April 20, 2000
Déjà Vu, All Over Again
Report: Anti-Semitic acts down, despite acts of violence in 1999
When my dance card is empty, I can always count on JDate, the premier Jewish dating service on the Internet, to provide a tango partner.
Logging on at 1 a.m., I peruse the candidates within my "desired date age range," finding a man who looks interesting and is actually willing to meet a woman over the age of 25. I'm feeling lucky, so I break my rule of never writing to anyone who posts a professional headshot on his JDate profile, and I overlook my usual aversion to never-married 40-somethings.
We meet for drinks. Conversation flows. He laughs at my stories and I laugh at his. Chemistry is in the air. I want to touch his grey-flecked hair and shamelessly check out his butt as he heads for the men's room. Within an hour he promises to ask me out again, vowing to break my streak of lackluster JDates.
Suddenly, time stood still, as I was hit with a serious case of déjà vu. "We've met before!" I said.
"I would have remembered you," he said.
"We've gone out before; in fact we went on several dates," I explained, watching my date draw a blank.
"We were set up on a blind date by my grandmother... six years ago!" I said. A glimmer of recognition crossed my date's face, as I snapped out of JDate reverie and launched into storytelling mode.
Grandma Sally had my best interests at heart, and she knew a potential suitor when she saw one. Using a keen mind honed by years of weekly card games at the bridge club, she made her move while waiting in line at the supermarket. "Young man, would you mind giving an old lady a ride home?" she asked. How could he refuse? She complimented him on his driving skills and admired the rich Corinthian leather interior of his car. Same car her granddaughter drove! To my grandmother, this screamed "beshert!"
The next day, Grandma pulled me aside at a family gathering and announced that she had someone for me to meet. "No way," I said. What self-respecting woman lets her huh-huh-year-old grandmother -- she would kill me if I revealed her age -- fix her up on a date?
My grandmother gave me her special handgrip, reserved for benedictions and proclamations, and declared, "Now, you listen to me and listen good! You're going to meet this guy. He's as handsome as can be... and he's Jewish."
It's not easy to say no to a Jewish grandmother.
I agreed to meet him for coffee. When I walked in and saw my date, I couldn't believe my eyes. Grandma was right. He was as handsome as could be! Conversation flowed. I laughed at his stories and he laughed at mine. I felt like touching his brown hair and noticed his nice butt as he headed for the men's room. We talked for hours. He asked if he could see me again.
Date no. 1, 1994: We go out to dinner with his best friends. The magic of our first date inexplicably vanishes. My date and his überathlete friends, in perpetual training for the triathlon of life, grill me on my fitness quotient. My thrice-weekly visits to the gym and weekend rollerblading jaunts aren't cutting it. I feel like a couch potato. My date tells me that he's going to France for a month or so and, for good measure, adds that he has some issues with commitment. He'll call me when he gets back. Au revoir.
I never hear from him again.
We share a good laugh over this story, and my sheepish date offers to buy me dinner, in the hopes of getting a second chance. It's the least he can do.
Date no. 2, 2000: We fit Sunday brunch into our busy schedules. He has plans to go on a bike ride, and I need to read the Sunday paper. We meet, but I sense the bloom is gone. Over huevos rancheros, he cops to having a fear of commitment. He usually finds some "Seinfeldesque reason" -- his words, not mine -- for not going out with women who have relationship potential. I mind my manners, not wanting to be eliminated for how I eat my peas. In the words of Yogi Berra, "It's déjà vu, all over again." Same guy. Same story. Different century.
I never hear from him again. Again.
The French have a saying for this sort of experience. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose -- the more things change, the more they stay the same. "Fuggetaboutim," advises Grandma Sally, who is still alive and well. "He didn't know a good thing the first time around, and he still doesn't," she notes. Pish posh! I hear Grandma met someone nice in the produce department at Pavilions... and he's Jewish!
Andrea Gappell is a thirty-something freelance writer and marketing consultant in Los Angeles