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"

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Another disappointing online encounter

An attractive man some years my junior visited my OKCupid profile several times. His description seemed promising:

Hello, my name is Benevolence. I was born in Moscow and immigrated to the US at the age of 8. I have not yet returned to my homeland, but I do intend to visit one day.

Currently I hold a B.S. in Computer Science. Presently I work as a computer consultant. I wish to find the person with whom I want to spend my entire life - someone who will love me as I would love her.

In my experience, I find that I have the best rapport with women who are more mature and have a greater experience of life. I do not consider age to be an important factor, rather that we should have similar values and enjoy being together.

Regarding people and relationships, I believe that everyone is unique in their own way and that perfection rarely exists. At the same time, there are perfectionists who would like to take up the challenge.

I am an optimistic man of many interests, hobbies, and more likes than dislikes. I have a passion to help others. I am one who believes that everything can be seen from many different perspectives. For example, each and every single one of us is surrounded by art that people take for granted: cooking, raising a family, manner, music, poetry, and even making love.

As Dale Carnegie once quoted, "There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world, we are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it".

Of course, what seemed most relevant to me was:

In my experience, I find that I have the best rapport with women who are more mature and have a greater experience of life.

I should have known better. He's Russian, right? No good can come from Ayelet getting together with a Russian. But he was cute. So I emailed him, and he emailed back, and then I emailed him -- and nothing. Today, a few days after my last email to him, I went to the site and saw that he was online. I figured, what have I got to lose, and IMed him.

Ayelet: hey
Benevolence: hi
A: shana tova
B: thanks you too
A: thanks

Pause. Should I give up? No, I'll ask how he's doing.

A: how r u today?
B: I am well, how are you
A: I'm also well :)
B: good

And another pause. Is he just being polite? Should I leave him alone? As my readers well know, Ayelet almost never leaves well enough alone.

A: so what's new? 
B: not much 
you scared me a bit with your profession 
did that comment offend you? 
A: no, but y does my profession scare u? 
B: its complicated 
I have PTSD 
I was stabbed 5 times with a 13" knife many years ago by a homeless man 
A: I'm so sorry to hear that, that's awful 
B: thanks for understanding you work with drug users 
A: I do 
B: that part scared me 
A: y? 
B: they freak me out 
A: like the guy who attacked you? 
B: I think so -- I just wanted to be honest with you and not act like I am ignoring you

Okay, so he has PTSD... at least he's not ignoring me!!!

A: I can understand why you'd feel freaked out, and I'm glad you're not ignoring me for other reasons 
B: I just have space with scenarios that give me flashbacks 
you're intriguing, sexy and beautiful 
A: thanks ;) I promise not to tell any work stories 
B: sounds like you want to fuck me more than me, lol 

Excuse me?

A: what makes u say that? 

He decided to change the subject:

B: interesting irony I just saw a woman online with a baseball cap, and the guy that stabbed me had a baseball cap on. Looks like I need a shrink after all 
A: therapy can help 
B: perhaps 
A: when did this happen? 
B: 7 years ago 
A: therapy could help 
B: do I intrigue you? 
A: definitely 
B: why 
A: you're cute, you seem stable 

At least you did in your profile and your emails -- before this little convo.

B: do I arouse you? 

Now I'm starting to understand why he likes "older women."

A: what are you looking for? I don't need a friend with benefits

Or if I do, I'm going to be sure it's a friend I already know, not a stranger.

B: right now, to get laid, lol... I am not financially stable for a relationship 
A: then I think we're looking for different things

I do not need to be with someone less stable than I am.

B: so I don't arouse you huh 
A: not at this point, no 
B: would you date a man that isn't financially stable? 
A: probably not, why aren't you stable? 
B: its complicated

It always is.

A: it always is 
B: thanks for your time, good luck

So much for that....
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Ayelet apologizes

One of my Facebook friends on my "real" Ayelet profile is a guy I haven't always been so nice to. Let's call him Happy Dad, since he's now married with beautiful children and seems reasonably content.

Back in 1993 I was set up with him. I did not find him attractive or interesting. So I kind of rushed out of the date. We went to a kosher Chinese restaurant near Columbus Circle, and although he seemed willing to take me home in a taxi, I said I'd be happy to take the subway. And when I heard the train pulling in to the platform, I literally ran to catch it. Away from him.

Over the years our paths crossed again and again. He was always friendly, gracious, and helpful. And I still wasn't always as nice to him as I could have been.

He got married in 2000, moved out of town, and when we both ended up on Facebook either I friended him or he friended me. Can't remember which. And he's been a very helpful FB friend. Every time I have a computer or technical question (he's a computer whiz) and post a question in my status update, he helps.

He also has answered some other timeless questions for me. Like why is Greek yogurt so thick and creamy (extra-long straining process), and what is the unique hydrocarbon in peaches that makes them so delicious (xanthophyll). I really love my peaches, and I appreciate arcane knowledge. By now, if I have a question that I post in my status update, I make sure to tag Happy Dad so that I know he'll help me find the answer.

He and his wife even let me know about a recent singles event in their suburban town, and said they'd love to see me sometime. So it's started to bother me that he's always been so nice to me and I haven't always been so nice to him. With Yom Kippur approaching, I decided it was time to apologize.

Dear Happy Dad,

I want to apologize to you. This is something that's been bothering me for a while -- especially since you've become my Facebook go-to guy for arcane information -- so in the spirit of the season, I apologize for not being very nice to you back in the day, when we were both single and living on the UWS.

There were many occasions when I could have been *much* nicer to you than I was, and instead I was just a little snot, which you did not deserve. I'm very, very ashamed of the way I acted toward you. I am so happy to see you with your beautiful family, because you deserve only good things. I hope you and your family gmar chatima tova and have a wonderful year.

Sincerely, Ayelet

As usual, his response was extremely gracious.

Wow, what you just did here is an immensely difficult thing to do. Before I say anything else I just want you know first how impressive thing it is to write what you just did.

I don't remember the exact date that we first met, but it was probably 18 or 19 years ago, so it's almost literally half a lifetime ago. Neither of us was the same person back then.

For what it's worth, even though we don't speak often, I get to read your thoughts regularly through Facebook, and it's been apparent to me that you have been changing over time, and apart from the obsession with fresh produce containing xanthophylls, I mean that in a positive way.

It is all water under the bridge for a long time now, and I wouldn't want you to carry around any shame about it for even one nanosecond longer.

And if there is anything I've done back in the day or recently where I behaved inappropriately please forgive me.

Wishing the best for you too, and were it not for the fact that we've been dealing with our oldest getting pneumonia and then fevers and diarrhea for the 3 weeks after that, we'd have gotten around sooner to reiterating that we'd love to have you by for a visit, singles event or no singles event.

Gmar chatima tova!

Again, incredibly nice and gracious. Which I was just too stupid to appreciate back in the day. I was tempted to invite myself over for Succot, but that's a 3-day yomtov coming very soon, so I just thanked him, wished his child a full recovery, and all of them a chatima tova.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Ayelet did something naughty

Right before Rosh Hashana, a friend of mine had a birthday. I could have just wished him happy birthday on Facebook (which is how I knew it was his birthday), but instead I decided to send him a picture of my breasts.

I took the picture back in 2009, while I was trying to entice Ivan the Terrible into being my friend with benefits. Before that revelatory night that led to a wasted 11 months of my life. I still had the pic, and I was feeling unattractive, and I knew this guy (let's call him nerdy-cute or NC; that was my assessment of him when I first saw him) is open to appreciating the charms of fuller-figured ladies, since his last girlfriend isn't exactly Twiggy.

So I sent him the photo from an email address he wouldn't recognize, with the subject line "happy birthday." He was pleased:

Thanks! Now the only two remaining questions are: whose are they and can I see them in person? lol

I decided to be coy:

Can't you guess? You've known me for years. I can't imagine you NEVER checked out my chest before ;)

But I'm not patient enough for coy. So I sent NC the pictures I took of the mole near my ass crack. (I have a very naughty married male friend with whom I share a probably inappropriate flirtation. When I told him the dermatologist biopsied the mole near my ass crack, he said, "I'd love to see that," and I obliged. What can I say, I'm starved for positive male attention.) This time I included a little message:

shana tova

Over Rosh Hashana I wondered how NC would respond. I imagined him rushing to his computer as soon as Shabbos was over so he could eagerly email me and ask who I was. This didn't happen. Since I am incapable of delaying gratification, and since I'm very lonely, I emailed him again:

still interested in a live viewing?

Gratifyingly, he responded:

Of course... and with another female friend! ;) Seriously though, I haven't seen you in over a year? Have you been to any of ET's karaoke events? 

How have you been otherwise? How's the new job? I follow your updates and like some of your posts, even though I don't actually 'Like' them. :)

PS. Shana tova to you too! :-)

NC refers to "another female friend" because a few years ago, while I was playing the game "Set" with NC, ET, and some others, I started making up a silly story about being seduced in college by a female Australian exchange student to throw ET and NC off their game. I got the idea from another friend, who only beat ET at Connect Four when she told him she was bisexual and started rating the attractiveness of the other girls in the room. My story didn't have much of an impact on ET, but it totally derailed NC. So I can see he's figured out whom the breasts belong to.

Clever boy! Well, it would depend on the female friend ;) Has it been over a year? I'm doing okay. The new job is good. The schedule still kind of sucks. I hate waking up at 5:30 a.m. But one of these days I'll be able to actually do something interesting after work. I like my co-workers, and I like the actual work. Heroin addicts are fascinating.

How have you been? And how did you like the other pictures I sent? I made sure to send some with a mark that could be used to identify me ;)

Kind of a joke, since obviously he's never seen that identifying mark before.

I tell you what, you can pick the female friend and if it doesn't work out, it's okay. I don't consider myself as a greedy person. ;)

Oh, I didn't notice the mark until you just told me. I'm sorry, but I was a bit distracted to notice it. :)

Sounds as though you're having fun! Yeah, early wake up calls suck. I have 8 am classes and the worst thing is when I'm up until 1 or 2 and have to get up at 6. I don't know about you, but I need at least 6 hours of sleep.

And I liked all the pictures you sent ;)

Now I feel pretty. Which pleases me.

Well, just let me know when and if you want to see everything in person ;) 

Hoping he would say, "What are you doing tomorrow?"

Oh, I definitely will! ;)

Is that the brush-off? I'll play it cool...

way to let me down easy ;)

Like it's no big deal. But he responded:
It's not a matter of 'if,' it's when! ;)

So I may have lined up a new friend with benefits, just in time for Yom Kippur.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

My husband's ten key qualities

This Rosh Hashana I didn't sit at home alone for three straight days. I got out on two of the days and had lunch with Alona and her family. Baby Baruch is now 3. He and Batya get me.

"I just had a green Laffy Taffy," Batya informed me as I arrived on the second day.

"Yum!" I said. "That's like my second favorite flavor. I like green and purple."

"I thought yellow was your favorite," said Batya. Amazing what kids remember. I do especially love banana Laffy Taffy.

I had brought them Turkish Delight and Turkish Taffy. I thought it might be a segula for a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey. I also wanted to bring them a new candy, kind of like the new fruit you're supposed to eat. But then I felt a tug on my leg. Looking down, I saw Baruch holding out a small yellow object. He gave me a piece of his banana Laffy Taffy. When a child voluntarily gives you his candy, you know he likes you.

Batya and I also played an endless game of "What If." Batya invented the game on our way to Tashlich in Riverside Park. Basically, it involves one person coming up with an extremely improbably scenario -- "What if Superman became bad and he grabbed you and flew away with you?" -- and then the other person has to come up with a solution. Such as, "I would call you, Ayelet." It must be fairly addictive, because Batya tried to block me from leaving their apartment on the second day. I really am good with other people's children.

I miss my sister's children. I don't know how to spend time with them and avoid her. But I'm really sick of her. She belittles me in front of other people. Routinely. That's not cool, and I've told her that's not cool, but she doesn't stop. I don't know how to negotiate this divide.

I didn't go to services, because I don't think I know how to pray anymore. But I did think about my life. I'm not wishing to die if I have to spend another year single, as I did last year. But I do wonder when and if I'm going to actually be happy with my life.

When I wasn't thinking, I was watching TV on the computer and checking email. And I got one interesting email from eHarmony called, "Our Top 10 Dating Tips for Women." Well, they've only gotten me one actual person to date, but maybe they have some good advice. So I read them. Especially #1:

We love the idea of writing down all of the qualities you are looking for - and releasing it to the universe! Knowing what you want is a powerful thing, as is making sure your list gets narrowed down to about ten key qualities (Yes, a list of 153 is too long ladies!). 

What better way to release a list to the universe than to blog about it?

1. Intelligent 
2. Attractive to me 
3. Respectful 
4. Adoring 
5. Hardworking 
6. Easygoing 
7. Practicing Jew 
8. Open-minded 
9. Good company 
10. Within 6-7 years of my age

Those aren't in any particular order, just the order in which I thought of them. So here they are, Universe. If you don't mind, I'd like to meet him sooner rather than later.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"