Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On the Road

Take 1.
I feel his breath on my neck. I shift position, so that his thigh isn't pressed against mine. His arm is raised, grasping the rubber grip handing from the ceiling. As the bus circles the hillside, we tilt slightly, I grip the floor with my feet, close to falling into the circle of his arms.
At least the guy behind me is cute. An old and entirely unappealing man stands in front of me. Bulging out in every direction. Wearing an old pair of pants that keeps slipping down. We are close enough for me to count the bristles on his chin. As the bus comes to a sudden halt, he falls back into me.

Cut. Take 2.
"So tell me, don't datiyot have boy friends?"
"No."
"Chamuda, you're not looking for a boy friend?"
"No. "
"We could have a lot of fun together you know."
"That's the address. Thanks."
I give him the fare and get out, slamming the cab door behind me.

And the list can go on and on.
Did you know that it's not modest for women to drive? Women attract too much attention behind the wheel.
Plus if women learned to drive, they won't need men to drive them. That's not a good idea. Women should rely on men for all things in life, aside from Chas VeChalila earning a living.
Buses and Cabs are a much more Tznius way of getting around for a frum girl.
Heck, even hitchhiking, why not?

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I miss in shidduch dates

The night before: I pick what I'm going to wear (I'll spare you the shopping sagas). I empty out an entire drawer of tights, and eventually find a pair with no ladders or holes in the toes. I do my hair, nails, eyebrows, legs. I pack makeup, find a lipstick between some magazines, and shove that into my bag too.
The morning of: I scramle out of bed, and sit for a long long time on a stuffy bus, trying to daven against a background of Mizrachi music and R&B.
The day of: Slaving a way in front of a computer all day, monotony only broken by meetings and lectures. In between emails, call hairdresser.
The evening of: Cancel a meeting with my boss, grab bulky bag, and hail a taxi.
Arrive at hairdresser, wash hair in her sink (We're low tech in Israel), then have a soul-to-soul on what was wrong with the last guy, while she does her stuff.
Hail a second taxi.
In random location (friend's pad/changing rooms in mall/hotel bathroom) wriggle out of the long skirt and into a short one, out of flats and into heels (unless the guy's my height, which sucks), out of t shirt and into one of those trying-to-be-pretty-and-tznius-but-not-fully-succeeding-at-either tops.
In front of random mirror, in said random location, smear on foundation,eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lipstick.
Hail a third taxi.
In taxi, fish in handbag for earrings, necklace, and other random accesossries.
The shidduch date:
Sit on sofa, diagonally across from random guy in black hat and black jacket and tie-that-supposedly-shows-yeshiva-bachur's-personality (never quite figured out how that works, is it the stripes vs. the polka dots where they get to express their taste?)
Sip the infamous soft drink.
Discuss yeshiva's, seminaries, free will, how lucky we are to be religious, and the weather.
Go home.
Ok, so guys , what's missing here? Aside from the honest or at least amusing conversation. Aside from the fun. Aside from the movie. Aside from the music. Aside from the meal.
"You look nice tonight/ You have a lovely smile/ You look pretty in that." One little complinent. The only time I got a compliment on a shidduch date, it was "you have pretty hands". Now, where on earth is that coming from? And even that was pretty daring, you can tell he was – *gasp* - modern.
Yeah, I know that it's shallow, and they can be fake, and they are after one thing, blah blah, but I'm a woman, and I enjoy it, and now, I miss it. All that work, it would be nice to get some feedback.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chatting

"Frum or Modern?"
"Can't I be both?"
"You know what I mean."
"Frum", I type. Can't get away from it, even on the Web.
"Chasidic?"
"No." I sigh. Close the private message window. On second thoughts, open it again. What the hell.
"Married?"
"No."
"Age?"
"22, u?"
"28."
"Cool. But you're married of course. What's wrong with her?Too many pregnancies?"
"No, just I felt like a change. One woman,for all these years, same body, same positions. It loses it's excitement"
"I C".
"So, what are you wearing ,baby?" . I know where that's leading to. I close the window. There are ten other minimized windows, flashing neon orange , I'll concentrate on those guys.
____
Why do I chat?
I used to think it was for male contact. All girl school, all girl camps, no brothers the right ages to bring friends over and turn our home into an unnoficial hangout, no friends with cute older brothers, basically, no guys at all. I could have gone semi off the derech and "hung out" with guys , but there weren't any cute american rebel types in the neighborhood. I didn't fancy the spiky, greasy and bleached blonde "franks" lounging by the makolet. Plus I didn't really know how to do it. Go off the derech I mean.
So instead I chatted. Americans, Israelis, all teenagers. Met a couple, nothing major.
Then I went to Sem. Flipped out. No men, no movies, no "A/S/L"ing. I'll meet my besherte on a shidduch date, one day, no need for anyone else.
And now? I spend my most of my waking hours surrounded by men, between work and dating . The inner workings of their mind no longer fascinate me, nor does a behind the scenes of yeshiva life. I've heard more than I ever want to or need to about yeshivas, while sipping the customary cokes. Why come home and turn on the computer? Why log in and start the old A/S/L game again?
Is it for the flirting? Could be. Although I do that at work, in a low key way, (no "what are you wearing?"s there.)
Loneliness? Nah, friends are one thing in life i've been lucky with.
Boredom? No, with a career, studies, dating, travelling, and just plain living, my life is pretty full.
I think it's for the anonymity,a way to chill, to vent, to be myself. No pretense, no facades. In some ways the internet is more real than real life. The virtual world goes by what they say, not on how they look or what they wear, not on how they speak or where they live. Yeah, real life can be pretty shallow. Especially chareidi life.
Or is it addiction? The dreaded word. Maybe it is.
What do you think?

Shidduch "Most"ests

Funniest: Wandering around a graveyard, thinking it's a park. Took ages for us to realise where we really were.
Made me feel Guiltiest: Being sent love letters by a guy I dumped.
Most Clicheish: hard to say, I've done them all. Coca cola in the Sheraton Plaza Lobby along with every other hotel in Jerusalem, Moonlight walk in Yemin Moshe, Cafe Hillel in Emek Refaim, Cafe Rimon in Mamilla, Tayelet in Yaffo. If there's something I missed, let me know, I'm sure I've been-there-and-done-that too.
Most Annoying: Having a guy arrive an hour late vies with the not being taken even to a bus stop. Davka the one time I hadn't brought a lot of spare cash. And they were both Brits! Why do people think the British have manners?
Weirdest: Seing a guy I'd just broken up with, after a rather intense relationship,also on a date, and not being able to say anything to him.
Funnest: Still waiting. Never had a truly fun date, the fun stuf I do with the non fun guys, so it doesn't help, and the fun guys I end up in the standard shidduch places with.
Most Repetitive: Being told about the windmill in Yemin Moshe, every guy feels he needs to share that with me, when we land up there on a trying-to-be-romantic-but-not-succeeding walk.
Most Pointless question: "How many kids do you want to have?", only ever asked that by BTs. I'm never sure if that's the appropriate time to launch into the torah view on birth control with them.
Saddest: Being dumped, when he was the first and only guy so far I've wanted to marry.

Why I'm still single- as a Chutznik

Some guy asked me that, one moonlight night, when I thought he was about to propose. Anyway, you, dear reader, didn't ask me this romantically, under the stars, but here's the answer all the same.
Aside from G-d, and his plans (yes, I'm sure he features heavily in the equation, I am religious after all) and aside from me being kind of picky (no, shadchanim, I didn't really admit that, this blog is ANONYMOUS), I'd account a lot of it to falling between two worlds.
We, chareidi children of Olim, are neither here nor there.
We can choose to be Israeli, but that means giving up so much. Thinking for ourselves, for a start. Accepting others, educating ourselves and our children, and so much more than that. I don't want to tar and feather all of Israeli chareidi society, but yes, that's what it would be to me, if I married one of the Israeli boys I've dated.
And Americans? Making aliyah was a struggle, learning the language, figuring out how to make it here. And this is our land, the Jewish land. I want to live here, stay here, raise my kids here. I don't want to go back. Not many Americans have the same dream, they usually want to "see how things go". They are tied to the hamburgers and the easy life. Plus easy lives make for immature men..
So that's me, caught in the middle.