Jewish Journal

Teresa Strasser

  • I’m Past All That

    May 9, 2012 | 1:59 pm

    There is some unwritten statute of limitations on how long one can whine about a crappy childhood, a negligent parent, a few too many chicken pot pies, summers with the grandparents, days spent on Greyhound buses and with dubious caregivers and creepy neighbors. There is just a...

  • Chewable Xanax and the shoe debacle

    April 18, 2012 | 12:02 pm

    I had to look inside myself, which was kind of like looking into my high school locker: moldy half-eaten sandwich, a few loose Starburst candies, heaps of notebooks and burrito-stained gym clothes obscuring the few things of value. Sure, there’s a book of Sylvia Plath poems and a...

  • Chasing parental boredom while catching some foreign films

    April 11, 2012 | 11:24 am

    I was in seventh grade when my dad took me to see a Turkish movie exploring the lives of five prisoners given a week’s home leave in the aftermath of a coup d’etat.

    Why did he take a kid to see the movie “Yol”? To teach me a valuable lesson about suffering? To expand my...

  • Inner Child, Meet New Baby, Please Don’t Smother It

    June 24, 2009 | 11:34 pm

    Being pregnant for the first time I’m scared and I want my mommy. I just don’t want my mommy.

    My mom hates babies and kids, always has. She didn’t put her cigarette out on my arm or throw me in a pit of snakes, but having kids just wasn’t her diaper bag, and it showed.

  • Pat B. and Me

    January 21, 2009 | 8:03 pm

    My chat with Pat has gotten far more feedback than any other interview I’ve done in my almost three years as co-host on The Adam Carolla Show.

    Well, it was really more like Adam Carolla’s chat with Pat, and by Pat, I mean writer and political commentator Pat Buchanan, who was...

  • I love you, Grandma, so I tell you lies

    October 29, 2008 | 6:10 pm

  • The dress, the ring, the registry and the rest

    June 12, 2008 | 2:31 pm

    Once upon a time, Teresa Strasser was The Jewish Journal's award-winning singles columnist. Then she met Daniel. Next week the two will wed. In the series below, Strasser charts her journey from "I will" to "I do." And we're sure they'll live happily ever after . . .

    Two months...

  • Leave the house

    February 28, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    There's nothing more smug and insidious than a girl who has finally fallen in love and thinks she now has all the answers. She can save you from your sad, pathetic, damaged love life and cure you of your nasty man-repellant habits. No matter what condescending tip she's giving you,...
  • Family Feud—with my family, it’s no game

    March 22, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I would take my mom against Clint Eastwood in any movie. Sure, he usually plays a grizzled, gunslinger with cat-like reflexes and something to prove, but if you cross my mother, you will find yourself, like the title of Clint's greatest Western, "Unforgiven."

    Make no mistake; this...

  • N.Y. or L.A.—which is better for dating?

    November 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    In my now perhaps exceedingly long life as a single woman, I've lived in both New York and Los Angeles.

    When people ask me which city is better when it comes to dating, I can only answer by citing a famous scene from the horror classic, "When a Stranger Calls."

    The babysitter is...

  • The Candy Man Can

    August 24, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    If you've ever tried to split a Big Hunk candy bar -- the kind made out of brittle white nougat and peanuts -- then you understand a typical breakup. It's usually not neat, like a Kit Kat, two for you, two for me, let's go our separate ways and we'll run into each other in three...

  • Singles - Painted Clowns

    June 29, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    As part of our stroll down memory lane, it seemed fitting to reprint a column by one of our most popular writers. Teresa Strasser, now a regular on prime-time television and morning radio, generated stacks of reader mail with pieces such as this one.

    I'm drinking at a bar called the...

  • The Fastest Therapy in the West

    January 19, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    First there was speed dating. Now, there's speed healing.

    Welcome to The Ten Minute Method, a new form of condensed counseling offered by a Chatsworth therapist that promises to be both fast and affordable at $18 a session.

    You may be thinking: 10 minutes? That's just long enough to...

  • Unmarried Counseling

    December 1, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    My neurosis is like a Ferrari. I can go from 0 to 60 in under four seconds.

    One second, I'm nervous I may have said the wrong thing in a meeting; the next I'm convinced that the best way to deal with how horribly I've botched the situation is to toss myself off the Staten Island...

  • Table of Dreams

    November 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    In a world of cryptocreative fitness classes like flamenco yoga and aerobic pole-dancing, Ping-Pong seems pretty old school.

    Still, on a Tuesday night at the Gilbert Table Tennis Center at the Westside Jewish Community Center, there's little doubt this game is cardio. A guy named...

  • Honors for Author, Antacid

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    This fall marks the confluence of two landmark events in the Jewish community -- one involves Philip Roth and the other involves Maalox. If it's not obvious where those two meet, it's right in the acid-coated kishkas of Portnoy's perpetually constipated father.

    At 72, Roth recently...

  • And Mari Makes Three

    September 22, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Another woman has come into my relationship with my boyfriend, and she's the best thing that's ever happened to us.

    A week ago, a 22-year-old Japanese foreign exchange student named Mari moved in with us for the month while she studies English in the morning and hip-hop dances in...

  • Strasser - I Wanna New Hug

    August 25, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Back in the primitive days of male hugging, my dad was what trend watchers might call "an early adapter." When few of the other Little

    League dads hugged their sons, my dad clutched my older brother any chance he got, Mr. Focker-like, at the drop of a bat.

    My brother appeared to...

  • Child’s Play

    August 4, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Is our culture trying to scam us into having kids?

    This is an epic question and I only have 850 words, so let me start close to home, with my grandma.

    "Listen to me," she said last week over the phone from Reseda. "You have to have kids. You'll never regret it. It's the best thing...

  • Singles - Poetry in Motion

    July 21, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In one night, I had dinner at an all-you-can eat salad bar in Arcadia, met my father's first girlfriend in 25 years and weathered a nearly disastrous poetry emergency.

    Sound the onomatopoetic sirens; this thing was a relationship 911. Free verse was about to cost my father the best...

  • Thy Name Is Too Wrong

    June 30, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Love is a beautiful thing. That is, unless it happens to a couple of excessively famous people whose affair we can no longer stand.

    Even if they get married, a decent hyphenated name (as in Jackie Joyner-Kersee) will not do. That's where the "hyphe-mate" comes in, a shorthand way of...

  • The Evil Stepmother Dies

    June 23, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    What do you do when you lose someone? Someone you really hated?

    It's a little awkward, I'll tell you that much. Last month, my stepmother of more than 25 years died at age 67 of lung cancer. It was a terrible death, one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, which, incidentally, she was....

  • So Uncool, It’s Cool

    May 12, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    I favor the type of acrylic French tip nails that are considered fashionable only by midlevel porn stars. I still wear Uggs. Pink is my favorite color. I've seen the movie "G.I Jane" twice, and not for camp value. I thought it was good.

    Today, I embrace my uncool preferences.


  • He’s my ...

    April 7, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    The term "boyfriend" is like the knee joint on someone who is morbidly obese. It is being asked to do way more than it was designed

    to do. It is buckling under the pressure. Where it once could do the job, it is now carrying too much weight.

    Example: My grandma had a companion...

  • The List

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The List has taken over. If you are male, you may not be aware of this, but if you are female, you probably already have one.

    You show me a single woman looking for love, and I'll show you a girl with a detailed and specific written list of qualities she's looking for in a mate.

  • Twisted Spinster

    February 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    My friend has a red velveteen frog that lives on the arm of her red velvet sofa.

    Her living room has become the gathering place for our little group, five of us, all single. We spend many a night on these couches, shoes kicked under the coffee table, ordering Chinese food,...

  • Read All About It

    February 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    At this moment, I have no idea if Jennifer Garner is having Ben Affleck's baby, who Hilary Swank is wearing to the Oscars or what brand of moisturizer Catherine Zeta Jones has shipped in from a nunnery in Peru.

    I am no longer binge reading. As of now, I'm out of touch with In...

  • The ‘L’ Word

    January 20, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    How do you spell crippling inability to connect?


    That's how I spelled it. After months of trying to

    make myself say the "L word," I finally managed only three of the letters. And I wish I could say it was on a handwritten note or even e-mail, but no. It was the lowest...

  • Saying Goodbye to an Angel in Sin City

    December 30, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Mr. Snead has an artificially orange comb-forward and the type of throaty voice and desiccated face one only acquires after living in the desert for awhile. He is an undertaker.

    On his forearm, I make out what are obviously two prison tattoos; one reads "Love" and the other is...

  • Do I Know You?

    September 16, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    I was headed into a pizza joint for a slice when I noticed a guy whose face looked eerily familiar. I couldn't place him but he gave me a subtle nod, frat-boy style.

    Just as I snapped my head back to make sure it actually was the dude from "Average Joe," he was craning his head...

  • A New Relationship

    July 1, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A relationship with a new city is like a relationship with a new guy. At first, you compare a lot -- my ex had better nicknames for me; he made the bed in the morning. My ex was the one for me, and now I'm just marking time before becoming that old lady in line at the bagel shop who...

  • 3 Minutes With Brad

    May 13, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Brad Pitt may have sustained an injury during the filming of his new movie, "Troy," but I sustained an injury during the viewing of the film.

    With 15 minutes left of the special preview screening, I had to go to the bathroom. I had been able to hold on through at least three...

  • Missing: My Mojo

    March 18, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    I can't explain it any better than this. I think I've lost my mojo. That phrase has been going through my head for months now. Lost my mojo.

    How do you know you've lost your mojo? You get a couple clues.

    I'm eating dinner alone at a restaurant when an attractive older man...

  • I’ve Got Cramps

    March 4, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    What little style I have, it's being cramped. New York will do that to you.

    My toaster is the perfect metaphor for life in the Not-Big-Enough Apple.

    The appliance, unlike a standard toaster that situates the slices of bread side by side, is a slender affair. It toasts the bread not...

  • Baggage Claim

    December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    I used to want things. One day, I realized the seven pairs of Puma sneakers and the Pottery Barn rug and the 8-pound "Columbia Encyclopedia," those were just things to pack, and I didn't want them anymore.

    Actually, that day was just about two weeks ago, when I got a job in New...

  • That’s Nice

    October 23, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Women love bad boys. Nice guys finish last.

    Welcome to the most damaging and far-flung myth ever to hit the dating world.

    I'm sure you've heard it in its many forms; if you want a girl to fall for you, don't let on that you like her, treat her badly, be aloof. Never work too hard...

  • Got Closure?

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I'm 18. I'm flipping through my yearbook, reading over the cursive messages of my friends: "Stay sweet" and "Great sitting next to you in French" and "Have a great summer."

    On the next page, there are a few more notes advising me not to change, to remember that night at the beach...

  • Roadside Distraction

    July 10, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I'm sitting at a Mobil station in Minneola, my feet propped up against the bottom frame of my car door. The door is swung open so I can take in the desert air, exhale my Camel Light into the breeze.

    I just bought a pack of gum and a green plastic lighter inside the store, where a...

  • The Nose Knows

    June 26, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    What is it like to be one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People? I have no idea.

    I can tell you what it's like to work closely with one of these magically attractive people day in and day out, to wake up to Matt Lauer and Katie Couric discussing his muscles and come home to...

  • Painted Clowns

    April 24, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I'm drinking at a bar called the Dirty Horse on Hollywood Boulevard. Well, that's not the real name but I never got a look at the sign and that name seemed right.

    It fits the place, with its plastic pitchers of beer, painted clowns on black velvet, bowls of peanuts and the...

  • Hotel Holiness

    March 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    I walk into each new hotel room, look at it suspiciously, shake its clammy hand and gingerly put my suitcase down.

    I unpack my makeup, put my mascara and lipsticks in a water glass, hang up my coat. I see what cable channels I have, check out the room service menu for any items that...

  • How Not to Date

    February 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Look, I'm not going to tell you how to find "the one," how to radiate that "I'm available" light, how to register for wine tasting seminars and join networking groups.

    I have no dating advice. None. I won't suggest clever phrasing for your personal ad or how to choose a photo to...

  • Am I Annoying?

    January 9, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    I knew better. I had about as much business being there as an elderly tourist has of being on Skid Row after midnight with a map in his hand and a blank cashier's check taped to his forehead. I was in grave danger of a psychological mugging, and I knew it.

    I kept telling myself to...

  • Who I Really Am

    December 12, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Here's the scenario: I travel for work almost 20 days a month. It's lonely out there on the road, one long Bob Seger song. Dating is almost impossible, but I've met a guy who seems to fit the suit.

    By that, I mean he's employed, smart, sweet, even Jewish. We've had two dates so far,...

  • No Vacancy

    October 10, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Last week, before the premiere of my new show "While You Were Out," I got my first big national magazine review.

    I wasn't expecting it. I had just had a tooth pulled and my mom was in town for the day to take care of me. I was just minding my own business, sprawled on the couch,...

  • Star Stricken

    September 19, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    My ex-boyfriend is a star.

    Just when I thought he was securely fastened in my past, he is suddenly and jarringly in my present, whirring by me on the side of a bus, staring at me from the cover of TV Guide, cracking jokes on late night TV.

    In short, he is everywhere. As the host of a...

  • Meeting Dr. Soulmate

    August 1, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Somehow, the universe knows. It knows when you have on a fresh coat of MAC lipgloss, some cute heels you got on sale at Charles David and clean hair that's looking halfway decent. It knows. That's the night you won't meet anyone.

    If a principle is true, then so is its opposite,...

  • The Name Game

    June 27, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    When we were little, my brother and I realized that whenever we asked if someone was Jewish, my mother would answer by simply repeating their name, as if that said it all.

    "Irving Fishbaum? Ira and Esther Lefkowitz? C'mon."

    We decided to see if we could induce this behavior and...

  • Fierce Determination

    June 13, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    I admit, it doesn't sound pleasant. You enter a room that's been heated to above 100 degrees. The heat isn't as suffocating as the odor, a wall of smell that hits you like a thousand stinky shoes.

    You inhale the scent of sweaty armpits and groins, of excreted toxins, byproducts of...

  • A Matter of Crime

    May 30, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Crime does pay. Wait, no. I pay for crime. That is to say, I pay for books about crime because I can't get enough of serial killers, crime profiling, unsolved murders, exonerating DNA evidence, assassins, date stalkers, maximum-security prisons and forensics.

    You know that...

  • Car Shame

    May 9, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    It happened fast, like swerving out of the way of a stray cat.

    I was driving toward the valet parking kiosk of a fancy-pants department store in Beverly Hills. As I approached, I saw clusters of press and well-dressed young women gathered to attend a charity brunch. A Mercedes was...

  • What Me, Worry?

    April 25, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Let's not tell grandma.

    That's what my mom said after I fractured my elbow in third grade and had to spend the summer in a cast. "Why?" I wondered.

    "Because she'll worry."

    "About what? That I'll break my arm? It's already broken," I remember saying. Today, as I write this, a copy of...

  • Charm School

    April 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "I'd like to give you the keys to my apartment," he said. This was after our first date, if you could call it that. We met for a couple drinks at a bowling alley bar with all the ambiance of a Greyhound station in Lompoc.

    I picked the bowling alley. You don't want ambiance when...

  • Bored Games

    March 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Do you ever bore yourself?

    I do. I am boring myself right now. I mean, I'm bored of my toast with spray-on I Can't Believe It's Not Butter every morning of every day. I'm bored of the clothes hanging in my closet, the bath mat in the bathroom, the same books in a basket on my...

  • The Icemen Cometh

    February 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    I'm not picky. I don't care if my spiritual teachers wear gauche colors, glitter in their shellacked ponytails and man mullets the likes of which you'd only find at a Greyhound station in Lodi.

    I'm speaking of Olympic figure skaters; people who put blades on their shoes and fling...

  • A Trivial Pursuit

    February 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    You don't plan to become a trivia writer, it just happens. The next thing you know, you're a one-woman trivia carnival, packing up your trunk of battered almanacs and dictionaries and moving on to the next show.

    "Goodbye, guys," you say, because you're often the only female on the...

  • Ex Marks the Spots

    January 10, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Let the courts decide who gets custody of kids. What I want to know is, who gets custody of the coffee shop? The grocery store? The brunch place?

    It's been seven months since I broke up with Z, and I miss our old haunts, the places we used to go together, the places I relinquished...

  • Red Like Me

    December 27, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    As I write this, I look like James Coburn eating a lemon in a windstorm. Drunk. Not only does my face look red and crackly, it must be covered at all times with a Vaseline-like lotion, thick and greasy, giving me the appearance of someone who has just eaten a pork chop with no hands....

  • Road Rage

    December 6, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Let's say it's Friday night and I want to see the guy I've been dating for four months or so. Let's call him Romeo.

    I leave Koreatown full of romantic anticipation. I'm listening to some old-school disco on the car radio. I turn it up. I'm thinking maybe we'll see a movie, grab a...

  • Many Thanks

    November 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Thanks, but no Thanksgiving. That's my motto for this year.

    All of a sudden, it dawned on me that an experience I often dread, one that leaves me emotionally drained and physically stuffed, is totally voluntary. There's no law that says you have to go home for Thanksgiving. The...

  • To Shop Is to Cope

    November 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    I'm in a Commerce outlet mall feverishly darting from store to store. A swirl of images plays across my frontal lobe.

    There are caramel-colored leather boots and pale pink thongs from Italy and a mint-green skirt with a tiny bow on the front. There's an unassuming corduroy blazer...

  • In Praise of Geeks

    October 18, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Don't bother me with the guy voted "Cutest smile." That guy's gonna go bad on you. That guy will be of no use. Worse, someday soon he will bore you; he will frustrate you with his basic inability to understand human suffering the way a geek can.

    Johnny Dimples never endured unwieldy...

  • The Grief Counselor

    September 27, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In second grade, my alternative San Francisco elementary school gathered all the students together for a "share" session. It was a tiny school. We crowded into the library, where a teacher calmly announced that there had been a tragedy over the weekend.

    A girl a few grades above me...

  • Reality Doesn’t Bite

    September 6, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Last night, I was watching "Big Brother," a show mocked for its lack of action. Call me crazy, but to me, it's Chekhov; it's all about the subtext. Anyway, a contestant named Bunky was voted out of the house last week. That's when I realized that slowly, quietly, the new breed of...

  • Down for the Count

    August 23, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    I want to tell you about the "No Mas Date," but first I have to tell you about legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran.

    Perhaps you've heard of Duran, widely considered one of the 10 best boxers of the 20th century. His nickname was "Manos de Piedra," Spanish for "Hands of Stone."...

  • New York Miracle

    August 2, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    There's a storefront church next door to my friend Bill's apartment in New York City's East Village. I'm staying with him for a week, so I pass the church a lot, and the sign in the window becomes like a refrain.

    "Free: hugs, foot washing, Band-Aids & money. While $upplies last."


  • Cold Comfort

    July 19, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    I don't want to be petty. I just want my ex to be sitting alone in his room, turning a lamp on and off and wondering how he's going to live without me.

    It's been two months now, and we've had no contact. Word has it he's dating a lingerie model, a fact that should inspire...

  • Love Ain’t Moulin Rouge

    July 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    I ironed my bed skirt this weekend. I got out the can of spray starch and lovingly pressed that thing for an hour in the sauna-like atmosphere of my tiny kitchen.

    That's how much I didn't want to read "Why Can't I Fall in Love? A 12-Step Program."

    The book, by best-selling "Kosher...

  • When Booty Calls

    June 21, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Sometimes, a Booty Call can sneak up on you.

    Case in point: a second date with a guy I met at a bookstore. He was running late, called to say he'd have to baby-sit his niece and nephew and wouldn't be available until after 10 p.m.

    No problem, I said, grateful to be able to watch the...

  • All Dressed Up

    May 24, 2001 | 7:59 pm

    I remember what I was wearing on just about every first date with every boyfriend I've ever had.

    I remember what I wore on the first day of fifth grade -- a hand-me-down green flowered dress with red polyester kneesocks.

    I remember the pastel, flowered, zipper-at-the-ankle Guess?...

  • The Great Stuff Swap

    May 10, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In comes the summer and out goes my latest boyfriend. He was a great guy, funny, smart and possessing what my mom calls "The Big Three": a job, a car and an apartment. The only problem was that getting his affection was somewhat like getting gasoline during the Carter administration;...

  • Identity Theft

    April 26, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    How did I find myself at the Beverly Hills Police Department, eating an apple and crying?

    It's a long story. One I'm placing for now in my "Only in Los Angeles" file. Or perhaps it belongs in my "pending criminal cases" file.

    It began, as few good crime stories do, at Kinko's, where...

  • Grammar Police

    April 12, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    My name is Teresa Strasser and I've made grammatical errors.

    My story begins with a piece I wrote several months ago. Give me a second, I need to compose myself.

    It's hard to admit this, even to a group as supportive and nurturing as you. Let me just take a deep breath. Okay, here...

  • The Physics of Hiatus

    March 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    You're standing in line for the ATM. Your car's illegally parked down the street. It starts to drizzle. You're convinced the man in front of you is taking out a home loan. He seems to move in slow motion, pulling scraps of paper out of his pocket, pausing to look up and momentarily...

  • Get a Life

    March 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl stops returning her friend's phone calls. Girl's world narrows. Girl loses boy. Girl starts calling her friends again. Girl meets another boy.

    A pattern emerges.

    It's obvious, really. I just never noticed it until my boyfriend gave me...

  • Cereal Killer

    February 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Things aren't going well. I know this because I come home from work, eat six bowls of cereal and climb in bed still wearing my clothes and shoes. The end is near, and I can feel it.

    I know cereal isn't love and companionship, but it won't turn on you, and it hurts a lot less (except...

  • Plush Reminders

    February 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Bunny. Das-tardly Bunny. Stupid stuffed, fluffy gift from his ex-girlfriend. Bunny, you've enjoyed life on his pillow for awhile, but now you must die. Bunny must die.

    This is what I thought as I tossed Bunny out the window of his bedroom last week. You see, there's something...

  • And Guest

    January 18, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    To all the people who've invited me to events with those two fateful words, "And Guest," I apologize. I'm sorry you have to look through your wedding or shower or Bar Mitzvah photos and say, "Who's that?" when looking at my date.

    "What was his name?" said my aunt, squinting at the...

  • Solitude

    January 4, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    I'm doing my laundry on Christmas Eve. The Ebenezer Scrooges who own my building see fit to provide only one dryer for all the residents.

    It's positively Dickensian, I think to myself, as I stand watch over the dryer, lest one of my neighbors cut in line, leaving my laundry in a...

  • Eight Gifts

    December 21, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    This weekend, my mom drove in from Las Vegas to deliver my Chanukah gifts. As I've mentioned before, the woman is a gift maven. There are odd-shaped boxes and bags awaiting me for the eight days of Chanukah. Seeing the gifts stuffed under a table in my living room has started me...

  • The Internet: Superhighway or Dating Tool?

    December 7, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    It used to be that you had to take a guy's word for it. Now, all you need is a good search engine.

    Among the Internet's many uses, following your stocks, ordering books, doing research, you can also find out if that guy you met at a party last night really does direct the show...

  • Where the Heart Is

    November 30, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    They say you can never go home again.

    Well, you can. Only you might find yourself staying at a Travelodge, driving a rented Ford Contour and staking out your childhood home like some noir private eye just trying to catch a glimpse of the Johnny-come-latelys that are now living in...

  • Where the Heart Is

    November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    They say you can never go home again.

    Well, you can. Only you might find yourself staying at a Travelodge, driving a rented Ford Contour and staking out your childhood home like some noir private eye just trying to catch a glimpse of the Johnny-come-latelys that are now living in your...

  • Gift-Giving

    October 26, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    It was an innocent batch of chocolate chip cookies that started what I've come to call "The Great Gift-Giving War."

    The couple that manages my apartment complex couldn't be nicer. An older Japanese woman and an even older Polish war veteran live just across the hall from me. He is the...

  • Too Much Too Soon

    September 28, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Once you spill your guts, they're a little hard to mop up.

    Take it from me. I've been cornering men I hardly know and talking their ears off. I must be stopped. This month alone, I've had three lengthy conversations late into the night with three virtual strangers. I don't have...

  • Transit

    September 14, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    I didn't do much today but drive.

    No one died. No jobs were lost or won. I didn't run into an old boyfriend, have an epiphany or a traffic accident. I just climbed into my car and pointed it across the Mojave desert.

    My head was like one of those deluxe crayon boxes with every...

  • Shotgun Wedding

    August 31, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    According to the state of Nevada, I now have a new dad.

    It's not every day your mother has a shotgun wedding at a Las Vegas chapel, so it was a special moment. Who was holding the shotgun? Uncle Sam. It was a forced wedding of the new millennium - one necessitated by tax purposes...

  • Country Roads, Take Me Home

    August 17, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Something quite unexpected has happened to my musical taste. I've gone country.

    Not cheesy Garth Brooks country, but deep-down throaty, hard-livin' Lucinda Williams country. Just the name of her recent album, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" makes me feel like I'm part of a twangy...

  • Snapshots of Summer

    July 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    When I have things to write, I suddenly seem to have things to read. Yahoo online stock profiles for example, of stocks I don't own, because I don't own any stocks.

    It's too hot to work, I tell myself, sitting with a fan the size of a large potted plant at my back. And it's amazing...

  • When Jesus is his Co-Pilot

    June 22, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    First date. He agrees to see a movie about ballet instead of "Gladiator." You're heartened by this early sacrifice.
    After the movie, he drags you along to a friend's birthday dinner at some Italian sounding restaurant on Sunset. On the way he gets aggravated about the traffic. This,...

  • Home Is Where the Heart Is

    June 15, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    A string quartet plays in the background as I listen to a famous New Age guru perform a wedding ceremony on a Malibu cliff.

    The guru is marrying two friends of mine who met in an acting class last year. She turns to the groom and launches into a spiel about how from now on, he's going...

  • Wings

    May 18, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    I never thought I'd find myself in any place called "The Winner'sRoom," mingling with soap opera stars and clutching a huge gold statue.

    But there I was. Well, that's where my body was, though some other partof me was hovering above the Century Plaza Hotel, just watching myself...

  • Something New

    May 4, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    I think "Automotive Denial" should be entered into the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders." Telltale signs you are suffering from the disorder include uttering the phrases, "I could fix this thing today, but I don't want to,"...
  • Swollen

    April 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Some days, you really don't feel like taking the high road.

    Take today, for example, when I read a letter from a reader named Molly (not her real name). Maybe I just wasn't ready to deal with this total stranger who seems to have taken a keen but rather unpleasant interest in me....

  • Breaking Up Is Moderately Hard to Do

    March 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    It wasn't the right time. It was totally mutual. He wasn't "the one." It just wasn't working out. Blah, blah, blah.

    You know the drill. The why-we-broke-up speech. Sadly, one is usually asked to sum up a relationship's demise before really understanding it. That's why the above...

  • All About My Mother

    March 2, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    After three days at a Palm Springs spa with my mother, I felt like I had just returned from a tour of duty in 'Nam.

    That's not really how you want to feel after saunas and raw broccoli and hours of stretch classes, but I blame only myself for the weekend that went horribly wrong.


  • Moving On Up, Reluctantly

    February 17, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    For the last two years, I've dreamed of a simple thing: I've just wanted to be able to say, "I'm in the other room."

    After a lengthy stay in a grim studio apartment, I can finally say that. I've moved to a one-bedroom place in a far better neighborhood, complete with a garden...

  • Singles Night

    January 27, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    As I try to find a wormhole through the crowd, I overhear what perhaps might be the quintessential pick-up line at these sorts of Jewish singles functions, "Did you see the 'Seinfeld' about the puffy shirt?" I must get away. Using my shoulder, I carve a tangent for myself and head...
  • Takin’ It Easy on New Year’s

    January 13, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The first time I went over to Jon's apartment, I thought it was so sweet that he had a framed black and white picture of his dad on the nightstand, smiling somewhat ruggedly in a flannel shirt.

    Only it wasn't Jon's dad. It was Don Henley.

    And that's when I realized that Jon,...

  • That Clutter-Free State of Mind

    December 30, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    I have got to get my car registered before I collect any more tickets. But before I do that, I really should get around to changing the filter in my Brita water pitcher at home because I've noticed some black, metallic specks floating around that are probably doing my liver some...
  • Shameful Behavior

    December 16, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    You go out. You talk to a lot of people you don't know. Maybe you gossip a little. Maybe you flirt. Maybe you try too hard and end up acting just a bit like someone else.

    You wake up the next day with the uneasy feeling that you've just gotten drunk and had a one-night stand. But you...

  • Matchmaker, Matchmaker

    December 2, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had occasion to peer into two almost antithetical worlds of matchmaking. The first: a do-it-yourself option courtesy of a Jewish dating service on the Internet. The second: "Old School" Jewish Matchmaking like a picture postcard sent through time from...
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Stereotype

    November 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    There's something inherently sexy about a woman who owns a dog. I don't mean a pug or a poodle. I mean a bruiser; a canine that's muscular and intense, a beast that succumbs to her quiet command. Unfortunately, the same really can't be said for a single woman with a cat.

    Get yourself...

  • Let’s Review

    October 28, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Phobia: 1. A compulsive or persistent fear of any specified type of object, stimulus or situation. 2. An exaggerated or persistent dread of or aversion to.

    Sitting in the front row of the McCadden Theater in Hollywood was my personal pit of snakes. I would rather be buried alive, in...

  • Book Group

    October 14, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Here's the scene I most remember when I think about moving here from San Francisco: I'm in my $385-a-month apartment, which is furnished only with a monolithic file cabinet I rescued from my uncle's garage and a day bed suited for a small child. The only light in the room is...
  • Female Issues

    September 30, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    It started out innocently enough. Some burning. Uncomfortable urination. A couple of weeks pass, and I'm starting to feel like my bladder is on fire and all the cranberry juice in Vons isn't going to put out the flames.

    I wake up in the middle of the night, sobbing and with little...

  • Boy Meets Mom

    September 16, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Busted flat in Barstow, I realize the desert is no place for an old Plymouth. The mechanic says something about "a machine shop in Victorville," and I think that is one phrase you never want to hear in a sentence with your name. That and "feeding tube."

    I'm returning to Los Angeles...

  • Lessons From ‘My Jewtor’

    September 2, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    We're about the same age and, from a distance, it almost looks like we could be sisters. But that's where the similarities end between Melissa and me.

    Melissa is what I call "My Jewtor," a woman assigned to me by a local rabbi to tutor me about Judaism. For months now, I've been...

  • Relationship Haze

    August 12, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    I wanted to try it out. You know, take the old b-word out for a spin in a totally non-threatening environment where I didn't know anyone and, therefore, could be neither mocked nor held accountable.

    The b-word doesn't exactly roll off my tongue. No, it generally comes out in a...

  • Ticket to Enlightenment

    July 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I've been completely lost.

    No, I don't mean spiritually or emotionally. I mean literally. I've been lost for pretty much two straight years.

    What is the Thomas Guide to me but the Book of Babel? I have a hard enough time just knowing where I am in...

  • Self-Help for Singles

    July 15, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    "This is an amazing book," said my friend Lynn, solemnly handing me my birthday present, a paperback she handled as though it were the Holy Grail. "But rip off the cover right away."

    When I looked down at my gift, I had the sudden urge to douse my hand in hydrogen peroxide. And then,...

  • My Place Out of the Sun

    July 1, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    I don't know how to tell you this, but I think it's over.

    I don't want you to take it personally. It's not you; it's me. I just need some time to get my head together. I just need to find out who I am without you in my life. After 28 years, I just need to move on.

    Don't think this is...

  • Things Fall Apart

    June 17, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    One recent day, all was right with the world. I was the master of the details in my universe. I had arranged to pay my bills online, lugged five pairs of shoes in to be shined and reheeled, picked up my dry cleaning, bought stamps.

    I slept in peace, my clothes hanging in perfectly...

  • Smoke Signals

    June 3, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    I meet a guy. I'm pretty sure I like him because I haven't erased the message he left on my answering message. I call my machine from work and listen to it a time or two, smiling and blushing and feeling like a complete idiot.

    His voice is soft and deep, a little awkward and...

  • Eye of the Damn Tiger

    May 20, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Like most women, I had never punched anyone in the face. That is, until I socked Spar Pro, a plastic peach-colored torso on a stick. It was a totally foreign sensation, twisting into a right-handed uppercut and letting Mr. Spar Pro have it right on the chin, his beady eyes staring...
  • Where Nobody Knows Your Name

    April 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    It was a Saturday night, and after watching the Lakers defeat the Warriors, I had no plans. I tossed out the encrusted remains of a Lean Cuisine lasagna and sat back in my sweats, surfing the channels in search of some juicy biography I hadn't seen before.

    It wasn't so much that I was...

  • Dreaming C’s

    April 15, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Either the apocalypse is coming, or I've been living in Los Angeles too long. Last night, I woke up from the most vivid dream, the kind that feels like it lasted all night, the kind of dream that feels like a journey through every emotion.

    I dreamt that I had gotten a breast...

  • My Mental Celebrity Database

    April 1, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Sandra Bullock, get out of my head.

    Look, it's nothing personal. I'm sure you're a really nice person, and it's not like you're untalented. And despite the fact that I'm not particularly a fan of yours, I seem to know everything about you. The other day, your name came up by the...

  • A Priceless Day

    March 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    You have three goals for your Sunday: wash your car, wash your clothes, wash yourself.

    You've accomplished two of the three when you find yourself driving by the Farmer's Market on Fairfax. You pull in and find a parking place right away, which you think is a good omen. This must be...

  • Having Fun Is No Picnic

    March 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    It is Saturday night, and I'm determined to have a good time.

    Realizing that I never have fun and thinking that it would probably be a good idea, I decide to go out to a bar with some friends. One shows up at my house, and since she's "out of gas," I offer to drive. On the way, she...

  • Send in the Clowns

    February 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Girl meets clown.

    Girl is fascinated by clown, who is a bona fide graduate of clown college and can walk on stilts. Girl also can't help but notice clown is tall and handsome and can stick a long nail all the way up his nose. Girl makes it obvious that she wouldn't be adverse to the...

  • What’s It All About?

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    It's past midnight, and I can't sleep. I call a friend back in San Francisco, a scientist I know who is really good at thinking.

    "Hi, it's Teresa. I was just wondering, What's it all about?"

    "It's about two hours after my bedtime. What's what all about?"

    "What's life all about? What is...

  • My Dinner at the Rabbi’s House

    January 7, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    When an important local rabbi invited me to his house for Shabbat dinner to discuss my column -- which he doesn't like -- I was appalled. How patronizing, I thought, to summon me to his home so that he can tell me, with home-court advantage, to change what I do.

    For days, I stewed....

  • Putting on the Shvitz

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    On an un-chic stretch of Pico Boulevard -- somewhere you wouldn't happen to be unless you were looking for Roscoe's Chicken 'N Waffles -- is a Los Angeles landmark. One that has only recently opened its doors to women.

    City Spa is one of only a handful of old world saunas left in...

  • An Afternoon at the Motion Picture Retirement Home

    November 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    They were actors, set designers, writers, studio secretaries, directors. Now they're residents of the Motion Picture Retirement Home, a placid place tucked into a sleepy Woodland Hills neighborhood and dense with stories of Hollywood past.

    I pull up a chair in the home's sun-drenched...

  • Going Back to Sunday School

    November 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    I wake up early, groggily slapping the snooze button and hating the outfit I've picked out the night before. When I go to brush my teeth, I'm frightened by the sight of a hideous pimple that seems to be taking over the left side of my face. A familiar sense of dread comes over me. I...
  • Notes From Friday Night

    October 29, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Here's a list of nicknames that friends have given various men in my life: Dead Dad Guy, Dead Sister Guy, Institutionalized Mother Man, Dead Dad Guy II, The Gambler and the ever-popular Mack Truck Collision Victim.

    Well, everybody has a type.

    Leave it to me. I'll go to a party and find...

  • Notes From Friday Night

    October 15, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    I'm in the bathroom of Sinai Temple, hunched over my notebook, scrawling down words in the fluorescent light and wondering what I was thinking when I decided to catch Friday Night Live, alone.

    My skin has a greenish hue, which I notice when I see my face in the mirror. I write down...

  • You Hate Me, You Really Hate Me!

    October 1, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Here are some excerpts from my first real hate letter. It's a doozy:

    Re: Saint Teresa?

    As 20-something female readers of The Jewish Journal, we would like to adamantly object to the inclusion of Teresa Strasser... Her ignorant, chamelon (sic) stance on feminism is a throwback to a...

  • Please Forgive My Bad Review

    September 17, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Stan Taubman, I did you wrong. All you did was write a little self-help book called "Ending the Struggle Against Yourself." Unfortunately, you ran into me, and that was your undoing.

    If it makes you feel any better, I've been racked with guilt ever since my review of your book ran...

  • Looking for Mr. & Mrs. Losnick

    August 27, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Money, Meaning and Mongolian Beef

    As if in slow motion, the ominous hand of a waiter dips down into the center of view, dropping the check before I've had a chance to excuse myself to the restroom.

    I'm in some Chinese restaurant in...

  • Excerpts From My First Real Hate Letter

    July 30, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Here are some excerpts from my first real hate letter. It's a doozy:

    Re: Saint Teresa?

    As 20-something female readers of The Jewish Journal, we would like to adamantly object to the inclusion of Teresa Strasser... Her ignorant, chamelon (sic) stance on feminism is a throwback to a...

  • Trafficking in Futility

    July 23, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Trafficking in Futility

    I was caught in the cruel cogs of a heartless machine. I was stripped of my humanity and dignity. I was without representation or recourse.

    I was in traffic court.

    Before my little run-in...

  • Reaching New Haights

    July 9, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Teresa Strasser is a twentysomething contributing writer for The Jewish Journal.

    Reaching New Haights

    The Synergy School was fine for me for a while.

    We called our teachers "Rusty" and "Kathy," learned...

  • Enlightened Teresa vs. the Princess       of Doom

    June 25, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Teresa Strasser is a twentysomething contributing writer for The Jewish Journal.

    Read a previous week's column by Teresa Strasser:

    A Few Words About My Mail


  • Singles

    May 28, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Teresa Strasser is a twentysomething contributing writer for The Jewish Journal.

    "I hope you don't take this the wrong way..."

    When you hear that phrase, there's usually no right way to take what follows. Prepare to be...

  • Singles

    May 14, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    I'm not mental. Really. I'm not manic-depressive,hypomanic, borderline schizophrenic or psychotic. I don't hear voicesor imagine I'm being followed by Marie Osmond. I don't have tics or acompulsive need to wash my hands or avoid cracks in thesidewalk.

    Like a lot of people, I could...

  • Israel and the Cure for Teenage Angst

    April 30, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    At 16, I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that my dailyoutfit of choice was a drab army jumpsuit I bought at a thrift store.It zipped up to my chin, and that almost wasn't far enough forme.

    As summer approached that year, my mother gotdumped by Syd, her two-bit Berkeley poet...

  • Driving MissLazy

    April 9, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Usually, I'm so used to the clutter that has accumulated inmy 1986 Honda Civic that I don't even notice it. Now and again,however, I squint and think to myself, "Why am I seated in a mobilegarbage can?"

    The passenger seat is piled high with unopenedjunk mail, while empty water bottles...

  • Singles

    March 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    You can also find singleslistings in the Calendar

  • Notes from the Village

    February 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    In my mind, Icall him Mr. Droopy Pants, my elderly neighbor who shuffles down thehall every morning to steal my paper, his orange toupee askew. I lethim steal my paper because I know it is one of his few pleasures,along with listening to the baseball games that I hear blaringthrough...

  • Kissing A Lot of Frogs

    February 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    I am standing in the doorway looking at my first blind date, I'mthinking: somebody could have said something about -- how do I saythis tactfully -- his face.

    Over drinks, I try to decide which eye to look at.A choice must be made, as his eyes occupy slightly different planeson his...

  • Other Voices

    January 29, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    There's nothing so intoxicating as when a mentor singles you out,shining the warm light of approval all over you.

    When that mentor is an older man and you, the student, a youngwoman, you've just mixed up a potent sexual-charge cocktail. Don'tdrive home. Your depth perception is...

  • Singles

    January 22, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    I had hoped that it would be an "empowering"experience, going to the movies alone on New Year's Eve.

    And I really wanted it to be. But when I sat alonein a dark theater at midnight, sipping my Diet Coke and munchinggreasy popcorn, I didn't feel as Erica Jong as I had hoped.

    Truth be...

  • One Girl’s Basketball Diary

    November 27, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    I love basketball. Not as in, I love Neil Diamond,I hum along when he's on the radio. No.

    More like, when I know my team is playing and I'mnot watching, I get the agitated look of a kid with chicken pox onHalloween. During basketball season, my life is scheduled aroundgames; people...

  • Putting Dinner in the Dinner Date

    September 11, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    I remember coming home from my first date witha boy.

    There was my mother, waiting up in the buzzyfluorescent light of our kitchen. She was gripping a cup ofalready-cold tea, her elbows propped up on the table. She wouldprobably want to know everything -- if I liked him, if he liked...

  • First Impressions

    August 21, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    I was smitten the first second I saw him -- the astrophysicistwho broke my heart.

    It was a chilly night at an outdoor party, and his Nordic face waslooking up at the stars, no doubt contemplating the elusive nature ofgamma ray emissions and incommutable variables. He sat with his...

  • Checking My Mailbox

    July 17, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    ou read me! You really read me!

    When I perused the stack of letters in response to my recent column on the difficulty of finding friends in a new city, I not only felt less like a huge loser, but I was reminded what it means to have a community. When I question why being Jewish is...

  • On Finding Friends

    July 3, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    By Teresa Strasser, Contributing Writer
    "Don't you want to play with the other little girls?" my grandmother asked me one summer, while the two of us sat on a park bench near a pack of screaming children.

    I buried my head deeper into my book.

    "Just go up and introduce yourself," she...

  • Other VoicesThe Dating Game

    June 19, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    By Teresa Strasser


    brief synopsis of my recent dating history.

    Bring Kleenex.

    The Comedian

    This man had obvious benefits: I laughed, I laughed till I cried, and I laughed until a spaghetti noodle came out of my nose. Really. With all his impressions, it was like dating 20 men. The fun...

  • Matters of the Heart

    June 5, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    She married him and lived his life. Impeccably groomed and almost pathologically calm, she saw him through law school, career advancement and a successful public career. She raised three children and worried about her husband's health, his stress level, his cholesterol intake.


  • ‘Mendel & Moses’

    May 29, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    When Mendel Moscowitz is transported from Brooklyn to ancient Egypt, the juxtaposition of a whiny New Yorker on the eve of the Exodus is supposed to create the setting for campy high jinks and musical hilarity.

    Billed as "Fiddler on the Roof" meets "The Ten Commandments," original...