June 19, 1997
Other VoicesThe Dating Game
By Teresa Strasser
brief synopsis of my recent dating history.
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 died when The Comedian's car was towed from outside my apartment. It seems Mr. Funny was too busy yukking it up to "bother with a bunch of stupid parking tickets." Or insurance. Or registration. Thinking that was one of those "relationship red flags" people talk about, I put the pedal to the metal and high-tailed it out of there.
Did you know that stockbrokers could be poor? I didn't -- until I met one. This guy was more like a broke stalker. The poverty didn't bother me nearly as much as his persistence; he "showed up" everywhere I happened to be, making me understand why restraining orders were invented. At first, the attention was flattering, but The Stockbroker had a bad habit of launching into hour-long monologues about the importance of IRAs. I was so bored that I was reduced to compiling mental grocery lists while he blathered on about the Dow Jones.
Now this was promising. The editor was smart, considerate and working on the cutting edge of Internet journalism. Too bad I scared him off by mentioning my ex-boyfriend (for whom I've been pathetically pining) about as often as Robert De Niro squints. "We're breathing air. (Sigh) Tom and I used to breathe air...." Oops.
The Unemployed Surfer/Musician Guy from Toronto
Cute, cute, cute. It didn't work out. Refer to above headline.
The Waste Management Guy
This nice young man was very concerned with the environment and working to help others recycle. Unfortunately, he had a conniption fit when I littered one little candy-bar wrapper. Ease up, tree-hugger. Stop crying for every blade of grass and worry more about personal hygiene. Deodorant is one of the few products that actually works. When I uttered the phrase "Ozone, shmo-zone," it was over.
On our second date, The Consultant got down to business; he administered the Myers-Briggs personality test, a four-page questionnaire developed to determine basic personality type and often used in business. Each of 16 personality types comes with a descriptive little catch phrase.
It seems I am one who "gives life an extra squeeze." According to the test, I am an optimist who has trouble finishing things. So I guess I'm supposed to feel really good about the trail of unfinished projects I supposedly leave in my wake.
"And what are you?" I snidely asked The Consultant.
"Me? Why, I'm 'one of life's natural leaders,'" he said.
Our only similarity is that both of us are Jewish, single, in our mid-20s -- and have never seriously dated other Jews. In short, we represent the demographic that Jewish community groups are so worried about. We are the young premarital Jews who have a good chance of falling into that "50-percent intermarriage" abyss.
I honestly don't know why I haven't dated more Jews. Maybe it was that bad experience with Zack Pearlman in Hebrew school. Maybe it's a proclivity toward blue eyes and a WASPy face -- a desire to look into the face of The Other. But as I chug lethargically toward "mating age," I've begun to have visions of children with crucifixes around their necks, clutching Easter baskets and yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, why did the Jews kill Jesus?" It's a scary vision.
I have to say, it was nice dating a man who could toss off the occasional Yiddish phrase or casually mention Maimonides. At only 3 percent of the population, however, single Jewish men are hard to find. Unless you know where to look. I thought hard about this, for you, my single readers who might be looking. So, a question: Who truly sees the perhaps hidden virtues of a man who might be too shy or too busy to cross your path?
Answer: A Mother.
So to all mothers of single Jewish men: Tell us about your son in 50 words or less. Send a description and photo for my next column to: The Jewish Journal, 3660 Wilshire Blvd., Suite '204, Los Angeles, CA 90010--Attn: Singles Column.