Christmas Eve 2001. Bing Crosby's on my radio, Jimmy Stewart's on my television and I'm on my couch.
I usually find a night with my remote pretty satisfying, but tonight it's not hitting the spot. Tonight I'm feeling grumpy, disheartened and a little bit lonely.
It just seems like everyone else has someplace to be. There are stockings to hang, friends to meet. Most other Jews have Chinese food to eat. And here I am kicking it home alone. No fam, pal or jolly man in sight. My peeps all bailed on our plans to hit up the Matzah Ball dance. And I know Santa won't be paying this naughty girl a midnight visit. I'm just settling into an "I don't have a date. I'll never have a date. I hate the holiday season. Bah humbug" huff, when I remember the comic.
Earlier that day, The Journal's associate editor, Adam, tossed me a piece of Bazooka. The gum was jaw-crack hard, but the comic was mighty good. Bazooka Joe said: "You can't hit the ball if the bat stays on your shoulder."
Or in my case, you can't hit on men if your butt stays on your sofa. In Los Angeles, it's easy to stay home with a quart of Chunky Monkey, a bottle of Merlot and an "I'll always be single" attitude. But, that behavior only perpetuates your sans man status.
To live and date in L.A., you have to put yourself out there. Take a risk. Be all that you can be. So armed with my red tube top, my super-low jeans and my new proactive attitude, I decide to brave the Matzah Ball on my own. I have nothing to lose. I might end up back where I started. But I might bag a little drummer boy. Won't find out if I don't go out.
I'm two strides out of my cab when I hear, "Are you heading to the
Meet Matt and Josh, two fine looking Jews. They inform me it's like Nate 'n Al's on a Sunday morning in there: totally crowded.
"We're meeting friends for beers at Saddle Ranch while we wait for the line to go down. Why don't you join us?" Mom said never talk to strangers, but she didn't say anything about tall, Jewish, single strangers. Besides, the whole point of my adventure is to meet new people. So I follow my pied pipers across Sunset Boulevard.
Once we hit Saddle Ranch, it's go time! Matt serves up a round of shots, and some small-talk chasers. Where are you from? What do you do? Who do you do? Josh is into hiking, Matt's into music and I'm into them. These guys are great. Our conversation comes fast; our drinks come faster. And just as I'm getting my buzz on, the rest of Matt's Jew crew arrives. Suddenly, I have more men than Santa has reindeer. And each man's more interesting than the next. There's Dashing and Smashing and Doctor and Victor. Comic and Cutie and -- well, you get the picture. I haven't met this many smart, Jewish men since I walked in on the wrong side of the
Can't believe I almost stayed in to snuggle up with "A Very Brady Christmas."
I'm flirting my little kishkes off when the crowd starts whooping and hollering. All eyes turn to the mechanical bull. Some city slicker is actually staying in the saddle. Before I can say "bucking bronco," the boys pay my bull-riding fee. I'm hesitant at first -- but all work and no play makes me a dull Jew.
So in the Bazooka Joe spirit, I sign a waiver, hand Matt my ID, and name Josh my "in case of emergency." Well somebody buy this Jewish babe some chaps, cause I stayed up for two full rounds (which is more than I can say for my tube top. Note to self: not ideal rodeo wear).
The bartender yells "last call" all too soon. I never even made it to the dance, but if my goal was to find good times, good laughs and genuinely good guys, then mission accomplished. The Magnificent Seven are the type of fun, friendly, easygoing men who make my jingle bells rock. And to think, I almost didn't
So I grab some chutzpah -- and a handful of matchbooks -- and write down my number. "I'd like to stay friends with you guys. So I truly hope one of you calls." And one of them did. Matt. The very next day -- but partially because this Cinderella left her ID at the ball.
And although a year later I'm not dating any of my Matzah Ball menches, the Bazooka Joe comic still hangs on my fridge. It reminds me to go to that party, accept that blind date, embrace the dating adventure. Cause Joe was right. You may swing and miss. You might even strike out. But you gotta take the pitch to
"Afterschool Special" lesson learned: I've got to start chewing more gum.
Carin Davis, a freelance writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.