Jewish Journal

Missed Connections

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

December 3, 2010 | 9:00 am

I was reminded recently of one of the worst dates I ever went on and thought I’d share.  A little while back, this guy, let’s call him Matt, asked me out.  He was a lawyer with a degree from a fancy school whom I had met a few times before on the local Venice scene cause we had a bunch of friends in common.  I really wasn’t expecting much but I was in one of those phases where you convince yourself you need to be open to more things, so even though he seemed pretty boring I said yes anyway.

He happened to pick a new restaurant where I actually knew the chef but I hadn’t been in yet to see the place so I was rather excited.  Very quickly during dinner it became clear, we were both just completely wrong for each other.  We disagreed about everything immediately.  I’ve been a vegetarian for ten years and somehow he thought that since I was out with him and he was planning on paying I should order meat.  I had to say “no really I don’t eat steak and I’m not just going to have a little now” like five times.  He was rude to the server which as a former waitress myself, really irritated me.  When the chef realized I was there, he came out and comp’d a few things for us.  Matt was even rude to and dismissive of the chef.

I think he thought that because he was a lawyer and I was in law school and because we were both Jewish, we would just be perfect for each other.  First of all, nothing irritates me more than when a guy thinks that because we’re both the same religion, he suddenly feels like there’s an instant love connection.  It happens a lot.  I don’t know if it’s just because I have a lot of girlfriends who mostly are not Jewish but without fail, some wannabe Hollywood agent will come up to me as the only brunette in a sea of blondes and he’ll ask me outright if I’m Jewish.  I actually find this question inappropriate and rude in the first place, but then when I say yes, he’s suddenly drooling over the prospect of bringing a hot Jewish girl home to his mother.  He’ll sidle up to me and smile like we share some intimate secret.  It’s almost insulting; he assumes that because he knows what I probably studied in Hebrew school, he knows me on some deep sacred level.  But I digress.

So Matt was some high powered lawyer telling me all about how much money he makes and the car he was going to get next year.  So I explain to him, that while I do go to law school, I consider it more of a hobby, don’t like most lawyers, and spend most of my time on my artistic pursuits such as writing.  He responds with “oh artsy stuff is cool.  I like it, sort of.”  He tells me more about the regular tables and bottle service he secures at the hottest clubs in town.  I tell him I don’t care.  He loves Sarah Palin.  I have a t-shirt that says “Can I Be VP?”  And so on as we both just watch the date get worse and worse.  I find myself getting insulted and almost snapping at him.  He snaps back, I remind myself to check domestic violence court cases for his name later.  Honestly, by now, I’m sure we both just wanna get out of there as fast as possible.  Finally, the check comes.  He has the nerve to leave an embarrassingly low tip – at a restaurant where we had just been comp’d free food and I know the chef!  He sees me looking at it and says something like “they deserved less.”

So afterward, I’m sure that the date must have been awful for him too and that he’ll be so relieved to never see me again.  But no, the next day, he calls and asks me out again.  What is this guy thinking?!  This guy should hate me.  He does hate me.  How has he not realized this?  I don’t get this false sense of connection people fool themselves into thinking is there because someone fits into some box you imagined your significant other would fit into.  Literally, I just wanted to remind this guy – you hate liberal artsy vegetarians!  You essentially told me you did.  I’m one of those!  Hate me!  Please!  Why are you asking me out again?  Is that what dating has come to?  People just give up and start squeezing the next thing that comes along into a box?  It was really depressing.

I was thinking about it because I found myself recently thinking about my own boxes.  I think Matt just had this idea in his head of who he was supposed to be with.  He had just turned thirty-two and suddenly decided it was time to look for someone he could be serious with and he had always imagined himself marrying some pretty Jewish lawyer from Los Angeles.  I must have been the first one he had met and he was determined to see if he could make that work.  I just couldn’t believe how much else he was ignoring.  I knew this guy hated me.  You should have seen his look when I ordered my soy tacos.  And yet still, here he was, asking me out again.

So I’m reminding myself today, to kick down my own boxes.  Maybe not the box that wants him taller than me.  But, I would much rather date someone who didn’t go to a good college but can stand being around me when I order dinner, then a jerk who did.

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Tamara Shayne Kagel is a twenty-something fixture on the Los Angeles scene currently living in Santa Monica.  Currently, Tamara is a successful freelance writer (just ask her...

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