In the fourth installment of The Jew-Date Diaries, “Julia” gets some advice from her ima.
Flopped on my bed in my Brooklyn, New York apartment on Valentine’s Day eve I reached out to Jdate again.
This time I immersed myself fully in those tempting Jewish dating waters, paying the $39.95 monthly fee with the hope that this time I’d find my dream man. I imagined him tall, dark and handsome, with my name engraved on his chest so that when we’d meet our belly buttons would light up and we’d connect like magnets, never to be released. I didn’t say that on my profile, of course, because it would scare off all the magnets.
I had been browsing the site, emailing and gold starring men I found interesting when my mother called me up. Her friend Marlene, a gorgeous divorcé, was looking for a husband and had asked my mom if she knew any eligible men. My mom had recommended Jdate and now wanted me to walk her through it, step by step, over the phone. So we scanned the merchandise – together.
My mother schooled me that night. I’d point out a good looking 58-year-old man only to have my mother point out flaws that I was somehow blind to – his aloof expression, his sad eyes, his set-too-hard jaw. One by one, each suggestion I made for Marlene was rejected – they were too cold, too fake, too unprofessional. It was hopeless.
“You’re looking for the wrong kind of man, sweetheart,” she told me. “Don’t rush after the dashing, charming ones. Seek out the goofy, friendly ones.” Of course the goofy men she was speaking about were balding, flabby, divorced Jewish men with children my age, but I knew what she was saying.
To my great embarrassment, my mother, still simultaneously signed on as me, proceeded to try to find me a boyfriend by evaluating the line up of 23-30-year-old young Jewish men in Minneapolis, encouraging me to email the ones that SHE liked the most. Going along with her prodding, I recommended a few. “How about this man, mama?” I said, pointing to the swarthy young Heeb on page five.
“No! You just don’t get it,” she exclaimed. “Look at his sarcasm, his detachment from life. Where are his morals? Where is his heart?” She surfed a few more pages of the online meat market, only finding one gem amidst the potatoes. He was 25, well-built, doing cancer research and had spent the last three months working on a kibbutz in Israel.
“Email him now,” she insisted. I refused, succeeding in persuading her of the ridiculousness of online contact in February when I was in Brooklyn and wouldn’t be residing in the Greater Minneapolis area for three months. We hung up the phone and I quickly changed my password so that my mother couldn’t compose a love letter to the kibbutznik on my behalf.
The next day, still smarting from my mother’s attack on my choice of men, I examined the pickings in the New York City area. Good looking guys a plenty, but I found my mother’s warning echoing in my head. “Where are their morals? Where are their hearts?”
I didn’t have an answer.
All the men I had hot-listed and gold-starred before speaking with my mom now looked pale and drab, their personas lacking, their words empty. In the words on their profiles – “let’s go to the theater together” I read “I have money – I’ll show you.” In their promises of massages and cuddling by candlelight I saw a desire for a quick lay on a second date. I recognized their aloof looks, their bored stares, and their model-quality pictures for the phony show that they were.
Sighing, I signed off for the night. No kibbutzniks just yet.