Dating is hard. In my case, it is usually funny, sometimes painful and often pathetic.
I’m Jewish and like being with a member of the tribe. When I got divorced, it became even more important. As the mother of a son, I’d like him to marry a Jewish girl, so it was important to lead by example. Every date I have with a “nice Jewish man” gets me closer to giving up the dream and dating non-Jews.
This is a snapshot of my dating life. It is important to note that all three of these men are Jewish, age appropriate and gainfully employed, with active profiles on dating sites that list them as “looking for relationships.” This is what it looks like to be a Jewish woman in your 50s, dating Jewish men in Los Angeles.
Man No. 1: He is 54 years old, divorced and estranged from his grown children. He’s coming out of a long-term relationship with a woman who has a young child. When I asked how long it had been since they broke up, he said the truth was he was in the process of moving out of the home they shared. He actually was at their house when we spoke, taking out the garbage. He assured me that, even though they technically lived together, he was moving out and their relationship was over. I quickly realized he mentioned her a lot, so I started counting. For the next few minutes he referred to his not-really-ex by name 26 times. He then explained, in the interest of full disclosure, that he voted for Trump and would do it again. His living situation was no longer the grossest thing about him. That was the end of that.
Man No. 2: This man let me know he had been divorced for three years, but was happily still living with his ex-wife. They have four kids, one of them, a daughter, still at home. Rather than disrupt the daughter’s life, they have agreed to live together until she goes to college, which would be this fall. He assured me I didn’t need to worry about dating him, because they had a system in place. She slept in one room, he slept in another, and they took turns dating on weekends. To clarify, they alternated weekends at the family home so they could both pursue fulfilling relationships that included sex. On his weekend at the house, his ex-wife and daughter sleep at her parent’s home. When it is the ex-wife’s weekend, he goes to his mother’s house with his daughter. Really? How can this be a thing? I think this is going to screw up that kid in worse ways than a divorce would. I don’t want to judge, and everyone should do what works for their family, but I’m going to have to say no on this one. No.
Man No. 3: I was set up with this man by a friend. I was told he would make me laugh, which is important, so we decided to meet for breakfast. He was handsome, on time, had a job and fantastic green eyes. We said hello, settled in for the dating dance, and it was going well. Then he decided he was going to call the waitress a bitch. Not once, but twice, to her face. There is no world in which I am going to be OK with this behavior, so I went in. I started by apologizing to the waitress. She was lovely, which made his treatment of her even more disturbing. I told him he was rude and I was not only not interested in staying on our date, but he needed to apologize to the waitress. It was then that he told me I was, wait for it, a bitch. I got up, “accidentally” spilled my iced tea on his lap, and headed home. We were done in just under 10 minutes.
I find my dating life to be entertaining, which is a good thing or I might impale myself. One day my prince will come, and he may or may not be Jewish. But until he finds me, I will remain hopeful. We must date knowing that missteps get you closer to love. All we can do is say a prayer while keeping the faith.
Ilana Angel writes the Keeping the Faith blog at jewishjournal.com.