Monday, September 20, 2010

Ayelet just says No

I posted about OOT, M.D. and got 3 yeas and 3 nays in comments. Last night another friend weighed in via email:

The tipping point is the 6 month old. He's been Jewish for three years... with all that, he went back, had unprotected relations with a non-Jewish woman and created a 6 month old child??? Is he a millionaire that he can take care of all these children and any you may have with him? He is not fully committed to being Jewish if he could do that AND he may be a player, if he could do something like that.

I think she's right. That is just a little too much baggage.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Should I date or reject this one?

Lately I've been feeling like I've ruined my life beyond all remedy, probably because I rejected some perfectly nice guy I was supposed to marry. I've lost a lot of confidence in my judgment. So I don't know if I should go out with or not go out with the guy who sent me this email:

Okay you got me. At two parts; one Wanting to be a stepmom, and two being funny while creating entertaining life experiences. You sound like a good friend of mine he and I crack each other up just in simple ways. Example putting two words together by accident, we were driving somewhere and he meant to say "don't turn here" became "duntun" it turned out to be quite a funny twenty or thirty minutes.

The other part are my kids they are important to me. Being jewish with non-jewish children works for me however I imagine it would be hard for someone coming from the outside to deal with or tolerate. I expose them to what I can so that they will be able to make a valid decision later in life. I admit I goofed I made a decision early in that that marrying someone jewish and building a jewish home was not an option for me, however I continue to meet more and more interracial jewish couples so it is possible. Silly of me to doubt Hashem.

Anyway I have a pretty much have a smooth running jewish home as a single guy, it would be nice to have a woman's presence.
So thank you very much for checking out my profile enjoy the rest of your holidays and I look forward to hearing from you.

This is his profile. He lives out of town and he's a doctor, so let's call him OOT, M.D.

43, Male
Columbus, OH
Divorced, with children
Modern Orthodox (liberal)
Jewish Convert

What Modern Orthodox Liberal means to me: This level has been the key guiding force in my life and throughout my career. I am still wet behind the ears with it however I have been fortunate enough

This is how I describe myself: I am going to pull the "camera shy" card. However I will describe myself starting from the outside. I am a black Jewish male ( that will cause a few people to click off right about now). I wear a kippah, usually black to blend in with my hair, keeps the questions down. I have a swimmer/lacrosse player physical build, so I am told. I will just say that I am athletic - muscular arms, muscular legs, small mid-section, and wide shoulders, a definite "V" shape. I have a graying short, close cropped beard, and jet black hair.

I like to swim, run, bike, hike, camp, play soccer, cook out, play with my two dogs - a giant schnauzer and a soft coated wheaten terrier. I am very much a country boy, I have a jeep, that get driven all year round, usually with the doors and top off. Exception when I go to the office, I have a more business-y vehicle for that. When I am not being Mr. Hippie Country boy, I enjoy jazz, the theatre/arts, museums, and viewing gardens. Learning - whether it be oil painting, guitar, piano, another language/culture, pottery, or sheep shearing (lol). Along with Torah studies.

I am divorced and I have 5 wonderful kids, now if the above did not run you off this probably will, lol. One is an adult the rest are under 18, we have been divorced for awhile however, we contemplated trying again. And we created one more who is 6 months old. I have been divorced for 4 years and I have been Jewish for three.

Now for those who have bravely considered continuing, I am an avid learner. I speak 6 languages, however, not so that I can show off or how smart I am. I know them because of the people I am surrounded by, i.e. Spanish, French (family related), Portuguese (family related also), sign language - volunteer related and of course, Hebrew and English. I chose to convert because of a 20 year spiritual tug, the "tug" won and I am glad. I attended synagogues for about 10 years prior to actually "taking the plunge." As I said earlier I have, B"H, been surrounded my some fabulous people.

I have decided not to pursue locating a future wife from among the non-Jewish crowd, as I anticipate that creating problems, with how torah observant I strive daily to become. When I have time I enjoy baking challah for Shabbat, and preparing meals for guest. I enjoy, when it is my turn, hosting guest, and family for Shabbat and Yom tovs. My brother helps from time to time, otherwise I recruit a friend or one/both of my daughters (who want to learn to cook). Thankfully I do not always have to schlep kosher meat in, as the area that I now reside in has some meat available. Or my brother will make a trip to Cleveland.

I am a kind, loving and gentle person, I look for opportunities to do chesed. Whether it be getting involved with the homeless programs, or volunteering in underserved communities. At the time one thing that I have taken on is being a father figure to a couple of kids that I know, whose fathers are not involved in there lives. I am a romantic at heart, and I enjoy being in love, something fascinating about that connection. I enjoy and miss doing little things for someone that I care deeply about, expecting nothing in return. Giving on a grander scale - i.e. community - has it advantages, however, giving to someone who is closer and dearer to ones heart trumps the other substantially for me. To be in the midst of a chaotic event, busy, busy, busy... and to look across the room into each others eyes and communicate "I love you" and return back to the chaos, what could be better. To get home at the end of the day, collapse on the couch and just know that you are appreciated and highly esteemed.

At the end of the day, yes I am black, who cares. I am Jewish and that is what matters to me, I am loving, caring and kind. Looking for a fellow neshama who wishes to be on the receiving end of a generous giver.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: I could care less about what degrees you might have, however, I am not looking for someone whose occupation is shopper, drama queen or snob. I am looking for a woman who sees herself as beautiful and is intelligent. Someone who has a good, and open heart, to love both Jews and non-Jews. An intelligent, artistic type of young lady, with some spunk and some fire. Someone who loves to learn, is a person of prayer, and emunah. Someone who enjoys hosting guest, either for Shabbat/Yom tovs, or a fellow Jew passing through town.

Someone who loves being in love and being doted over, someone who enjoys being sent flowers just because she was thought of through the course of a day. Someone who enjoys receiving a note or a card because she was thought of a few days ago... LOL. Someone who enjoys having her guy come home after a good day or bad day and it being a relief to she her.

I am looking for someone who knows how to build a peaceful, loving and harmonious Jewish home, because I am looking to build that home with someone.

Should I give him a shot?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Simchat Torah on the West Side?

I don't think I can go through it again. I'm too old to walk around all night from party to party, packed with hordes of single people only marginally less desperate than I am.

But I also don't want to go to the suburbs and look at all the families. My nieces want me to be with them for the holiday. Unfortunately that means also putting up with my sister, and I don't want to do that either.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dating, as scripted by Kafka

Things with JANG have gotten weird.

He emailed me the day after our date asking for another. I told him, in very vague terms, that I wasn't interested in pursuing a relationship. He said something like "I don't suppose you would care to elaborate," and guess what: I didn't. I also kvetched on my "real" Facebook page that the nicer a guy is, the uglier he is. Not the nicest thing to do, but that FB page is visible only to friends. In the comments section I explained that it wasn't only JANG's looks that turned me off; I didn't feel we were intellectually compatible.

So I was very startled to get an email from him yesterday:

would you be interested in a 40ish yr old never married frum cardiologist?....(sefardi)

At first I thought I should decline. But then -- why not?

How sweet of you to think of me. I would be interested in learning more about this gentleman, as I have nothing against dating Sephardim, or cardiologists.

I thought that was an appropriate response, so I was shocked by his next missive:

I may look "repulsive" and at times come across as a total moron, (yes, i know I f---ked up!!!!!), however, I told you, I do not harbor resentment..........Been thru too much in life..........smile

My first thought was, "How the hell did he see my FB status update?" I immediately took it down.

Second thought: "I didn't use the word 'repulsive' in my update or comments. Why is he saying that? Do we have FB friends in common that told him I said that? How would they know I was talking about him?"

I hate dating in a fish pond. Only one degree of separation between me and JV's ex-wife, and I probably know people who know JANG. But I never mentioned his name to anyone on FB. Or anyone else, come to think of it. I didn't know his last name until I asked him across the table at Starbucks, and his first name's fairly common. I don't think I even told anyone his first name.

Never mind. Deal with the crisis at hand. How should I respond?

I'm not sure what set this off. I am sorry if your feelings were hurt, since that was never my intention.
 
Keep it vague, don't deny or confirm, try to de-escalate his anger. Damage control.

nothing set anything off... you did not hurt me in any way, shape or form... not everyone likes apple pie... that's reality... I am not hurt, upset, angry, at all... was just engaging in self deprecating humor... PLEASE know... its nothing you did, AND I apologize if I gave you that impression....

So he didn't see my status update. Okay, now I'm just confused.

I'm very confused. I want you to know that your personal history had nothing to do with my decision that you and I are not compatible. You're a great person with really amazing derech eretz. Please don't feel obligated to try to set me up with anyone.
 
I'm thinking he and I should really go our separate ways.

Ayelet, I do not know any other way to tell you... I am NOT angry, hurt, upset in any way shape or form... I can't "make" you believe that, however its the TRUTH... I know my personal history had nothing to do with anything... I need to lose weight regardless as to if that was a factor, need to do so for my own health...  and if I can set you up and be of help... why not?... it's about Vahavta larayacha kamocha.....

Before I could respond he wrote again:

His name is RD. I will try and call him tomorrow, would it be ok if I gave him your numbers?

Maybe it's the social worker in me, but I wasn't ready to change the subject without trying to be of more comfort.

I just feel bad that you're so upset. Why would you send me a message using the words "repulsive" and "moron" to describe yourself? I don't understand.

I also want to know if he somehow saw my FB page. I guess I'm feeling a little stalked. It might be groundless, but I want to know if somehow he heard what I said about him. If for no other reason than so I can apologize properly.

well... I know that I can do more about my appearance, losing weight is one thing... nothing to do with you...  and pertaining to "moron"... I know I gave the impression that I was not "into" our conversation... it happens very often to me on initial dates... i tend to get very tense and can come across as being a total idiot...

PLEASE believe when I tell you... I am NOT upset.... when I asked you why you never got married... something i still don't understand how anyone would not "want" you... you told me that the men you have been meeting lately, were repulsive

I want to cry. Yes, when he asked why I was still single I flippantly said, "None of the men I wanted to marry have wanted to marry me, and the ones that wanted to marry me, I found repulsive." 

I didn't mean YOU! Oy. I am such a drama queen. And trust me -- there are literally hundreds if not thousands of men who don't want me ;) I'm glad you're not upset. Yes, you can give RD my phone numbers.

I suppose if he is determined to set me up with another man, resistance is futile.

perhaps they are in need of some intense therapy... can't think of any reason that someone who possesses the slightest intelligence would not be happy to have you in his life... you are truly very wonderful

Ouch, ouch, ouch. Well, JV's parents would disagree with him. And I just remembered... something I need to tell everyone who tries to set me up:

no, to each his own... also, I should let you know that as a ba'alat teshuva, I'm not able to marry a Cohen

Willing to bet that disqualifies the cardiologist. According to Ikey Abadi, Syrian Cohanim have names beginning with aleph, bet, gimel, daled. If RD is Syrian, he could be a Cohen.

Why do only the wrong men think I'm wonderful?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My history with Sir Gallant

I haven't heard from Sir Gallant lately, but I reviewed my Frumster inbox recently and realized that he and I have been communicating since June 2009. Of course, there was a gap between 9/17/09 and 8/29/10. But I first wrote to him on 6/16/09, after viewing his profile. And I dubbed him the Frum Playa. We traded some emails on Frumster. I told him I was taking a Frumster break, gave him my email address, and didn't hear from him until September, when he emailed me on Frumster again:

With such a smile still single???!

I guess I kind of forgot I thought he was a player, because I wrote back:

I know -- hard to believe ;) I guess I'm picky.

His response wasn't thrilling:

Dont be

Ouch. I got a little defensive.

I think you have to be selective when you choose the person you're going to spend your life with. I don't think my standards are impossible or unrealistic, but you have to be with someone whose company you enjoy and whom you find attractive.

Then I felt like that sounded too negative and sent another line:

I didn't mean to sound high-maintenance
 
He didn't sound put off, though:

just wondering why a cutie such as you is still for grabs

Endless emails back and forth do not lead to dates, so I ventured:

I could tell you better in person ;)

And that seemed to work:

kewl -- lets exchange numbers; i am going offline soon

So we did. And I wrote:

so call me sometime... shana tova

He responded:

definately... shana tova

But I never got a call. I emailed him again after Yom Kippur, hoping his fast was easy and giving him my phone number again. No response. I started dating JV, my Frumster membership lapsed, and I forgot all about Sir G.

Went back on Frumster a few days after breaking up with JV. I sent Sir G a free icebreaker, just to test the waters. He wrote back, so I joined to read his message:

So Ayelet with a beautiful smile such as yours, why are you still single?

Because I give men my phone number and they don't call me! At least he's consistent. And I guess I had completely forgotten our previous exchanges, because I wrote:

I'm very picky ;) I guess I didn't want to settle. I want to marry my passionate lover/best friend and confidant/partner in problem-solving. Not someone who thinks just like me, but who brings out the best in me.

Do I get to see YOUR beautiful smile? What's your password?

I'm consistent too. He wrote back:

You should be picky; my password is sirG123

Took a look, and he looks fine. Wrote back:

Glad to say you pass muster with flying colors :) Next step?

Trying to get him to take the lead.

so do you; lets chat/talk on phone. Whats ur number? when is best to call/chat?

I gave it to him again, and added:

I work 1-9 on Tuesday, so tonight I'll be exhausted, and 12-8 on Wednesday, so you can call me Wednesday after nine. What's your name?

He didn't answer that email, but he did send me a "missed IM" on Tuesday:

hiya, how are you?

I answered:

tired... I hate working 1-9, it's my least favorite part of the job. How are you?

Haven't heard a word since 8/31/10. On 9/13/10, I thought it would be cute to respond to one of his messages from September 2009:

With such a smile still single???!

I wrote:

Yes, I haven't met my knight in shining armor ;) Gmar chatima tova.

He hasn't read it yet.

Reviewing this checkered correspondence, I wonder if I should call him -- after all, he did give me his number -- or give up on him entirely.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

you just gotta laugh...

A 32yo with no profile photo visited my profile. Curious, I visited his and read this:

This is how I describe myself: I tend to differ slightly from the mainstream, yet not in a glaring or rebellious manner. I usually find myself analyzing the mundane aspects of life and surmising my conclusions in a wry and original manner. While I do appreciate many of the finer things in life, I have ultimitely [sic.] concluded that the most priceless aspects of life are in fact free. (Family, a beautiful sunset, good friends, etc.) While I enjoy getting out and stepping out from the mundane routine of life, a night in with a good movie can often suit me fine as well.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Someone who I find that innate connection whom I can easily relate to and never find myself lacking conversation with. Someone who I never find myself searching for conversation and always desire their companionship.

Thanks, dude. I needed a good laugh. Oh -- good luck.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

SO nice. Not bright. Completely repulsive.

JANG really is a nice guy. Emailed me to tell me he was running late, called to make sure I got home safely after I escaped. But I should have known I wouldn't find him remotely attractive. It's always a bad sign when someone posts a shadowy, dark photo of their face and lists their weight as "a few extra pounds."

I tried. God knows I tried. But I could barely look at him. His teeth were atrocious. His nose was large, crooked, and bulbous. His eyes were beady. His posture was marginally better than Quasimodo's. His hands were pudgy; the thought of them touching me was horrifying. Even when he smiled, he didn't look cute. I hate how judgmental that sounds. But that's just how I felt.

Worst of all, he wasn't really smart enough to keep up with me. I hate having to define my terms in casual conversation. That is something I cannot compromise on. If he were ugly but I enjoyed talking to him, maybe I would have given him a second date. But I didn't even enjoy his company. Again, I hate being judgmental, but I tried, I tried, and I could not enjoy talking to him.

It's awful because he's had a very sad life. His parents were not well enough to care for him -- he hinted at psychiatric illness but didn't specify and I didn't ask. So at age five, he was placed in foster care. Despite that, he grew up into a well-adjusted, responsible adult. He spent many years in a miserable marriage because he didn't want his young daughter to have to live alone with her mother, who apparently has anger issues.

But you can't date somebody because you feel sorry for them. Especially if you can't even look at them. I feel like a bitch, but I honestly could not look at him, could barely talk to him, and think he has even more emotional baggage than I do. Which is saying a heck of a lot.

Somebody please tell me I'm not a bad person, because I feel pretty rotten.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

IM with Joey the psychoanalyst

IMed with my friend Joey tonight. Since the end of my relationship with JV, I want to try to get dating right this time around.

Ayelet: how r u?
Joey: ok, you?
Ayelet: ok… took a bunch of clothes to Goodwill, started using an acupressure mat, still eating reasonably healthily, have a date tomorrow night

Typical single weekend, right?

Joey: sounds good!
Ayelet: I suppose... he's not too exciting… the guys I get excited about show a little interest and then lose it
Joey: what's not exciting about him?
Ayelet: boring job, unambitious, doesn't seem like a creative thinker, but does believe in communication to work through problems; not sure if I'll find him attractive in person, or vice versa
Joey: never met him yet?
Ayelet: nope, met through Frumster; he tried to ask me out while i was dating JV, now he's available, and I am too
Joey: you need to get to know people for longer, I think, and not put so much stock in the initial excitement or infatuation
Ayelet: you are absolutely right, but: if I really don't enjoy talking to someone, how many times do I put myself through that?
Joey: well, I don't have a formula

Well, you should.

Ayelet: I suppose nobody does, and I guess I shouldn't expect a high-achieving guy to want me, I'm not exactly unflawed
Joey: you need someone who will love you; ambition is fleeeting
Ayelet: but I want someone I respect, who impresses me. I guess once you hit 40 you need to scale back your dreams. You don't think part of the reason your wife loves you is you're achievement-oriented?
Joey: but initially we are all impressed with superficial things and they don't last
Ayelet: do you love your wife for different reasons now than when you married her?
Joey: yes… i love her now because she loves me mostly

That's depressing.

Ayelet: really? that's it? not because she's smart or funny or a good mother?
Joey: those are all factors
Ayelet: so I shouldn't expect to feel a little excited around a guy
Joey: but when I met her, it was mostly infatuation and physical attraction, then friendship, and my point is that you are probably more critical than most people, and you may be letting good people slip by

My greatest fear.

Ayelet: maybe
Joey: this guy in particular, I don't know if he's too lame or not
Ayelet: I'd hate to think I told too many people their noses are too big
Joey: ???? what do you mea?
Ayelet: u never heard that story?
guy never gets married, goes to ask his rav why; his rav said, you met your basherte, but you thought her nose was too big
Joey: no never heard that… I don't believe in bashert anyway
Ayelet: neither do I, I think you meet someone compatible and work on the relationship; I just need to make myself more compatible
Joey: that's a hard thing to do, but a noble goal
Ayelet: how do I do that?
Joey: if someone is really interested in you, it seems like they deserve a good chance
Ayelet: should I go out with luftmensh librarian? I felt like he liked me for outdated reasons
Joey: why not?
Ayelet: I didn't enjoy talking to him
Joey: what are outdated reasons?
Ayelet: that I majored in comparative literature at a fairly good Ivy... he was also a complete know-it-all even when he didn't, which was irritating
Joey: ok so that sounds like a turn off which is not entirely superficial
Ayelet: whew!

I hope I'm not manufacturing reasons to reject people who might make me happy. And I don't know why I get so annoyed when men contact me in the morning, I respond, they read the response... and then nothing. It drives me up the wall. I should just erase those emails from my in-box and forget I ever got them.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Brrr: JV finally responds

Last night I sent another email:

Dear JV,

In addition to the box from Amazon and my diploma copies and other important documents, I know I left my Coupling DVDs and several books ("Nutri-Cures," "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," "Arrested Voices," "Sleeping with Cats," and that book about Russians) at your house.

If it is too much trouble to drop everything off at Alona's, may I suggest you pack it up and ship it to her. I will pay for the shipping. Her address is: (given)

If neither of these solutions works for you, please let me know of another way I can get my stuff back and stop bothering you like this.

Thank you, Ayelet

Heard back this morning.

Ayelet,

Unfortunately, I still have not been able to find your papers. However, I will drop off the rest of your things at Alona's either later today, or early next week.

JV

It's exactly how he emails Mara. I guess it's useful to have a model to follow. But I really need those documents...

Well, there are quite a few loose papers in the guest room, so I suppose they're well hidden. I hope you will continue to look and in the meantime thank you for dropping off what you did find. If you haven't drunk the coconut water, I wouldn't mind having that back either.

I left a bunch of cartons of coconut water in his fridge before we broke up.

Ayelet,

Of course I will keep looking for the papers. And yes, I did pack the coconut water as well.

JV

Brrr. As my clients would say, "That is cold, son."
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

He is just a LITTLE bitter

I noticed a guy checking out my profile regularly. Five years my junior, so probably not interested, but I was waiting for the Goodwill store to open this morning, so I thought I'd send him a friendly little shana tova greeting. He sent me an IM while I was out, which I missed, so I sent him back an IM that he accepted.

Let's call him Not Quite Ready to Date (NQRD). I think the conversation speaks for itself.

Ayelet: hi
NQRD: s up?
Ayelet: not much... running errands, trying to stay dry ;)
NQRD: dry?
Ayelet: it's raining
NQRD: neh -- barely
Ayelet: I didn't say POURING ;)
NQRD: yeh but u r trying to stay dry.... means wet!!!!
Ayelet: I got a little damp
NQRD: i see
Ayelet: so what's up with u?
NQRD: so what do i get this honor for?
nm same crap dif day :)
Ayelet: well, you sent me an IM that I missed, so I'm returning the favor
NQRD: i did in response to ur email :)
Ayelet: aha… well, I noticed you noticing my profile and thought I'd say hi
NQRD: i c
hi
Ayelet: how was ur Rosh Hashana?
NQRD: sucky, thx
Ayelet: sorry to hear that
NQRD: hey what can u do -- the joys of being an x
Ayelet: how long have u been divorced?
NQRD: 6 months
Ayelet: ah
NQRD: u? nvr married?
Ayelet: so it's all still very recent
Ayelet: never married
NQRD: recent?
12 1/2 years of trying
Ayelet: wow -- that's a sincere effort, sorry it was all for nothing
NQRD: yup
Ayelet: hopefully this year will be better
NQRD: hope so
ok nice talking to u.we will b in touch. take care

I'm not holding my breath.

I also made plans to have coffee tomorrow night with a guy who messaged me while I was dating JV. He's still interested. I'm not sure if I am. There's nothing that screams "wrong" about him -- he's just kind of blah. But maybe blah is what I need. He believes in open communication and appears to be easygoing and laid-back, two qualities I need in a person because I'm so high-strung.

He did say one thing that bothered me. He manages the billing for a mixed medical practice (radiology, cardiology, urology, etc.)  He said it was his way of getting close to a medical career, because even though he had the academics for med school, he knew he didn't have the dedication and persistence.

Nobody's perfect. I didn't go to med school either. I just didn't like the way he said it. At least he's honest and knows himself. I'm trying not to manufacture reasons to write people off.

His father passed away a long time ago, and his mother, unfortunately, was hit by a car, sustained brain damage, and is now in a nursing home. Compared to JV's puppetmaster parents, at least this aspect of his life is appealing, if tragic.

I don't even have a clever nickname to give him. He's just a nice guy. JANG.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

I'm so BAD at this dating stuff

Woke up too early this morning, as usual, and went to Frumster. Noticed that a guy four years my junior, "Frum-n-Cool," had looked at my profile. I looked at his.

Single, without children
Shomer Mitzvot
From a religious family
Mixed Ashkenazi & Sefaradi

Additional Background Information
Grew up in: Riverdale
Consider relocation? Yes
Wishing to make aliyah to Israel? Yes
Jewish Education: Jewish day school
Secular Education: Masters Degree
Languages Spoken: English, Hebrew
Political Beliefs: not important
Occupation: business

Physical Attributes
Height: 170 cm/5' 7"
Build: slim
Do you smoke?: no

Religious Practice
Frequency of Torah Study: daily
Frequency of Tefilah: three times daily
Kippa: black velvet kippa
Tzitzit: always

What Shomer Mitzvot means to me: It means I am passionate about torah and mitzvot and strive to be a better eved hashem.

This is how I describe myself: I'm smart, and laid back with a dry sense of humor. I live on the upper west side and love the jewish community here, particularly learning at the West Side Kollel and davening on shabbas at Rabbi Vorhand's shteeble. I try to be a caring and giving person and hope to meet someone special who is ready to start a family. I also have an adventurous side and enjoy snowboarding, scuba diving, and the great outdoors.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Sweet, smart, and cute for starters. Someone with a positive outlook who is communicative, open-minded, kind, and caring, that values Torah and family.

He does sound cool. And frum. Even in my 100% shomer shabbat days I don't think I was that frum. But he seems fun and interesting. I figured he would never in a million years actually contact me, because of the age difference. A lot of younger men click on my profile picture because, frankly, it's hot. It's probably the best picture anyone's ever taken of me.

So I was surprised, a few hours later, when I noticed he had sent me an IceBreaker and tried to IM me. Seems like he's interested. But I want to play it cool,.by the Rules, right? Not show too much interest or I'll scare him away. This was all I sent:

Thanks for writing. Sorry I missed your IM. Can I see your profile pic?

He's read it but hasn't responded. What should I have done? What should I do now???

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Could not be LESS interested

I guess I overdid it with my casual response to Dr. Chef's description of his Labor Day plans. Never heard back. So I sent him a little Rosh Hashana message:

Hope this year brings you everything you need and even more than you deserve. B'shalom, Ayelet

His response was admirably cautious:

Hi Ayelet,

Likewise, just a quick wish for your new year:

May you be blessed with a health, happiness, and a long life of peace and well being, a life of blessing and sustenance, free from sin and filled with piety, free of shame, disgrace or suffering of any kind, a life of honor and wealth of mind and soul, a life in which the wishes of your heart be fulfilled for happiness.

Shanah tovah v'Chatima tovah. All the best, Dr. Chef

Another one bites the dust.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Clothing tashlich

I don't feel ready for ritual. Right now, I don't see how it can feel anything but hollow and meaningless. I didn't go to my friend's Rosh Hashana dinner, because that dinner is heavily weighted with ritual. Didn't go to shul either day (or Shabbat). And I didn't do tashlich on the first day. I did it last year, and it didn't exactly bring me a great year, did it? (Friends of mine say I have a very transactional view of Judaism, and I'm not saying they're entirely wrong.)

Instead, I went through my closet. There are suits and blouses and dresses I haven't worn since I gained the weight five years ago. They were just taking up space (and hangers), because the more time that passes, the less likely I am to lose enough to fit back into them.

So I went through, trying on the things I thought I might be able to fit, putting whatever didn't fit into two piles: give to Goodwill or keep on the top shelf on my closet. The latter, smaller pile consisted of really unique and beautiful pieces, or items of sentimental value given me by someone I love. Kept in case I ever do fit them again, or to give to my niece Shira in a few years. (Malka is already taller than I am, so I don't have anything that would fit her.)

There were a few surprises. I can still wear the burgundy velvet dress I thought would be much too tight. It's tight, but not unflattering, so that's a keeper. But most of the stuff doesn't fit and will be given to charity.

Right now I don't need to replace most of what I'm giving away. When do I need suits? I never go to shul anymore, and when I do I wear sweaters, not tailored suits. I certainly don't need suits for work. So my closet feels nice and roomy, and I feel like I'm getting rid of some excess baggage.

Must be why two women at lunch today told me I'd lost weight. I should have said, "Yeah, about 180 pounds."

Lunch was nice, but it reminded me of why I just don't understand the West Side. There we were, all dressed up and smelling nice, eating and chatting, and nobody was falling in love. Nobody was flirting. Nobody even seemed to be trying. We all just talked to people we knew already.

I don't know what lies ahead for me. I can either be terrified or just take it one day at a time. The latter course got me through the first of the holidays. The real question is, can I survive Simchat Torah on the West Side again?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Not another Persian!

Tonight I was minding my own business on Jwed, sending out little shana tova messages to Sir Gallant and Dr. Chef, when I got an IM from a 35-year-old Persian who styles himself "traditional and growing." Let's look at the rest of his profile:

The role of Judaism in my life: Preserve and honor our role as Jews and pass the tradition to our children...grow spiritually and religiously. Fear G-d and perfect our souls.

This is how I describe myself: A list of faves include... G-d, my big loving fam, spirituality, learning, traveling, cooking, eatting, stayin fit and healthy, animals/nature, science, the arts, shabbat dinners... dreaming, creating, giving, and bein grateful everyday for my blessings... People would best describe me as type-A personality... brutally honest... good hearted... genuine... strong personality... intelligent... well liked... sense of humor... if this sounds generic... inquire within :o)

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Genuine Heart, Good Wife, Great Mother, Family Values, Educated...Im certainly lookin to reciprocate :o)

Love... Compromise... Trust... Communication... Respect... Health... Appreciation... Gratitude... Romance... Learning from each other... supporting each other :o)

In his profile pic, he rocks an open-collared red silk shirt and a heavy gold chain. We'll call him "Great Neck's Most Wanted (GNMW)."

I am not a fan of Persian men. I've dated my fair share. As I've written earlier,

This is probably a stereotype, but every Persian guy I have dated has been incredibly jealous and possessive -- sometimes to a frightening extent.

But hey... give a guy a chance, right? Maybe I could teach him to button up his shirt.

GNMW: hi there... sweet profile and pics
Ayelet: thanks
GNMW: how was ur beautiful weekend?
A: lovely... had dinner with my nieces, a massage and facial... very relaxing... how was urs?
GNMW: bbq pool party nite party boating... fun

Nice life.

GNMW: hows the site goin fr u?
A: hits and misses
GNMW: ill be honest im lookin for a friend and exclusive intimate partner

Well, I guess I don't have to worry about him being too possessive and jealous.

A: I'll be honest: I'm looking for a husband.

And I'll be reporting him to the proper authorities.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, September 06, 2010

Shadchanit's on my side

So I called the shadchanit to tell her I wasn't interested in the luftmensh librarian. Wished her a shana tova u'metuka, gmar ketiva u'chatima tova, the usual. And added my personal bracha: "May this year bring you everything you need and even more than you deserve."

I'm pretty proud of it. Succinct yet pithy. Almost a poem in its concision and resonance. Anyway, apparently she likes it as much as I do, because she left me the nicest message, returning the bracha and practically begging for the chance to set me up again. Told me, "Always go with your gut, there is no obligation... we will definitely keep you in mind for the future."

Wow. (I've been using that word a lot today, on Facebook and Twitter. Not sure why.) I feel so validated. Also, I realized another thing I didn't like about this guy. He was all excited that I went to a mediocre Ivy and studied literature, blah blah blah. That was 20 years ago.

I'm different now. I seldom read poetry unless it's by Dorothy Parker or Ogden Nash. My nightstand staple is usually something by Agatha Christie, not Baudelaire or Schiller. I'm not an artsy-fartsy intellectual, and I don't want an artsy-fartsy intellectual. Going out with this guy would just be wasting his time and mine. There are plenty of women who went to Barnard or Brandeis or University of Pennsylvania who will be fascinated by this guy. I'm no longer one of them. He is not for me.

In other news... so I'm trying to write to men in a way that will get them to respond. Honing my craft, as it were. So I'm going to show you two profiles, and my initial contacts. Maybe you can tell me why neither of them have written back, even though they've 1) read the emails and 2) looked at my profile.

First up: ChaiPretentious. Not sure why I wrote to him. Reading his profile, he sounds full of himself.

This is how I describe myself: I'm looking for an intelligent, articulate and truly compelling Jewish woman. So, I asked my friends to give me a few suggestions for my profile. (never do this)

Common question - I live in Silicon Valley but have a family flat in NYC and there regularly. If you would like to know or would like more pictures – just ask.

I hope you'll find some of their suggestions amusing - I did!

"tell them you are a great catch"
"you're the guy their parents have been kvetching about finding"
"hey wait I have 5 friends that would die to date you"
"tell them that you are super cute, have all of your hair, are in great shape and are really active"
"did you know my sister is looking and she has always asked about you"
"you have tons of great friends and are very close to your family"
"tell them you are 41, but look 31"
"you love to travel and have been all around the world"
"tell them that you are looking for Ms. Right not Ms. Right Now"
"you are really successful, but still spend 25% of your time doing non-profit work"
"WELL it's about time that you settled down, got married and had children"
"you understand work/life balance"
"you are really cultured and collect art, wine, antiques, etc."
"don't tell them what happened to the pet iguana"
"you have an organic vegetable and herb garden"
"you have places in Silicon Valley and New York City - two of the best places in the world"
"you live in a great area and you are not moving ‘cause we don't want to loose you"
"you have a big house and throw great parties that nobody misses"
"tell them that finding the perfect Jewish woman will make your world complete and everyone else in your world very happy"

**Update: Thanks for all of the great responses and sharing some of the suggestions your friends and family offered for your profiles…I may start posting some of the hysterical suggestions others are getting…keep them coming**

This is what I am looking for in a mate: The person I seek would likely have many of the following traits: Perceptive, intuitive, very intelligent. Thoughtful, verbal, enjoys discussions. Affectionate, passionate, craves a strong bond of intimacy. Easy-going, adventurous, open-minded, but has principles. Kind & giving. Aspires to follow halacha (Jewish law), and displays derech eretz (respect for others). Wishes to grow personally, spiritually, and in Jewish knowledge, and to raise children who exhibit kindness & respect towards others.

In my defense, I saw his profile and wrote to him very early this morning:

To: ChaiPretentious Date: 6-Sep-10 07:51 am

Subject: intelligent, articulate, and truly compelling

Message: Talkative, passionate, principled, growth-oriented. I could give you a ton of adjectives about me, but ultimately you'll get the best sense if we have a cup of coffee and a good conversation together.

According to The Rules, you're supposed to spend as little time as possible exchanging emails and get to that first date as quickly as you can. He checked out my profile and read the email at 11:24 a.m. Not a word.

Next up: Dr. Chatty. (I know: who thinks up these silly monikers?) Here is his profile:

This is how I describe myself: I am very easygoing, energetic, optimistic, spiritual and happy. I am comfortable around all types of people...the whole Jewish spectrum and non jewish. Love the life I have while always trying to improve and become better. Always reading and learning about life. Love my profession in medicine always trying to help and inspire others. Love to laugh but enjoy making others laugh even more. I'm spontaneous and try never to be too serious. Very into exercise and enjoying life as well. Really love raw fish/wine/cooking/growing food...and have a secret dream to open a sushi place with good wine and music. Most of all I would like to get married and have children.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Kind, goodhearted, easygoing, optimistic, energetic, spiritual, enjoys life, loves to laugh and have fun with a sense of adventure.

Sounds a bit of all right. I was told by Rochel that I agreed too much with Dr. Chef, showed too much interest. So let's try a different tactic with this doctor:

To: Dr. Chatty Date: 6-Sep-10 07:53 am

Subject: unfortunately, I hate raw fish

Message: Don't like sushi. Don't even like lox. Too bad, because I love laughing and having fun ;)

He checked out my profile and read the email at 12:08 p.m., around the time I was arriving at the spa for my massage and facial. No response. Any thoughts as to why? Did I go from "too much in common" to "not enough in common"?

Re: the massage and facial. The latter was so-so -- she was very gentle extracting my pores, but then all she did was put two masks on me, wash them off, and use an electroshock device on a very large, subcutaneous pimple. "I do not eggsdract heem," she told me. "Ve keel heem anuzzer vey, ozzervize ve shpred zeh tcherms."

Did I mention that everyone who worked at the spa speaks Russian? At least no one was shoving plates of snails drenched in mozzarella under my nose. But the masseur who gave me my deep tissue massage was Russian, too. After asking me a few basic questions (any injuries, surgeries, medications, etc.), he worked on me.

It was disturbingly intimate. Not erotic; I wasn't at all aroused. Haven't really been aroused since the breakup. But I was very conscious that I was naked and a man was touching my body. Especially during the mercifully few times when he was standing right next to my arm and I became aware of what I believe was his junk.

I can't be 100% sure, because my arm isn't as discerning as, say, my fingers. But he was fairly short, and his pelvis was more or less level with the table. And I have to say, either I really don't turn him on or he's a consummate professional. Or both. Because his junk didn't seem very interested in the proceedings. As if all of his blood was securely above the waist.

I realized that for an entire year, I've only been touched and seen naked by one man. Which is unusual for me. In my manic heyday, I was handled by... let's just say, well more than one man per year. No wonder it felt so intimate.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Weirdo with a bad toupee

So yesterday I talked with the guy that the Hineni shadchan set me up with. And I was not happy. Even though on paper you might think he's what I want: educated, cultured intelligent, employed and likes his job.

He went to Haverford, Middlebury, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and a few other places I can't remember. Also studied in various yeshivas. He started out in literary criticism, got a doctorate in Jewish history, then obtained his MLS and now works as a librarian/professor at a branch of Touro.

And I don't want to go out with him.

Why wouldn't I want to go out with a man who mentions Coleridge and Walter Benjamin in our first conversation? (If you haven't heard of WB, and I have, Google him.) Who knows how to pronounce van Gogh, even if he thought the artist cut off his ear and gave it to his doctor? (It actually went to a woman the artist liked.) He knew that absinthe makes you see yellow and this is believed to be the reason so many of van Gogh's works have a yellow tone. (It was a little annoying that he told me what absinthe is. I know what absinthe is. If you don't, Google it.)

I just didn't enjoy talking to him. He's even more of a know-it-all than I am. And he seemed like a wanderer in life, kind of a luftmensh. I know I took a long and winding road to my career, but he took a really long and winding road.

Maybe it was my hesitance, or my similar liberal-arts background (comparative literature BA at one of the lesser Ivies, my facility with languages), but he was really into me. Of course. But I didn't enjoy talking to him. And I don't want to go out with him. I actually used my cell phone to call my home phone and trigger a call-waiting. He then asked if I wanted to meet, and I told him I needed to think about it. Which prompted him to start arguing with me.

"I hope you're not going to judge me based on one conversation," he said. "I mean, I went to the beach and swam in the ocean today. I'm tired. If I'd known you were going to base your opinion of me on this conversation, I should have taken a nap."

I pleaded that I needed to sleep on it and talk to my friends, that's what girls do, etc. He was relentless. But finally I got him off the damn phone and called a few friends. Who all made the same basic point: Don't go out with him. If you didn't enjoy talking to him, trust your instincts. (Thanks, guys, you know who you are.)

This morning I was reminded of a weird guy I met on Frumster, spoke with on the phone, did not like, refused to meet, and encountered a similar outraged response. He and I ultimately met in person at the Hineni event where I met the matchmaker who set me up with the Luftmensh Librarian.  He recognized me at the event and we chatted a bit.

He was as weird as I remembered (although he was friendly and didn't make any pointed remarks about me refusing to go out with him), and he had an awful toupee that sat crookedly on his head. I was reminded of him because I saw his profile this morning, doing my daily Frumster scan. My instincts told me not to go out with him, and my instincts were 100% right.

So I'm not going out with the Luftmensh Librarian. I'm trusting my instincts.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, September 05, 2010

How I answered Dr. Chef

I spoke with Rochel, my friend the shadchanit/dating coach. Read her our emails, back and forth. She thought I was showing too much interest and causing him to back away gradually.

"Who tells someone they're having a party and then doesn't invite them?" she said. "If he had all this free time this weekend, why wasn't he making any time to see you?"

Good points. Excellent points. So this is what I wrote to him tonight:
tonight was the entertaining -- dinner with my sister and nieces

tomorrow is the relaxing -- massage and facial

hope you enjoyed the BBQ

Shows him I'm happy, busy, and take good care of myself. Without him.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Dr. Chef parries, but does not thrust

Remember how we were confused about Dr. Chef saying

goodness knows you must need at least a little fun after working the job you do, and, given the long, cold winters there, one is left to wonder what exactly that might entail

His next email to me explains that:

subway? am and metro?
I thought you were in [upstate hometown with notoriously cold winters, aka UHWNCW]. Hmmmm

In any case, you will be relieved to know that I love opera, including Tristan, but not the rest of the ring, art hanging and IMac rocking whilst cooking with whatever is left in my vegetable drawer, freezer, and spice drawers and the corner bodega. Best of all, in 2 words: duck ragu. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

He ain't kidding. Duck ragout sounds awesome. And I might have been a little too enthusiastic in my response:

I grew up in UHWNCW but I've lived in Manhattan since 1992. I work in downtown Brooklyn. Where do you live and work.

Duck ragu????? In two words: When?!! Where?!!!

Droolingly, Ayelet


He responded to that in a timely and polite manner. Almost too polite.

The where: I live, work, and cook in Manhattan. I came from Illinois via Montreal.
The when: most nights in my kitchen. Cooking is one way I relax...

Hope your day is a good one. Best, Dr. C

Is it me, or does he sound like he's lost interest? Well, I can play it cool, too.

Where in Manhattan do you live and work? I'm on the Upper West Side. Rent-stabilized studio, so it's affordable but very small. Hope you have a wonderful day as well.

And I did not hear from him for three days. Today he wrote:

One more thing we share in common: I am on the upper, UWS -- Harlem, on 116th, and work in Union Square.

Loving the beautiful day and heading out for a CP jog before having a few friends over for a roofdeck BBQ (one of the many perks of Harlem living). Hope you are doing something enjoyable and relaxing this weekend, too. Best, Dr. C

So how do I respond to that? Tell him that I'm meeting my sister and nieces for dinner tonight, and tomorrow going for a facial and massage? And when? Should I wait until after Rosh Hashana, or just write something late Tuesday night?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Retrieving my stuff via email

JV, a package from [online retailer], which I ordered before we broke up, has been delivered to your house. I tried but was unable to change the delivery address. I also realized that some of my very important documents -- copies of my diplomas, etc. -- are still at your house. They are probably in the guest room in a navy blue cardboard folder or in one of those small cardboard boxes we used to pack up important documents before the apartment was painted. You also still have a set of my apartment keys.

I know you come into the city fairly often, either to see your parents or sister. If it's not too much trouble, at your convenience please leave everything with my friend Alona's doorman, labeled "Alona Chachama -- Apt. [#]." Her address is [one block away from my apartment].

Thank you, and have a great Labor Day weekend with the kids -- Ayelet

No answer so far.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My response to Dr. Chef

Glad you think we have a lot in common :) Five more things about me:
 
1. I love Japanese art. I have posters and paintings hung around my office, because I think it gives the office a peaceful, healing aura.
 
2. I am a certified substance abuse detoxification acupuncturist. I am trained in what's called a 5-point auricular protocol -- five points on the ear that help the body cleanse itself from toxins and balance the sympathetic nervous system.
 
3. I rock karaoke. I love Broadway musicals and museums. I like Mozart and Verdi operas, not a big fan of Wagner. I adore wandering through farmer's markets and flea markets. But I'm just as happy sitting at home reading, watching a movie, or doing crossword puzzles.
 
4. I do the Metro and amNewYork crossword puzzles on the subway every day. I would like them to be a little bigger or more difficult, because I usually finish around Canal St. and I don't get off till Hoyt-Schermerhorn.
 
5. I have no idea if I'm a better cook than you are. But I do love cooking together. With interesting whole ingredients like cumin, figs, mushrooms, fish, asparagus... obviously not all together. I prefer dark meat (chicken or turkey) to white meat, and I loooooooooooooooooove duck. Too scared to try to cook it, because if you ruin it, it's an expensive tragedy. I guess duck is my Everest.

Your turn!

What do you think, faithful readers?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Ayelet hears from Bachelor #2

This was another guy I wrote to; let's call him "Dr. Chef."
43, Male
New York, NY
Single, without children
Conservative, from a traditional family
Sefaradi (Iraqi)

Additional Background Information
Consider relocation? Maybe
Wishing to make aliyah to Israel? No
Jewish Education: Hebrew school
Secular Education: JD/MD/Ph.D/Doctoral
Languages Spoken: English, Hebrew
Political Beliefs: not important
Occupation: MD

Hobbies and Interests: Cooking and lively conversation with friends and family. Reading. Playing and listening to music. Live theatre. Travel and wine.

Religious observance: Ritual observance (Kiddush, Synagogue, etc); not "Kosher" but no meat/dairy or pork, etc.

The role of Judaism in my life: Family, spirituality, tradition, community, and history

This is how I describe myself: Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly, maintain your virtues, and cherish your liberties. Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up. Sometimes, you just have to bow to the absurd.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Lovers need to know how to lose themselves and then how to find themselves again. To love is to lose control a little. The Japanese call it "shibumi, " the sophistication of simple things.

In a word: wow. (TikunOlam: any signs of personality disorder here?) True, I've had bad experiences with Iraqi men in the past, but I've had bad experiences with all kinds of men, and I'm not becoming a lesbian. So I wrote to him:

A man who cooks, cites Micah, and employs pithy Japanese concepts to explain his worldview. Values family, likes live theater, actually plays an instrument. Color me impressed. I didn't know they made Renaissance Samurai anymore.

He read the note, looked at my profile, and didn't respond all day yesterday. I mentally sighed. "He's not interested," I thought. "He's either going to ignore the initial contact or send me some polite 'thanks but no thanks.'" Oh well, at least I still have Sir Gallant, and GG and I are getting more gelato Saturday night. (He actually offered to cook me dinner at his place, but I saw that as a clever ploy for seduction and asked if we could hang out in, you know, public.)

But at 1:03 a.m., Dr. Chef surprised me:

Well, hello Ayelet. Perusing your profile, it is plain why you reached out. Not that there is so very much boiler plate to these sites, but, I must say, "takes one to know one"! (Renaissance samurai). But I do take issue with one part of your profile: grocery shopping and/or opera are always fun, no matter who you are with!

And goodness knows you must need at least a little fun after working the job you do, and, given the long, cold winters there, one is left to wonder what exactly that might entail. Let's just agree from now that you must be a superb chef, the better chef, and it is, in fact, you who will cook for me! (just kidding -- glad to share a kitchen anytime). Please, do tell more.

SCORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I could exchange emails with him indefinitely. Or I could give him my phone number and tell him directly. What should I do? I'm certainly not going to write back immediately ;)

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"