When you last left me, I had just proposed to my long-suffering girlfriend, Alison, while on the beach with a pimple. She said "yes," and we agreed to start fighting about the wedding plans as soon as possible.
Hello again. I've been away for a while. For those of you who actually follow this space (Hi Mom!), thanks for your kind words -- I've missed you, too.
Nothing personal, but I've been busy, OK? For one thing, I started a new business and it takes a lot of my time. (Let me tell you, going straight ain't all it's cracked up to be. This "work" stuff is way overrated.)
Secondly, I've been busy seeing my girlfriend, Alison, for one year. The other day, as part of my new job, I had to fill out a form at the bank, and, as I have done all my life, for "marital status," I checked "single"; the other choices were "married," "divorced" and "widowed." I think they ought to have another box marked "other," or "off the market," for people like me.
Alison and I are not married, but, in some ways, we might as well be.
I picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine in Dr. Rudnick's office the other day. Leafing through, I started to form a picture that somewhere in there -- between the Bedside Astrologer and a story titled "The Seven Dreams You Must Not Ignore" -- was the answer to the question: What do women want? The question vexed Freud into the grave. It is the subject of perhaps more analysis than any other except, "Why are we here?" I'm here to find out what women want.
A few years ago, the rabbi offered the following challenge to the congregation: Spend one full day without gossiping whatsoever. His definition includes saying bad things about people, things which may happen to be true. It wasn't easy. My sister and I almost made it out of the temple parking lot before we lost the bet. Being good just don't come natural to some people.
My 29-year-old cousin, "Barry," is having his first "midlife" crisis. By simple math, this would put his entire life span at a scant 58 years, well shy of the actuarial tables' prediction. His midlife crisis should be about 10 years hence. It's been a slow week over here at my place, so let's take a look at his misery, shall we?
Barry falls short of the $1 million he'd counted on having in the bank by, oh, about $1 million and change. He could live with that, but now his car lease is up and it looks like he'll be downsizing out of the go-go '90s-era "starter" Lexus into something more in line with his new budget -- something with really great mileage. His sense of entitlement is badly bruised by something called "reality." He checks his cholesterol. He wears sunscreen. He takes Viagra. He's a little old man.
A few months ago, I wrote a story in these pages about my experiences as a Jewish Big Brother. As Paul Harvey says, here's "The Rest of the Story."
Several years ago I became a Jewish Big Brother. The decision to do so followed fast on the heels of a breakup with my girlfriend, in one of those "search for meaning" moments of introspection that only getting tossed out of the house can provide.
I'm seeing someone. Let's call her Alison. We're dating. We're in that very gray area between being total strangers and celebrating our silver wedding anniversary. Three months into it and people are already asking when we're getting married. At this point, we're cautiously optimistic, still prefacing all our plans with the phrase: "If you're still speaking with me," as in: "If you're still speaking with me in two weeks, would you like to go to the theater on Thursday night?"
If we're still speaking on Sunday at 9 p.m., you will generally find us parked in front of the television set watching "Sex and the City."
Here's my "Parking Spot Theory": Let's say you're driving around, looking for a parking spot and you can't find one. You drive around the block again and, still, nothing. You look up ahead at the other cars circling the block and no one is getting a parking spot. Frustration builds. Then, suddenly, a spot opens up and the guy ahead of you pulls into it. The first thing you think is, "Damn, that could've been my parking spot." Disappointment. Anger.
My editor recently suggested that as long as I was writing something called "Singles," it might be helpful if I actually went out on a date every once in a while. Research. Give the column the ring of verisimilitude.
Some of the letters we get here at the Jewish Journal are quite flattering. Some people relate that they find my biweekly musings to be pithy and funny (thanks, mom!). If these people can be trusted, they are laughing out loud, weeping with laughter, dying of laughter. I've killed six by the latest count.
Jingle Bell Rock
I thought I had exhausted every possible way to meet members of the opposite sex: blind dates and JDates, fishing for invitations to big Hollywood parties and intimate dinner gatherings. I joined art groups in the hopes of finding like-minded women while shrouding myself in a veneer of respectability.
It's over. Being single is officially over. When The New York Times Sunday Style section, the definitive arbiter of all that is cool and urbane, runs a cover story saying it's over (above the fold!), you know it's over. When the venerable Gray Lady concedes that the "glamour of living alone in a city of ambition feels dulled," you can start singing "Kaddish" for the swinging-singles set. "Sex and the City"? O-v-e-r. The people have spoken, and they said, "You had a good run, but we don't want to hear about it anymore."
I sat down to write my regular column today. I had some pithy observations about a wedding I attended over the summer. It had all the makings of a witty little number. And then the World Trade Center blew up and the world is a vastly different place since when I wrote my last column.
I began cooking some years ago, drawn to the kitchen's rocky shores by the twin muses of economy and romance, shall we say (because it sounds so much better than the twin demons of cheap and horny).
The reason I am limping is because of a small man named Shen Hsu. That's not entirely accurate. I went to see Hsu because I was limping. He performed a variety of ancient Chinese medical practices on me, including acupuncture and a form of massage that could easily be mistaken for torture. I'm still limping. Now I'm limping a little differently, on what used to be my good side.
It is simply amazing that the Jewish people have managed to survive as long as we have, given our utter inability to do anything.
My friend Roth is dating a girl named Erica. By religion, she is Swedenborgian. He'd never even heard of this (neither had I), until she came along and spelled it all out for him.
My cousin Barry, who is 27 and looks like a scale model of Michelangelo's "David," is dating a 21-year-old Skechers model. Skechers is a line of shoes and clothing that I have never worn and generally think look ridiculous. You can't swing a cat on Melrose Avenue without hitting someone in Skechers. If you're wearing Skechers, I'm too old for you.
My father has disowned me. We did not get into a fight about the family business -- there is no family business. I did not marry out of the faith, and I have no children about whose upbringing we can disagree. The source of our irreconcilable differences is that we went skiing together last year, and he is convinced that I cannot be his natural child.