’t cancelled my subscription, and I’m still hotlisting men, emailing men, and hopefully going on dates with men. Every time I re-subscribe I genuinely hope that I’ll meet someone, because (I will blow my shofar this time) I’m a catch and I, like most maidels, deserve to be rewarded for my efforts. So, why, why go through all the bullshit, the waste of time, and the money, why? Because after every bad date I think that there has to be one good one, one good guy, one happy ending. Nice Jewish Boys do exist. I know a few, 3 including my brother-in-law,my father, and my nephew.



More have to be out there. They have to...Right?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

'Hush, it's the Kinder'

My childhood was filled with Jewish cuisine; the smell of Kugel, a sweet noodle casserole, Brisket, matzo ball soup, and mandel bread, a cookie similar to biscotti, lingered throughout my home year round. Hebrew prayers, and Yiddish words and phrases echoed off the walls. I never understood these strange words and giggled when they would be spoken. For my sister and me, they were like a secret language that only my parents were able to understand. Like their own ancestors, who prior to the first crusade used the language as a tool of separation, my parents also used the words to their benefit.

Whenever my sister and I were not privy to certain information, or our presence was not welcome, my parents would whisper to one another, ‘Shh, the kinder.’ They’re whispers were never quite soft enough; because, we always heard them, which led to incessant pleading regarding what needed to be kept secret. Often when entering the kitchen, I would say, ‘the kinder, the kinder, better be quiet.’

Some words became separators, while others became used as signifiers of love.
‘You have such a shana ponem,’ my father would say after hugging me tightly and kissing me on the cheek.
‘Shana ponem?’ I asked.
‘A beautiful face, you are my shana ponem.’
I loved being my father’s shana ponem, but my mother had another name by which she called me.
‘Bubeleh,’ she would say, ‘dinner’s ready.’
I never asked the meaning, but later learned it was an endearing term for loved ones.

For the longest time, I believed that I was my mother’s only Bubeleh, but years later heard her call my older sister the same term. I was astounded, shocked, even slightly hurt. After this, the term became slightly tainted, and I disheartened. I always imagined that she referred to my sister by another nickname, like Boshe (her Hebrew name) or even just B, but my term, my ‘Bubeleh,’ Oy vai iz mir! I still like to think that she refers to only me by this name; and it was a mere slip of the tongue. Denial does a lot for my self-esteem.

Other words and sayings sparked interest in my little ears, such as ‘toches,’ ‘bupkis,’ and‘shmuts.’
‘Sit on your toches,’ my mother would insist.
‘My what?’
‘Your bottom.’

‘That’s complete bupkis,’ she’d pronounce to my father.

‘Bupkis?’

'Nonsense, Bubeleh. Your father is speaking complete nonsense!’

‘There’s shmuts all over your shirt, Doe,’ she’d announce while wiping it away with a wet cloth.
‘Shmuts?’
‘Dirt, filth.’

Certain words and sayings weren’t revealed until I aged, because they weren’t ‘kinder, friendly,’ such as ‘putz,’ the slang term for a man who is in fact a dick, or ‘ kish mir en toches,’ which literally means ‘kiss my ass.’

As is evident, the Yiddish language is as much a part of my youth, as is, the shmuts that always landed on my school uniform, the sound of the washer and dryer constantly running in the house, or the smell of fresh mandel bread baking in the oven.

I always wondered the origin of these words that enriched my life and made my own family unique. I asked my mother who had introduced her to the language and she told me that her own mother and father had taught her them while growing up in Dayton, Ohio. Her own mother had even called her bubeleh, and now she was able to call me the same name of love. I never had the chance to meet this wonderful woman, she passed before my birth, but realize that this passing of tradition gave me a part of her, and thus, when I have my own little ones I look forward to referring to them with the same name.

The language began as the primary language of the Ashkenazic Jews, which referred to the Jews residing along the Rhine River in northern France and western Germany. It started as a Germanic dialect, but transformed to one that included elements of Hebrew, Arabic, Slavic, and Romance languages. The persecution of Jews in this region during the Crusades led to its spread to Lithuania and Poland. At this time, Jews used the language to their benefit. They began to isolate themselves from Non-Jews and formed their own culture and economy in which this language was spoken. It defined them and aided in the promise of their future in a society that did not want them.

This thought changed in the late 18th and 19th century, when Jews began to encourage an immersion of themselves into the Western European culture. During the Haskalah, a period of Jewish enlightenment based on the European enlightenment, the use of Yiddish declined and was looked down upon. It became a symbol of the old and unworldly. Suddenly, Jews no longer wanted to separate themselves; but instead wanted to once again be a part of the crowd.

The decline of this language coincided with the death of the six million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Those who survived the holocaust and remained in the Soviet Union found that it had been outlawed by Stalin. Without Jews to carry on and transmit the traditions and language, it withered and almost died, but my own family, exists as a symbol of the strength in which Jews possess.

Today, a small resurgence of the language can be heard in among the ultra-orthodox population of New York,
who consider it to be their primary means of communication. In 2004 it was estimated that less than a quarter of a million people in the United States fluently spoke the language. Interestingly, although it is a somewhat dead language, many universities have begun teaching it and there are even Yiddish studies departments at Harvard, Columbia and Oxford.
Although spoken by few, a complete demise of the language appears impossible, as is proven by my own parents, who can still be heard ‘hushing around the kinder,’ or myself who still believes that although men consistently reassert themselves as pricks, one day, (oh, I pray) I’ll meet a nice jewish bocher, who loves my shana ponem.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Who's the sucka now?'

After I agree to meet him the texts end for the evening and I cozy up under my heated blanket, comforter, and pink sheets… sounds like a lot of covers for a little lady, but I’m cold even when its 98 degrees outside. I’m like a chameleon. My shade changes with the seasons and I can often be seen outdoors sunning myself in order to gain warmth. But, enough about my chameleon qualities, back to the Bocher:

Monday morning arrives and as I help my manager set-up the equipment at Gymboree Play and Learn, I receive a text from Bocher # 1. He waited an entire 12 hours to have contact, wow, he deserves a cookie. The text reads:

‘I have a present for you.’

After reading this, I laugh and question what kind of present he could have waiting. Later, I mention the text to my sister and brother in law, both of whom have been updated on Mr. Crazy and I’s strange status. In response, my brother in law says, ‘I know what kind of package he has.’ He then makes a crude motion to his penis and my sister and I both roll our eyes and say, ‘Eww.’

My day continues without any further texts from Bocher. He waits until the evening to make his next move, and it’s a big one.

After getting out of the shower I look to my cell and behold one new text from him. It reads: (I hope you are sitting down reader, or are close to the nearest restroom, because you might pee in your pants after this one)

‘Would you like to move in together?’

Even now, I cannot help but laugh from shock,because truthfully who asks that after four dates, or better yet, who the hell texts that? Who? Ahh yes, Bocher #1 does! Oy vay!
I’m pretty astounded and confused. I’ll recap the last blog of texts: ‘you are a narcissist, you hurt my feelings, you are replaceable, ta-ta… but wait, let’s move in together,’ yep that’s normal.

Honestly, what I’d like to write back is, ‘Bist meshugeh?’ (Are you crazy?)
But instead I text:
‘What?’

His: (even better than the first)
‘Please bring your stuff. I’d also like to discuss the possibility of us getting pregnant sooner rather than later.’

My mouth is agape. I mean come on; he has to know I’m writing a blog, what other reason would there be for his ridiculousness. The texts are a pot of gold. Finding him has been like having the matching $ signs on the dollar scratch off, and winning not just my dollar back, but instead, 2!

I tell him we can discuss that later, and suggest we just meet for dinner this Friday evening.

He texts:
‘Talk is cheap. I’m talking about doubling down and diving in head first.’

He then goes on to tell me about the many girls he’s been boning over the past few weeks, and I wonder, who’s the shlooche (slut) now? I haven’t been boning dozens of Bochers. Mr. Booty call and I have ended our fun, because he’s a putz (dick/ penis), and I realize that he will never koved (respect) a Ms. Booty call, and koved (respect) is truly what I deserve.

I try to steer the texts in a direction that does not involve babies or the making of a home…but he’s very persistent in his wants, until I tell him that I’d ‘simply like to get to know him.’

Suddenly, he doesn’t want me so much. He goes from wanting us to cohabitate and have little kinder (kids) to now being indifferent about us meeting for dinner.

He writes, ‘I thought we had potential but I wasn’t really enjoying myself (hence I want you to move in). I’m seeing some other ladies but they aren’t artsy like you. I’d be happy being friends. Take it easy. I’m indifferent either way.’

He then goes on to tell me that (got tsu danken-thank god) he’s free Friday and is having a hard time ‘getting a sense of who you are,’ considering I ‘play games and rely on the imposition of others.’

I see no point in arguing with him and simply say I’ll see him Friday. If I argue the texts will continue and I’m exhausted from Monday and him.

The week continues without a single text from Bocher #1, and I am extremely grateful. I use the week to relay the texts and conversation to a number of people; my sister, brother –in-law, co-workers, and mother, all of whom have similar responses of he's 'meshugeh ahf toit (really crazy).’ My sister says I should definitely not go out with him again, he could be truly geferleh(dangerous).

I think about my need for a good blog post in conjunction with my need to live another day. Sorry, I choose another day and text him Friday to tell him I’m not feeling well, because I’m a pussy who simply can’t ‘just say no.’

He replies and tells me that he hopes I feel better. I breathe a sigh of deep, deep relief, and continue with my Friday.

That night, he texts me to see how I’ m feeling and I wonder if maybe he is a good guy, but soon receive an answer after I tell him ‘sleeping, but better.’

His response:

‘You are a complete joke! Keep sleeping suck.’

So, after yet again deleting his number from my phone, I do just that.

I roll over and keep sleeping. Who’s the sucka now?

Monday, November 9, 2009

'Be Miserable and Wither'

Bocher #1 might be Bi-polar, not like jokingly, ‘Ha, he’s just bi-polar,’ but clinically bi-polar, as in takes medication for a chemical imbalance in his noggin.

After telling me we were ‘fundamentally incompatible,’ I deleted his number from my cell phone and decided to take his ridicule with stride. It was fun to write about, but I was moving on. Unfortunately, although done with him, he was not finished with me.

The Saturday of Halloween I receive a text from an unknown number as I’m getting together my costume of cat ears and a tale.

It reads, ‘Happy Haloween, Dorie. Be safe and hope you are doing well, :), Eric’

I laugh at the fact that he’s texted me and then at the fact that he has misspelled Halloween. For someone who claims to be a bal toyreh (scholar), he is a dumkop (dunce).

I forget about it, make my way to a house party in Dupont, and freeze my tiny tail off on the rooftop of a friend’s condo. My phone buzzes, I glance to it, another text from him:

‘Can you please help me?’

Being the nice young lady, and gitte neshomah (good soul) that I am, I text him back.
‘Are you okay?’

No, he’s not ill, well, physically…mentally, yes, as his ongoing responses imply. The man is wordy, like someone who wasn’t able to talk his whole life, and then suddenly, was given the go ahead. So, like the previous posts, I’m going to abbreviate the abundance of texts that he inundated my innocent phone with.

‘I don’t know what your deal is but I would like to talk face to face. I am baffuled (yes he spelled it this way) by your behavior. You’re stupud(yes that’s the spelling). I’m hot. You narcissist.'

My jaw does not close, even as I type a response. I’m a little ongetrunken (drunk), but enough to know when someone is being rude and offensive. I type back:

‘Huh? You berated me and told me you just wanted 2 be friends. Are you drunk?’

He types:

‘No dorie. I’m not. U suck u r so self involved. You are so disrespectful. You hurt my feelings. You are an idiot. I would have taken care of your tuition and whatever else stressed you out. You are a fucking idiot so be miserable and wither.’

Truthfully, I don’t know how to reply and what to say. A 30 yr old man has just told me that I hurt his feelings, that I was an idiot, and that without him I will be sure to lead a lonesome, horrible life.

I’m kaas (angry), and want him to quit texting me, but know that ignoring him is not the answer. He will simply continue with the texts until my inbox is full of bullshit.

So, I call him on my way home from the party.

He answers and in the background I hear the drunken muffles of others. It sounds like he’s at McDonalds ordering off their dollar menu. This negates his denial of drunkenness. No man who takes a date to The Ritz Carlton eats McDonalds just for the

‘Hi, Dorie. This is [he states his full name]. Where have you been?’

‘Hi, Bocher #1. What do you mean where have I been? You told me you just wanted to be friends. So, what do you want, Bocher # 1’

‘I don’t want to be just friends. I want to be your boyfriend.’

I sit in my car tsemisht (bewildred) and laughing, and then tell him that he’s drunk and we can talk about this at another time.

I hang up, change into my pajamas and fall fast asleep until 7 am, when my cell buzzes next to me.

I am an incredibly light sleeper. The sound of an orange tic tac hitting the floor could jar me awake, keep me awake, and greatly anger me.

I open the phone. It’s him, shocking! 2 texts read:

‘You suck.’

Followed by,

‘Doe is rude and extremely offensive.’

I do not respond until later that afternoon. I know you are thinking at the moment, why the fuck is she even responding? To which, I will reply with the answer, ‘I don’t fucking know.’

I text: ‘I think we need to talk about last night. Please call me when you get the chance.’

He responds: ‘Its fine we r cool now.’

I’m surprised by the normality of this text and type back:

‘Really, because last night, not so cool.’

Bocher #1 does not disappoint and responds with a usual fluster of insanity.

‘Really? Well your behavior since we first met, ‘not so cool.’ I have 2 gfs now one is 19 and the other is a hostess at the cheesecake factory and is interested in converting to Judaism. They are both much nicer than you.’

I laugh, and laugh, and then laugh some more while typing, ‘Congrats.’

His response: 'Ugh. I don’t know why I care so much but you are insulting and hurtful. You are replaceable. Ta-ta.’

Any man who types, texts, or says the words ‘ta-ta’ is questionable.

I remove myself from my phone and continue on with my day, thinking that Bocher # 1 is done with the texts, but no, he returns for more, and my poor phone becomes yet again a victim.

‘I am sorry for my last message. I would like to get together and talk sometime if you’d be willing.’

Honestly, I don’t know whether to blow it off and tell him to zolst es shtipin in toches (shove it up his rectum) or respond, because I really need another good blog. So, for the sake of the blog, I agree to meet up with him to discuss his intentions and remarks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happiness is only a Jew Away?

Everyone desires happiness, wholeness, completion. At 25, I’ve pretty much found none of the three, yet notice myself searching for each through different avenues; family, friends, work, school, men. I want to be ridiculously happy, you know the kind of happy where your cheeks hurt so much from smiling, or you feel as if you’ve just done a thousand crunches from laughing so much. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, it makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Yes, I want it.


Judaism considers, ‘marriage to be the ideal state of personal existence; a man without a wife or a woman without a husband, is considered incomplete.’ Does this mean that in order to reach that state of nirvana I must marry, because if so, I guess I should search harder, re-do my Jdate profile, up my ‘game.’

In Judaism, they call it basheret zein (to be destined) in my language; I call it Mom and Dad, Brooke and Gary. Truthfully, this statement appears accurate in respect to my life and those around me. These two marriages exist as the ideals set before me. My parents have been married for over 35 years and my sister and her husband are going on year four.

I’ve never had to deal with the D word, divorce; those around me have never become a part of that roughly 50% who can no longer work it out. Divorce is not a part of my language, my life, and I don’t ever want it to be. Well, of course you say, ‘no one wants this to be an aspect of their life,’ but I’d like to avoid this by any means, thus I rely on the facts to lead my life.

Statistics show that certain factors contribute to the likelihood of divorce. Many of them are logical, including age. Those who wed when fresh out of diapers, usually end up divorced, while those who wait till they’re in their boxers, briefs, panties or thongs have lower chances of signing on the dotted divorce line. My mother walked down the aisle at 24, while my father waited for her under the chuppah, wearing a polka-dotted blue bow-tie at 25. My sister signed the ketubah (Jewish marriage agreement) with her hubby when she was 26, he 25.



The odds are with them because, ‘only 24% of those who marry after 25 will divorce.’ I am 25. I’m already beating the odds, but could strengthen my chances if I wait till I’m old, grey and wrinkled, because ’60 year old men and women enjoy the lowest likelihood of divorce.’ It might greatly please my father if I waited that long, and truthfully after my current Jdate experiences, I question whether it might indeed take me 35 years to meet my match. I pray it doesn’t, and hope that God is listening.


Another factor that strengthens the likelihood of dissolution is geography. Where a couple resides apparently has a large influence over marital bliss. People in the south may be politer, making sure to say ‘Yes Ma’am, No Ma’am,’ ‘Yes sir,’ ‘No sir.’ Southern men may be gentlemen, their gals may even be southern belles, but this does not save them from divorce, because ‘the Bible Belt states [Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota] have some of the highest divorce rates of all.’ The divorce rate for Alabama is 5.4%, while the rate for Virginia is only 4.2%. Does this mean that if I move back South and meet a man my marriage might be doomed? My parents have never left their one story brick home on Pine Needle in Mobile, Alabama, and their marriage is still intact and thriving. Does this mean they are the exception? My sister and brother –in-law have yet to relocate from Northern Virginia. Does this mean their smiles are merely a result of their location? And finally, if I move to the North Pole, does this ensure that my husband and I will die hand in hand. These questions appear ridiculous, but when it comes to marriage, divorce, happiness or tears, they might be relevant.

Although these two factors and others (income, education, race) are important, at the moment one factor outnumbers them all; religion. I’ve never been an extremely religious Jew. Growing up, I attended the Jewish Community Center for pre-school, went to Sunday school on Sundays, wore a cute new dress on the High-Holidays of Rosh Hashanna (our Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (our day of Atonement), even sometimes went to Shabbat services on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. When it came time for my Bat-Mitzvah, I belted the Hebrew prayers loudly. But, as I grew out of those cute Ralph Lauren dresses, I grew out of my faith as well. I began to question my religion and my place within it. I dreaded Sunday school and saw it as a major hamper to my sleep. I didn’t have many Jewish friends. At my private school, I was only one of five who considered Christ to not be their savior. Instead of attending a Jewish summer camp, I attended a Christian one in which I learned how to sign ‘Jesus loves Me,’ and attended vespers each night. Not one of my boyfriends or crushes were Jews. I honestly believed that no cute Jewish men existed, and that the term ‘hot’ only applied to Christians. But, then I moved to Northern Virginia, met some ‘hot’ Jews, and began contemplating the role my faith played in my future, my marriage, my happiness. Emmanual Clapsis writes: "Controversy abounds on the topic of survival rates, but the best studies show a higher survival rate for single faith marriages than interfaith marriages" Some studies even imply that ‘3 out of 4’ interfaith marriages end in divorce, thus if I to continue to take every action possible to prevent spousal separation my decision regarding a yarmulke wearing mate over a gentile (non-Jew) should be simple, a Jewish man it is. But, there is a big, B-U-T, because I still don’t know. Yes, the ideals set before me are of happy Jewish marriages, but truthfully before I find my basheret, I need to simply find happiness, and until then, I’m not ready to know.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Once A Putz, Always a Putz

There is a reason/ reasons why I left Jdate, and vowed to never return; the Bochers’ were shady liars who feigned true interest, while only wanting to slide their shvantzes (penises) where they are not welcome. There have been drug dealers who thought a first date and a deal were one in the same, and others who asked to split the bill on our first date.( Gevalt! (heaven forbid)) There were even those who were definitely into men more than I.

But, I allowed outsiders to convince me to give it another go, ‘you need to date older men, Dorie,’ said my father, ‘You’ll meet someone this time. I’m sure,’ said my sister. Oh, they were so optimistic. Sorry, Dad and Sis, I think the Bochers’ of Jdate have failed yet again.
The week after our fourth date, the one in which Bocher #1, asked me to be exclusive, sailed by smoothly. We texted back and forth; I wished him luck on an upcoming interview, he thanked me graciously. Friday arrived and after not hearing whether we had weekend plans, I texted him to inquire.

‘Hope you are doing well, wondering whether you’d like to get together this weekend?’

‘Would you?’ he replied.

‘Yes, but I’m busy Friday and Saturday, was thinking we could do something Sunday.’ I replied.

A good while passed, and then I got THE text.

‘No thanks, Dorie.’

Three words, yet I read them over and over again like they were in another language; one I most certainly didn’t know. One that I’ve come to call; the language of the Shtik drek (shit-head).

I rehashed Date #4 in my mind. Yes, he said he was ‘my biggest fan.’ Yes, he said a good number of times that he ‘really, really liked me and that he had mentioned me to his mother. ‘Yes, he showed me the workout area in his condo and said he would ‘give me a key’ so I could use it. Yes, he most definitely asked me to be exclusive, hadn’t he?

I texted him back, beyond confused, wrote, ‘ Huh?

‘I’m sorry my grandmother is coming in Sun and it is the only time I will get to see her. Even were that not the case however ure proposal that we hang out Sunday night is farce and I would never agree. You are apparently very very busy, and apparently go to bed at 7:45 many nights.’

I quickly typed back, ‘Yes, I am busy, but I am trying to make this work. I’m very confused, Bocher.’

He responded, ‘I frankly don’t see this working. I would like to be friends. There seems to be a fundamental incompatibility here. Let’s get coffee or something another weekend.’

Shock and awe. Shock and awe, followed by me wanting to write back, ' Gai tren zich.' (go fuck yourself ) I remained tsemisht (bewildered), my left eye brow raised slightly in confusion.

I typed, 'What? I thought you wanted us to be exclusive and now you want to ‘just be friends.’ That doesn’t make sense.

Besides shock and awe, I was highly, highly perturbed. I didn’t know what to think, and yet I wasn't sure if I cared, but waited for a response. Yet again, I mulled over the past dates in which he has told me that ‘we have so much in common! I find you so interesting.’

After this text, I decided to put aside my cell phone, placed it far, far away, because frankly, it was ruining my positive energy and affecting the writing I was working on. I put it in my purse on the other side of my bedroom and not soon after heard the sound of my phone vibrating, not one time, not two, but seven. Seven times. I did not make my way to my purse. I did not fish for my cell phone amongst the other things in my purse; wallet, ipod, lipgloss, Tylenol, tampons. I left it there, continued on with my day, which consisted of completing my goal of 1000 words and working out at the gym. There, I saw my sister, who had been previously been informed of the strange turn in which Bocher and I’s relationship had suddenly taken. We chated on the elliptical as we both feverishly moved our muscles. I told her about the plethora of messages he had sent me and the fact that I had not yet glanced at them.

My sister loves drama. She is quite the plyoot (bull-shitter).If the TV network BRAVO were to create a ‘Housewives of Falls Church, City,’ she’d be the first to apply.

She begged me to check them, but I refused, until later that evening at her house when I grew tired of her incessant pleading and her husband’s inquiries. I promised to read them aloud as my 2 year old nephew grabbed fistfuls of mac and cheese out of his bowl. But before reading, I quickly scanned them to make sure they were appropriate for everyone’s ears. They were not, so I picked which lines to read.

In the interest of space and your own boredom, I will do the same for you.

‘Actually, what I said was that I would appreciate it if you didn’t continue to have sex with someone a month into us going out for my physical health since I don’t want VD or any other diseases…I don’t want to be implicated in some plebian drama (yes he did use ‘plebian’)…I wasn’t so much asking you to go steady (yet again he did say ‘steady’) as to preserve a zone of basic decency. Our dynamic (which apparently is not one that meshes) has me agitated and occupying too much mental space for someone I see once a week.’

After reading them, I looked at my brother in law, farmisht (dumbfounded). For a writer, I had no words. Bocher #1 had successfully berated me, but by that point I was pretty much over it. Drama I do not do. I have enough of my own. My brother in law looked to his son, smiled and said, ‘Yay, once again DeDe is all yours,’ to which my nephew responded with his arms flailing, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, De De De De De.’

At least, one of us was happy, because in the end my brother in law was right, Bocher #1 was just looking to get some, and truthfully, I’m not looking give.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Miscommunication

I shall begin this blog post with a mis-claimer of sorts: Bocher #1 appears to be bi-polar, or suffering from some sort of personality disorder; therefore, what I believed to be merely an aftereffect of alcohol on our first encounter/ date, was actually one of his personalities saying hello. I shall proceed:

Date # 3 ended on an encouraging note; a night at the symphony, a nice dinner, good conversation, some foreplay, a kiss. Date # 4 began on another, on a completely different page. It started with a text, sent by me, misread by him.

Thursday evening, as I sat in my advanced workshop, critiquing essays, praising writers, I notice, yet again, a classmate, Mr. Pepperoni,( I shall refer to him as) whipped out a bag of Pepperoni and popped a single slice in his mouth. I try not to judge people’s food choices, because most would find my obsession with dried prunes to be peculiar, but I could not help but think that this was the strangest snack I had seen eaten in a school setting. Apples, granola bars, carrots, vending machine foods I understand, but bite-sized pepperoni, seems quite kooky. I had mentioned this man to Bocher # 1 on our preceding date, and he too thought it to be out of the ordinary, so, I decided to text him that Mr. Pepperoni had yet again become hungry.
‘Mr. Pepperoni has yet again taken out his bag of tasty treats. Strange, indeed.
He texted back; ‘Eh, I’m over it. Go take a hike.’
At this point, my eyebrows cringed, and I thought, ‘What the fuck?’
I text him back: ‘Huh, what are you talking about, did I do something wrong?’
He replies: ‘Yes, you were telling me about some guy’s dick, which is highly unappealing and quite unattractive. I’m done with you.’

I firmly believe that communication is the key to any successful relationship. Text messages greatly hinder this crucial aspect. It’s impersonal and one cannot fully comprehend the message being transmitted, as is the case here. A relationship via text is doomed from the start.
I texted him back explaining my true meaning. No response. I called him apologizing for the miscommunication, again explained, and asked him to call me back. No call. I go to sleep. It was midnight, drama I do not do after this hour.

The next day, Friday, he texted me to apologize, and said that considering he had accepted my drunken booty-calls on our first day, he hoped that I too would accept his blunder. I did, but told him that his texts hurt, to which he responded with a plethora of messages. For time purposes I will jumble them into one:
‘I am very careful as to who I let into my life. I have worked very hard to be at the place I am right now and do not want to deal with anyone who might hinder this. I do not know your current situation, but hope you can understand this.’
I responded: ‘Well, I don’t want to get in the way of your life or your future.’

Throughout the day and into the evening, texts were sent back and forth. In them, he questioned my current sexual health/ whether I have a venereal disease, basically called me a nafkeh (whore). I phoned him, but he did not answer, or phone me back. He tshepen (annoyed) me, but I agreed to see him the next evening after he insisted we me to meet to discuss this face to face.

I spend Saturday writing, slightly dreading an evening with him. I’ m not one who enjoys confrontation or criticism. I choose to surround myself with positive people who uplift me, make me happy, listen to me cry, comfort me as I do, not those who make those tears fall.

We chose to meet at his condo at 7:30. I arrived, called him, to which he said happily, ‘I’ll be down in a sec.’ I waited and waited, and then waited some more. I flipped through the Anthropologie catalogue three times, and began to flip again, when finally, approximately 20 minutes later he emerged apologizing in slacks and a button down that I had not yet seen. After the flea incident, he sent his entire wardrobe to the cleaners for fear of further infestation. Luckily, he had finally received said wardrobe, comforter, and other things he had sent to be disinfected.
Weird, I think yet again.
He said I look very nice in my leggings, flowery blouse, beret and ballet flats.
‘Very Parisian.’
He mentioned earlier in the day wanting to dine at restaurant which President Obama recently took Michelle for their anniversary, Blue Duck Tavern.
‘I’m not very hungry.’ I said not wanting to sit through a whole dinner date.
‘That’s okay. We can just get drinks,’ and so we do. He asked about my writing and my progress. I related to him my current frustrations regarding my thesis and my struggle to find distance while writing about my personal life. I continued my ‘sob story’ telling him how I’m struggling to find writing time in between classes and work. To which he replied,

‘How much do you get paid at Gymboree (a kid’s gym where I teach gym and art classes)?’
$12. 50 an hour. It’s pretty shitty.’
‘I’ll pay you $100 this week to call in sick and write.’

‘No,’ I say. Bist meshugeh? (Are you crazy?) I thought. ‘That’s like prostitution.’
‘No, it’s called patronage,’ he says.
‘No. Definitely, no.
I sat far away; distant from him, confused how he could be so polite, acting as if the texts had never been sent.
He noticed, asked me what was wrong. I told him that I thought he knew to which he responded, ‘What? But I’m your biggest fan.’
Fuck, I’m farblondzhet. (confused)

Men claim they are easy to understand. Supposedly, they ‘say what they mean.’ That is ridiculous. Their sentences are mired in many meanings, and at the moment, I understand none of his.

I bring up the texts, and the discussion began. He let me know that at my age (he is 29, I am 25) he was doing a lot of crazy things, still in L.A. (he went to USC film school here), didn’t really know where his life was headed. He’d been through a lot, but at this moment he finally knew where he was headed, hence, he was hesitant when letting others in.
I assumed he was over the whole drunk-dial thing, considering he had asked me on a second date, never mentioned it, asked me on a third, then on a fourth. I was wrong.
After letting me in on his life story, he wanted to know if I was done with Mr. Booty call. He then revealed that if we continued to see one another I would be, because he did not want to get a venereal disease or AIDS.
What the fuck?
I asked him, ‘Are you asking me to only date you, to be exclusive?’
He said, ‘yes,’ and I agreed, thinking about how communicating with him was at times completely confusing.

The date continued and we both ordered a second drink. He ordered a third, I stopped at two, he continued on to four. Four vodka cranberries into the conversation and I could tell he was slightly tipsy, or drunk, and the conversation had become continuously more erratic. He finally asked for the bill, and I glanced to it, wanting to pay. It was over $150 dollars. I put my wallet away. I tell him I would like to do something nice for him, and he told me that spending time with him is enough. He’s ongetrunken.(drunk)

We walked back to his condo and I agreed to come up. He wanted to show me the horse-races he had been betting on while online. He asked me to pick a horse. I declined, but after much insistence agreed to spend money frivolously.

I told him I’m going to use the restroom. When I returned, I noticed that many of the top buttons on his shirt have magically come undone. No longer do a few chest hairs peek out from his shirt; instead, I now saw a small forest.
Fantastic.

I let him know that I was oysgehorevet (exhausted) and should get home. He asked me to stay. I declined, saying, ‘another time.’ Hand in hand we walked to my car, and kissed goodnight. I promised to text him when I’ve made it home.
I did.
He responded. ‘My chest, her head.’
'Huh,?'
I do not respond, and went to sleep baffled.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Growing Problem, An Easy Fix?

During the summer of my junior year in high-school (2002), I, and another friend, departed from the sweltering heat of Mobile, Al and ventured to an even hotter local, Israel. For six weeks, we hiked through the Negev Desert, up Masada, a historical site in which 960 Jews chose death over surrendering to the Roman Empire, and even through the Golan Heights. We lounged in the Dead Sea, covered ourselves in the deep green mud of its waters, sun-bathed on the shores of the Kinneret and the Tiberias, placed our special prayer in the Western Wall, and even spent several nights working on a kibbutz (a self-governing community, similar to a commune).


We formed adeeper sense of what it meant to be Jewish. Our group of sixteen formed an identity of one Jewish unit, yet even as we waved our goodbyes and hopped aboard a plane, we could hear our friends shout, ‘Bye Bama.’You see, from the moment we arrived in Israel to the moment we left, we were linked to our location. The revelation of Jews in Alabama was a shock, followed by incessant teasing. It appeared that news regarding our presence had never been transmitted up north or out west. Southern Jews were a myth and debunking it was almost impossible. I have used this to my advantage while residing in Washington D.C. and during my many efforts to find an NJB online, (Southern Belle looking for her Union Soldier). Sadly, this fact may truly become fiction, because as the rate of Jews in United States rapidly declines, as does the rate of Jews in the South, and more specifically my state of Alabama.
Presently, I reside in Northern Virginia but my heart belongs to Alabama. It sounds cheesy, yes, but similar to my friends in Israel who could not and would not separate myself from my state, I too, cannot detach myself from Bama, and although I do not know whether a return is a part of my unpredictable future, I would like to know that if this be the case there are Jews to return to. I am not alone with this feeling. In September of last year Jews in the South and around the States were surprised to learn that the problem in one small southern town, Dothan, Alabama, had escalated, leading one yarmulke wearing Jew to whip out his wallet and offer monetary incentive as bait. Larry Blumberg, a member of Temple Emanu El, extended $1 million over the next 10 years ($50, 000 to each family) to help relocate 20 young Jewish families to the small city of Dothan. His announcement came with much excitement and within several weeks the Temple’s website had accumulated over 275,000 hits, but as is usually the case, the quantity was massive, but the quality was lacking. And let’s be honest, quality is what Jews are looking for, listing a number of stipulations that accompany the $50,000. They include: the family must remain in Dothan for at least 5 years, pass background and credit checks, submit written and personal Rabbinic references, host an in-home visit at their current residence, and travel to Dothan to meet the dwindling Jewish community. After reading this I wonder if uprooting your family for five years and inviting someone to investigate your entire life is worth the $50,000. Is the fine print worth the reward? 400 families thought so, but as of February 2009, only one had made the move. The Temple assures that ten more are to follow, but I wonder if money is the only way to solve the problem, especially in this harrowing economy?
My own Synagogue, Ahavas Chesed, struggled with a similar story in which the old are dying, while the young are leaving and never coming back.


The prospects of the big-cities and more burgeoning Jewish populations are causing young Jews like me to question whether there is any opportunity in Mobile. For myself, I wonder why I would want to return to a city in which options to write and edit appear dismal and only in the forms of a small local newspaper and local magazines. Unlike Temple Emanu El, Ahavas Chesed chose another way to recruit members. Last year my father, as well as several other congregation members met to discuss the possibility of allowing non-Jewish spouses to become members of the synagogue. Opinions regarding this idea were countless; how could one become a member without wanting to commit them to the religion? How could a congregation allow a discrepancy between the two? In the past, non Jews were not considered full members unless they were willing to undergo religious conversion. In the conservative sect of Judaism, Rabbi’s will not officiate at interfaith marriages; therefore, how could my synagogue, one of the conservative sect, allow those already married to pray where they could not be blessed? Questions like these were debated, but eventually, the fact that our congregation had dwindled to only 175 families trumped them. Is this a way to bring more families to Mobile or assure that those growing up do not leave never to return? I do not know. I am myself am still struggling with the knowledge that my Jewish heritage is impossible to escape, while questioning whether I believe in the importance of marrying a Jewish Bocher. Does this news affect my ultimate return? It does not hurt, nor help, because truthfully the only thing bringing me back is family, and sometimes, this overrides possible opportunities elsewhere. My future is unknown, my beliefs still forming, but my family has always been there and it is with them that I continuously long to be.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

'All Dressed Up'

The prospect of Date # 3 begins quite grand. The Friday morning before our Saturday night date he texts me asking if I’d like to accompany him to the see the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, to which I reply, ‘that sounds amazing.’
He’s pulling out all the stops. This man wants to get laid. I think.
I tell my sister, who is uber-excited for me. Frankly, more excited than I am. And later, when I mention it to my brother –in-law, he confirms my thoughts.
He’s definitely looking to get some.
Shit! I will most definitely have to hold myself to a one drink minimum. No booze, no bootie! I think.
Saturday goes by without any glitches. I sleep in until 10:30. My workout is not rushed. He does not text to cancel, or move the date to a later time; instead our only texts discuss the planned time of our meeting, which is my decision. ‘6:20 if we want to grab dinner before the symphony, or around 7:20/30 if we want to grab dinner after.’ We have box seats, so we can dip and eat if you get hungry.’
I choose 7:20, hoping the extra hour will allow me to do some writing. I always have such high hopes.
I meet him at his condo (that he owns, might I add) in Foggy Bottom at the appropriate time. After calling him to let him know of my arrival, I wait. A few minutes later he taps on my window and I open the door to find him in the exact same outfit he had worn on our first date. I might have been farshnikert, but fashion I never forget!
We make our way to the Kennedy Center. In the cab, he lets me know that he sent one of the top entomologist a sample from his condo.
He’s going to be flying in to take a look at my place.’
Am I supposed to be impressed? I wonder. Frankly, I find that a tad excessive.
The night is cool, crisp, like a tall refreshing drink. We arrive and snag our tickets from will call. I glance to the ticket. My eyes immediately scan in on the price, 60 bucks.
60 bucks! That’s $120 total, and we haven’t even gone to dinner yet. On my budget of $20 a day I could live off of these two tickets for six days, six freakin days! Oy, Vay!
As we wait for the music to begin, we discuss our day. He spent his writing an article. I spent mine writing one (on him) as well. At times, I feel we are so similar, at times; his overflowing wallet reminds me that we are not. Besides us, another young couple sits. I watch as she moves her chair towards him, puts her hand on his knee, and grabs his hand. I move my own towards him, one on top of the other, subtle, but obvious, he is oblivious to my body language. His hands remain in his lap. Not one to make the first move, I quickly move mine to the other side.
The first act, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony No. 6, begins. The conductor, a Hungarian half bald fella, moves his arms with veracity. The music moves from mellifluous to melancholy, and then ends with great intensity. I glance to Bocher #1, he mentions that he wishes he had some Twizzlers, and we both laugh. Act 1 commences and he says that he needs to use the little boy’s room. I concur and so together we make our way to the restrooms. Oddly, this is an action that has become routine. Our bladders appear to be linked, which is strange, considering I have to pee almost every five minutes. It’s refreshing to know that someone else also has a bladder the size of a tiny lima bean.
After our trip to the restroom, he asks me, ‘Everything come out okay?
Questions such as these leave me farmisht.(confused)
Is he trying to be crude, witty, all of the above?
I never know exactly how to respond. Although I would like to give him a raise of the eyebrow, I simply giggle and grin.
After taking our seats for the second act, Bela Bartok’s The Wooden Prince, he mentions that he is in need of a diet coke, and asks if I would like a beverage as well. I politely decline, and he leaves. A few minutes pass and I smile at the couple sitting besides us. The doors close, the symphony begins. His seat remains empty. I stifle my apprehension.
He’ll be back.
Twenty-minutes pass and I glance to the door. Again, I smile to the couple next to me. Their grins say it all, ‘Poor girl, left by her date, and at the symphony. How sad!’
Sad, indeed. I try to focus on the music, the flute, the harp, and the loud booming drum, but my eyes continue to look over to the door hoping he’ll make a grand entrance. I can no longer enjoy the melody, the beauty, the ballet; he has now ruined it all. Angry and verklempt (ready to cry), I continue to hope he will appear.
An hour later, and still no Bocher, the symphony players take their last bow, and I walk briskly to the door.
Outside, Bocher #1 waits, hands in his pocket, looking kalamutneh.(gloomy)
It was my fault, says the usher. People aren’t allowed in after the symphony has started. It distracts the conductor.
I look at her, miffed, and he smiles at me and asks, ‘How was it?
I cannot be mad. I want to be mad. It’s not his fault.
‘ Amazing!’ I say. I’m so sorry you missed it.
‘Well, tell me about it.’
I try to, but I cannot do it justice.
‘The good thing is that I’ve made us dinner reservations, and Virginia is going to join us.’
Virginia is the Asian cougar (women seek the company of younger men) who resides next door to him. After recently losing her husband, she has taken up the hobby of scouting young men. I believe that Bocher #1 is among one of her prey.
‘She’s very excited to meet you.’
Odd. I think.
We enter the cab where he tells the driver to take us to Westend Bistro, adjacent to the Ritz Carlton on 22nd Street.
Yet again, my mind wanders to his wallet, his true intentions, and the money I could have saved. We enter the restaurant and I look around for Virginia.
‘Where’s Virginia?’
‘I was kidding, although she did want to join us at the symphony.
At times, he leaves me stumped. We each order a drink; a glass of wine for myself and a vodka cranberry for himself.
One drink minimum. Two max. I tell myself.
The conversation flows smoothly. He wants to see my current writing. I swiftly change the subject to our meal of mussels and salads. It is a known fact that most men find baggage unattractive. I come with a shit ton of it, and a third date is usually not the time to reveal this. I might want a fourth date, or even a fifth, and so skirting the issue is always best.
By the time dinner ends, it is almost twelve. We walk to his condo where he asks me if I would like to come up. Slightly buzzed, I accept. As he opens the door to his condo, a chill escapes into the hall and as we make our way inside I understand why. It is an igloo. Not like an igloo. It is an igloo. The AC reads 62 degrees. Chill bumps grow on my body at any temperature below 75 degrees. . The hair on my stubble free legs has now grown bag. The task of shaving was for not.
‘Shit! It’s cold in here.
‘Well, I read that any form of bacteria is killed at temperatures below 65. And since I’m still not sure about the flea infestation I’m just being safe.’
That’s meshugeh. I think
He grabs his only comforter (the others, as well as all his clothes are at the cleaners, due to the feared infestation) and wraps it around me. He leads me to his bed, and my blog begins to sound like a Harlequin novel, but No, I am no longer buzzed, and he simply receives a kiss (or two or three…). We talk and he lets me know that he really likes me, and I let him know I feel the same. He invites me stay, but I decline and say ‘another time’, because past nit (it isn’t proper) and it is freezing. He walks me to my car and tells me to text him when I get home.
After putting on a long sleeved shirt, sweat pants, and wrapping myself in my heated blanket I text him and thank him yet again for a wonderful evening. Before sending it I add, you make me happy, thanks. He responds ‘ditto’ and I smile as the hair on my arms finally falls back into place.



.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Giving it Another Go

After an intoxicating first date, Bocher #1 texts me the next morning inviting me on another. I try to recount whether my kisses were of my own volition or on account of dear Mr. Absolute.
Yes, the conversation [that I remember] was interesting, maybe the kiss was good, but who knows. I bury my head in my fluffy pillows and ponder over the possibilities of another encounter. Was he drunk? Check, Was I drunk? Check, check, check…Does this deem date number two?
I write back saying, 'A second date, guess that’s a Jdate first for you? That would be nice. Talk to you soon.'
He writes back, “Well, I wasn’t the one making drunk booty calls, all evening.”
I check my outgoing call list, and text messages. Oy, vay! If he’s willing to forgive this, he definitely deserves date number two.
We chat, via text, the rest of week and I ask him if he would like to accompany me to the National Book Festival on the Mall that upcoming Saturday. Prior to our first disaster, hmm I mean date, our emails consisted of much talk regarding our favorite nonfiction writers, his Sedaris, mine Sedaris. With this in mind, I relished the idea of a date outside among other lamden (scholars). He calls Friday evening and we map out the writers we would like to hear. First on my list is Ralph W. Eubanks, a former professor and one of the current readers of my thesis. I was greatly looking forward to catching up and hearing him read from his new memoir. Next up, is the author, Azar Nafisi, whose book, Reading Lolita in Tehran; A Memoir in Books, greatly intrigued me. He agrees to see them and we decide that further decisions should be made that following day.
Saturday morning I awake early and make my way to the gym. My workout is rushed because of our 1:30 pm meeting time. This does not a happy Dorie make, but I brush it off, and afterwards, text him asking for his address. A few minutes pass and my phone suddenly vibrates, not once, not twice, but three times. I open it, and read the many messages he has now text me back. Basically, they read this:
'Oh my gosh, so sorry, but I have a work emergency. I feel horrible, but I messed something up Friday that is on deadline, so I have to fix it today. I don’t think I can do anything until later in the day. I’ll be ready anytime after 5:30, and then we can do whatever you like. Dinner, or, a movie, or both. Whichever. I’m really, really sorry!'
I text back:
'Yeah, no big deal. Just text me when are available.'
I’ve learned from past experiences that men do not like women who constantly K’vetch. (complain) I am Jewish, it’s kind of my M.O., kind of a part of who I am, but I outwardly suppress this part of me, because he could be telling the truth. He could be busy wiht work. He could be a N.J.B. Or, he could simply be a shtik drek (shit-head). Whatever the case, inside, I’m pretty perturbed. I would like to text him back, ‘Kish mir en toches’ (Kiss my ass) But I do not, because I am a southern lady, who finds mindless cursing rude. Yes it’s raining, and we might not have been able to attend the events, but had I know this, I wouldn’t have woken up early on my day to sleep in, nor would I have rushed my work out. Yes, technically, it’s only 1:30 pm and my day is not ruined, but I don’t really care about technicalities. My day is ruined. My plans, squashed and Bocher #2 has a lot to make up for.
As the hours pass, I spend them being productive; writing, reading, mopping. He text me saying he will be showered and ready anytime after 6:30. I write him back, saying I’m having a bad day, and not sure I still want to go out. Yes, it’s lame. Yes, I’m lame, but the dreariness outside my window has made its way inside my psyche and I’ve become depressed Dorie. No fun. He texts back, basically begging, saying he has been looking forward to the date, etc, etc…. lots of rubbish. I decide to give this man who has now cancelled on me twice, a third chance, and so I meet him around 6:30.
By this time, the dreariness has turned to rain drops, and the rain drops have become a down poor. I arrive close to on time, and he announces that he is not staying in his condo at the moment; instead, his temporary residence is at the Washington Marriot, just a few blocks up the street.
That’s odd.
He then explains that he recently found out that his mother’s dog, which he had been keeping while she was incognito/ out of town, had been treated for fleas. Therefore, he was having his place fumigated, or the carpets clean, whichever it was, it was still slightly teetering on meshugeh. (crazy)
He asks if I’m okay to walk, and yet again not wanting to k’vetch, I say, ‘sure!’ So, it’s raining, and although he does have an adequately sized umbrella, we are both still getting drenched. My perfectly straightened hair comes under stress and I fear it is frizzing. Finally, we arrive at the luxurious Marriot, where he checks in and we decide to see a movie in Georgetown and then get dinner. After noticing me shivering, he promises no more walking. I thank him profusely and tie back my now crimped hair. We arrive at the AMC Loews Georgetown and decide on The Informant!. After the movie attendant rings up the pricey total of $21, Bocher #1 searches frantically in his wallet for his credit/ debit card. It is nowhere to be found. He has no cash. He looks at me, I at him, and say, ‘It must be back at the hotel. Do you need me to pay?’ To which he replies, ‘I have no idea where I left it. That would be great. I’ll pay you back.’ Since the movie isn’t until 7:45 and it’s only 7, he insists we return to the hotel to find it. He, ‘feels horrible.’
So, we make our way back to the hotel, where he has left it in the restroom of his suite, and then to the ATM in order for him to pay me back. He hands me $25 dollars. Suddenly, I feel like a nafkeh(prostitute).
Eventually, we sit down in the packed theatre, in horrible seats, and chat before the movie begins. He tells met his dog story. I tease him about cancelling on me yet again. Lighthearted fun. During the movie, he sits somewhat slouched, never tries to grab my hand, or make a move. He is a complete gentleman, and as I rest my hand on the thigh closest to him I wonder why. Do I want him to?
The movie, which I would highly recommend, ends and we settle on grabbing a bite to eat back at the restaurant of the Marriot. At dinner, we both order a salad. We both continuously have to get up to pee, We both laugh. We both smile. It’s kind of disgusting. Our discussion delves on our similar taste in writers, our family, our future goals. He pays and we make our way to my car where I kiss him on the cheek, and he leans in for a hug. Awkard, but cute, kind of like him. On the drive home, in a sober state of mind I decide I just might like him, and after texting him that I’ve made it home, he texts me back and asks when he can take me out again. To which I reply, ‘ Date # 3 would be nice. Talk to you soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

'Gotta Have Faith'

As a Jewish transplant of Alabama, the first response from others regarding my religion is usually some form of, ‘Wait, there are Jews in Alabama?’ followed by a, ‘No, really, you must be lying.’ My common reply is a polite laugh and a ‘yes, me and two others.’ Joking aside, the Jewish population in Alabama is minuscule (9,000 or .2 percent), and the number of practicing Jews in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama is smaller, and dwindling by the minute. In truth, the quick demise of a Jewish community in Mobile exists as an illustration of a bigger Jewish picture. Realistically, the number of men in yarmulkes and women crying ‘oy vey’ is quickly dissolving.
Sadly, my religion, one of the oldest, is dying. In number, we make up only less than one quarter of one percent of the world’s population. As the statistics decline, the growing number of worried Jews inclines. Older generations fear that the traditions they have fought to preserve, such as Shabbat dinner, reading from the Torah, or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs will not be a part of their descendents’ lives. At the moment, Judaism is not an absolute, its future is uncertain. The vitality of my faith is under siege by the act of marriage; more specifically, interfaith marriage which is on the rise at the rate of one in every two American Jews (http://judaism.about.com/od/interfaithfamilies/a/intermarr_jew.htm)
Growing up surrounded by gentiles (non-Jews), my Jewish dating options were few. There was one Jewish male in my grade and in my eyes his desire was null, thus before moving to D.C. two years ago I had never dated a Jewish boy or man. It was difficult, truly impossible, but essential to my parents who constantly reiterated the fact that interfaith marriages are ‘harder’ because ‘Jews just understand Jews,’ as stated by my mother. In person, my parents were cordial to the gentiles I always brought home, but behind closed doors I knew they cringed as the ‘I love you’s’ were heard through the telephone, or the talks of marriage between my Gentile and I flittered on my tongue. Inwardly, I wondered whether they would ever truly accept my Christian counterparts or a marriage between me and another. These questions reverberated through my mind like a pin ball, but I knew the answer; they would not. They are not the only parents and families who look down upon interfaith marriage, one such man was Chicago Dentist, Max Feinberg, whose will included a stipulation in which any grandchild who married outside of the Jewish faith would be disinherited (http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/sns-ap-us-illinois-inheritance-jews-only,0,6171244.story?track=rss-topicgallery). His death in 1986 caused an uproar among his family, but on September 22, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled his prerequisite as just. As a result of this decision, the four out of his five grandchildren who married non Jews will no longer inherit $250,000. Suddenly, money, marriage, and faith have become one. This case may appear as an exception, but proves that Jewish men and women fear an unpredictable Jewish future. Orthodox Jews, those who are members of the most traditional branch of Judaism, refer to interfaith marriage as a “second silent Holocaust” (http://judaism.about.com/od/interfaithfamilies/a/intermarr_jew.htm). In the past parents did not just quietly disagree, they openly mourned the loss of their children by sitting shiv’ah, the Jewish ritual of mourning (http://judaism.about.com/od/interfaithfamilies/a/intermarr_jew.htm).
I am most certain that my father would not disinherit me if I were to marry outside the faith, or sit shiv’ah for seven days if a Rabbi and priest were to preside over my wedding, but it would cause tension and a break in our relationship. His grandfather, Reverend Simon Chassin, was one of the first Rabbis in Mobile, Alabama, and he himself has a strong conviction in his faith. He believes strongly in the power of forgiveness, but I do not imagine he would forgive me for this. He acknowledges and laments over the fact that his name, Chassin, will not be carried on after his passing, but does not accept that his faith too will die with his death. My own marriage is a way of preventing his fear from coming to fruition, hence his outward push for me to pursue only men of the Jewish faith. This past summer discussing with him my dating mishaps, he kindly offered to pay for a three month subscription to the website Jdate. He became a part of the twenty-two percent of parents who pay for their children’s memberships (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0607190213jul19,1,3227323.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed), and believes that his investment is a wise one. I never equated marriage with religion, or thought of myself as being particularly religious. I attend services only on the high holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), but I do believe that my religion is a part of who I am. Would I feel incomplete without it? I do not know, but I want my religion to thrive, and my children to understand what it means to be Jewish. I do not want to be a growing statistic of Jewish women marrying gentiles, and if Jdate is the place to meet my man, then my time on it is worthwhile.