Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seriously: What's the deal with Jersey Jake?

Jersey Jake and I belong to a few of the same Facebook groups, and he's been "liking" or responding to my comments and posts. Fine, whatever, it's a free country. But then I looked at my subscribers list (I have 8), and noticed that he's subscribed to me. Even worse, he has 115 subscribers. I guess I feel a little competitive. But why is he subscribed to me when he didn't bother to ask me out?

I sent another email to Chanan:

Chag sameach! Hope you and the tribe are well. Jersey Jake has subscribed to my status updates and sometimes comments. I'm very confused. Did he ever tell you why he didn't follow up on your suggestion that he ask me out?

Chanan had no idea.

Chanukah sameach.We are good. Overwhelmed a little, but good. What about you? How is work? The dating scene? The UWS? I am there often these days. I changed jobs and now do wine sales. I have a tasting next week Thursday night at [name of liquor store redacted]. As for Jake: Nope, dunno. You want me to tell him to knock it off?

Well, not exactly. But before I read this email he sent another:

I talked to Jake, using your message as an excuse to give him a call and catch up. I hope you don't mind. It seems he has some hang-ups about asking women out because he is, and has been for some time, unemployed. I guess he's afraid of rejection and thinks a woman wants to be taken out to all the fancy places he cannot afford. I suggested coffee as a first time get together. 

Further, he's concerned that so much time has passed he wouldn't know where to begin talking to you by email or on the phone. Sound crazy and convoluted to you? It does to me, but hey, I know plenty of people who psych themselves out like this. I have to be careful sometimes that I don't do it to myself.

Actually, it kind of made sense to me.

Congrats on the job change, sounds like fun! My job is awesome, and the UWS and dating suck. I will try to stop by the wine tasting. I understand why Jake would feel self-conscious about contacting me after so much time had passed, and being unemployed certainly won't boost his confidence. (I work with heroin addicts, so his thinking doesn't seem all that convoluted to me, but everything's relative.) 

You're right that often people psych themselves out of doing a lot of things they might enjoy. It might be that right now is not a good time for him to be dating, but I'd be open to having coffee with him.

No response so far. Chanan has 4 or 5 children, so he's pretty busy, but I guess he'll convey my sentiments to Jersey Jake and I'll see what happens. But he's still unemployed? After more than a year? That does give me a little pause. I know it's a crap economy and all that, but it only took me 7 months to get a job offer I wanted, and 4 months to get the first offer. I think it was 4 months. But there are always job openings for social workers. Not so true for PsyD's. I am very lucky I ended up with the degrees I have.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fussy Ayelet

Friend of mine sent me a Skype IM (I'm tired of coming up with pseudonyms, so I'll just call her Friend of Ayelet or FOA):

Friend of Ayelet: remind me, are u open to a shidduch in NY?

Of course I am, I live in NY.

FOA: and are u stil open to having kids? or not?
Ayelet: I would love to try if I can
FOA: I know a REALLY nice guy in NY, never married, NOT abnormal.
A: what's his name?
FOA: a baker, VERY GOOD baker, actually. tasted his stuff. hard worker, not afraid to work.

She's not always the best listener. Eventually she got around to the answer.

FOA: His name is DK.
A: Did he go to college?
FOA: 52, I think.

Not the question I asked, but important information.

FOA: I think he went to college, I know he went to culinary school.
A: 52 is very old for me, I'm 41.
FOA: that is NOT old for you, not anymore. up to 10 yrs younger is not even considered a difference, by ANY shadchanim u speak to

Kind of moot, since I no longer speak to shadchanim.

FOA: and he is healthy, and just a REAL MENTSCH
A: I'm just not comfortable with it.
FOA: would NEVER disrespect any lady 

We're not communicating.

A: I believe you, but I'm not comfortable with that kind of age difference and education difference. Together it's too much.
FOA: ok, ur prerogative to be as fussy as you choose. your life. Just wanted to help, cuz i think ur a nice woman, and i KNOW he's a nice guy
u just assumed an education differnce
for all we know he IS a college graduate
and beyond that, I KNOW intelligence, common sense, and personalities. I am a Mensa member. and a college grad. i KNOW if someone is "smart enough" or not. 

Fine, but I KNOW myself, and I'm not comfortable with someone 11 years older than I am.

The best defense is offense, right?

A: Why aren't you dating him?
FOA: I'm in a whole different WORLD -- i have 6 grown kids and grandbabies and am WAY more learned IN TORAH. Chareidi for years -- you're more modern ortho like he is

I can see she's not going to let this go.

A:What does he look like?

Again she doesn't really listen to me.

FOA: also i want a man living in Israel, or who could retire here or move a business here easy; HE has all his culinary connections in NY.
A: Does he have his own business or does he work in a bakery?
FOA: No, he has been offered management jobs in different bakeries... he WANTS to open his own bakery cafe at some point. he is not a lowly worker, he RUNS shifts, etc. and he manages staff.
A: ok... what does he look like?

I'm almost as stubborn as FOA is.

FOA: check out his FB bio

I did. First I saw that he lives in Monsey, which means he's not modern ortho like me, he's more ortho than me. And then I saw his picture. Two words: Rob Reiner.

I just looked at his picture. No, I cannot go out with him.
FOA: ok, forget i offered. i have no idea what your tastes are. i just know he is a LOVELY person, and will make someone a good husband. wishing u all the best.
A: likewise you

There you have it, folks. Why Ayelet is still single. I'm just too darn fussy.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


I saw my acupuncturist friend Spike for several months in 2009. Even after I stopped going to him for treatment, we kept in touch on Facebook. Usually he would IM me and we would chat. I wasn't always in the mood and sometimes wished he wouldn't IM me so often. Then I started dating Ivan the Terrible, and at some point Spike stopped IMing me.

Lately I've been wondering how he's doing, especially since I started volunteering as a detox acupuncturist and went to another acupuncturist for knee treatment. This morning, after I woke up at 3 am and went to the bathroom and couldn't fall back asleep, I went to his Facebook page to see what he was up to, leave him a message.

There weren't any recent posts by Spike. But there were a ton from his friends. I'll share the most recent three:

happy thanksgiving spike may you rest in peace

Miss you, Spike....more than a year without you here...I hope you see my mom and tell her hi...she knows all about you. :) *hugs*

Spike, my brother in arms. It's been a year(and some days) and it seems as though it was only yesterday that Derek gave me the news that you left this earth. Attending your funeral last year was one of the most unreal, heartbreaking, and hurtful things I had to do in my life right next to my grandmother's funeral. I remember you joked around one time with Dave and Lester...

Oh, no. No. See, there's something I never told you about Spike: He had type 1 bipolar disorder.

Like so many with that horrible disease, he was brilliant and talented. He played several instruments, practiced Kung Fu, administered acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, wrote poetry (rhyming and free verse), and was thinking about going to med school to become a truly holistic psychiatrist.

But in September 2010, he jumped into the Hudson River. They found his body in October.

I can't feel responsible. I know I rarely if ever initiated a FB chat with him, and maybe I conveyed my reluctance to him somehow. But he had friends and family. He was dearly loved. He wasn't completely alone. I don't know why their love and support wasn't enough. Or maybe I do.

I don't know what to call how I feel. I'm so sad that he suffered so much, because I know what that's like. I'm so sad he didn't see any other option but to end his suffering by ending his life. I'm confused, because he had so much to give, and so many people loved him. I was so shocked, so grieved, I had to send his sister a note:

Holly, I met your brother when I went to Lincoln Recovery Center for detox acupuncture training. He treated me in 2008-2009 for knee pain. I am so sorry for your loss -- I hadn't been in touch with him for a long time, and just this morning I looked on his page to reconnect. I hope the messages on his page are a comfort to you and your family.

She was gracious enough to respond:

Thank you for your kind words, Ayelet. Spike is greatly missed, but I am heartened by the tremendous number of people he touched. I continue to learn from my brother every day. Thank you again for reaching out. I wish you a safe and warm holiday.

I know I'm lucky I have type 2 bipolar, not type 1. The latter is so frequently fatal, as Kay Redfield Jamison documented brilliantly in her book on suicide, Night Falls Fast. Billy Joel sings that "Only the Good Die Young." In the case of bipolar disorder, it's too often true.

Tonight I lit the first Chanuka candle. It burns alone in the menorah. Kind of like me. Things are over with EG -- he doesn't appreciate me, and he's probably not ready for a serious relationship. So I am alone for the foreseeable future, as usual.

Will I jump into the Hudson? Unlikely. At the very least I'm getting excellent support and reinforcement at my job. My supervisor and fellow social workers appreciate me and believe in me. If I didn't have that, I don't know what I would do.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Second date

EG and I met for coffee last night. Actually, he had an egg nog latte, I had juice. And we talked. And... I'm not going to blog about it. Partly because I'm still enervated from the bronchitis, but also because I don't feel like having this relationship go through referendum after referendum via comments on here and on Facebook. Basically, I'll let you know the major milestones, but the specifics I'm reserving for a few friends IRL. 
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Quick EG update, cuz I'm sick

I'm getting over bronchitis, which I know from past experience is a matter of waiting until I feel better. Today I feel much better than yesterday, and tomorrow I'm going back to work no matter what.

Waiting is what I'm supposed to employ regarding EG as well. That is, according to The Rules. I should let him know I'm available and wait for him to pursue me. But my horoscope has been saying the opposite -- that if I want romance I shouldn't be shy: So yesterday I sent EG an email on Facebook:

I should have taken you up on your offer 15 yrs ago, instead of being afraid... guess it's too late now

He called about five minutes later. "What offer?" he asked.

What do you mean, what offer? "You wanted to take me to the Bahamas," I said, "and I was too afraid to go. And I had another boyfriend."

"That was YOU?"

Apparently EG had never forgotten the night we spent together, or his efforts to win me over. But he had forgotten my name, and he didn't recognize me at this weight. (Ouch.) He thought I was someone from his more recent past -- a woman he'd dated around the time he met and married his wife. Not that long-lost woman who got away.

We had a really long talk, during which the following information came to light:

1. I told him, back in the day, that I had a mood disorder, and he wasn't put off. Still isn't.
2. I was probably hypomanic that night.
3. He had a feeling I rejected him because he doesn't perform oral sex.
4. He liked being married and misses the closeness and support it offered him, so he can go out and conquer the world anew each day.
5. While he's used to women who are very petite (his ex-wife is 4'11" and weighs 105; when he and I dallied, I was a little taller but not much weightier), he wants to see if he can develop an attraction to a different physical type. Maybe he can, maybe he can't.

We're getting together for coffee tonight, to talk more. And just talk. Not only because I'm sick, but because if this is going to work out, I need to not get physically involved with him. I know we want the same kind of relationship, and that we have similar values when it comes to lifestyle (or that he has values I'm willing to adopt). I also think that if we did get together, we could almost definitely make it work physically and have a good sex life. So there's no need for test runs now.

When I was younger, I was so worried about sexual compatibility that I rushed into sexual activity with men I was dating and totally ruined the relationship's emotional development. Hell, when I was dating CY last January I rushed into sex and ruined the relationship, although now I think that was for the best. So I'm not going to do that this time. I'm going to trust that we will make it work if we need to. I just hope he'll be able to work up some desire for me at this weight, because I'm trying to lose some but can't guarantee I'll be successful.

So wish me luck, readers. Tonight could be a very memorable cup of coffee. It's our second date. Hope it goes half as well as the last one.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, December 03, 2011

One last stab at EG

I know I said I'd stop trying to pique EG's interest. But a horoscope I got on Thursday convinced me I needed to take another shot:

If you want to win someone's heart, your ability to communicate and hold an interesting conversation will work to your advantage. Use your irresistible charm to magnetically draw the person of your dreams right to your heart. Stay alert so you don't miss subtle clues. Be willing to act on impulse, Gemini. Sometimes, your gut needs to lead the way.

EG has a Twitter account, which he uses to muse on the stock market. I decided to take a look at it. Among the boring tweets I didn't get was one about how he made his first online clothing purchase, a sweater. So I decided to leave a flirty message on his wall:

Checked out your twitter feed. Congrats on the sweater. Shabbat shalom.

Sadly, there was no response -- he didn't even "Like" my wall post -- and I made up my mind to not think about him ever again. I did see him today at kiddush, and he smiled and pointed at me but then didn't come over to talk. Not sure what that means, and I was too busy collecting accolades to ponder it. (Although maybe that was one of the "subtle clues" I was supposed to be alert to.)

Yes, accolades. Yet another person has told me how much joy my FB status updates and comments bring into their life. (This is the "real" Ayelet's profile.) His name is Chadwick, and he's a friend of Alona whom I met over the summer and then friended on FB.

"I feel like I should give you a hug, Ayelet," he said.

"For what?" I asked.

"For all the joy you bring into my life!" I'm not making this up. Of course I hugged him. I have an audience! I have fans!

More good stuff happened at kiddush and afterward, but I'm tired and still fighting off a cold. I'll have to blog about it another time. To be continued...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, December 02, 2011

Terminal insomnia redux: Correlation isn't causation

Terminal insomnia has struck again. I thought I wouldn't get it this year because I haven't been using the light box. Every year after I switch on the light box, my terminal insomnia comes roaring back like Jews who've spotted a Viennese table. So I assumed the light box was causing the insomnia.

But this year, I'm relatively happy. I'm not in a toxic job environment and grieving the loss of an almost-engagement and two adorable stepsons. I'm not feeling depressed, having trouble concentrating, or avoiding social gatherings. I'm performing exceptionally well at work (my supervisor's opinion, not my own), and I've started volunteering once a week doing detox acupuncture at a different program near my job, which is awesome. So I haven't needed to turn the light box on.

Yet I'm still waking up way too early -- despite liberal use of the acupressure torture mat, melatonin, and calcium supplements (the real reason warm milk promotes sleep is that calcium promotes muscle relaxation). My caffeine intake is limited to two cups of tea per day and a reasonable chocolate intake. I know that regular exercise also helps with sleep. I haven't been to the gym since Sunday, because I have a cold. But I think I was having insomnia last week as well, when I went to the gym two or three times. This must be my only symptom of seasonal affective disorder.

I see Dr. R again on December 20. I'm not sure what he'll say, although I'm almost positive he won't prescribe me a sleep aid. I don't really want to take one, either. I'm already on a fairly high dose of antidepressants and lithium. Even though so far my liver has come through like a champion, I don't want to overburden it. Or my kidneys, which seem to be working overtime; I usually wake up because I need to pee, and then can't fall asleep when I get back to bed. On the plus side, the supplements I ordered seem to have taken care of the chronic UTI that was plaguing me, although I still think my urinary frequency is abnormally high.

How problematic is it to lose a significant amount of sleep? I know that's associated with weight gain, which is unfortunate. And my dark circles are quite unattractive, although they probably bother me more than most people who interact with me. I don't like having insomnia, but maybe it's just something I can live with. Today after I couldn't fall back asleep I updated my resume, read some emails, messed around on Facebook, watched a little TV, did some knee exercises and stretches, and then decided to blog. Parents of young children routinely lose a great deal of sleep, but most of them seem to manage somehow anyway. Maybe that's just what I need to do.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Another #Jwed prince

I still haven't decided whether to rejoin Jwed, and this guy, who visited my profile today, isn't swaying me toward re-upping.

Age: 45
Location: New York, New York
Build: 5'8" average
Marital Status: Single (never married)
Children: None
Education: Masters Degree
Occupation: Educational Administrator
Politics: Conservative
Smoke: No
Affiliation: Shomer Mitzvot
Tzitzit: Always Torah: Daily
Prayer: 3x daily

About me: I am called up to the Torah, as a Yisroel...Like to read alot, watch cable tv, and eat good/healthy food. Enjoy listening and singing shlomo carlebach niggunim. Singing Jewish variety of melodies/songs, especially for shabbous.. Seriously seeking to become a husband and father. 

I'm looking for: A religious female, single, divorced(must have Get) or widow(must have death certificate), (all with/without children), up to 38 years young. She should be able and willing to have children. Serious candidates only. Lets drink a l'chaim.

I'm looking for: A religious female, single, divorced(must have Get) or widow(must have death certificate), (all with/without children), up to 38 years young. She should be able and willing to have children. Serious candidates only. Lets drink a l'chaim. 

So he's probably reasonably intelligent and seems to have a responsible job. Still. Is it me, or does he sound rigid and creepy? And not very interesting. His only interests are reading, cable TV and eating? Sometimes I really fear for the future of the Jewish people. Fortunately, I'm much too old for him.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A date with my crush

No, EG didn't ask me out. But I'm tired of crushing on him. How do you get over a crush? Well, in this day and age, you Google "how to get over a crush." I read several articles, and my favorite tip was to set aside time to think about the crush, and not think about him at any other time.

I like this tip because it's a behavioral intervention. As a clinical social worker, I impose interventions on my patients on a frequent basis. Maybe "impose" is the wrong word, since they're voluntary patients and not mandated. But I expect them to participate in CBT and to follow through with homework assignments I give them. I would be quite the hypocrite if I were unwilling to do the same thing.

So I'm limiting the time I spend thinking about EG. I will only think about him at night, when I'm in bed trying to fall asleep. (It's also conducive to another activity, in case I want to do a little more than just think.) I did this during another crush I had -- on a married man. Obviously nothing was ever going to happen between us, but he was luscious and powerful, and I craved him. So for a long time, that man was the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep. (Or did something else.)

And today, I no longer have a crush on him. I no longer think about him obsessively, all day/every day. He's a good friend, nothing more. Which suggests that limiting my EG-fantasy time to bedtime might just get me over EG.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Silver Fox flops

Went to the gym at 9:30am today for my fitness evaluation. Learned how to maximize my exertion and caloric burn while minimizing knee strain; also picked up some good stretches. Came home, colored my hair (STILL can't get those stubborn grays 100% covered; I should probably go back to the salon in 2 weeks) and showered. Was about to iron my hair when I decided to see if I had any voicemails. (Full disclosure: I was kinda hoping EG had called me. He hadn't.)

It was the Silver Fox. He left me a message two hours before our date, telling me he had to go into work today and hoping we could reschedule. I thought that was incredibly inconsiderate and called my dating coach friend Rochel. Her voicemail box was full; I'd have to wing it.

If he's very apologetic, and asks me to have dinner with him this week, I thought, I'll do that. If he's not very apologetic and suggests we just get together for coffee, screw him. Because honestly, if he almost stands me up, then I deserve some kind of date upgrade.

I called him. We settled on Wednesday at 6:30pm. What do people do on a weeknight at 6:30pm? Well, according to the Silver Fox... they have coffee. I said, "No, thank you," and hung up.

Later Rochel called me. "You should have just ignored his message," she said, "and made him work harder to reschedule. But if he canceled plans so abruptly with you and then didn't make any effort to apologize or win you over, he's not that into you. You're not the woman he can't live without, and you shouldn't bother."

Wise words. I won't bother. Kind of sad that my awesome d'var Torah at that Shabbos meal didn't lead to any dating prospects. But now I think I know why the Fox is Silver and still single.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Should I rejoin Jwed and meet this guy?

The Silver Fox and I spoke on Thanksgiving; we're having coffee today. I just colored my hair and showered, and I need to dry and iron the hair, but I wanted to ask a question: should I meet Long Island Guy (LIG)? I'm not impressed by his profile, largely because it's fairly ungrammatical.

About me: Hello Every one. First I would say, Thanks for viewing my profile. I am very funny, romantic, I love too cuddle, swim, movies, gym, sports, car shows, volunteering with disabled kids, walks on the beach, dancing, going out, outdoors, jogging, animals, gentle, self confident, reliable, responsible, loyal, respectful, humble, serious, cheerful, sociable, hard worker and love talking with kids. I appreciate the company of honest, sincere and caring people and lots more. I am a level headed, down to earth person who is totally devoted to the one I love.

Age: 45
Location: Long Island
Build: 5'11" average
Marital Status: Single (never married)
Children: None Background
Ethnicity: Mixed Ethnic
Languages: English
Family: Traditional
Jewish Ed.: Hebrew school
Grew up in: (not answered yet)
Education: Masters Degree
Occupation: (not answered yet)
Politics: Conservative
Relocation: Not sure
Smoke: No
Jewish Affiliation: Traditional
Shabbat: Some rituals
Kosher: Kosher style/home
Aliya: Not sure

I'm looking for: Every one deserves a chance to be happy. I would love to meet a sweet and simple woman, who is fun loving yet responsible, loves the outdoors and sitting at home cuddling while watching a movie. Someone who is not afraid to speak her mind. A woman with a good sense of humor, calm, faithful, romantic, caring, sincere, spontaneous, affectionate, intelligent, which is ready for serious relationship and long term relationship that would lead to marriage and not a one night stand. Age difference is not a problem to me and if you have kids or don't have kids also. All I want is to feel love once again and to give back hundred percent to the one, who accepts me for me. Give my body, soul and heart chance to prove an honest and faithful relationship. Please only send me a message if interested and don't be a shame to be yourself. 

Why am I not enthused? LIG reasonably cute in his profile picture. But I'm a little wary of someone who doesn't answer what his occupation is. And his grammar is pretty bad, but a friend once told me not to judge men by the quality of their online writing. Also, I'm not what anyone would call "simple" or "calm."

He's sent me 2 messages. Should I re-up and contact him?

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Of course Ayelet can't just leave it alone

I am feeling my feelings very intensely these days. The funny is hilarious; the interesting is mezmerizing; and I'm so enthused about everything that I want to tell everyone about it. I feel almost hypomanic, except I'm mindful of it and more or less in control of my behavior. But I can readily imagine the out-of-control things I could easily do or say, so I feel a little off balance. It's odd, because I was expecting to get depressed with the time change, and I haven't.

The Silver Fox didn't call last night. Neither did EG. Being that I can never leave it alone, I sent EG a flirty little message:

let me know if you ever want to hang out without your kids, I might be open to that ;)

He wrote back to me an hour later:

thanks for the vote of confidence!

Ouch. I'm so bad at flirting. I sent:

actually, the odds are pretty good in your favor...

Then I went out to dinner and a movie with Miriam. The movie was awesome, but I couldn't stop thinking about EG, which irritated me. Am I the type of woman who always has to be obsessing about a man? I fear I am, which is pathetic.

When I got home, EG had responded:

With the way the market has been treating me lately whenever I game the odds to be in my favor I get slammed sideways

I know he does something with stocks for a living, although I don't really understand what. But I think there's a subtext here: he's wary of dipping his toe back into the dating pool.

I know I shouldn't encourage or pursue him, according to The Rules. I should let him come to me. I should make him chase me. Trouble is, I'm impatient, slightly hypomanic, and did I mention how impatient I am?

I'm not the stock market. I'm a lot more predictable. Fine, I'll come out and say it: Even if I don't get to play with your children, I would still enjoy spending time with you.

Cards on the table. If he's not interested, he'll let me know, and then I can start getting over him.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

EG plays it cool

I woke up today at 4 a.m. with knee pain. I used to think that my terminal insomnia was a function of light box usage, but since I haven't been using it this year, I'm wondering if it's just a function of the time change. It's annoying, because I get tired during the day. I also woke up with knee pain, which is even more annoying. I've been trying to take it easy at the gym, but apparently not easy enough. They offer a free fitness assessment and equipment orientation, which I think I need to schedule.

Since I'm up, I might as well blog about EG.

When last we heard from our hero, he had invited me to play Twister with his children last Thursday night but hadn't told me when. After I emailed him to ask, he wrote:

does 7 work for you?

I was startled, because I thought he had his children from 5-7 on Thursday nights.

won't the kids be gone by then? 

Three hours passed without a response. I wrote again:

If your kids aren't around, I think we should go for coffee, not play Twister. 

A few more hours elapsed before he responded:

I have the kids now. Meeting afterwards. I can do twister but have a busy night!

I was confused. Why would he offer to hang out if he had a busy night?

call me after you give them back

Sometimes it's best to be direct.

whats your phone#?

Guess he didn't program it in his cell phone. I emailed it to him and he called to apologize. Apparently he has his children from 5-8pm, and had scheduled a conference call to China for later that evening. He offered to meet me for 20 minutes for coffee, but I didn't think that made sense, since I'd have to walk 20 minutes to and from the Starbucks nearest his conference call.

So I went over on Shabbos, carrying my hiking pants, changed out of my dress, and we played three rounds of Twister. First me versus the boys (I won), then EG versus the boys (EB1 won), and then me versus EB1 (I won). Apparently EG was surprised I that I won, which made me worry a little that he shares his son's opinion of my corpulence. Then EG asked the kids to play in his room so we could have a grown-up conversation.

"I've been studying your bio on Facebook," EG said. That sounded promising. Doing his due diligence on me.

"I think you're a little addicted to it," he continued. "Your status updates pop up on my page all the time."

Less promising.

"A little," I admitted. "I'm addicted to all the comments I get."

"Yeah," he said, "I don't get many comments on the stuff I post."

"You only have 83 friends," I pointed out.

"True," he said. "But I don't think I want to be friends with the whole world on Facebook. I mean, I have photos and videos of my kids on there."

"I don't really post anything that personal on Facebook," I said. "I used to. Whenever I was frustrated at work, I'd post, 'Ayelet is fried,' 'Ayelet is shredded,' 'Ayelet is exhausted.' Then I ran into a friend I don't see very often, and he was surprised to see how happy I looked. So I stopped posting intimate stuff on Facebook." I didn't mention that I post the intimate stuff on my secret identity's profile.

We chatted for a few minutes, then abruptly he said he had to take the kids to shul. I changed back into my dress and we left the apartment. EG wasn't really walking with me or talking to me.

"Is Ayelet coming to shul with us?" I heard EB2 ask.

"She's going if she wants to go," EG responded. When we got to the shul I asked EG if he wanted me to hang out with them.

"I've got a Daf Yomi shiur," he said. I guess that means no. So I went home.

Sunday I visited my sister and her children; my mother was there too. It was fine, I guess; I mostly interacted with the kids, who'd missed me a lot. I need to visit them more.

Sunday night I posted on EG's wall:

Twister is fun, I'm up for a rematch anytime

He "Liked" my post and commented:

The boys had a blast! We'll organize a rematch for sure

Yeah... I don't think this is going to lead anywhere but friendship. Sigh... Maybe it's just as well. My friend Miriam has been friends with EG's ex-wife for years, and she never liked EG.

I called the Silver Fox yesterday morning, and he called back late last night. (Well, after 9 p.m., which to me is late.) He said he'd call tonight, at a more reasonable (to me) hour. Stay tuned.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Silver Fox

Friday night I went to the Jewish Center's annual Rotating Tables singles event. Basically, you have your appetizers at one table, soup at another, and main course at another, so you get to meet a number of different people.

There were only five men I'd dated at the event, which was a nice low number, although of course one of them was at my first table and another at my third. Fortunately, the lamest of them, my ex-boyfriend The Jurk, didn't sit with me at all. He's a Turkish Jew, so a friend and I nicknamed him The Turk when we were dating; after we broke up I altered one letter. My friend Miriam liked him, in part I think because he's 6'4" and she's 5'9". I wouldn't warn her off him, though -- he wasn't abusive, just a little passive-aggressive, so he might treat her better than he treated me.

At my first and third table was a handsome gentleman. I'm usually not attracted to men who look a lot older than I do (and I recognize they might not be a lot older than I actually am), but he had aquiline features, blue eyes, excellent bone structure, and silver hair. On his business card, it states the Silver Fox is "Senior Fund of Funds Custody Administrator, Global Custody" at a major banking institution. SF gave me his card so we could be in touch. We spoke at our first table, weren't sitting close enough to speak at our third, but chatted more during the dessert buffet.

What can I say about SF? He's smart, funny, and a moderate Republican. He likes Jon Huntsman and disdains Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry almost as much as I do. And he took his business card out of his wallet. So I can be pretty sure he's not shomer Shabbat. I also don't know how old he is. But he's attractive, smart, and wants to get to know me better. That seems like potential.

I haven't decided when I'm going to email him -- probably sometime Monday evening. He did look at my nametag, and I told him I was listed, so it's possible he'll call.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's up with EG?

I haven't heard anything from EG since he responded "hey good morning" on 11/11/11 to my IM "hey" dated 11/10/11. Even though I see him on FB all the time. Wasn't sure if he still wanted me to come over and play with his kids. So I sent him another message today:

Hey... do you still want me to come over Shabbos afternoon for Twister?

He didn't respond immediately. In fact, he still hasn't responded. But earlier today I posted a status update that caught his attention. I'm going to an off-site meeting on Friday. It starts at the princely late hour of 9am. So I can actually do something Thursday night, and I posted a status update asking if people wanted to hang out.

As usual, I heard from a bunch of people telling me why they couldn't hang out with me on Thursday. Which didn't help. But EG posted on my status update:

Kids & twister?

I guess that answers my question. He has his children from 5-7pm Tuesdays and Thursdays. I responded:

Thursday night? I guess that could work.

Waiting for confirmation. EG also "Liked" an article I posted about how Newt Gingrich is an insufferable fat adulterous hypocrite posing as a moralist.

I created an event on FB and invited a bunch of people -- not EG -- to hang out with me Thursday night, but so far only one has responded, and lukewarmly at that. So maybe on Thursday after work I'll hit the gym, shower, braid my hair, put on my hiking pants, and go play Twister. Which I may regret. We'll see.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spiritual GPS

I spent last Shabbos in Brooklyn for a singles weekend. It was interesting. No attractive men, of course, there never are, but I only saw about 5 men I'd gone out with, which isn't bad. And no recent word from EG, except another email on 11/7/11:

Had a great time Saturday. The boys want to keep the haunted house up for another few weeks so other people could visit them in it. they said. And don't get me started about the new Twister addiction! Did Puss in Boots yesterday before calling it quits. Now off to another work-week...

And... silence.

But what I want to blog about is a lecture that Alona and I attended on 11/6/11. Sara Yocheved Rigler is a lecturer and author. According to her website,

Mrs. Rigler has been navigating the spiritual path since her first trip to India in 1968. She spent an intensive fifteen-year period living in an ashram, practicing spiritual disciplines such as meditation. In 1985, she made a dramatic change of spiritual path, returning to her Jewish roots. She moved to Jerusalem, began studying Torah, and became a highly committed observant Jew. 

She is very big on mussar, which Aish defines as "a traditional Jewish spiritual discipline that offers sound guidance to help you cultivate the qualities of your soul." I had read a few of her articles but really didn't know what to expect from the lecture. I basically went because Alona was going and we were going to Ozer's for lunch afterward.

Mrs. Rigler began the lecture dramatically.

"Imagine that for some reason you're in Harlem at night," she said, "and on your right you notice a very nasty-looking person with a knife walking toward you, and on your left there's another person with a gun walking toward you."

Alona and I exchanged a shocked glance.

"What if I told you that you had a button, and if you pressed that button you would be immediately transported to the Kotel, in the daytime, where you'd be surrounded by hundreds of fellow Yidden?" she continued.

I considered getting up and walking out. If I weren't on lithium, I may well have. But I kept my seat. Because Mrs. Rigler promised to give us the secret to happiness -- a spiritual GPS system we could use to navigate out of anger, jealousy, worry, fretfulness, and other dysphoric states. Those are signs that you are in Olam HaZarut -- the world of alienation. Alienation from yourself, from God, from others. It's parallel to Olam HaYedidut -- the world of connectedness and contentment. You cannot be in both worlds at once. Getting from Zarut to Yedidut is a three-step process, and it actually fits very well with CBT.

Step 1: recognize you are in Olam HaZarut. That's mindfulness. Become aware that you are upset and ruminating about something, which makes you feel miserable and doesn't solve anything.

Step 2: choose your destination. Decide that you want to be in a better frame of mind. That's basic CBT: recognizing that thoughts shape your moods.

Step 3: give. GIVE. Giving takes you from the world of alienation to the world of connectedness. And you don't have to give a lot. You can give a smile. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. This has a sound research basis as well. Altruism is known to boost mood; people volunteer because it makes them feel good. Also, taking care of others takes your focus off yourself -- and interrupts rumination.

So far, so good. But then Mrs. Rigler decided to talk about two examples of women who successfully used this GPS to make happy marriages. And that infuriated several of the single women in the audience.

The first example was of a wealthy, shomer shabbat woman who married a twice-divorced, non-religious musician. She realized that she could give a lot to him, and now she's blissfully happy. He decided to become frum, and now he learns every day and teaches shiurim. Apparently marriage pays a lot better than running after performance gigs.

The other woman was an athletic 52-year-old who married an arthritic 65-year-old. She was concerned that she'd end up like her 70something-year-old mother, who spends most of her time taking care of her 80something-year-old father. Apparently all of her mother's friends are in their 70s, and they're all exhausted from caring for their 80something husbands.

"That's exactly why you should marry him," Mrs. Rigler told her.

After the lecture, I met up with my friends Aviva and Shaindel. Both were livid.

"I would have liked to present a counterpoint to her stories," fumed Shaindel. "I have a number of friends who are stuck in horrible marriages with men who don't work and just take, take, take... and they are miserable. Since when are women supposed to work their fingers to the bone to support their husbands?"

"Don't tell me I don't give," said Aviva. "I make tons of Shabbos meals, and I invite people who never invite me back, or who need a place and would otherwise be alone all Shabbos. So don't tell me I'm still single because I don't know how to give."

And I have to say I agree with them. I'm 10000% willing to give. I'm eager to give. I'm dying to give my best to a man I love and respect, and children if we have them. But if I'm going to be changing diapers soon, they're not going to be Depends.

I've tried to utilize this spiritual GPS. Sometimes it works. There are a lot of people I can give a smile to in the methadone clinic. And today I went to another treatment facility near work and volunteered as a detox acupuncturist. Giving definitely helped. But then I come home to my empty studio, and I'm alone again. Not many people to give to here.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, November 06, 2011

How was the haunted house, Ayelet?

EG called me Friday afternoon to wish me a good Shabbos and confirm that I was coming over.

"So what time do you think you'll be there?" he asked. "About 2:30?" He sounded pretty eager. I thought that was a promising sign.

"Probably closer to 3," I said. "I could try for 2:45." Which is the time we settled on.

"I really want to thank you again for offering to hang out," EG said.

"Happy to," I said. "I know how lonely feels." We chatted about various things, including my job, our mutual affinity for Scotch, and the journal article I published a while back, because apparently EG had Googled me and found it and read it. I was flattered. Excited.

Shabbos morning I went to shul with Alona and her family for the first time in a very, very long time. It felt... weird. I don't know what I believe or where I belong, but it was easy to slip back into frum mode. But it's just as easy for me to slip out of it when I get back home and I'm alone. I will say that the lemon bars at kiddush were excellent, although kiddush was very crowded, which is stressful for me. I didn't really know too many people there, except for Alona, Batya, Eli, and Adir. I did catch a glimpse of EG, chasing one of his sons through the crowd, but I decided they looked busy and didn't call out to him.

I also saw Eric and Ahuva for the first time in more than two years. Characteristically, Eric invited me for lunch. I guess at some point I'll start going there again. And I saw the lovely Aviva.

Alona & Co. and I all went to lunch at Ozer's, along with two other people -- a single guy, Chad, and a divorced guy, Henry, that Alona and I have known for years. I actually went out with Henry almost 20 years ago, when I'd first moved to the West Side. It never went anywhere -- his decision -- but we remained friends. I hadn't seen him in a long time. I think the last time I saw him, he was married and expecting his first child. Now he's divorced with two, aged 9 and 8.

Alona needed to leave right after lunch to take her children to Shabbat gym, a program at a local synagogue. It's an indoor playground kind of place where kids can run and jump around and do athletic and gymnastics-type activities. Very important for apartment dwellers during the months of inclement weather.

"You're welcome to stay and hang out, Ayelet," Ozer said.

"Thanks, but I'm going over to a friend's," I said.

"Kind of an adult Shabbat gym," said Henry, with a grin. I was a little startled; Henry's usually extremely decorous. So much so that until he got engaged, I kind of thought he was gay. Although Henry was more correct than he realized, since I was going to crawl through the haunted house that EG built with his sons, Extravagant Boy 1 and Extravagant Boy 2.

"Not that kind of friend," I said.

I walked over to EG's apartment building and shlepped up five flights. Knocked on his door at 2:50pm -- no answer. Wondered if something had happened to EG and his children. I waited about 15 minutes, walking up and down the hallway because my knees prefer walking to standing. Finally I walked down the five flights and met EG and EB1/EB2 in the lobby. Walked back up the stairs with them, fortunately not huffing and puffing too much, and gratefully accepted a bottle of water.

"So what do you think of the haunted house, Ayelet?" asked EG.

"It's great," I said. "Can't wait to try it."

"Daddy!" said EB1. "I need to talk to you."

"Daddy's talking to Ayelet," said EG.

"But I need to talk to you now," insisted EB1.

"Give us a minute?" asked EG. "I'm sorry about this." They went off and conferred.Distantly, I heard, "It's fine, EB1. She's going to fit just fine." Ouch. But not the first time that someone's older son has opined that Ayelet is too fat.

EG returned. "Sorry about that," he said. "For some reason he didn't think you would fit in the haunted house. I told him it wouldn't be a problem."

"It won't be," I said, and crept inside. They built it from moving boxes, so I really couldn't crawl on my hands and knees; I had to hitch myself forward on my elbows and push with my knees and toes. It was very kind of creepy-cute, organized into different rooms. They had a "feather room" with a boa that was supposed to tickle the back of your neck when you crawled through. I didn't notice because my hair covers my neck. There was a jail, wrapped in fake barbed wire, and "Gadhafi's Tomb," which featured a pair of bony, bloody arms in torn sleeves.

"Those are Gadhafi's arms," said EG.

"Were they selling those under that name??" I asked.

"No, I can't remember what they were called."

After I made it through and didn't get stuck or destroy any part of it, EG and I talked, or tried to talk while his kids tried to distract us. I was more inclined to respond to the kids; I think EG is a little starved for adult conversation when he has his children, so he was more likely to tell them we were busy, and only stepped in when they started throwing things at each other -- which resulted in a time-out -- or tried to dismantle part of the haunted house.

EG and I talked about my job and the larger issue of why NYC seems to have so many homeless individuals -- or rather, such a high population of persons with mental illness. He pointed out an article in the New York Times about a state mental health hospital that was destroyed by Hurricane Irene, displacing 51 residents.

"In the whole state of Vermont, there are only 51 people who are mentally ill?" he asked.

"No, there have to be more," I said. "But their families might be better equipped to care for them. Ask me if I'd rather be diagnosed with schizophrenia in New York or New Delhi."

"You'd rather be schizophrenic in New Delhi?" EG asked, incredulous.

"Yes," I said. "People with schizophrenia in many third world countries have better outcomes, because they're more integrated into their families and communities. Often they're better taken care of than people with schizophrenia in the US, because family support is so crucial for people with mental illness to function normally.

"Most of my patients have been turfed out by their families -- not through callousness, but because their families are considered 'fragile.' Their fathers might not be around, their mothers might not get child support, unemployment rates are high, urban living is highly stressful. So their families can't take care of them, and they end up on the streets."

"This has been your professional experience?" he asked.

"And personal as well," I said. "I have a person in my family with severe and persistent mental illness. Very high functioning now, works, has a life, you'd never know they were sick. But I've been there with this person -- I've seen the hospitalizations, the medications, trying to find the right therapy -- it's really hard work. And this is with excellent family and social support."

We didn't just talk about me. I asked him about his custodial arrangements, which aren't entirely finalized, and spoke a little bit about Ivan the Terrible and his situation. EG asked me if I'd gone to shul earlier.

"I did," I said. "First time in a long time. I didn't really know that many people there; I was glad Alona was there."

"Why don't you know a lot of people at shul?" EG asked.

"I was out of circulation for a while, during my last relationship," I said. "For almost a year, I was spending most of my time with my ex in New Jersey. After we broke up, I had to figure out where I fit back in on the West Side, and I guess I'm still figuring that out."

In the clear light of Sunday morning, I'm wondering if that disclosure was unwise. I might have also scared him off by telling him someone in my family has a mental illness -- but better now than later. Much better now than later. I'd rather be honest as soon as possible.

The kids had been trying to get us to play Apples to Apples with them -- which I would have happily done, but Daddy was still starved for adult conversation. They pulled out Twister and began playing by themselves. EG invited me to watch a few rounds before I went home and they went to their 4:30 shiur. (Probably why he wanted me to come over as early as possible.)

"That looks like so much fun," I said. "I haven't played Twister in forever."

"It's hard for grown-ups," said EG. "We're not as flexible."

"Speak for yourself," I said. "I could play this if I were wearing pants." EB1 tumbled onto his tuchus, and EG embraced and praised the winner, EB2. I got up, put my shoes on, and picked up my coat.

"Thank you for coming over," said EG.

"Thank you for having me," I responded. "This was fun."

"Could you come again?" asked EB2, turning a somersault.

I was startled. "Uh, sure. Some other time, I'd love to come over. I'll wear pants and we can play Twister."

"Can you come tomorrow?" asked EB2.

"She can't come tomorrow because we're busy tomorrow," said EG quickly. "Also, you can't ask people to get together just the day before -- she's already got plans."

"I do," I said, thinking: go to the gym, come home & shower, go to the gym shoe store, go to the farmers market. "How about the next time you have them for Shabbos -- that would be November 19?"

"Sounds good," said EG. He and the boys walked me to the stairwell. "Let's walk her to the other stairwell!" said EB2. (The other stairwell is about 15 feet from the first.) "Look what I can do!" he cried, contorting himself à la Twister.

"Look what I can do!" cried EB1, not to be outdone. I indulged them for a few more seconds, then wished them all a Good Shabbos and went home.

At about 7pm, EG sent me a message on Facebook:

Thanks for stopping by, had a nice time chatting

I responded:

So did I :) how was the shiur?

Haven't heard anything. I guess we'll see.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Extravagant guy

I haven't been feeling well all week. Slightly feverish, slightly sore throat, headachy, muscle achy, and peeing roughly once an hour. I'm prone to recurrent UTIs. Not sick enough to stay home, but too sick to go work out at the gym. Which has me slightly suspicious that it's mainly hypochondria, but I don't want to go to the doctor until my health insurance benefits start on November 15. I can save more than $500 in COBRA fees if I don't need medical care until then.

So I haven't been blogging much either, but I have to write about Extravagant Guy. He's a man I dated about 15 years ago. He was a college dropout who was working in technology, so he could either be a genius or unstable. After one passionate date, which included a sleepover, he was crazy about me.

Or he was just crazy. I wasn't sure. I didn't want to go out with him again because he was opposed to oral sex. Performing, not receiving. Since I was still a virgin at that point, the prospect of not getting any oral made him drastically unattractive. And then on top of that, I thought he was crazy, because he refused to take no for an answer.

For example: He left a very sensual gift at my door -- a Body Shop gift bag with peppermint lotion, massage oil, and a wooden "happy massager" implement. Apparently items he'd been planning to use on me. Along with a wacky card, including instructions, which I wish I'd kept. Basically, he said he'd bought me the gift before I decided not to go out with him again, and when he buys someone a gift it's theirs. The peppermint lotion was "for your feet and toes." (That part I remember verbatim.)

So I thought he was nuts, and started dating another guy. About a month or two later, I received an enormous and gorgeous bouquet of exotic flowers. The kind of bouquet that costs hundreds of dollars. I was thrilled, because I thought it was from the guy I was dating. Until I read the wacky card, which I really wish I had kept. It was from EG.

He said he couldn't stop thinking about me. He'd "gone out with two other ladies" since our date but didn't like them as much as me. The stock market had been treating him well lately, so how would I like to go away for the weekend with him? Bermuda, Key West, the Bahamas... and of course I'd have my own ticket and could leave whenever I wanted.

Now I thought he was really nuts, and I called to tell him that I had a boyfriend and he should leave me alone. ("Idiot," said my sister. "You should have gone to the Bahamas.") Which he respected, to an extreme degree. After he got married and moved to the West Side, he never tried to talk to me.

But if I was ever in the same room with EG, and his wife wasn't there, he stared at me. I once went to a gemara shiur at the rabbi's house, and I remember that EG kept leaning forward and glancing at me from time to time during the discussion. I did manage to say hello to him once at kiddush, but we didn't really talk. I figured I should leave him alone, so I did.

(And it turns out that I was wrong to consider him unstable, since he's now some kind of wunderkind business mogul. Like Steve Jobs, on a smaller scale, and in my opinion a lot more handsome.)

Anyway... a friend of mine invited me to a Facebook event to support Milk Street Cafe, which is losing business due to the barricades resulting from the Occupy Wall Street protest, which block its foot traffic. I noticed that he had been invited to the event and commented on the wall. So I clicked on his profile, and the first word I saw was


Oh ho... The wheels in my mind started turning. Clearly he's not crazy... and once upon a time, he did really like me... so maybe I should reach out to him again. I always enjoyed his company and found him bright and interesting. (And if need be, I realize now that I can live without oral sex as long as I'm getting enough of the other kind.) I was also encouraged by a New York Daily News horoscope:

With Venus in your love zone, you could be on a collision course with someone fabulous. Don’t be shy; make your intentions known. Put on your best smile, warm up your sense of humor and confidently approach the object of your desire. If you want to let someone special know you are interested, don’t be a wallflower. Exude confidence and you will get what you want.

So I sent EG a friend request yesterday. He accepted today. I went on his wall to read some of his status updates and saw this:

The best thing about being single again is you get your Sunday evenings all to yourself... The worst thing about being single again is you have your Sunday evenings all to yourself!!

I decided to comment:

let's hang out next time you're bored ;)

Ten minutes later, he IMed me:

EG: u there?
A: hi
EG: hello back
you said to drop you a line when im bored; have kids from 5-7pm then... my usual thurs eve boredom kicks in
A: so IM me or call me, I'm at home waiting for a FreshDirect delivery
EG: will do cap'n, phone#?

I gave it to him.

A: how old are your kids?
EG: 6 & 8

My heart pinged. Malchicks 1 & 2 were 6 and 8 when I knew them.

A: awesome ages! my nephew is 8, he is hilarious!
EG: yup, hafta pick them up downstairs. you going to moshe's daf yomi siyum?

Moshe is one of our mutual FB friends.

A: when is it?
EG: two or three sundays from now?
gotta hop downstairs to get the kids, ill follow up with im or phone call

My good friend Alona pointed out that EG's divorce is very, very recent. He might not be looking for a serious relationship. But either way, I figure I'll have some fun with him before I'm done with him. 
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Growing my diplomat balls

Not much in the way of news. Work continues to go extremely well. I learned that I am a member of the senior administration at the clinic. That made me happy, but a little nervous, since I am now charged with helping the clinic demonstrate enough concrete improvement to pass our next audit. We have 8 weeks.

Preparing for audit will involve more meetings with the other senior staff and more administrative work on my part, like monitoring how many patients are testing positive for illicit substances and following up with case conferences and treatment changes. The clinic manager's direct supervisor (DS) also entrusted me with a very delicate responsibility: communicating to her any emotional distress or conflict among the staff at the clinic. She knows there are a lot of big personalities involved, and she wants to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I don't want to be a tattletale. On the other hand, I respect the DS's interest in keeping everyone at the clinic reasonably content and working together well. So I have to be really careful about what I say to her about what I see going on. In the past I haven't been renowned for my tact or diplomacy. Now I have to hurry up and grow a pair of diplomat balls.

As long as I listen more than I talk, and try to assess situations by the degree of functional impairment, I think I'll be okay. DS seems very cool, matter-of-fact, open to feedback, and willing to admit she might be wrong. She doesn't want yes men; she wants honestly. I just have to be careful how I deliver it.

In other news, I joined a gym. So far my knees don't hurt but my shoulders and back are spasming. I need to take things very, very slowly. I've already decided that I'm not going to try to monitor or measure my progress. I'm not going to have ambitions of getting ripped, losing a ton of weight, or significantly improving my cardiovascular fitness. I'm going to go two or three times a week and do something, because that's better than doing nothing at all. Any added exercise at all is going to have some benefits; I'm not going to try to maximize them.

I joined New York Sports Club because I got a discount through work. It happens to be the official gym of the FDNY, but so far I don't think I've seen any firemen working out.

Last night I went to a Shabbos dinner thrown by my friend ET, who was visiting the West Side. It was good to get out of the house, but I didn't feel like I belonged there. I had a few friends, and I spent some time catching up with them. I also talked shop to another clinical social worker who knows a lot about methadone, which was interesting.

But at various times nobody was talking to me, and I felt very disconnected from everyone. I don't think this is my community anymore. Question is, then, what is? Where do I go?

And I did something naughty a few nights ago. I sent that photo of my breasts to one of Ayelet's Facebook friends (as opposed to the friends I have on my "real" FB page). Her name is Cassie; she lives in Tel Aviv. I'm not sure how we became friends, but we've been trading comments and messages for a while, and it became clear that Cassie is bisexual. Actually, to be honest, she's more of a lesbian who found a man she liked enough and decided to marry. Cassie still has sex with women on the side, which her husband's apparently cool with. I asked if they're into threesomes, but apparently he doesn't like sharing Cassie with anyone in person.

I'm still not bisexual, though, not really. I think women's bodies are beautiful (although I probably have tastes similar to the average Jewish male), but there is no way I would want to perform oral sex on a woman. I just think it would be icky. Cassie thinks it's the greatest thing but isn't pressuring me to try it. I was gratified that she loved the picture of my breasts, and the pictures she sent me were gorgeous. (She modeled part-time as a teenager).

I'm kind of tempted to sleep with Cassie next time I go to Israel, just to have the experience, but I might need to get drunk first.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

As usual, Gloria Chang gets me.

My good friend Gloria Chang sent me an email after I posted about my aunt Luba asking me to just forgive my mother and my sister already.

My experience has been that quite often the phrase "You should forgive" could just as well be replaced by the phrase "I don't particularly want to engage with your pain." People don't like seeing others in conflict, particularly when their own behavior may be implicated. In such cases "You should forgive" is a distancing mechanism, a means of keeping comfortable.

There is a time and a place to speak of forgiveness. There is such a thing as speaking of it too soon. Perhaps we should call it the f-word. :-) I like how you laid it all out for your aunt, who now has a choice to make.

My prayer for you is for peace, but not in the wishy-washy sense that would gloss over the genuine difficulties you face. I pray for you peace-with-justice. Meanwhile, I want you to know that I am here for you.

I'm not sure what Aunt Luba is thinking right now, but Gloria's right. I answered her:

Thank you so much for understanding and validating what I'm going through. My family has always pushed me to accept how my sister treats me, and now they want me to swallow and forget how my life was distorted. Thank you for agreeing with me that they are trying to oversimplify, and that I was correct in explaining why I'm still so upset. And yeah -- they want to distance themselves from my pain while pushing me to swallow and deny it.

Thank you for wishing me peace and healing. I need to find it somehow. 

Ironically, my sense of forgiveness has been challenged twice today. A friend of mine took a public disagreement on her status update as the opportunity to launch a very personal attack on me being single at my age. I told her that I found her tactics hurtful and I'd essentially been cured of commenting on her updates. Her response? "Yes!!!" So I defriended her.

Then I realized that Alona is LinkedIn to Ivan the Terrible. Before the holiday I posted,

don't Google your ex-boyfriend unless you have an appetite for regrets

Not about Ivan the Terrible -- about a man I've never blogged about, since he was part of my life well over 10 years ago. I can't remember what made me think of him, but I Googled him and he's working as a Senior VP at a hedge fund. I experienced some moments of regret. Alona commented,

And why do you think he's so successful? Just because he has a new job?

She obviously was talking about another ex, since the ex I Googled had been at his lofty post for a few years. But then I thought -- how does Alona know what Ivan the Terrible is up to?

I looked at his Linkedin profile again. He's not at a hedge fund! He's at a tech firm that works with the financial services industry. I have never heard of 'em so not sure how big they are. So not sure why you think he is at a hedge fund. And even if he were, being at a hedge fund is no great shakes these days. Lots of 'em going under, or laying people off. So appearances are not always what they seem! Chag sameach; hope to see you over yom tov--and hope you are feeling better. 

First I was just disappointed that Ivan had escaped from the job that made him miserable, with a boss who screamed at him routinely. So I looked him up on LinkedIn. And discovered that Alona is one of his connections. Why? I asked her.

I am still connected to him on LinkedIn for tachlis reasons. He may have connections that could be helpful. He has never asked me for anything professionally and obviously I would not go out of my way to help him. He cannot see my connections and given he doesn't have a business LinkedIn account I cannot readily be helpful to him. Not even sure how to unlink someone. I am sorry if it bothers you! I am still connected to my jerky ex-boss for similar tachlis reasons.

Loyalty matters to me. It's one thing to keep in touch with the boss that laid you off, and another to be connected to a man who led me on, put me in the hospital, and broke my heart. So the thought of Alona being connected to Ivan the Terrible in the hopes that he could be of assistance to her infuriates me. Because that would require her to be of assistance to him, were he to ask.

If you would expect him to help you out, he would expect you to help him out. It's not that hard to delete a contact.
Then I started wondering:

Have you been in touch with him since we broke up????

Has Alona been giving Ivan updates on how I've been doing? To salve his wounded conscience? I know he called her after he dumped me to let her know I'd be needing support. Have they spoken about me since then? She would have no right to talk to him about me -- and even more so to keep it from me.

Of course not. Alona called to assure me that her last conversation with Ivan was around the time we broke up. And that having him in her contacts helps her because she has premium LinkedIn and can see his contacts and his contacts' contacts. (She also reminded me that she connected with him at my request, when I was trying to help him find another job.)
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Letter from my aunt

I didn't celebrate Simchat Torah this year. I stayed in my apartment. I just couldn't face the crowds and the inevitable memories of disappointments from past years. I couldn't do it.

I woke up this morning to an email from my aunt:

Dear Ayelet, 

Now that the holidays are over and we prayed to forgive and be forgiven by people and God and now that you have a job that you love - I ask you as now the oldest member of the family to please accept Jerusha's invitation and go to see your nieces and nephew whom you love so much and especially to see your mother who loves you very much. I hope you accept my "Bakasha" (what is it in English?) and go to see them. Shana Tova. With love, Aunt Luba 

I am tired of always being the one to forgive my sister, and as far as my mother goes, I don't know if I can. I'm sure my mother didn't tell Aunt Luba why I imposed silence on her, but I'm not holding back.

Luba, I'm willing to bet that my mother hasn't told you why I'm not speaking to her. It's because when I was a teenager, her live-in boyfriend brought large quantities of pornography into the house and engaged me in sexual discussions that were at the very least inappropriate and more likely sexually abusive. Because of this, my sexual development was warped. I spent my late teens/twenties/thirties in promiscuity, even though I tried to be "frum" (probably in reaction to the filth I was exposed to). At this point, I have wasted my life. I wasted any opportunity to have a real relationship or get married by sexualizing all opportunities prematurely. As a result, I am alone at age 41 and I will most likely die alone in this crummy little apartment. Meanwhile, the pervert who sexually abused me has a comfortable life subsidized by my mother. 

As for Jerusha, she consistently mocks and belittles me. That is toxic behavior, and I'm tired of it. She also makes promises and then breaks them without consideration for the consequences. When she "promised" to pay for my gym membership and personal training, and then only paid for part of it, I was pushed into a bad situation that led to serious injury, years of pain, and thousands of dollars in expense. Therefore, I need to limit my time with her as well. 

Just because you are the oldest member of this family doesn't mean you can make things right. And I am tired of forgiving my sister only to have her re-engage in the abusive and toxic behavior. I miss my nieces and nephew, but I also can't take any more of her abuse. 

Wonder how she'll respond. Probably with more pleas for me to forgive the unforgivable. I've spent too many years doing that. I can't do it anymore.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not ready to forgive and forget AGAIN

I've had the best of intentions to blog about Succot in Crown Heights. Because it was truly amazing. But either I'm coming down with a change-of-seasons cold or partying in Brooklyn for three days really takes it out of me, because I've been absolutely exhausted since I got home Saturday night. I had RSVP'd for a social work professional association event on Sunday, and then I canceled because I felt too wiped out. Last night the most I could do after work was pick up the ingredients for my famous apricot kugel and take out the garbage. I will be very relieved after Simchat Torah is over and I can get back into my normal routine.

So I'm still too weary to blog adequately about the amazing time I had with The Kallah, Elah, Rochel, and several new friends I seem to have made in the Heights. I got several invitations to come back for Shabbos, which either means they really really liked me or they see me as outreach material. (If the latter, they're going to be very disappointed.)

I think I'll take them up on those invitations, though, because it's nice to be with Jewish families. If you live on the Upper West Side, you start to worry about the future of the Jewish people, because so many people aren't married and having children. Fear not, Jewish singles -- the other members of the tribe are picking up our slack out in the suburbs.

Anyway... I got this email from my sister today:

don't think this is really up your alley, but it is conveniently located (item 4) 

She sent me the email digest from her synagogue. Item 4 was a help wanted ad for a social worker at Dorot, an agency conveniently located about four blocks from my apartment.

Part of me thought I should respond politely to let her know that I have a job, but thanks for thinking of me. The rest of me remembered that every time I forgive her for pulling stupid crap, she just pulls more stupid crap. But I miss the kids, and she's not making it easy for me to see them without going through her. I thought I could visit with the kids on Sundays, but they're really not able to make plans for themselves just  yet. So I'm not sure what to do.

Did I mention I'm completely exhausted? I can barely think. I know I should try to get back in touch with Tikva's mother. I'm just embarrassed. I totally dropped them while I was dating Ivan the Terrible.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Philo weighs in

I wanted to be anywhere but the upper west side for Simchat Torah this. It's more than "been there, done that." It's "been there, yet haven't completely lost hope so every year I continue to be devastated by the fact that I don't meet someone." And the Kallah was lovely enough to give me the choice of going to her for first or last days.

My friend Philo had a suggestion:

My advice is to go to Crown Heights for the first days. I know I don't comment much, but I HAVE been reading Ayelet (FB statuses and the blog), and if you're feeling down about your life right now and need a change, you should get that change as soon as you can. And maybe being away for the first days will give you enough of a fresh perspective that you'll be able to enjoy Simchat Torah on the UWS after all.

Smart man, Philo. So that's what I'll do. I'll go to Crown Heights for the first days and get a spiritual inoculation. Maybe then I'll approach the last days with the right mixture of low expectations and marginal hopes.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's hard to be humble

I hate begging for Shabbat and holiday meals. When I lived in a bigger apartment, and for a while in my teeny apartment, I took pride in inviting and feeding guests. But I haven't been up to doing that in a very long time, unless you count the few times Ivan the Terrible and I entertained.

These 3-day holidays are killer. If I'm not invited out, I sit at home alone. And that's no good. So today I bit the bullet and went on to ask for people to host me.

I'm nervous about it. I don't like being surrounded by strangers, being by temperament somewhat shy and insecure and inclined to overcompensate by dominating the conversation. But I need to go somewhere. Hopefully the people who invite me will appreciate my company. Hopefully I won't dislike them too much.

I also might go to Crown Heights for Simchat Torah. Because if I go there, there is no way I will meet a potential husband. Whereas in the west side, I will be tortured by hope and the inevitable letdown. The Kallah just reprimanded me for not asking myself over for the first days of Succot; I hope her offer is good for the last days. I might also get to spend some time with my friend Rochel the dating coach.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, October 08, 2011

So much for SOD

What's the second thing you do after Yom Kippur ends? Go on Facebook. And I saw a number of very disturbing entries on my right-hand ticker. SOD was exchanging nasty, graphic, scatological insults with a number of people who seemed to be Muslim. It was truly disgusting, and made me realize that there is nothing about SOD I would ever want to get to know better. So I unfriended and blocked him. Case closed.

Last Yom Kippur I prayed fervently for death if I didn't end up getting married. This year I wasn't as conditional. Around Neilah time, I just asked for things to continue to go well at work, to find some kind of activity or hobby so that my free time doesn't feel so open and lonely, and to develop better judgement about people. So that I won't dismiss potentially good partners, or chase people who can't give me what I need.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, October 06, 2011

SOD grew a spine

I threw down a conversational gauntlet before SOD, saying I'd rather talk on the phone than IM. SOD waited about an hour, then messaged me his phone number:

SOD: 718 555-6832, if u want to chat later 
A: what time is good? 
SOD: 9 pm 
A: sorry, that's too late for me -- I get up at 5:30 am to be at work at 6:45 am, I start getting ready for bed at 9; can we talk on Sunday? 
SOD: wonderful, any time 
A: okay -- I will call u Sunday, have an easy fast 
SOD: u too, Ayelet cutie 
A: shalom 
SOD: bye 

Stay tuned...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

I know I am, but what are you?

So I was feeling curious and unsettled about SOD. I sent him a message and we started chatting:

A: gmar chatima tova, hope you have an easy fast
SOD: Toda. You too, pale skin beauty.....
A: thanks
SOD: you're a doll....
A: and you are very mysterious, like a phantom
SOD: why? lol

Isn't it obvious? I've said this before. I'm addressing it again in a playful manner. But apparently it's a little too oblique for SOD.

A: because I've never met you or seen your face
SOD: are u that curious? haha... i think ur cute and full of life
A: I know I am, but what are you?

Maybe that will open him up a little. Or maybe not. I meant it to be playful and flirtatious, but reading it again here, I think I just sound defensive.

SOD: too bad ure orthodox coz im not....I know who I am do you know who u are? lol, thats from a Seinfeld episode....
A: I'm not orthodox. I keep kosher, and if I get married I want to have a Jewish home and send my kids to Jewish schools, but I'm not orthodox.

After the JV debacle, I decided that I will be very flexible when it comes to finding a husband. That is my primary goal. Not shmirat mitzvot. Sorry, I'm just not that noble. After 18 years of unsuccessful frum dating, I'm trying to be more open.

SOD: I see....ok. So u wear pants? lol... ure cute. ure cute becoz of ur sense of humor.....
A: I'm glad you have a good sense of me, I wish I could say the same about you

I'm just not letting it go.

SOD: I'm very down to earth and a good listener....and lover, haha. Was that funny?

Not especially. I don't think I should address that. He sent another IM before I could respond anyway.

SOD: I'm home, but no good old movies are on, sucks. I love 40s and 50s movies.
A: I love classic movies too.
SOD: North by northwest, Rope, Burt Lancaster.... Robert Mitchum, Robert Taylor.... Spencer Tracy.... hope we can chat tonite out here.....

That's not going to happen.

A: I'd rather talk on the phone, honestly... I think IMing is a waste of time.

And... silence. So I guess I know how seriously to take him: not very. Along the way, somehow he unfriended me and then sent me another friend request. I accepted, but if I don't hear from him within a week, I'm unfriending him for good.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The slightly oblique dentist

On Monday, I got a very random Facebook email from a complete stranger who doesn't have a profile photo:

same age for men and women is

Probably all my blog readers, and certainly all my Facebook friends know that I am militantly in favor of dating and marrying someone close to my age. When I was invited to a singles event that advertised "men 25-45, women 23-38," I not only declined but wrote on the event wall that it was wrong to reinforce society's dysfunctional double standard concerning men and women's ages for dating. (R' Paysach Krohn agrees with me, for what it's worth.)

So I figured this person was writing to me because of that stand I took. As I ultimately learned, this slightly evasive person is a dentist, so I'm going to call him the Slightly Oblique Dentist (SOD). I wrote back:

Ayelet: is this about my comment on that dating event that required different ages for men and women?
SOD: yes, you’re right
A: thanks for agreeing with me
SOD: hope a friendship is possible......
A: it's possible, but I hardly know anything about you
SOD: I'm 42, from Queens:) nice to meet you, pale beauty.

Well, that's flattering, but still kind of weird. I've never met him in real life, and I don't even have a photo of him on FB. There's not much on his profile to give me a sense of who he is. He doesn't seem quite real to me, or rather, he seems a little shady. Emailing with a total stranger I know nothing about doesn't feel like the smartest dating move.

A: thanks, nice to meet you too -- why haven't you posted any pics?
SOD: no pictures cause im ugly.. haha

That's not exactly reassuring. Then I got a message from my friend Esti.

Esti: question: who is SOD? he sent me a message, "nice hat" do I know her? she said she was a friend of yours
A: he friended me kind of randomly... I don't really know anything about him; if he gets creepy I'll unfriend him, so far he's harmless... says he's 42 and lives in Queens

Now I feel a little less special. Because he's mining my friends list for potential dates. While I was pondering this, SOD IMed me.

SOD: shalom
A: hi, did you contact my friend Esti?
SOD: ? don't remember
A: she asked me how I know you
SOD: maybe, dont remember... Esti?
A: Esti Abrams, in the hat
SOD: oh...yes... i liked her hat... lol... cowgirl... i just got home

I decided to let him know how I was feeling:

A: look, it's kind of weird that you don't have a photo up... I don't know who you are
SOD: I'm from Israel originally, been here for 27 years in US, I'm a dentist, 42
A: that's fine, but I never met you in real life, so it's kind of weird to be IMing with a stranger

Then I had a senior moment.

A: I don't even know how you found me
SOD: ur comment
A: oh yeah, from that sexist singles event
SOD: its ok if u dont feel comfortable
A: I just think that these men in their 40s and 50s who think they're going to land a girl in her 30s or 20s are removing themselves from the gene pool
SOD: i like older women, actually... ure probably in ur late 20s -- good guess?
A: no, I'm 41
SOD: dont believe u... sorry, motek, u look 28, 29
A: thanks, I look young for my age
SOD: ever married?
A: nope, you?
SOD: no, was close but no cigar

We chatted briefly about the terrible helicopter crash on 10/4/11. I surprised him by stating I never watched the news but relied on, which apparently is too liberal for him.

SOD: are u religious?

That is a very good question.

A: more or less
SOD: orthodox?
A: more or less
SOD: bad girl, lol

At this point, we'd been IMing for about 10 minutes. I didn't think more IMing would make me more comfortable with him, so I decided to end the conversation.

A: whatevs... listen, gtg

If he's really interested, presumably he'll try to get my phone number so we can talk and get to know each other a little better. (According to The Rules.)

SOD: okay, bye, layla tov

That answers that.

A: chalomot paz
SOD: gam lach

Now I'm not sure what to do. Should I just completely blow him off because he tried to flirt with my friend? Should I try to get him to call me and make a date? Is he a viable dating prospect or just completely full of crap?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"