Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Ok so during Thanksgiving cocktail hour this year, my family took some time to run through the list of family friends we have with young single men and interrogate me about why I refuse to date them. I tried to explain why there was no future with a door-to-door insurance salesman who lives with his parents in the Valley and is shorter than me, but what caught everyone off guard was my mentioning the height factor. My dad literally called me superficial and was shocked that I could list something so trivial as a negative.
I suppose I’m tall for a girl but it doesn’t really feel like it. I’m 5’8” which apparently is three inches taller than the average woman in America. Actually I wish I was taller, but if I’m wearing my four inch heels (which I love), I do notice that a number of men suddenly seem less dateable. Despite my feminist instincts, I am more attracted to someone who is taller than me. I think on some primordial level, as a woman, I want to know that if there’s a fire or an earthquake, the guy I’m with can lift me up, throw me over one shoulder and run out the door.
I guess if he was an inch or two shorter but I still got the sense that he was strong enough to sling me over his shoulder in one fell swoop, I’m probably less likely to notice the height thing. And I would never say that it’s a deal breaker because as I tried to assure my father, I am completely willing to give up any pair of shoes for love. But I can’t shake this feeling that I want a man to not just be taller but actually be physically stronger than me. I know I’m supposed to want everyone to be equal and in most things in life I really do. But there is some primitive desire inside of me to be with a man who is physically stronger than me – not just equally as strong. I hate the idea of having to bend down to whisper in his ear, or be the one to reach things on the top shelf or have my arm be the one on top of his when we’re walking down the street. Should I really be shunned by the feminist community if I admit that I don’t believe in physical equality for men and women? Men are generally physically stronger than women and I like it that way. I believe women should have every opportunity a man does in life’s pursuits, but I also believe that I have a right to admit that I want him to be more physically powerful than me.
I know there are plenty of men who may be a few inches shorter than me and still plenty stronger and therefore I’m not willing to completely disqualify everyone shorter. But size does affect strength and it’s just in my DNA to associate one with the other. The fact is, if an earthquake comes and he thinks he’s hopping into my arms, I’m telling you right here and now, I’m making a run for the door. Alone.
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November 23, 2010 | 9:00 am
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
In honor of the holidays and the shame my family is enduring due to this blog, I thought I would post something a little more good-natured than normal. This past year on my birthday, my Grandmother sang this song to me for the first time. My Dad and Uncle got her to retell it for posterity a little later on video. I could feel her trying to pass on not just the song but the wisdom and history of hundreds of years of ancestors before her who sang this song to their daughters and granddaughters; I found myself trying to memorize every single second of it, just hoping that I was soaking up what I was supposed to take from her. I don’t know if I did yet, but I know that by the time I pass it on, I will have.
The first video is her explaining the story of how her mother shared this Yiddish song with her and then her singing it to us.
The second video is of her translating the Yiddish to English.
November 22, 2010 | 9:00 am
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
I’ve reached a point in my life where I have to start saying no to fillers. Fillers are the guys you sort of date in between. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, but for whatever reason you know right off the bat there’s no future. For instance, this weekend I was at a big music industry party and I immediately hit it off with this guy. He was attractive and dressed well and immediately got my sense of humor. So for the first twenty minutes we had some great flirtatious banter.
But pretty soon, it became clear, I was not going to date this guy. He’s a few years younger than me and works a cash register, but of course one day, he’d love to direct. Gag me. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a struggling artist and not making a lot of money while you’re going after your dream – I’ve done it myself. But just telling people that you’d love to direct doesn’t qualify. So when he asked for my number, I found myself hating him for putting me in a position where I have to be the bad guy.
At one time in my life, I would have said yes. We’d probably have fun on a few dates, go to some good restaurants, and I’d get to know a possibly interesting person until it ran its course. But, I just don’t want to waste my time with these guys anymore. I’ve seen too many of them and the complete lack of all ambition is not really a turn on for me. The fact is like it or not, I don’t date beneath me.
So the real question is, why do I feel so bad about saying no? Why would I rather give the guy my phone number and save him in my phone as do not pick up then just say to his face “no sorry I’m not interested.” But I find it so hard to do.
For generations this wasn’t a problem. A girl could get out of it pretty easily by giving a fake number. You could even give it to him one digit off and if you ever got caught just say he heard you wrong. But nowadays, you give a guy your number and he texts you immediately saying “did you get it?” So unless you have the guts to say to someone you’ve been talking to for an hour “sorry, I don’t give my number to losers” you’re gonna get stuck in this miserable elongated text exchange till you finally say no thanks.
I know plenty of girls just never respond to these texts but my belief in good manners means that I always respond. Usually I end these things by being evasive till I finally say I’m too busy with work to get together or that there’s someone else or that I’m dealing with a crisis and always via text unless they trick me into getting on the phone with them. The thing is, should I feel bad about this? Would the guy be happier if I said to his face “no thanks, you have no job, no prospects, and your degree from ITT Tech is not that impressive?” Is just “no, you can’t have my number” with no explanation better?
I genuinely want to be considerate here but I’m just not sure that the upfront honesty thing is the best way to go. I don’t want to stare someone in the face while rejecting him. If I really thought he preferred it that way, I guess I would suck it up and do it, but it seems to me that he’d probably rather be let down with some lame excuse in private. So in the end, the can’t-say-no policy, seems to be the best for everyone and unless or until I hear otherwise, I guess I’m sticking with it.
Maybe the real solution is for AT&T to come up with an automatic response for me. Like I could just save his number with a setting so that every time he called he would hear that nice lady from AT&T saying “hello. The cellular subscriber you are trying to reach wants you to know you have not reached this recording in error. She is simply no longer available for you to contact. Please delete this number from your records. To repeat this message press 1.” Life would be so much easier. Who knows how to make an iPhone app?
November 18, 2010 | 5:51 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Movember is a global charity aiming to forever change the face of mens heath. Simply put, Men everywhere grow mustaches for the month of November to raise awareness for cancers affecting men. And today is officially the the day that is declared “Have Sex With A Guy With A Mustache Day.” So consider it a good deed today.
They also have a bunch of cool events coming up this weekend including a Pub Crawl in Santa Monica.
Check them out. www.movember.com
Watch their plug here:
November 17, 2010 | 4:14 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
So recently things heated up with an ex of mine. It was completely unplanned and totally out of left field on my part but also kind of wonderful. He’s one of the few whom I’ve been able to keep a friendship with and in many ways we’ve become much better friends since our brief affair so it’s been just comfortable and easy. When I told my friends about, they said exactly what I’ve said to them “That’s great. You didn’t add a number.”
Ok. The number. I actually hate this discussion because it’s an inherently sexist conversation but the fact is, we live in a world where it matters. So let’s go there. At some point, we girls know that when we are in “the” relationship, we’re going to get asked how many people we’ve, ahem, “dated” in the past. And we know that they are looking for a low number. Now some girls lie about this; I know girls who are happily married to men that think their wife has dated only three other men, and the women feel absolutely no remorse about it. And some women tell the truth and are with men that are completely fine with it. But every girl fears being asked it. There’s no good answer. If you said you were a virgin, the guy would be wondering what’s wrong with you or what type of fundamentalist religious nut you are. If you lie and say just a few, you’re lying to someone you love. And if you confess a high number, most men will bristle. If you think your girlfriend/wife is the exception and when she told you her number was one, she was actually telling the truth, well having plausible deniability has long kept many relationships alive. Look, I know there are some genuine exceptions, but if the girl went to college, then moved to an urban setting, and is reasonably attractive, she’s going to end up dating more than one guy before you. (If she’s unattractive, lives in the Ozarks, and couldn’t get her GED, well then this blog isn’t for you.)
This gets me so angry because girls don’t bristle at the number of women their boyfriend has dated. In fact, when a girl finds out a guy is a player, she usually romanticizes that she will be the one whom he finally falls in love with - the reason he gives up lusting after other women. It’s almost a bragging point for some women - like they were the only one who could turn him. I personally have no desire to learn this number from the men I’m interested in. It doesn’t matter to me. If there are ex-girlfriends who have had a big emotional impact on him, then I’m sure he’ll share it with me as I would with him. But this momentous number of his - well it would never even occur to me to ask. In fact, I have had exs tell me their number and I can’t even remember it. Why is anyone counting? The number is irrelevant as proven by the plethora of women who lie about it and go on to have healthy relationships.
And yet, it’s there. This looming number that I’m subconsciously trying (and succeeding according to many standards) to keep low. But why can’t I stop caring? Not adding a number really did seem like a valid plus when this ex reentered my romantic life. I’m just recycling a number. But is this keeping me from meeting someone who I might actually have a future with? Exs by their very nature are usually exs for a reason. And the fact is, this abstract number should have no bearing on if you decide to date a guy or not. If you like him and it’s right or even if you don’t like him but you’re going through a period of exploration while on a Kibbutz - whatever your reasons are, they shouldn’t have to include this number. Women should have the exact same rights to choose how many people they want to date as men. And while of course on the surface they do, we live in a society where they really don’t. Dating many men comes with a stigma. It’s still a no no. That changed for men (and it would seem permanently) in the Sixties and Seventies. Why has it still not changed for women? I’m not saying that a high number for every woman is right. I’m just saying that for those women whom it is right for, why are we still casting aspersion on them?
So this is why I love recycling. It doesn’t add a number which my friends and I are constantly pointing out to each other. You’re both single, you’ve been there before, it’s comfortable, why not? But when I think about it, in the last two years I’ve recycled two exs. And neither time did it turn out well. In fact, after our first relationship ended, we had a better relationship than we do now. After the second time around with both of them, I barely speak to either one. So maybe it’s a terrible idea? Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to remain friends with an ex. You keep them around till you end up recycling, but once you’ve done that, there’s an impetus for all contact to be cut off. I just wish I didn’t care. I really wonder if either of these two recycling relationships would have occurred if I didn’t dread having this discussion one day. But on the other hand, maybe my friends are right and it is a truly great thing. After all, I get to keep a low number and at times like now when I’m not dating anyone, I get to have the warm comfort of someone whom I trust and like.
So for the women out there with high numbers, I salute you on your ability to make decisions that are not limited by societal conventions. Forget the recycling. You’re only young once! I truly admire you.
For me, I’m probably going to go text my ex. I guess in the end, I have to admit I love recycling.
November 15, 2010 | 1:44 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
So this morning, I read this article in the LA Times on the booming business of sex addiction. It’s still not recognized by the medical establishment but it seems like, in part thanks to Tiger, it is becoming a valid illness in the eyes of many. I feel really bad for these men. It must be a terrible affliction to want to have sex all the time, and then to be having sex all the time. While the rest of us choose to stay faithful and employ restraint, these men are just completely unable to say no to the beautiful women who they pay for. I’m delighted to know that there’s finally a treatment for these men. A spa they can go to where they can talk all day long about the many women they’ve had sex with and how to cover it up better in the future.
In fact, I feel so inspired that these men are getting help, that I’d like to nominate a few other categories of addicts that could potentially get help. Perhaps when we begin to recognize these illnesses, people will stop blaming them for their actions and realize that they are just sick people who need people. Here are some potential addictions I’ve identified which I would like to suggest for consideration:
1. The Bareback Addict
Men who are addicted to sex without condoms. These men are so addicted to “it just feels better without one” that even when they know a girl is not on birth control, they’re begging her not to use a condom saying “I’ll buy you Plan B tomorrow.” They engage in classic addict behavior when they belitle their partner for “acting like a teenager” or suggesting that they “have something” which would be the only reasons for the girl to suggest using one.
2. The Threesome Addict
Men who are addicted to sex with two girls at the same time. Often, this addiction goes undiagnosed and is only revealed when your boyfriend is caught cheating. He will then explain that he only cheated because he couldn’t stop imagining her with you and that if you would just a let a third join in your lovemaking, he’d be able to stay faithful. Perhaps treatment could involve moving to Utah.
3. The Girls Do My Laundry For Me Addict
These hapless men are the result of mothers who spoiled them and usually they are also college athletes who had an entire sorority to take care of them for four years. When they enter young adulthood, these men become addicted to girls with low self esteem who think this addiction is adorable and sweet and therefore they are willing to do their laundry and dishes even though the man is still having sex with a slew of other girls. These men continually try to break off the relationship but every time the girl shows up with fabric softener, the man becomes weak and finds himself completely helpless to resist.
4. The Fantasy Football Addict
These men are unable to talk or think about anything except their league. They lie about their whereabouts, they add passwords to their computers and phones, and they begin speaking with their friends in code. Even when their loved ones threaten to leave them, these men choose the league over everything else in their lives.
5. The I’m Addicted to Your Hot Best Friend Addict
No matter who your best friend is at the time, your man is unable to stop himself from sleeping with her. He blames you for always bringing her around. He points out that all the reasons you like her as a friend are the reasons he likes her. He promises to stop but even when you start befriending ugly girls, he still can’t help himself. He’s addicted to sharing everything with you.
6. The Hands Free Addict
His hands are allergic to wedding rings. This is usually a surprise to both parties till after the wedding but some men after marriage become allergic to wearing rings. It turns his skin green, it’s uncomfortable, and it causes his fingers to swell. He genuinely wants to wear the jewelry but his body has an allergic reaction of sorts to putting it on and he becomes addicted to keeping his hands unadorned. This is most likely to flare up in public places.
7. The Eye-Candy Addict
These men are addicted to staring at other girl’s cleavage. It doesn’t matter what you look like, or how low cut your own top is. He loves looking at you too, but if a hot girl walks by, he has to check her out. He’s unable to stop his gaze even when at dinner with your parents, while your kissing, or at your own wedding. He feels like a failure every time but he just has to see.
8. The I’m Addicted to My Own Bed Addict
Every time the two of you make love at your place, he has to leave because he has to sleep in his own bed. You may have a four bedroom house in the hills and he may share a room with his roommate in Northridge, but he just can’t sleep anywhere else. It makes him anxious and visibly agitated to even talk about him sleeping at your place. Strangely, this addiction does not manifest when he gets so drunk, he passes out on his friend’s couch.
9. The I’m Addicted to Losing Girls Phone Numbers Addict
He really plans to call you. He genuinely likes you and had a great time with you and he puts his number in your phone because in that moment he really wants to see you again. But somehow, a day or two later, when he goes to call you, he has no power over his fingers as they press the “delete contact” button in stead of the “call” button. He doesn’t understand why he does it himself. It’s like his hands have a mind of their own and no matter how much he wants to stop them he can’t.
10. The Parental Allowance Addict
This is most prevalent in LA, where thousands of well educated young men come to Hollywood and get their first jobs as assistants making less than what their college tuition was a semester. Their parents are supporting his dream of becoming a successful movie agent and so they send him a monthly allowance in addition to keeping him on their credit card. This doesn’t start out like an addiction, but once some of these men enter their thirties and are making enough to live an average lifestyle, they are unable to cut the cord and give up the payment on their 911, or pay their own car insurance, or the apartment with hardwood floors. He wants to be financially independent so his parents can stop threatening that if he doesn’t call more often they’re going to cut him off but he needs the fix on his bank statement every month or he enters a withdrawal which makes him cry every time he sees a Porsche drive by.
November 13, 2010 | 1:13 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Why do men think that when they buy you a drink, this entitles them to enter your personal space? It doesn’t. If a girl wants to let you get close enough that she can tell whether or not you have bad breath, guess what? She’ll let you know. She’ll invite you there. Pay attention to her body language and you’ll know. But however, if every time you lean in close to a girl’s face, she takes a deliberative step back, BACK OFF! It seems so obvious that it shouldn’t have to be said, but apparently it does.
Two nights ago, my friends and I were at Renee’s celebrating a friend’s birthday. This guy came up to us and insisted on buying us a drink. Ok side note for a moment on some general rules of flirting. Now, if a girl accepts a drink from a stranger, the rules of civility and a general attempt to be well-mannered suggest that the girl is required to engage the man in a brief polite conversation. So girls, if the guy is so hideous that you aren’t going to be able to talk to him, don’t take the drink. On the flip side, men, recognize that if a girl accepts a drink from you, she is not a prostitute and therefore not required to sleep with you, or make-out with you, or generally let you touch her in any way. So my friends and I being well mannered young ladies, engaged the man in conversation. But things got off to a rocky start. Here’s a brief snippet of our convo:
Guy: Did I tell you I sell drugs for living?
Me: No way! Me too!
Me: Yeah sure, uhm, I’m a local seller in the Santa Monica area.
Guy: Cool. What do you sell?
Me: Uhm, I don’t know, the green kind? What do you sell?
Guy: I sell Cialis.
Me: Oh, I was being facetious. I thought you were too. Sorry.
Anyway, despite this inauspicious beginning, he redoubled his efforts and threw himself in, head first. Literally, he put his head one inch away from mine, to engage in conversation. Then turned to my friend and did the same thing to her. He sandwiched himself on the bench, in between me and my friend and leaned in so close, I could see his nose hairs. I leaned back. He leaned in further. I shifted uncomfortably and leaned back further. This continued way too long. I asked someone to take a picture of my friends and me, hoping he’d get the hint and remove himself so we could have picture of our group. Unfortunately, he thought this was an invitation to put his arm around us and be soldered into our memories forever. So I’m left with this. This memory of this pompous jerk getting a little too close instead of just the memory of a great birthday celebration.
So men, a word to the wise, DON’T BE THIS GUY. Try to remain sober enough that you are able to notice if the girl you’re talking to is taking a step backward every few seconds. This is not her stumbling. This is a signal. Back off! Warning! You’re too close! Learn from Cialis guy’s mistake.
November 11, 2010 | 5:43 pm
Posted by Tamara Shayne Kagel
Welcome to Tattletales! The place where I am going to reveal all the sordid details of living on the Los Angeles scene. I will hold nothing back as I tell you about dating in LA, pursuing a writing career, and being the artsy Jewish girl at a conservative Christian law school. Everything is fair game.
To kick-off this blog, I thought I’d start with a question I get asked all the time. Will I date someone not Jewish? To me, this is kind of like asking if I would date someone really poor. I’m certainly not going to say no absolutely not. I believe in true love and that it has nothing to do with the size of someone’s bank account. But I’m also aware that we’d have some big obstacles to overcome first. You don’t always have control over whom you fall in love with (believe me I know) and I suppose it’s possible I could fall in love with some bohemian who lives in poverty - maybe some attractive struggling artist in Venice who writes me poetry while I ignore the fact that he lives on welfare, uses food stamps, and knows what it’s like to panhandle.
But let’s be honest, if you told me about this guy before I met him, I probably wouldn’t be thinking that this guy is marriage material. And possibly I would subconsciously be less likely to even find him attractive. I grew up ‘lower-upper class’ (yes that’s what they call it these days) and the fact is I want to provide the same opportunities for my kids that my parents gave me. So at some point, these differences are going to come to a head in our star-crossed relationship. Is he going to ask me to skip out on a bill when the check comes at a restaurant? Is he going to feel comfortable when I take him to my parent’s house in a gated community at Calabasas? Am I going to hate him one day when family dinners include dumpster diving? I mean, I had a hard time dealing with dating someone who lived in the Valley so to make this relationship work, at some point one of us is going to have to change. And I know already, it’s not going to be me. I’m never going to convert to being poor. Perhaps, my artist lover sees how important providing a good life for my family is, develops some ambition, gets an MBA and we live happily ever after. So yes, I date poor. But it’s going to be a lot easier if he doesn’t start out poor.
It’s the same thing for me when it comes to religion. I can not say that I absolutely will only marry someone Jewish. But any guy I date that’s not Jewish is starting at a significant disadvantage. Judaism is culturally incredibly important to me. It’s part of my identity and therefore it will always be an important part of my life. I was raised in it and I feel a connection to my ancestors who for thousands of years have identified in the same way. I want my children to feel that connection also, to know their history, and to make it a part of whom they are. It’s always easier to start a relationship with someone who comes from a similar background. But is it possible that I fall in love with someone not Jewish? (I’m sorry mom) but sure it’s possible.
But for me to commit to building a life with him means that he’d have to recognize how important my religion is to me, he’d have to support my desire to raise children with a Jewish identity, and he’d have to want to be included in the Jewish aspects of my life. So possible, but again unlikely. So after people ask me, I usually tell them that just like I can’t say that I would never marry someone poor, I also can’t say that I would never marry a non Jew; but would it help if he were Jewish? Definitely. Would it help even more if he were very very rich? Well, you can probably guess how my mother feels about that. But let’s just say if he’s poor and not Jewish, the odds are heavily against him.