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Jewish Journal

Dating 101: Introducing the Gentile Giant

by Ilana Angel

January 5, 2014 | 8:36 am

I had a date last night. We met online, spoke on the phone, and exchanged a couple of text conversations. He is my age, funny, charming, and I think he looks like a young Ed O’Neill. He is a gentle and inherently kind man. I felt comfortable with him both on the phone and in person. We share very similar worldviews and have a lot in common. Height is not something we share. I am 5’3”, he is 6’6”. I had a date with a Gentile Giant.

Giant is very tall and even with heels on I was a munchkin. He lives about 30 minutes away from me and came to my area for dinner. We made plans to meet at a neighborhood Italian restaurant and I arrived on time. The Giant called to tell me he was running a few minutes late but was on his way. He then arrived 29 minutes later. I thought he was 30 minutes late, he insisted he was only 28 minutes late, and so we compromised on 29.

There is always traffic in Los Angeles and so I will give a 15 minute grace period. He lost a point for being late, gained the point back for calling to say he was running late, then got another point for looking like his online pictures. I get sick when going on a first date. I get a stomachache and feel nauseous. Waiting for a man who is over 15 minutes late made me panic a little bit. I worried I was actually being stood up when he finally arrived.

I reminded him a dozen or so times that he was late and he took it in stride. His apology was sincere and I felt there was something good about this man. There are many stories that make up his history and that history has helped shape an interesting man. He is not Jewish, which is something new for me. The truth is that I have not had great luck when it comes to love with Jewish men so while a little nervous, we did talk about religion.

The Giant is a man of faith and while raised with different beliefs, he is not a man of fanatical religious conviction. I write a lot about the difference between religion and faith to me, and he seemed to understand how I view both. He has faith. I have always worried that dating outside of Judaism would then be something my son would do. The fact is I would rather he know a great Catholic man than a lying and unkind Jewish one.

We spent 3 hours having a wonderful dinner. If you live in Los Angeles, we ate at Il Tiramisu in Sherman Oaks, at the corner of Ventura and Woodman. The food was delicious, the service was wonderful, and when I told the Maitre D I was meeting a man for a first date, he sat us at a table where he had a clear view of me so he could keep an eye on us and make sure I was okay. It was a perfect date location and I recommend it.

After dinner the Giant walked me to my car. Important to note that he knows about my work, is aware I am writing about our date, and when given a couple of options for his blog name, he went with Giant. Not hard to be tall next to me, but he towers over me in a way that is both sexy and romantic. It’s like having a bodyguard at your side and when we hugged goodnight I could have fallen asleep in his embrace as it enveloped me.

I know it was just a date, and while we did make plans to see each other again, it was just a date but it mattered. I have been dating and looking and hoping to meet someone decent and regardless of whether or not he is a match, he is in fact decent. After dating some men who should simply not be allowed to date, it was nice to meet a man who is lovely. He was a gentleman, with manners, and a sincere interest in my life and me.

When he told me he Googled me I did freak out a little, for as we all know, there is a lot of hateful crap about me out there. He took it all in stride and had a wonderful analogy about people having opinions about people with opinions. I will keep it to myself as it involves his work, but he was not intimidated by my writing and I appreciated it. It takes a strong man to date a strong woman, and sometimes I guess it takes a giant.

After our date we spoke on the phone for an hour. He has a lot of stories, opinions, and views. He has a wonderful family that he is close to and cares about. He does not watch reality television, which I suppose explains why he seems so normal. In the end I had a great date and that is half the battle. One good date is all it takes to restore your belief that maybe there is someone out there for you. One good date can give you hope.

When we spoke of the things we would like to do together it was very sweet. Being excited about someone new is a great feeling. Life is short and often complicated, so when you can stop for a minute and appreciate how special it is to meet a stranger and have them make you smile, it is wonderful. People don't do that often enough.  I have met a gentle giant and my fear and nerves quickly left and I had a great time.

As I waited by myself for 29 minutes, I tweeted what was going on and my followers were amazing. I was not alone. I was surrounded by good wishes and humor from truly wonderful people and friends. As I kissed the Giant goodnight I felt happy. Happy that I was not stood up, happy to share I had a good date, happy I met someone lovely, and happy to know I can date outside of my comfort zone and still keep the faith.

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