Saturday, March 01, 2008

Brownie points

My latest online suitor is accruing a few. While surfing a dating site last Thursday, I saw his profile and sent him an IM. We chatted online, then spoke on the phone. I got a little annoyed because he emailed me a photo of himself, and when I said it was small he said, "Rub it -- it'll get bigger."

"Shame on you! I am a bas Melech!" I thundered at him. "That's no way to talk to me!" Abashed, he apologized.

He redeemed himself somewhat by calling and and leaving me a message Friday afternoon to wish me a good Shabbos -- something I love. It means a lot to me when a guy does that -- really shows he's thinking about me in a pious way. I called him back, and we decided to go out next Tuesday. Since time was getting short, he said we'd talk Saturday night if that was okay with me.

"Call me," he said. "I'm away for Shabbos with my son."

Yeah -- he's divorced. Three kids -- a 19-year-old daughter, a 14-year-old daughter, and a 9-year-old son. He got married at age 19 and started procreating right away. He was raised extremely Litvish, spent some time off the derech after his divorce, and now identifies as modern orthodox liberal -- as I do. The kids live with his ex-wife in Jersey; he splits his time between a business in Jersey and a business in Brooklyn. So let's call him Travelin' Dad, or TD.

Although he seems to be doing fairly well financially, TD doesn't have a bachelor's degree. Many guys from his background don't. That gave me some pause, but in his profile, he said:

I am looking for an intelligent woman who is beautiful inside and out. I don't judge a book by its cover.

Putting intelligence first, as opposed to "very sweet and gentle" or, even worse, "very family-oriented and wants to be a stay-at-home mother," also made a good impression on me.

He asked when my birthday was.

"Why?" I asked, wondering if he was going to give me a present.

"Every person in my family -- grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and cousins -- have either a 6 or a 9 in their birth date," he said very seriously.

"Is this some kind of gematria?" I asked skeptically.

"Kinda," he said. Fortunately, my birthday made the cut. "I guess I'm ready to join your family, then," I joked.

"I guess you are," he said. "By the way, I got the most important aliyah this Shabbos. Guess which one."

"Shlishi?" I asked. That's the third aliyah -- the first after Cohen and Levi are honored.

"No -- shishi," he said. That's the sixth.

"Why would shishi be better than shlishi?" I asked. "It's not like maftir -- you're not going to read the haftorah."

"Lemme conference call my dad -- he'll know," he said, dialing. "Don't say anything." I started to giggle. It's too early to talk to his parents!

"Hello?" said a gentle, dry voice.

"Hey, Abba, it's TD."

"Gut voch, TD. Vus tutsich?"

"I'm fine. Listen, Abba, why is shishi the most important aliyah?"

"Only by Chassidim," said Abba. "Not by us. By us it's shlishi,"

"Why is shishi so important to Chassidim?" asked TD.

"I don't know why it's so important to them," said Abba. He spoke with mild exasperation, as if no one could fathom Chassidim and their peculiar ways. Litvaks and Chassidim don't see eye to eye on many things, although they no longer sit shiva if their children intermarry.

"So why is it shishi by us, Abba?"

"Because it's the first aliyah for a Yisroel," said Abba, as if it should have been obvious.

I was choking with self-righteous laughter.

"So how's Binny?" Abba asked about TD's youngest.

"He's fine, we're going bowling. We might stop by later," said TD.

"Don't," said Abba. "Your mother has a group of ladies over. You shouldn't bother them." In his parents' community, gender segregation is pretty strict.

"Okay, okay, I won't. Have a good night, Abba." TD hung up and I exploded with laughter.

"So Tuesday night," he said, changing the subject. "I want to go to a nice restaurant."

Good. I'm tired of cheapskate men taking me for coffee or suggesting we get bagels at the bagel store. We decided on a time and place and hung up.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. Haha!

    You totally won. Litvish people value shlishi, because it's the first one a yisrael can get.

    Chasidishe people value Shishi, because, in the order of sephirot, six represents Yesod -- the foundation -- which is the source of all the other emanations. Glazed over yet? The rebbe - or the tzaddik - is the yesod of the world. That's why Shishi is the rebbe's aliyah. And the rebbe's hakafa. And so on and so forth.