When I was 5 I knew I wanted to try Froot Loops, but my mom wouldn’t let me. That was the extent of my goals. Bekah wanted to be a teacher. And she became one. To be fair, I’ve also eaten a good amount of Froot Loops since then, so we’ve both kind of accomplished what we wanted to. She says, “If you came into my family when we were in elementary school, we all knew exactly what we wanted to do. My brother wanted to study germs. My sister wanted to study fashion. And I wanted to teach.”
Bekah, 33, grew up in a Detroit suburb, the middle child in a family with a long line of doctors — “Dad’s a doctor, grandpa’s a doctor, brother’s a doctor, [my] uncle’s a doctor. They all went to the same med school. My grandpa was practicing until a few months ago. He just turned 95. He was Jimmy Hoffa’s doctor. He was the first doctor in Detroit to refuse to hold separate office hours for blacks and whites.”
She couldn’t get a teaching job in Detroit, so she moved to Tampa, Fla., sight unseen when a school there offered her a job. “I didn’t know a single person, so I just got really involved with [Jewish] Federation to meet people.” By year three, she was tired of Tampa and wanted to move to L.A. “I applied to only Jewish day schools, flew out here for interviews, got a job I liked, and moved. This is going to be my sixth year teaching [in LA].”
I ask her what she does for fun. “I go to a lot of concerts. I kind of made a home for myself at Hotel Café, and I’d say my best friends are either because of work or from hanging out in the indy music scene in L.A. I’m very social. I can talk to a wall. I like doing things by myself a lot, too. I go to movies by myself. I go to dinners by myself. If there’s something I really want to do, and I can’t find someone to do it with, I won’t let that stop me.”
Bekah’s looking for a man who’s motivated and driven. “I think in L.A. you find a lot of people who think they’re trying but they’re complacent where they are. Their definition of ‘trying’ seems to be different than my definition. I surround myself with hard-working people. It’s really important to me. Someone said to me, ‘If you were a janitor, you’d be the best janitor there’d be.’ And that’s my personality. I just want someone who’s trying hard. I don’t care if they’re making five dollars, as long as they’re really into what they’re doing.”
A friend of Bekah’s once asked her what she wants in a man. She was tripping over her words and her friend cut her off and said, “Cute, smart and funny.” “It’s so generic but it hits the nail on the head. I think it’s from a movie — ‘Kissing Jessica Stein’ or something like that. I want to really like the person I’m with — and to love them even when you hate them. I want to be with someone Jewish. I’m not very religious but being Jewish is part of my everyday life. I work in a Jewish institution. It’s just kind of part of who I am.”
I ask her if she imagines doing anything else for a living. “No. I don’t know what else I would do. You could have the worst day, the worst things going on in your life, and the kids [say something] — they don’t mean to be funny — but it changes your whole day.”
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.