October 5, 2011
Amends for Yom Kippur
I’ve written 40 profiles of singles for mysinglepeeps.com — and almost as many have been for the My Single Peeps column in The Jewish Journal. I’ve been fortunate that many of the people I have profiled have found dates from the column, and if not, have still enjoyed their profile. Only two people have been upset with their portrayal in their columns — and, of course, that’s been bothering me ever since. I have apologized privately to each of them, but since they felt ashamed publicly, I want also to apologize publicly.
Abby L. was bothered by my calling her an “aspiring stand-up comic,” when she is already working as a stand-up comic. I didn’t mean anything other than she is aspiring to become more successful as a comic, just as I’m aspiring to become more successful as a writer and actor. But I am sorry.
She was also extremely upset with her picture. I didn’t take the picture, but I thought it looked great, and so did everyone who saw it. She sent me a series of seemingly never-ending e-mails, and, at times, I lost patience when I responded to her, because I found her reasoning irrational — yet her responses to me were always even-handed. So can someone be both irrational and rational at the same time? My thinking was she was unhappy with how she looked because she only likes pictures of her taken in profile — and that because she was so insistent that she looked horrible, that she must be wrong.
But I realize I’m wrong. I’ve been tagged on Facebook with pictures that I’ve found horrifying — my double chin is showing! — and quickly untag myself, and send the offending party an e-mail lambasting them for their insensitivity to my fat self.
So I’m sorry for losing my patience with Abby, and hopefully she can spin it into comedy on stage. If you want to see Abby in person, you can see where she’s performing next on her Web site, humorhealinghumanity.com.
The person most unhappy with his column is Benson S. And that column is also the one that’s been bothering me the most, because I worked hard on it, and my intention was to have it be funny, endearing and — most important — accurate. I think it’s because I felt so comfortable with Benson that I took the liberty to “roast” him the way I do when I write about my close friends. It’s done out of love, highlighting their eccentricities, but hopefully also the qualities that make them so great.
With Benson, it seems I failed to do the latter.
What’s most amazing about him is that he sent me an e-mail telling me the article made me look bad, “and you’re a really nice guy.” He was initially concerned with how I’d look. He said that he didn’t really think of it as that negative until so many people let him know how disrespectful it was. He told me I could do better. And he’s right. The columns tend to be a balancing act between people’s good qualities and those little quirks — good and bad — that make us all who we are. My description seemed to be out of balance this time. My hope is that the people who read it will be able to see that I truly like Benson and that even if I don’t agree with every lifestyle choice he makes, they’re not bad choices. He’s just living a different life than me. And, unlike most of us, everything Benson does is to try to better himself. It’s a really impressive quality. And one that stuck with me. I’m sorry for not doing a better job, and I hope he finds his beshert.
If you’re interested in anyone you see on My Single Peeps, send an e-mail and a picture, including the person’s name in the subject line, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll forward it to your favorite peep.
Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.