Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why couldn't he be about 9 years older?

I have a friend. One of the twentysomethings I met back in August, but not a shmuck like Oaf or Yeziz. Exactly 10 years my junior; we share a birthday. Funny, cute, sensitive, smart. He's an engineer, so he's extremely analytical.

I mean extremely. "I'll meet you there at approximately 6:20," Exactly Ten (ET) told me, after I invited him to a friend's Chanuka party tonight. (It's easy to entertain when someone else is doing the cooking.) Who says 'approximately 6:20'? An engineer who's going to the party after doing something else earlier in the day.

ET's not interested in me. Because of the age difference; he makes a ton of "senior citizen" jokes about me. Then sobers up to tell me how great I look.

I understand it can never happen. But why does ET have to keep telling me how great I am, being so damn nice to me? It's breaking my heart.

I'll give you a fr'instance. ET walked me home from the party because he wanted to watch part of a DVD I have -- the British series "Coupling." I told him it was funnier than "Family Guy," which he found hard to believe, and he asked if he could watch it at my place. I was ashamed to let him in my apartment, but I figured, he doesn't want to date me, so what's the harm?

First I couldn't get the DVD player to work, and ET asked if the single wire going out of the player and behind the entertainment unit could perhaps be the power instead of the connection to the TV. Of course, he was right, and we hooked it up and watched a little.

Then he saw my light box and wanted to know what it was. I'd hidden the lithium and antidepressants under some other stuff on the table, but the box is too big to conceal.

"I get the winter blues," I told him. "Seasonal affective disorder. In the winter I slow down, I get sad, I don't concentrate or sleep as well. It's a biochemical reaction in the brain based on insufficient light. So I watch this" (I switched it on) "to make up for the lack of natural light."

His face fell. I thought he'd find an excuse to leave and be gone quick.

"I'm so sorry," he finally said. "I'm so sad for you. That's so unfair! You're dealing with back pain, and knee pain, and I think you mentioned something else, and this too! You deserve better!"

Sigh. Don't I?

"I mean," he continued, "the only problem I really have is ingrown toenails on my big toes. And even with that, you know, I just go to the podiatrist approximately every four months, after work, I don't have to miss work, and it's not fun but in about 15 minutes I'm 100% again."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I get ingrown toenails too. Maybe I should give him a cuticle nipper for Chanuka and teach him how to maintain his toes better.

After we watched for a bit, I screwed my courage to the sticking point and asked ET what he really thought of my apartment. He'd knocked over some of the FreshDirect boxes and other paper recyclables, to my mortification, and he'd used the bathroom, which could be cleaner.

"You're not going to like this," he warned. "I've told other friends and they didn't want to hear it, but here it is."

I braced myself

"You're not using your space as efficiently as you could," ET said solemnly.

I burst out laughing.

"What?" he asked. "You should be using more shelves -- over there, over there, over there" (pointing) " -- and have fewer pictures on the walls."

"I'm so glad you said that," I told him. "Really, I am. I thought you'd think I was crazy."

"Not crazy," he said. "You have a lot of stuff and you're not optimizing your space usage. You can get more shelves at Ikea or Home Depot. I don't now if you have any guy friends who are good at building stuff, or if you're good at it -- "

"I suck at it," I informed him.

"So I'm good at that kind of thing," he said. "Let me know if you ever want to reorganize. I can help you."

Why can't I find a guy my age like this? Who likes me, thinks I'm pretty, celebrates my intelligence, empathizes with my suffering, and wants to make my life better?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Dude, do you have reason to be certain he isn't romantically interested in you, or are you assuming it because of your age difference? I'm a man who's dated women as much as a dozen years older, and as much as thirteen years younger than I am. The woman who was born two months after my bar mitzvah would sometimes make jokes about our difference in age. It certainly didn't mean there was any lack of interest. While it can be less graceful for a younger man to tease a woman a few years older than him about her age, this is also a guy who makes plans for approximately 6:20 and critiques apartments based on maximizing space. He might be trying here, and he might be assuming you're not interested. Maybe you can find out someway? Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Anon. But he's mentioned several times in several ways that he's not interested in dating me because of the age difference. Sometimes jokingly, but also seriously. For example, he said he was looking forward to coming to my Shabbos kallah. My chatan normally wouldn't be at my Shabbos kallah, unless I was marrying a Sephardi, which ET is not. I guess I could try to feel him out a little more, but I have a feeling he and I will just be good friends. Which is a good thing -- just not necessarily the best.