Tuesday, October 05, 2010

So who did you meet on Simchat Torah, Ayelet?

Forget about renewing the annual Torah cycle. Simchat Torah is all about meeting people. And I did. I decided that I would get out at least once per day, but wouldn't drive myself crazy trying to hit every party and social scene. And I met three guys.

Technically I met one of them before the holiday started -- through my friend Chanan. He emailed me while I was dating JV to suggest I go out with a friend of his. Who sort of fits my toxic type -- blond, big-headed, divorced -- except this one's not divorced. Cute, though. I emailed him the day after the breakup:

As things have it, I am no longer dating that person. While I probably need some time to de-brief, would you be able to tell me a little bit about the guy you wanted to set me up with? That way, in a month or so when I'm ready, I can go for it ;)

This was Chanan's response:

It's good to hear from you. I am sorry to hear about your breakup, I know that they can be devastating. But am also glad I suggested this set up. Now maybe you have something to look forward to.

My friend's name is Jersey Jake (JJ). In his late 30's, he's probably about 5'7" - 5'8", relatively thin and has a full head of hair. He grew up Conservative and became observant in his late teens or early 20's. I have known him since we attended YU together. He is a gentleman, and treats women with respect, but for whatever reason has not met his bashert. He comes across as a "nice Jewish boy," but is sophisticated and worldly. He appreciates culture and class, while having a spontaneous side and a sense of humor.

As I mentioned, we attended YU together, but I believe he started college at Fairleigh Dickinson before transferring. He was an MIS major, but I know he also worked in the fashion district, in his family's business, which has since closed. He is currently looking for a job.

As you probably know, people who become more observant often face increased conflict with their families over religious issues, and JJ has had that with his family since I can remember. Naturally, being involved in a relationship with someone facing that can be tough (I have some of that with my wife's aunts and cousins), but my impression of you since we've met is that you are diplomatic and understanding, and work to reduce conflict as much as possible. 

Additionally, I think of you as a supportive person who can date someone who is out of work (some women can't, and naturally that can lead to conflict later in marriage if the husband loses his job), and while understanding, strive to motivate and help your partner grow and achieve. Those are important qualities, especially in this economy and disheartening job market.

Lastly, and maybe a bit superficially, JJ has a gift for back rubs. I remember people asking him to work on their backs after workouts or whatever. He should have been a massage therapist. I know you learned acupuncture and while recently thinking about your knowledge of relaxing needle treatments triggered a whole chain reaction and I thought you and he might be a good pair.

I hope I have given you a little taste of what he is like and also why I thought of the two of you making a compatible couple. If you would like, I can introduce the two of you via email or Facebook and you can take things at your own pace, developing a friendship and seeing when you are ready for more. Either way, let me know how you would like to proceed.

Good shabbes and k'tiva v'chatima tova. I hope the coming year brings you joy and the realization of your dearest wishes.

On the plus side: he's smart, respectful of women, attractive, gives good back rubs. But I realized a) I'm FB friends with JJ and b) I think I emailed him on Frumster a few years ago and was rejected. He's younger than I am, so he might not be interested.

Then again, if Chanan tries to set it up, maybe I should play along. So I agreed, and told him a few weeks later that I was ready. First JJ "poked" me on Facebook. Fine, whatever. Then he sent me an email a few hours before the holiday started Wednesday night:

Chanan suggested I give you a buzz.
I'm planning on being in the UWS for yontif. Anything noteworthy to attend? I noticed you were going to a party

We haven't even met, and you expect me to be your social director? You're supposed to be making plans to date me, not vice versa! But I was nice.

I'm going to a bunch of things, including the party tonight; you can probably stop in too. Let's touch base after the holiday.

According to The Rules, he needs to make some effort to win me, not just show up and have me and others entertain him. And since we've already been introduced, I'm not going to waste the holiday just socializing with him when there are tons of other eligible bachelors I could be meeting.

Wednesday night I went to that party, meeting up with my friend Shalva. It was in a tiny apartment, insanely hot, and nobody was paying attention to us. She actually remarked upon that.

"I went home for Yom Kippur and the first days of Succot, and I went out with four or five guys," she said. "It's amazing how guys from New York completely ignore me and guys from out of town actually want to date me."

"Same here," I commiserated.

"What is wrong with New York guys?" she asked. "If I were a guy, I would totally go for either of us!"

"I'd marry you in a second," I said. Shalva is tall, slender, very sweet, with a lovely face and great energy. But she feels as invisible as I do at these things.

After Shalva and I left the party, I saw my friend ET on the street and stopped to talk to him. And then a guy walked up to me and said, "Ayelet? It's JJ!"

He looks like his pictures, which is to say reasonably cute. And we chatted in the street for a few minutes. But I didn't want to spend too much time with him. Again, playing by The Rules: he should know that I'm busy, in demand, and he has to make an effort to see me. "Easy to be with but hard to get" I think is how they put it. So after a few minutes I suggested he enjoy the party and I'd see him around.

"Who was that, Ayelet?" asked Shalva. "He was totally focused on you! He wasn't looking around at all the other girls while talking to you." A typical NYC male tactic -- scanning the crowd for Ms. Right while talking to Ms. Right Now.

Hm. Maybe The Rules work? I'm not sure. I saw JJ a few more times over the holiday, but he still hasn't asked me out.

Shalva and I headed down the street, past Darna, where another party was happening. Such a popular party that it spilled over onto the sidewalk.

"Hey, Yitzy," said Shalva to a tall guy we passed.

"Hi, Shalva," said Yitzy. "Hello," he said to me.

He's very tall. Seemed nice. An accountant, lives in Brooklyn. Could not determine his age -- not younger than 40, maybe closer to 50. We spoke for a while after Shalva went to wedge herself into the party and saw him a few more times over the holiday. Nothing thrilling, but nothing repulsive. He asked me my name, I spelled it (my last name is somewhat unusual). Saw him the next day, spelled my name again. He called me Sunday night.

The call was a little surreal for me, because somehow -- I suppose because we were talking about my job, which sometimes involves working with clients who have mental illness -- we ended up talking about whether a person should date someone taking psychotropic medication.

"A friend of mine was dating this girl," Yitzy said, "and it turned out she had been taking medication, but she stopped taking it for shidduch purposes."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because if it comes out that she's taking medication, it will hurt her chances of meeting other people," he said.

Gotta love Brooklyn. "What happened with your friend?" I asked.

"Well, he was worried about her behavior," Yitzy said. "He told me that one time they went into this store and she saw a pair of $1200 sunglasses. She wasn't working, and her family doesn't have money, but she really wanted to buy them."

"That's a symptom of mania," I said. "She needed to be on her medication. Many people function so well on medication, you can't even tell they have an illness."

"True," he said, "but would you date someone with that kind of problem?" Ouch.

"I think it depends on the person," I said. "If they're stable and taking care of themselves -- yes, they have an issue, but they're aware it's going to be a problem and they're taking steps to address it. Anything can happen to anyone. People get cancer. People get hit by buses. You can't predict what life is going to bring you. In this case, at least you know what you're dealing with."

"Wow, you have a really great attitude about life," he said. "Still, it's a serious problem, you know?"

"True," I said, "but there are actually a few benefits. People who have bipolar tend to have very high sex drives. I know a lot of men complain their wives aren't interested in too much intimacy. Men who marry women who have bipolar probably won't have that problem." He laughed.

I was waiting for him to pick me up after work yesterday when my friend Chassya called. "I'm going out with Yitzy Jewishberg," I told her.

"I know Yitzy!" she said. "You know he's in his fifties, right?"


"Uh... no," I said. "I knew he wasn't young, but I thought he was in his late forties."

"He's divorced, you know," she said.

"Any kids?" I asked hopefully.

"Don't think so."

The date was fine, but I delicately inquired as to his age. "I'm 43," he said. Really? I tried Googling him but couldn't find any information on him. I have the feeling he's looking for someone more religious and conventional -- when I disapproved of the prevailing Brooklyn trend of dressing your daughters aged 2 and older in black, he asked, "But don't they look happy?"

"They've learned not to let their feelings show because what would the neighbors think," I answered.

He said he'd be in touch. I'm sure he'll have some reason why we're not compatible. Which is fine. It was nice to be pursued. Again, The Rules were right: don't spend too much time getting his attention, show that you're circulating and busy, let him make the effort to secure some of your time and attention.

I'll write about the third guy, DJ, another time. Right now I have to go shower before my weekly laser knee treatment.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I am really glad to see you posting again. I was starting to get worried when so many days went by with no word from Ayelet!

  2. Well, Yitzy Jewishberg was not listening when his mother taught him manners! Why do these people think that taking medication for mental illness, is any different..than taking meds for high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma? You can't just stop taking meds..and the average person has to STOP putting a stigma ON mental illness. They are perfectly happy being friends with the people on pain pills, and those that abuse prescription meds. As soon as a person discusses taking a medication for mental illness, the person on the receiving end of this news is RUNNING AWAY!! I just can NOT believe the audacity of these people!!

  3. Couldn't have said it better myself, Jilly ;)