Blogging 101 – Happy Anniversary


I wrote my very first blog for the Jewish Journal on July 9th, 2009. It is hard to believe I have been sharing my life here for nine years. When I started my son had just had his Bar Mitzvah, which was the catalyst that got this blog started. Charlie becoming a man changed how he viewed me, and how he viewed our life together. He turned 13 and immediately became concerned with taking care of me. I had been a single parent since he was a baby, and he felt his Bar Mitzvah marked a change in our relationship. He was going to be the man in my life.

He was very vocal about being worried about my being alone. At 13 he was looking ahead to a day he would be grown up and moving out, and he didn’t want me to be alone. He had a well thought out conversation with me, explaining that I needed to find a good man. He had clear ideas about what type of man it should be, and did not hesitate to share his opinions with me. It was sweet and kind and lovely. It was also daunting, intimidating, and stressful. There was now a clock ticking for me to find love and so I started to not only date, but blog all about it. I never could have known it would last this long, and am surprised it has.

There were good dates, bad dates, and nightmare dates. There was hope, love, and heartache. I have learned a lot about myself during the life of this blog. I became a better mother, a more grounded Jew, and an increasingly vocal liberal. By sharing my opinions about things, and inviting people into my life with Charlie, I discovered I was a great mother, and a decent and kind human being. I am a survivor of many things and have written with bravery and freedom. There is nothing about my life I have not shared here, and that is both empowering and scary.

I have often referred to this blog as a love letter to my son, and it really is. I have written with sometimes painful honesty about my life. I have no regrets about anything I have shared and am blessed beyond measure to have had people share their stories in return. I have built a family here of people who have become my teachers, friends, advocates, protectors, and cheerleaders. I have received real love and unbelievable hate. At the end of the day the good always outweighed the bad, and I know how lucky I am to have this platform.

Thank you to the Jewish Journal. They have encouraged me to share without fear. Rob Eshman is my hero and I will forever be grateful to him for bringing me on board. David Suissa is my celebrity crush and inspires me to write. My writing brings David headaches with demands to fire me. Important to note that every time I say Trump has dementia and his supporters are morons, there is a call to fire me, which only makes me want to mention Trump is a loser and his inbred supporters are garbage every time I write, even if the blog is not at all about Trump.

As I begin my 10th year with the Jewish Journal I am hopeful that this will be my last year. I have said I would write this blog until I found real love and got married again. I honestly thought that day would have come long before now, and thought I was close a couple of times, but here I am. Charlie is now 22 and currently on vacation in Japan. He calls me every day, and video chats me from places he thinks I would like to see. Yesterday we looked in amazement at the bamboo forest, walked along the flooded river, and fed monkeys and deer. I am truly blessed.

Thank you to my son, who is the love of my life and the most incredible person I know. Thank you for letting me write this blog and share our lives Charlie. You are an amazing young man and I am proud of you. Keeping the Faith is for you. I love you. To my readers, there are no words to properly express my thanks to you. You have held my hand for nine years and I am grateful for all of you. You make me laugh, wipe my tears, and embrace my voice. Thank you for reading and thank you for reminding me to count my blessing while keeping the faith.

 

Dating 101: The Trump Test


I cannot date a man who thinks Donald Trump is a good president. I simply cannot do it. I have tried, but at the end of the day it doesn’t work for me. Hands that voted for Trump do not deserve to touch my breasts. My boobs are fabulous, and Trump is a shmuck. Not happening. I can tell you I love this country. I am an immigrant who is living the American dream. My son was born here and I am blessed to call America home. My disgust for the president is about the man who is currently in the position, not the country. Donald Trump is truly dangerous.

This is not about my political views however. It is about my dating life. I am looking for my bashert. I believe he is out there and while some days I believe it more strongly than others, there is always hope. Remaining hopeful is the biggest struggle with dating because if you give up hope, you give up. I am currently dating online and in my profile I have written the following: Important to note that if there is anything about the current president that you are not offended by, we won’t be a match. It matters to me, so I put it out there.

Today I received an email from a man in Woodland Hills. He sent me the following note: what are you talking about? Trump is for Israel and Obama nor Hillary are. Trump moved US embassy to Israel on its 70th anniversary. Trump is for the Constitution. Hillary is not. How can you be against a president that recognizing enforcing the freedoms of the Constitution? Oy vey. Stupid is exhausting and I don’t have the time or patience to deal with someone this stupid. Does he think the US just put an embassy in Israel? I can’t.

I am trying to break old patterns when it comes to dating. I want to be happy and I am smart enough to know that I don’t know what my person will look like, or what he does for a living. I am looking for kindness, honesty, laughter, loyalty, and great sex. That’s my list and I am not willing to compromise on any of it. The Trump test is frankly pathetic, but necessary. I can’t respect a man who respects this president, and I’d rather be alone than with a Trump supporter. It is a blanket statement, but I am sticking to it.

I am writing this blog while I watch the new dating show The Proposal, which proves that my dating life is not that bad. The thirst is real and the desperation of some women is suffocating. It is also hilarious. At the end of the day it is a crap shoot and finding love can take a long time, but love and luck go together, so I hope I am lucky. The only thing I know for sure is that the man I fall in love with will not be a Trump supporter. To the charming man who wrote me today from Woodland Hills, I wish you well because life must be hard when you are so stupid. Bless your heart. I am laughing, hopeful, and keeping the faith.

Dating 101: Curse of the Blog


Last night I met a man after work for a drink. We met online, emailed once, exchanged numbers, and spoke yesterday. It was a fun conversation and I found him to be very entertaining. In the interest of not overthinking and being spontaneous, we decided to meet for a drink. He came to my neighborhood, which I always appreciate. I arrived first, found us a spot at the bar, and waited.

He arrived and any interest I had going into the date disappeared. Oh dear. He looked like his pictures, and was clear on how tall he was, but the issue was that he arrived from the gym. Not a big deal, unless he opts not to shower or change clothes. He was soaked with sweat, smelled like a pig, and had the balls to go in for a hug. I extended my hand and cringed when he went in for cheek kiss.

He smelled horrible and I was truly surprised he thought this was an acceptable way to turn up to a first meeting with a woman. The weird thing was he never mentioned it at all. He simply asked what I wanted to drink, placed an order, and jumped into casual first date conversation. I was grossed out, but slightly amused, so I asked him how his work out was. He said he had run to our date. Literally.

He ran the 9.5 miles from his place to the bar. He said he ran to me thinking if we hit it off I could drive him home. He then proceeded to tell me he is an avid reader of my blog and was sorry I had been dating so many losers. He told me I was funny, smart, pretty, and worthy of a nice Jewish guy. He said perhaps he was the one to turn it around for me. He said timing is everything and this was our time.

I sat looking at a man who was literally dripping in sweat, marveling at his chutzpah, when he asked me if I wanted another drink. As I contemplated whether I could manage one more round with this strange man, he told me my hair was beautiful and he looks forwad to “pulling it while we make love”.  I was shocked by what he said and he took my moment of silence to mean I wanted another round and ordered.

I pulled myself together and told him I didn’t think we were a match, but appreciated him coming out for a drink. He then gave me a passionate speech about my blogs and what he thought about my dating life. He mentioned men by name, told me what was wrong with them, what I did wrong on my dates, and concluded by telling me I’d be a better dater if I was having sex as it would make me free.

I sat in wonder as he rattled off his opinion of the last year of my life. It was as fascinating as it was creepy. It was interesting to hear a man’s perspective on my life, until I snapped out of it and realized I was not listening to man as much as I was listening to a pig. He concluded his lengthy speech by saying if I didn’t want to date him, we could just sleep together so I’d be more attractive to others.

I thanked him for the insight and told him that while I appreciated the offer of sex, I would have to pass. I wished him well, payed for my own drinks, and told him I needed to go. He then said he was going to pop into the restroom and would be right back so I could drive him home. I think I actually laughed out loud at that point and told him I would be gone when he got out of the bathroom.

The most interesting thing about this date is that is was the most interesting date I have had in a long time. It is not every day a man offers to have sex with you in order to make you more attractive to others. This is the curse of the blog. As I approach my tenth year of Keeping the Faith, for the first time I see an end in sight. I’m not sure if it will be the end of the blog or the end of my dating, but change is coming. For now I will keep dating, keep writing, and keep the faith.

Dating 101 – The Last Word of Caution


I have written a couple of times this weekend about Benjamin. He is a man I spoke to for a week, made plans to meet, and then I was 30 minutes late for our first in person meeting due to insane Friday night LA traffic. After letting him know I’d be late, twice, and chatting on the phone while I was stuck in traffic, when I arrived he stood up, gave me a hug, sat down, and told me he was pissed off I was late and was leaving. Our meeting lasted about 40 seconds. This is after we spoke for endless hours on the phone before the meeting.

I drove 2 hours in traffic to meet a Frisbee player for 40 seconds. Annoying to be sure, and it totally hurt my feelings, but I took comfort in the comments I received from my readers when I wrote about it. People were kind when he couldn’t be, which was wonderful and made me feel better. It is impossible to have an experience like this and not take it personally. We’d been getting to know each other, had a great connection, then he saw me in person and bailed. I was late. I didn’t stop to kill someone on my way, I was just late. I don’t get his reaction.

Important to note that we met at a place between our two homes in the valley. I drove 2 hours from the Palisades, (Sunset Boulevard was a nightmare), but he drove to the meeting from his home, which in horrible traffic was about five-minutes away. I could assume he saw me and changed his mind, but that doesn’t really make sense, and why does it need to be something about me that made him go? The honest truth is I am beautiful, funny, and kind. Having a cup of tea with me would have been easy. He simply made a choice to be a douchelord.

Or, maybe it wasn’t a choice, maybe he is just a schmuck. Maybe he is rude, elitist, selfish, weird, and emotionally stunted. So different from what I thought about him BEFORE we met. This is the guy who is going to blame you for everything. He is controlling and intimidating, confusing and scary. He did me a favor by leaving, even though it wasn’t him who left. I got up and left. He was still sitting at the table when I drove by. Perhaps waiting for his next date. This is not a nice guy and I didn’t see it at first. Or did I?

Reviewing our conversations before we met, I thought he was great. Thinking back on our conversations after we met, he said some strange things, but I didn’t hear it because I heard what I wanted to hear. There is a lesson in this humiliation. We need to pay attention when dating. If there is a red flag, don’t tuck it away in the hopes you are misreading it. If you sense something is off, believe yourself. When you are dating it is easy to talk yourself into something you know in your gut is not good. I am embarrassed he was done after seeing me, but I don’t think it was me. He was enraged I was late and he took it as disrespectful. That is scary.

This was about him not me, but it doesn’t make the embarrassment any less. Dating is hard, and there are no guarantees, but it should not be hurtful. If someone is unkind, walk away. If someone talks unkindly about an ex, walk away. If someone blames you for things that are not your fault, walk away. In the course of 6 days this man charmed me, made me think I had been rude, made me think I needed to apologize, then ended our first meeting after 40 seconds because I disrespected him by being late. That is crazy and I can hardly believe it happened to me. For a minute I thought about taking down the blogs I wrote about him and simply erasing the experience, but that isn’t how I roll. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am a smart girl and it is fascinating I didn’t catch the red flags when they first appeared. Someone might read this and think I am overreacting and it was just a bad date, but I don’t think so. This is a horrible guy. This is not about having the last word, as much as it is about sharing words of caution. We are all in this together and as a woman searching for love, I sometimes stumble. My readers have picked me up every time I’ve fallen, and so I am swallowing my pride, exposing the ugly side of dating, and hoping it helps someone else keep the faith.

Dating 101 – Timing is Everything


This morning I posted a blog about a man named Benjamin. We have been talking for a few days on the phone and made a plan to meet for coffee after work today. I was looking forward to spending time with him all day. I found him to be clever and quick and I was excited about meeting in person. When we made the plan last night on the phone and I immediately had a flash of worry about the time.

There is a lot of traffic on a Friday afternoon and my ride home is long on a good day, so I should have made the plan for 6:30, but I wasn’t really thinking about it being Friday and agreed to six. Traffic was a nightmare and I was running late. I texted him to say I was would be 15 minutes late because of traffic. I should have called, but I was on the phone with work, so I texted.

I was in a bit of a panic about being late. As soon as I got off the phone with work I called Benjamin to say I was stuck on the 101 and crawling to him. I decided to get off the freeway and take surface streets, but I was still very late. I arrived to our 6:00 meeting at almost 6:30. Painfully late and rather embarrassed about it, but when I saw him I quickly forgot about how late I was.

He stood, we hugged and began to chat. He then told me he was pissed off that I was late not only once, but twice. I was late when I pushed to 6:15, then late again when I arrived at almost 6:30. He said he was going to leave. I was stunned for a second and apologized again, telling him it took me 2 hours to get to him, but he was done. He had no interest in talking or spending time with me.

I said I was sorry again, and then I left. I walked back to my car and when I drove past the restaurant I saw him sitting where we had met and I burst into tears. I am now home, still crying, and mad at myself for all the crying. I simply do not understand the need to be mean to someone, particularly someone you don’t even know when we had been having a lovely time getting to know each other.

I have arrived to a date and had someone be late, but I stayed. I have arrived to a date only to find a quadriplegic with a breathing tube, but I stayed. I have arrived to a date with a man who failed to mention he only had one arm, but I stayed. It is kindness. It would have taken no effort to put aside his anger at my tardiness and had a cup of tea. His decision was simply mean and hurt my feelings.

It could have been that he saw me and used my being late as a way to cut the date off. Perhaps I was too short, or hated my blog, or simply found me unattractive, but he still could have had a cup of tea. We had spoken for hours on the phone and twenty minutes more over a cup of tea would have been nice. Perhaps he would have forgotten about my late arrival, or not, but it would have been kind.

I am sad because I like him. It is that simple, I like him. When someone shows you who they are however, you must believe them the first time, and he has shown who he is. That said, I get it. It is a sign of disrespect to be late for a meeting and perhaps my nerves caused me to act like I didn’t care about being late, but that could not be further from the truth. I respect him, his time, my time, and I am sorry.

At the end of the day timing is everything I suppose. I am sad, but it won’t last. There is nothing like a real life fairytale wedding to give me hope. Mazel Tov to Meghan and Harry. Dating is hard and while I am feeling a bit sorry for myself right now, I also feel sorry for Benjamin that this was his choice. He lost out on me, and I am fabulous. This too shall pass, so I am keeping the faith.

Dating 101: Jaded but Hopeful


This week I was asked out by a yet another man in a dress, one in his eighties, one who posted jail pictures, and one who has a dog named Ned. By Ned, of course I mean his name is N.E.D. as in No Erectile Dysfunction. Important to note when he wrote to tell me what NED stood for, he spelled dysfunction wrong, which I found to be sad and hilarious. My dating life continues to be entertaining and pathetic. I’m exhausted from all the eye rolling I do.

Over the weekend I received an email from a man we will call “Benjamin”. Benjamin wrote me a short but sweet note. I responded, we briefly emailed, then moved on to phone calls. He is entertaining, funny, educated, open, honest, Jewish, a dad, good with banter, and attractive if he actually looks like his pictures. Over email he was very clever, which I find appealing. He drew me in with a wonderful combination of boyish charm and sarcastic smartass. I was interested.

He is very aware of who he is, what he needs, and how he is going to get what he wants. He is articulate and not afraid to speak his mind, which I find to be very attractive. He is a lot like me to be honest, which is interesting and strange. I like who I am and there are parts of my personality I think are wonderful, and the more we talk, the more I see similarities, which is fascinating because we are very different. It makes him both intriguing and intimidating.

I have been down this “pre-dating” road before and as you all know, and it never turns out well. I have pre-dated men who I was certain I was connecting with, only to meet them and have there be no connection at all. Pre-dating is tricky, somewhat necessary, yet useless. I’ve been divorced for 22 years. I have dated, had three important relationships, and had my heart broken. I want to believe each experience got me closer to my bashert, but that isn’t always easy to do.

I want to find love, share my life, go on adventures, and have a partner. I want my son to see me in a relationship with a man who loves me in the same way I love him. I want my son to see me happy in a way that he wants for himself. I have a wonderful life and sharing it is the goal, but it is a hard game to play, so goals can be elusive. I remain hopeful, which is frankly a miracle because I know many who have stopped trying. But enough about me, let’s get back to Benjamin.

We were texting and he responded to something I sent in a way that hurt my feelings. I wrote back with what I thought was a clever reply. I suppose I was thinking about only my feelings, so it never occurred to me that my response was anything other than funny and charming. What I said however, rubbed him the wrong way and he was put off. This is why texting is not good when you are getting to know someone, as interpretations are most often wrong. I am not a fan of texting and try to avoid it whenever possible.

Then yesterday something funny happened and I wrote to tell him about it. (We don’t know each other well so I wasn’t sure if I could call him the middle of a work day, thus the text.) He wrote back telling me to give him a call. I called, we chatted for a minute, then he said he wanted to talk about the text exchange. He told me how he interpreted my text, which was not good. He thought it was rude and condescending, which of course was not my intention, but in retrospect I could see how he might have thought it was. He then explained how he thought I had interpreted his text, which he understood, but felt was wrong.

It is truly interesting to be dealing with a grown up. He didn’t sulk, he didn’t disappear, he wasn’t an ass, he simply wanted to talk about it in a kind and open way. He is an advanced communicator, as am I, which I appreciate. We talked, each taking time to explain ourselves, both apologized for the miscommunication, agreed texting is not a good way to communicate, and moved on. He handled the situation with maturity, which I respect. It was a pleasant surprise to hit a bump, talk about it, and have it be done.

At the end of the day I have no idea what I am doing. I am jaded but hopeful, and blessed that hope is in the lead. I am old enough to know exactly who I am and I am searching for someone who is secure with who he is, so that we make sense. Benjamin seems like a good guy, but also very complicated, so we’ll see how it plays out. We are meeting today, and I have no idea how it will go, but there is pre-dating flutter that is lovely. I could be wrong, as I most often am, so all I can do is just roll with it, relax, and focus on keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating 101: Hookers and Judgment


Yesterday I was written to online by a 59-year-old man. He was attractive and had written an honest and funny profile about himself. He stated he was newly divorced and just starting to date. It was charming and I appreciated the honesty, so I wrote back. After 2 notes I gave him my number and he called. We are grownups, and texting and email is painful when getting to know someone, so we quickly jumped to a call. He reached out and we began the dating interview.

I found him to be interesting and witty, and was enjoying our chat, until I wasn’t. When he said he was newly divorced, what he meant was that he had signed his divorce papers last week. While he has been out of his marital home for a year, he is barely divorced and still hanging onto his old life. He spoke a lot about his ex-wife, which is fine, until it wasn’t. I suggested that perhaps he hadn’t been divorced long enough to know how it would affect him. I also told him dating had changed a lot in the years he had been married.

I explained that while I had been divorced forever, I remember my first relationship after divorce and it was doomed from the start because I arrived with so much baggage that still needed to be unpacked. He let me know he had unpacked all his bags already and was good to go. I explained that after 24 years of marriage, perhaps he should sew some wild oats and have single fun before diving into a relationship. Sleep with new people and discover who he was at this stage of his life.

He then assured me he had sewn his oats already. Without being prompted to go on, he let me know he had a sexless marriage and had spent the last few years of said marriage sleeping with hookers. He felt it was the respectful thing to do because he wanted the marriage to work, just needed sex, so he made it a business decision rather than an emotional one. Oh. My. God. Who tells someone they just met, and are interested in dating, they not only cheated, but paid for sex with hookers?

Important to note I have no issues with women who have sex for money. I have a good friend who worked as a prostitute to put herself through college. We met a few years ago while getting our nails done and I not only love her, but have no judgement about how she makes her money. When it came to this man however, I found myself sitting in a pile of judgement. I don’t care that he paid for sex, but that did it while married “to respect his wife”, is ridiculous and disgusting.

I can applaud him for being so honest I suppose, but no. He asked if I would like to go out on a date and I chose to decline. I also chose to suggest to him that perhaps he withhold some information from women moving forward. There is a lot to be said for honesty, but there is some information that simply does not need to be shared. I cannot think of any good that come out of my knowing the man I am dating not only cheated of his wife, but did it with hookers on a regular basis and over a long period of time.

It has been an interesting few days in my dating life. I was asked out by a man who was 82. I was also asked out by a man who was 25. They weren’t even the weird one. I was asked out by a man who is on parole and has limited mobility. Whoever said dating was fun, was drunk. Not tipsy and cute drunk, but vomiting on yourself and falling down stairs into a gutter drunk. I have been dating for a long time and I am tired. Not tired of dating, because I know it is necessary, but tired of the game.

I remain hopeful, which is key. Without hope there is no need to keep dating. I will meet a great man one of these days. He will be Jewish, not married, not wearing a parole tracker, and the only hooker he is interested in will be the one I am roll playing while we have a sexy night in Vegas. There is the right man out there looking for me. We will stumble upon each other one of these days. I simply need to pay attention, keep my eyes open, keep my heart open, and keep the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating 101: Highs & Lows


I had a date with a man I found to be physically and mentally attractive. He is a lovely man who is 51, never married, and has no kids. He’s worked at the same company for 30 years and is dedicated to his job. He is fiercely loyal to his friends, and has a great sense of humor. I liked him very much on the phone, and we spoke for a week before schedules allowed us to meet. When we finally managed to find a night to go out, we decided on dinner and a movie.

We met at the restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised to see he looked just like his pictures. He said he was 5’11”, I’m guessing he was closer to 5’9”, but since I’m only 5’3”, it wasn’t a big deal. We ordered a couple drinks and settled into easy conversation. We had a great time over dinner and then went into the movie. We held hands, which felt wonderful. I had taken an Uber so I could have a drink, and he offered to take me home, which I felt surprisingly comfortable with.

We left the theater and walked towards his car. We laughed together, had a kiss, and it was nice. It was a regular date, with a regular guy, and I was feeling good about it. He is not Jewish, but I am trying to think outside the dating box I have built for myself, because I’m not having luck dating within the parameters I have drawn around myself. It is scary to try new things, but I am trying, and that is what matters. One good date can change everything.

So we are strolling to the car, I’m thinking we will make out a little bit, and feeling good about the whole night. Then we got to his car and it was over. I am not a materialistic person, and I don’t care about what a man does for a living or what kind of car he has, but I simply cannot date a man who drives a purple El Camino with hydraulics. If that makes me shallow and judgmental, when then I will receive that and try to better myself, but I cannot get on board with that car.

We spoke about the car, the car groups he belongs to, the amount of car shows he goes to a year, the friends he is close to through his car club, and how his social life is woven into the car. No. I am not spending my weekends at car shows. I am also not putting my new bionic neck into a hydraulic car parade. I appreciate that this paints me in an unflattering light, but after almost a decade of sharing my life here, I am not going to start leaving stuff out just to save face.

Bumps in the road make me think I should stick to Jewish men, or just get another cat, but I need to be brave and not let this be a setback. I’m embarrassed the car was a deal breaker, but in the end it wasn’t the car as much as the lifestyle that came with it. I know who I am and what I want, so at this point in my life I need to stay true to me. One hopes each first date gets you closer to your last first date, so I am hoping and keeping the faith.

The Foibles of Dating Nice Jewish Men


Photo from Pixabay.

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

Dating 101: Three Strikes


In the never ending madness that is my dating life, I’ve been asked out by three men this week, and it is only Thursday. It would be fair to assume the odds are in my favor for at least one of them to be worthy of meeting for a cocktail, but when you remember it is MY dating life we are talking about, you must know that each man was stranger than the one before him, and I struck out three times.

Man #1 is 54 years old, Jewish, divorced, and estranged from his three grown children. He is 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 he was actually in the process of moving out of the home they shared. He was at their house when we spoke, taking out her garbage. Dear Lord, I simply can’t.

He assured me that even though they technically still lived together, he was moving out and their relationship was long over. I quickly realized he mentioned her a lot, so I started to count. For the next three minutes he referred to his not-really-ex-girlfriend by name 26 times. He then explained that in the interest of full disclosure, he wanted me to know he voted for Trump, and would do it again.

His living situation was no longer the grossest thing about him. This man is a personal mess and a political nightmare. No good can ever come from dating that combination. We ended our conversation and that was the end of that, which brings me to man #2. This man let me know he had been divorced for three years, but was still living with his ex-wife. They have four kids, one of them still at home.

Rather than disrupt her life, they agreed to live together until she went 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 house so they could both pursue fulfilling sex lives with other people.

On his weekend at the house, his ex-wife and daughter sleep at her parent’s home. Then when it is her 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 #3 is 58 years old, not Jewish, educated, handsome, and the father of five kids. Important to note he has never been married and his five kids have four different mothers. Interesting fact, two of the kids were born sixteen days apart. Yup. His kids range in age from 8 to 36, and he would really like to have more. Fun fact: he has two grandchildren who are older than his youngest children.

I don’t have any women in my life who would find his story attractive, but bless him for sharing it so proudly. Ugh. I have struck out without ever having even made it to bat. All I can do is laugh because at the end of the day it is funny. There is someone for everyone though, so I’m sure all three of these men will find love. I’ve got 20 bucks that says they will all find it before I do, which is hilarious.

I find my dating life to be very entertaining, which is a good thing or I may want to impale myself. One day my prince will come and the only things I am certain of, are that he won’t live with his ex-wife, have multiple kids from multiple women, or think Donald Trump is anything other than garbage. So until my bashert finds me, I will continue to be entertained and remain hopeful, while keeping the faith.

TGIF


Three years, seven weeks, and five days after I was first told I had cancer, I am cancer free. I feel happy and relieved, but will forever feel nervous every time I don’t feel good, that it is cancer. That said, at the end of the day I am a rock star, and cancer is my bitch. My son came home to celebrate last night, and having him stay the night and sleep in his old room filled my heart with joy. Less than a month after cancer stole a dear friend, I feel blessed and am counting my blessings.

As I waited for test results, while marking the anniversary of the passing of my beloved dad who died from cancer, I thought about my life and my place in the world. I watched the painful news out of Florida and cried as I watched a mother beg for the government to keep our kids safe. It left me with a need to say a few things, about a few things. This may piss people off, and that is okay. God Bless America that I am able to not only have an opinion, but share it freely.

  • The murders in Florida this week must not be blamed on mental illness, but rather blamed on the fact that a teenager can legally buy an AR-15 firearm in America. The President of the United States is a moron and anyone who thinks prayer is the answer to this problem, is mentally deficient. I am a woman of faith and I believe in prayer, but I have had enough. The NRA can shove all the prayers up their asses and fire them into space. We need to get a hold of the guns and stop making senseless murders so easy.
  • Aziz Ansari is a pig, he is not however a sexual deviant who needs to lose his career, just because he was a loser on a date. Dear Lord. The woman “Grace”, who wrote about her date with Mr. Ansari did more harm than good to a movement that is trying so hard to do good. There is a witch hunt mentality happening, which I suppose is to be expected under the circumstances, but as women we have a responsibility to each other to be honest and fair so that appropriate action can be taken against those who deserve it.
  • I have written that the last two men I dated were lovely and it simply did not work out. Here’s the thing though, they were not lovely, I was lovely. They are assholes and I am tired of taking the high road when it comes to my dating life. I am far too nice, and the truth is that I was kind to both of these people, and they were dicks. At the end of the day I am a great girl who is worthy of a great man, and if you voted for Trump or are 53 and never married, you’ve got too many problems for me to take you on.
  • I cried when I read that Amy Schumer got married. I don’t know her, but I like her and respect how she uses the platform fame has given her, so I found myself inexplicably happy for her. She was a beautiful bride and I hope she has a loving and wonderful marriage. I’m not really the fangirl type, except for Celine Dion of course, but there is something about Ms. Schumer that puts me squarely on her side. She makes me laugh and has the gift of bringing light to darkness. Mazel Tov Amy. Thank you for you. #totalfangirl.
  • It turns out that I was correct when I shared with you all long ago that I am the only person who knows how to drive in Los Angeles. I was rear ended this week by a young man with no car insurance. He was texting on his phone and I saw him getting closer, but had nowhere to go so I just waited for the hit. We were not going fast and the damage was only cosmetic, but it pissed me off. I felt bad for the kid for about 30 seconds. He could have cared less about what he did and texted the entire time we were talking. Whatever.

I am very happy it is Friday. I am welcoming in Shabbat with an open heart and a tired mind. It has been a stressful, yet joyous week and I am going to have a couple Cosmos tonight. I know they will be delicious because I’m going to make them myself. I plan to order in Chinese food, put on my fluffiest pajamas, and enjoy the Olympics. I will undoubtedly go back and forth between the excitement of Korea and the news, struggling to make sense of things that will never make sense. I feel stuck. I am unsure what to think or feel when I am so happy, and so sad.

To the families in Florida who are experiencing unimaginable pain, you are on my mind and I send you love. May your loved ones rest in peace, and may you know I will join my voice to yours until somebody listens and gets the guns. I am sorry for your losses. Shabbat Shalom. Be safe out there everyone. We live in a scary place and the only way we will ever survive is if we start to take care of each other. Be kind to one another, use your vote for good, and scream as loud as you can that you want change. Be brave, be hopeful, and remember to keep the faith.

 

 

A Guide to Dating After 50


Paired-off couples aren’t hard to spot — you see them in airports, restaurants, museums and shops. If you are single and over 50, maybe also widowed or divorced, becoming part of a couple again may be on your mind. Although dating at this point in life may raise a few uncertainties, it holds great potential for fun and excitement.

Seniors who are starting to date should arm themselves with revised expectations, an open mind and a willingness to encounter a few rejections. Then they should go out and enjoy themselves.

The following tips may help both men and women who are seeking friendship, companionship, love and intimacy:

Change your expectations without lowering them. 

At 50 or older, you’re not going to raise children with someone your age, so the personal qualities you look for in a partner may need to shift. Also, be ready for a range of relationship goals that people now bring to dating. Some may seek marriage, others a monogamous relationship without marriage, while others may simply want a companion.

If you were married before, acknowledge what being single again means to you. 

Losing a spouse to divorce or death can cause pain you may never completely put behind you. However, when you realize you are missing intimacy and connection with the opposite sex and want to rekindle it, you are ready to date.

Start making connections through friends and family. 

Word-of-mouth is the easiest and safest way to find a match. Tell your friends and relatives you are looking. And if someone invites you out — accept. You’ll get reacquainted with how to date, and you never know … you could meet someone terrific.

Plan easy first and second dates. 

On your first time out, try meeting in a public place for a short date, such as an afternoon cup of coffee. For a second date, especially if you’re not quite sure it’s a good match, suggest going to a movie or participating in an event together, followed by coffee or dessert. However, if things go well on a first or second date, lunch or dinner together may give you more opportunities to get better acquainted.

You and other singles older than 50 have the advantage of bringing greater perspective, life experience and self-awareness to a new relationship.

Always be yourself on a first date. 

If you wear sweats all the time, go in sweats. Women who don’t usually wear makeup shouldn’t start wearing it now. You want the first date to lead to a second, so let the new person know what you are really like.

With someone new, give only the executive summary of your life. 

Keep personal information brief and positive. For instance, you could say, “I have two wonderful kids,” without giving details of their lives. Other good topics of conversation are movies, books or interesting places you have visited or would like to see. Steer away from discussing medications, ailments or your past relationships.

At the end of a date, be clear about your interest in continuing. 

If you think you want to see the person again, say something like, “It was lovely meeting you, please feel free to give me a call.” If not, say, “It was lovely meeting you, and I wish you all the best.” It is fine to politely say that “you’re very nice, but you’re not the one for me.” Dating inevitably involves some rejections.

As a relationship develops, consider factors that impact intimacy and sex. 

Age, health and mindset can set limits on the wants and needs for intimacy and sex for each member of the couple. Once a friendship has bloomed, talk to your partner about his or her expectations as one mature adult to another. Or consider talking confidentially to a counselor or therapist before addressing sex and intimacy with your new companion.

Remember you have much to offer in a relationship. 

Romantic ideals that many men and women hold deep down can undercut enjoyment and success in dating. Let go of fantasies of being swept off your feet by a handsome prince or beautiful princess. New prospects you meet may look older to you than a partner who was aging alongside you gradually. Remember, you and other singles older than 50 have the advantage of bringing greater perspective, life experience and self-awareness to a new relationship.

Miss You Dad


February 13th is the day my father passed away. It is a day of sadness and reflection, but also joyous memories of a man I loved very much. My dad was a wonderful human being and I miss him. He was my go to person for everything, and it is impossible to understand he has been gone for 17 years. I wonder what he would be like if he were alive today, and turning 80 this year.

This is always a strange day. I started with a few tears, lit a candle, said some prayers, and headed to work. On the way in I received an email from a man online. I decided to reply since he wrote on this day, and perhaps my dad had a hand in it. We exchanged numbers and by the end of the afternoon we spoke on the phone. He didn’t seem like a match, but I tried to find common ground.

He is Jewish, divorced, 53, and felt compelled to tell me he does not like blow jobs, so I can date him with the comfort of knowing I don’t have to worry about that. As I listened to this truly tragic man spend five minutes explaining his sexual do and don’ts, and how they would make my life better, I started to laugh. Not a chuckle, but hysterical laughing that made my stomach hurt. Perfect.

My dad totally had a hand in that. I ended the conversation with the man and thanked my dad for the laugh on a sad day. By ended the conversation of course I mean I hung up on him when he got to his thoughts on anal sex. Oy vey. My dad sent a true idiot my way, to make me laugh on a truly sad day. I am now having a Cosmo, sitting on the couch with the cat, thankful for many things.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I will have dinner with the love of my life, my son. We will raise a glass to my dad and hold the memories of him close on a day that shines a light on love. I will look across the table and see my father in the eyes of my son, and count my blessings. Thank you for the laugh today Dad. We all love you and know you are watching over us. You are missed and we are all keeping the faith.

Dating 101: What is a relationship?


I woke up this morning feeling like a loser. Not a loser in life, because I’m a rock star at life, but a loser in dating. I can’t seem to get it together when it comes to sharing my life with a man. I historically date good men who are simply not the right men for me. There has been an occasional asshole of course, but that is how love works sometimes. I’m good at counting my blessings and finding silver linings, which is why I look at past relationships without regret. There is some anger, and certainly some bitterness, but not regret.

I don’t think things happen for a reason, but I can pinpoint the reasons some things happen. Does that make sense to anyone other than me? I woke up this morning thinking about my life and wondered why I am alone. I’m not alone alone of course, but I am not sharing my life with a partner, and that is sad to me. I don’t need a man, but I would like to have one. More importantly, I want a man to want to be with me, not need to be with me. I also don’t want anyone to settle for me or talk themselves into me.

I have been “dating” a man for a few months and yesterday I asked him if we were friends or dating, and he said he wasn’t sure. We talked about our relationship for a quick minute, but when I got home I cried. Not sure why exactly, but it made me sad that after so many months he was unsure what we were. It would have been easy to say we were dating, if we were, but he viewed us differently I guess. His answer was fine because it was his truth, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore.

It is sad because he is great. I don’t think he thinks he is great, but I am a genius and I know for a fact that he is great. Here’s the thing though, if I spend four months dating a man and he is unable to say whether we are dating or not, he is confused because that is dating. Furthermore, if this conversation had happened between a girlfriend of mine and a man she was dating, I would tell her to walk away. If we don’t see our worth, then the men we are dating certainly won’t. It is not about how he sees me as much as how I see myself, and I am quite fantastic.

I will miss this man. We have settled into a comfortable relationship, even though it appears he is not sure we even had a relationship. He makes me laugh every time we speak on the phone or are together. He is educated and witty, clever and sensitive. He is also completely unaware of how lucky he would be, were I to love him, and that is the goal when dating isn’t it? I don’t think it is hard to get laid, or have a man buy me a drink or dinner. It is hard however to find love, but that is why I date. I am shamelessly looking for love.

I spoke to my “friend” last night before I went to bed, and again this morning. Ugh. That will be hard to stop. He is the person I go to for things, my date for events, my sounding board, and in the end a really good friend. He is not however looking for a relationship where he can give and receive love. I think he is worthy, but I am not a therapist or a mind reader, and I don’t know what he wants. I do know me though, and I want more. Want it, need it, deserve it, and certain I will find it. The search continues so I am keeping the faith.

Dating 101: Dinner at McDonalds


Yesterday I was running some errands and headed into a shop. I was on the phone and didn’t pay too much attention to my surroundings, but did see a homeless man sitting to the right of the door asking for money. Before I left the store, I looked in my wallet for a dollar to give him on my way out. I stopped to hand him the money, he said thank you, then asked if I wanted to go out for dinner. It made me laugh. I thanked him for the invitation, declined, and headed to my car.

As I was walking away I continued to laugh and realized this man had made my day. He was sweet to ask me out for dinner, and while I didn’t know if he was unwell and potentially dangerous, I knew I needed to go back. I approached the man and said that while I was not able to have dinner with him, could I buy him something to eat. He looked wary for a quick second, then said he would love some dinner. I asked him what he felt like eating. Without hesitation he said McDonalds.

I asked if he wanted to come with me, and he said he’d wait. I assured him he could come with me, but he said I’d be better off not talking him as people get nervous. That made me sad, then it didn’t because the truth is under different circumstances, he would make me nervous. So I went into McDonalds and bought him a Big Mac, fries, coke, water, apple pie, with a Quarter Pounder and some cookies as back up. When I got back he looked surprised to see me.

He said he didn’t think I was coming back and opened the bag with joy and relief. I told him to enjoy his dinner and stay safe. He looked me in the eye and locked my gaze. It was a lovely moment of thanks and compassion. I smiled and told him I needed to head home. He asked me what my name was, and when I told him he thanked me by name, introduced himself, then asked me out for dinner one more time. I laughed again, and without overthinking it, I told him I’d be right back.

I went back to McDonalds and got myself some fries and a drink. I then joined him for dinner. We sat at a bus stop and shared a meal. We chatted about the weather, and he told me about himself. It was lovely. I enjoyed talking with him and was happy about how happy he was with his dinner. He told me he knew we’d have a date. I assured him it wasn’t a date and just dinner because I would never go on a date to McDonalds. He laughed as he watched me eat the best fries ever.

I grabbed a blanket and umbrella out of my car and gave them to my new friend. He said it was his lucky day and I was an angel. It was all very sweet and I left him with a smile on my face. My goal for 2018 is to ask people to share their stories, and view everyone as a human being who shares the planet, not just people who are different. It is empowering and inspiring to look at all people with compassion. I am setting aside fear, making room for bravery, and keeping the faith.

Appropriate Dating


A man on a dating sight clicked that he liked my picture. I checked him out and his profile didn’t make my back spasm, so I thought it might be nice to chat. I sent a message, he sent one back, we had some good banter, and phone numbers were exchanged. It was a Wednesday. On Thursday we talked on the phone for about 30 minutes, and by the end of the call had made plans to see each other on the weekend.

I had plans on Friday, he had plans on Saturday, so we made plans to meet on Sunday. I sent him a text on Sunday morning to check in and see if we were still on to meet. He told me he had a date the night before and it went really well. He said he wanted to see where it went and was going to focus on her. He hid his profile online and made plans to see the woman again because their date was so good.

It was lovely. I was happy for him that he met someone he wanted to invest in, and was happy to have an appropriate dating exchange. It was wonderful that he was respecting the woman he met, the woman he was blowing off, and ultimately himself. I am often told I romanticize dating, and have unrealistic expectations of what a relationship should look like, but this made me think maybe I don’t.

Of course I do really, but for a moment while communicating with this stranger, I felt that my desire for decency and kindness while dating was a possibility. I was comforted by it and it was nice. It was very romantic for this man to step away from dating while he was dating, and I hope the woman he is interested in knows that he made a romantic gesture on her behalf, because it truly matters. Bravo to this man.

It turns out that I suck at dating. My history has left me brave, but damaged just enough to have my bravery occasionally come across as a little crazy. I really do mean well, and my intentions are good, but recently I saw the crazy through someone else’s eyes and it was sad and embarrassing, but also charming. Seeing myself from a different perspective, has left me hopeful that the right person will see beyond my crazy to my heart.

I deactivated all my online dating accounts today. I met someone great and was so scared I would blow it, that I lost my way. I was so focused on getting somewhere, that I forgot to pay attention to how great the ride there was. It happens. I will be more careful next time. By next time of course I mean I am hoping I will be given a do over. A girl can dream, and I am a girl who likes to dream big.

It is not hard for dating to be appropriate. It simply requires some basic kindness. Kindness and an occasional do over. There are many aspects of our lives that would benefit from kindness. I decided today that I am going to be kind to myself. My first act of kindness is to step away from online dating. It is time to slow down and enjoy the ride, which will leave me more time for keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

Dating 101 – Bring on the rain


I started dating someone late last year and even though I totally thought we would be a thing, in the end we are not the thing I had hoped for. I really like him and we are friends, but it is a shame it didn’t become more. The simple truth is that at this stage of my life, I want to be with someone who is ready for a relationship. I have a wonderful life to share, and I am a wonderful human being, so there is no energy or point in spending time convincing someone to be brave.

If I don’t value myself, then how can I expect someone else to value me? I have had my heart broken, more than once, but I have never let that pain stop me from trying.  Love is grand and I am not going to let hurt influence my happiness. The memories of heartache certainly shape my heart, but they do not have the power to change what I want and what I believe I am worthy of. I hope this man gets to a place where he knows he is worthy of a good woman who values him.

Dating is not fun, but if you view it with the knowledge that even a misstep gets you one step closer to love, you’ll be okay. I had a date this weekend with a man a friend set me up with. I was told he would make me laugh, so we made a plan to meet for breakfast. He was handsome, on time, had a job, and fantastic green eyes. We said hello, settled in for the dance, and it was going well. Then he decided that he was going to call the waitress a bitch. Not once, but twice, to her face. We were done in just under ten minutes.

There is no world in which I am going to be okay 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.

I was sad for about five minutes, then it was just another step in my journey.  There is someone for everyone. The man I met for breakfast will meet a woman to spend his life with, and I’m hoping she ends being a total bitch. The man I was dating will also meet someone, and she will inspire him to risk getting his heart broken again. He will see her worth and that he is better beside her. I will be that woman for someone one day. Just not today, and that is okay.

It is Monday morning and raining in in Los Angeles, which is a great thing. The universe is washing away the weekend and allowing the week to begin fresh. I will keep trying because that is half the battle. You can’t be sad that you are alone if you are not trying to meet someone. How we try is not important, as long as we try. We are all worthy of love and if you want a relationship, you will have one. Be brave, take a risk, know your worth, believe in love, and keep the faith.

 

 

Dating 101 – An Invitation


I spent yesterday afternoon with my son. We went shopping to get a few things for his apartment, then had an early supper. It was great and while I am always a little sad when he leaves, I was looking forward to my evening. The plan was to stay in for a much needed night at home. I made a perfect Cosmopolitan and snuggled up on the couch with the cat to binge watch season one of The Crown.

I was very content and as I watched what can only be described as one of the best programs television has ever offered, I was sent an email by an online dater. He introduced himself by name, and then went into great detail to explain what he was looking for. I say what rather than who, as he was clearly looking for something, more than someone. He is on mission, bless him, but alas, no.

This man is in his 50’s and has been happily married for 22 years.  He and his wife have a teenage child who is currently away for year one of university. They live in the valley, he works in insurance, and she stays home. She has MS and is not as mobile as she once was, but is fighting the fight and doing the best she can. The email was in fact from not only this man, but also from his wife.

They are looking for a woman to join their lives. Not for dinner or the movies, but for sex. Important to note that he did mention sex can include movies of course, porn, and dinner in so far as there are a variety of food items they like to incorporate into their sex lives. It was fascinating, absurd, creepy, hilarious, disturbing, and in the end rather tragic for him, her, and me.

As the year ends, this couple have brought me one step closer to my cat lady status. The good news is I have mastered my favorite drink, have lovely conversations with Fiddles the cat, and am enjoying the entertaining answers Alexa has for all of my questions. If it weren’t so funny, it would be sad. Or perhaps if it weren’t so sad, it would be funny. My dating life is ridiculous.

Good things are coming however. I am certain of it. I don’t know what the good things are, but I know they are coming. I am blessed in many ways and even though I may not have be in love, my life is filled with love, and so I am grateful. In an attempt to clear the slate, I will not go on another date until next year! Until then I will be brave, stay hopeful, and keep the faith.

Dating is Intense


I went out for a drink last night with a gentleman friend. He is funny, smart, handsome, educated, and kind. We have been dating for a few weeks and I enjoy his company. He makes me laugh and I find myself wanting to write down some of the things he says because they are so clever. He’s a writer, so technically that would be stealing, but I think about it. He is the first man in a while that I have been on a second date with. I may date a lot, but it is with purpose. I don’t date just to date, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own.

I suppose one could say my dating life is somewhat intimidating, particularly if you don’t date much, but I am simply trying. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to keep trying, and when you add a blog into the mix, it can be a lot for someone to handle. I write about what is going on in my life, and I can’t not include something, because that would make me a fraud. I date, think Trump is an ass, am starting to love my empty nest, and have made a choice to pay attention to other people’s stories. That’s what is going on, and so that is what I write about.

I haven’t really been dating much lately because my heart is still a little stunned from the last go round, but I found myself feeling lonely and wanting to try again. I am the most optimistic person I know when it comes to love. If you look at my dating history it would make more sense for me to get a bunch of cats and let go of that part of my life, but at the end of the day love is grand, touch is important, and so I keep trying. Praying and trying, but mostly praying. Praying and vodka. Even amounts of prayer and vodka.

I care about people’s feelings and always appreciate when someone is interested in me. Dating is hard, and exhausting, but it takes someone special for me to invest in for longer than a drink. I like this man I’m dating for many reasons, and some of those reasons are new to me, which is wonderful. I think that perhaps my hopeful, unfiltered, and grown up perspective may have freaked him out because last night he told me I was intense.

I would prefer to be viewed as difficult rather than intense, and it hurt my feelings. In a rather unfortunate turn of events, it made me cry. It was of course mortifying, but it is what it is, and luckily I look pretty when I cry. I would call myself a lot of things, but not intense. I simply do not see that about myself. I am an advanced communicator, and not afraid to say what I think or feel, but that makes me a grown up. I suppose it can be perceived as intense, so I guess I’m going to die alone, with 18 cats.

Important to note I know the definition of intense and while one could say it is good to be intense in some situations, it takes on a different note when said in the context of dating. Unless you are referring to your sex life, intense is not a good word to describe a person in a relationship. I’m not even sure it works in terms of sex. At the end of the day I guess i just think it is an unkind word to use when speaking to someone in a personal exchange because whether or not someone is intense, calling them intense is personal.

He was not trying to be unkind. He is actually never unkind, and was surprised by my reaction, which I felt bad about. I suppose it boils down to being tired. Tired of the dating dance, and while I can certainly cut a rug with the best of them, in this particular dance I have two left feet. Last night made me wonder not only if I had gotten it wrong, but what was wrong with me? How can I be so certain I am being one way, when I am being perceived as something completely different? It must be because I’m so intense!

This man is wise and I value his opinion, so I am left wondering if he was right, and I am intense. It has left me sad, which is sad, because what it means is that in my attempt to be brave in how I approach my relationships, I ended up being someone I am not, which has been interpreted in a certain kind of way, which is horrible. Perhaps I am more embarrassed than sad, but sadness is winning right now, and so I cried and then had a restless sleep. It’s not the end of world, and life goes on, but it is a drag.

As someone who dates, it is hard to face the fact I suck at it. One would think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m not. I’m still trying to navigate the waters of dating, and just when I think I have a handle on it, an intense wave knocks me on my ass. I will recover of course, because I always do, but I wish it wasn’t so hard. It would be a pleasant surprise if bravery could be met with bravery. How refreshing it would be if instead of getting spooked, one would be inspired to also be brave.

I’m not one who thinks “bad timing” plays a role in relationships, but I do think time helps figure things out. It would be nice if we figured this out together because he makes sense to me. We make sense to me. It’s all a crap shoot, and there are no guarantees, so all I can do is live and learn. Every step I take gets me one step closer to where I am going. As for where that is, I have absolutely no idea. I really need to be done trying to figure that out. I just need to walk forward, with my focus on keeping the faith.

Dating 101 – A Poem


He asked me out for a drink.

I agreed to meet after work.

He arrived on time.

I was five minutes late.

He was dressed nice.

I was having a good hair day.

He was the age he said he was.

I was hopeful.

He was the height he said he was.

I was still shorter in my heels.

He had a job.

I was impressed by his manners.

He had hair.

I thought the grey was sexy.

He was missing a bunch of teeth.

I prayed he was a hockey player.

He had never played hockey.

I couldn’t bring myself to ask about it.

He never mentioned it.

I stayed for 46 minutes.

He asked me out for a second date.

I went home to impale myself.

He will find a nice girl with missing teeth.

I will never understand how dating works.

Three front teeth people!

I am jaded, but  keeping the faith.

My New Reality


Last week was the first time in as long as I can remember when my schedule was not dictated by reality television. As someone who has blogged about reality TV between 2 and 5 times a week for years and years, it was liberating and brought me real peace and happiness. I did not rush home to watch a show, I did not interview a reality celebrity, and I did not spend any time with Jose Cuervo.

I went out for dinner with friends, I went on a couple of dates, I spent quality time with my son, and I wrote about my own reality. It has truly been life altering and I found myself wondering why I didn’t retire Keeping it Real sooner. I did not realize how it had consumed my life until I stopped doing it. I watched a couple of the shows I used to write about, and enjoyed them more as a regular viewer.

The most interesting discovery is that while I enjoyed watching, I did not feel invested, or have any great need to watch them again. It is fascinating how important I thought these shows were. Not only are they not important, they are not particularly entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking reality television, I am just viewing it differently now that it is not part of my job.

It turns out my reality is much more interesting than what I was watching. From my dating life, to exploring my faith, to my newly empty nest, to wanting to spend uninterrupted time with my son, my life is reality television worthy. I would never do a reality show of course, even though I have been asked, because some crazy blogger would come and share her unsolicited opinion of me, so no thanks.

Last night instead of watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, I watched 60 Minutes, and I must tell you it feels better. I have not engaged in social media other than to post pictures of sunrises, sunsets, cocktails, and food. It is a whole new world and I am happy. Instead of waking up and checking my Twitter to see the reaction to my blog, I woke up and celebrated the announcement of a new princess.

Keeping the Faith has been a very important part of my life, and she has been neglected due to the demands of reality television. That stops today. I look forward to posting often and welcoming you back into my life in a bigger way. My longtime readers have been through a lot with me, and I take comfort in knowing you are out there, wishing and praying for good things to come for me.

You carry me through. I went back to read Keeping the Faith over the years and it is wonderful to see how many people have come into my life through this blog. People who matter to me in profound ways. I’ve made friends, dated readers, battled hate, embraced love, and defined who I am as a Jew, mother, friend, daughter, and partner.  My life is truly blessed because I am keeping the faith.

 

Dating 101: Don’t Give Up


If you saw the men who have been asking me out lately, you would understand why I have not been dating. I seem to be quite popular these days with crossdressing men. Bless them. When one dress wearing man asked me out I thought it was sweet because he said my profile made him feel safe to share. When the second man asked me out, I was fascinated because it was interesting two men in makeup would interpret my profile the same way. When the third man asked me out and suggested dating him would allow lingerie sharing, I was done.

It is hard to put yourself out there, and some days it is simply too exhausting to even bother with. I date because I want to meet someone to share life with. I am seeking companionship, intellectual conversation, and an active and healthy sex life. I like a man who is educated and articulate. He doesn’t need to have gone to school for his education either. I know many people who never went to college and are brilliant. I value opinions and am drawn to people who have faith. Not necessarily religion, but faith. I’d also like him to not wear dresses.

In an attempt to not visit an animal shelter, I decided I was going to write to someone online. It took me a while to find someone I thought sounded interesting, but I did. He had a good face and I felt drawn to him, so I sent him a note. My mom was visiting so I couldn’t make plans, but I decided to get the ball rolling. He responded, we texted for a quick minute, and made plans to meet for a drink. I met him last night and I was happy to see he looked like his pictures, knew how tall he is in real life, and was easy to talk to. It was a good start.

We met for drinks at 5:30, ordered food at 7:00, and were making out to like teenagers by 9:00. It was the kind of date you hope for every time you put yourself out there. He was charming, funny, handsome, and sweet. He is built like a linebacker and I felt like a ballerina when he embraced me. He is a great kisser and as soon as we started making out I regretted having three cocktails as I worried my judgment would be off. Oy vey with the vodka. I opted to not overthink things and enjoy myself because smooching is great.

I went home happy to have met a man who didn’t make my lower back spasm. There are times when I’d rather stick my hand down my throat and remove my own kidney over dating, but then something or someone comes along to show me I must not give up. When you have a bad date it is hard to get excited about dating again, but when you have a good date, it erases the disappointment of the bad ones, especially if he isn’t wearing a bra and panties under his clothes. (Yes, I checked.)

I am lucky girl. I am also 51 years old and dating, which is both sad and entertaining. It is what it is and I am here to tell you not to give up. For every ten nightmare dates you have, you will have one good one. In my case ten is more like fifty, but it just makes the good ones stand out more. Be brave and keep trying because life is meant to be shared. Go on a date! The only expectation to have is that good or bad, it will get you closer to a keeper. Value yourself, don’t overthink, open your heart, and keep the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pitfalls of Dating German Men


Hayley Alexis at Oktoberfest in Munich

Hayley Alexis has been blogging about Germany ever since she landed in Munich from the US about two years ago. Her YouTube videos about life in Munich have garnered a sizeable following, particularly those about romance in Deutschland.

Like many newcomers, she was enchanted by the type of man who may have justified Hitler’s racist categorization of Germans as the superior race (yes, that was a Holocaust joke). Tall, beautiful, muscular. But unlike Hitler’s Germans, these men are nice, polite, liberal, open-minded and seem to treat women with utmost respect, as equals (although perhaps too equal).

She soon realized that dating German men may be easy on the eyes, but not always on the heart. Through speaking to Hayley and others who have dated German men (not to mention my own experience), I’ve learned that once you scratch the surface of these real-life Ken dolls (oh, come on, let us objectify them for a moment!), the non-German woman may come up against strange behaviors that will leave her scratching her head…and heart.

While these are extreme generalizations (especially since Germans have regional idiosyncrasies), better be prepared before accepting that beer (and not wine, that you will probably pay for anyway).

Be Practical
Yes, the German man can often be like the country’s greatest commodity: machines. This means they run very well, but emotion, sensitivity, and sensuality can sometimes get stuck in the levers.

Hayley, 25, came to Germany after college in Florida for a new experience. Eventually, after “hanging out” with her boyfriend, Mike, for over two years (“hanging out” is often the equivalent of German courtship), they officially became an item.

“We fight constantly because he’s so practisch, ordentlich,” Hayley said over Skype from Munich. “He’s the complete opposite of me. If I put my glasses on the wrong way of the table, he turns it.”

You may notice a small bald spot on the right side of her head. That occurred with one of her German dates. Basically, her hair caught on fire.

“I was staying the night and I said, ‘I hate waking up early in the morning with the lights on.’ So he was trying to be really sweet to me and put candles in the bathroom, and I didn’t want to make any noise, so I bent down and…sizzle….When I told him my hair burnt, he said, ‘It really smells – how are we going to clean this up?’ And I said, ‘What do you mean? I have this bald spot!’”

Yes, getting your hair accidently burnt is not practical.

On the upside, they will always be punctual.

You are NOT fat
You know how when a woman asks her beau if she’s gained weight, he’s supposed to say: “You’re perfect.” Well, don’t expect that from a Deutscher, and that’s not because they’re Deutschbags. It’s just not their style. They could be very direct.

For example, one of Haley’s dates told her he didn’t like a certain color on her.

“’What do you mean it’s not the best color on me? Every color is the best color on me,’” she said. “I think German people are very, very nice, I don’t think anything they do is intended to be hurtful or mean…They don’t have a filter to hold back.”

While they can dish it, they often can’t take it (so apologies if you are a German man reading this), maybe because the modern German cannot be “bad” like their ancestors.

“They hate criticism.” And if you make a Nazi joke, they might take it hard. Or for that matter, any joke. They’re not known for their sense of humor and flirtation skills, so don’t expect banter to flow too easily.

One time, Alexis was in line at the supermarket and a man cut in front of her. “And I said, ‘you did that because I’m black,’ and I was kidding. And he paid for my stuff and said: ‘I’m sorry.’”

Patience is a Virtue
Don’t expect a whirlwind romance. German men tend to be quite calculated and patient upon entering a relationship. After all, it took Hayley and her boyfriend two years to be “defined.”

“It takes forever to say, and he finally said, ‘I think I’m finally ready,” she said.

You might also need to be patient because Germans have tons of vacation days, and courtships might be interrupted with their wanderings in India, Thailand or wherever. They might pop in and out based on vacation periods, or when they have a work deadline, or if they are hanging up curtains.

“I’m going to south Africa for two weeks, I’ll text you then,” Hayley recalls one date telling her.

Sex, bitte?
Maybe it’s because they’re like machines, German men could easily switch off their sex drive. Or maybe it’s because German spas are co-ed nudist spas, so they become immune to the bare breast (then again, what comes first, chicken or egg…).

Click to read Orit’s novel, Underskin, an Israeli-German romance.

“I feel like they can, of course, have sex and they like sex but it’s not a necessity for them,” she said. “My ex [German] boyfriend liked it but didn’t need it.”

Sex, like many of life’s activities, should ideally be scheduled. “Organization doesn’t have good sex. Practical isn’t good sex. Structure isn’t good sex, and to be in a good relationship you have to have sex. They’re just not a sexual type of people.”

You could look like a knockout at a club, and German men may not turn their heads, but it’s not because you’re not beautiful.

“When I go out with American guys I feel amazing. Not a date or anything, but when I hang out with Americans, it’s amazing.”

On the upside, you don’t have to deal with catcalls. On the other, they could make you feel like a nympho.

“I met a guy and we met at six at night and were out until six in the morning together, and we were out partying and dancing, and he said he’ll get a cab home, and I’m like, ‘So we go together?’ And he’s like, “No, so you could go to sleep…” And then I felt bad. Am I that much of a ‘ho?’”

Also, go easy on the touch. With their robotic flair, they could sometimes be shy of affection. Pet gently at first, like a lamb.

“I brought this up with my current boyfriend a long time I go, and I said, ‘I don’t think you like me,’ and he said, ‘I like you a lot.’ And I said, ‘You don’t kiss me in public. You don’t touch me in public.” From then on, he improved.

‘Til Death Do Us Pay Rent
Financial stability and safety are supreme values for Germans, sometimes even above relationships.

“I met so many guys that will ask, ‘Why did you break up with her?” And he’ll say, ‘But I got a new job.’ ‘But did you love her?’ ‘Yes, but I got a new job.’”

These means marriage is a contract they will think carefully about entering into. They won’t be dreaming of that fairy-tale walk down the aisle. They’ll be dreaming of DINK—‘double income no kids.’

Wir lieben dich, egal (We love you, anyway)
To sum it up, as I’ve heard from many women and men who field complaints about German men: they’re weird, awkward, but…

“They’re so damn sexy,” Hayley said. “They really are. They’re so mysterious, and I like that. It’s refreshing to have a guy to make you work, and I guess I like the pain.”

But if you meet them on one of their many vacations, they could also be charming, funny, and even horny. Because sometimes they need to be out of Germany to not be so….German.

And when they’re with you, they’re with you. So you know it’s real.

“At first they’re not interested and they’re not sure they want to be in a relationship, but the minute they change their mind, they’re attached and locked in.”

Case in point: Alexis and Mike’s love keeps growing.

Orit is an American-Israeli journalist and author based in Berlin since 2016. To learn more about dating German men, read Orit’s hot new novel, Underskin, an Israeli-German romance spanning Berlin and Tel Aviv. www.oritarfa.com.

Like Hayley’s Facebook page.

Dating 101 – Siggy Flicker, Mind Reader


I have had a series of relationships with a series of men who were unkind. Not bad people, just unkind to me in the end. I can draw parallels between all the men I have dated, and in the end the one thing that ties them all together, is that I probably loved them more than they loved me. It is a difficult thing to admit, and I suppose a little embarrassing, but it is true. When I fall in love I am all in, and the men I have fallen in love with have never jumped all the way in with me.

I am not sure why it has been this way, but I want very much to change the pattern. Wanting something however, is not enough to make it happen. I’m trying to date outside of box I have built. Maybe if I date a different kind of man, I will have a different result. That is difficult because we are attracted to who we are attracted to, and while my thing has always been to date Jews, at the end of the day I guess I also like to date an asshole. Jewish assholes are my thing.

I have two dates planned for next week. Both are with Jews. One is with a man I met on match.com, and the other one is with a man I have dated in the past. I have written about him here of course, but I won’t mention who it is because I’m feeling unsure about it and perhaps a little embarrassed to be going backwards. I’m simply trying to stay positive, thinking that the new guy might be great, and the old gay might be misunderstood. It was all rather gross, then my phone rang.

It was relationship expert Siggy Flicker, who I know through my blog. She called to wish me a Happy New Year and see how the holidays were. As we were chatting and catching up, I told her I was searching for something more with someone better. Without her knowing what I was thinking about my upcoming dates, she told me I needed to not go backwards and date new people. Then she said I needed to fall in love with a man who loved me just a little bit more than I loved him.

Really? I have no idea how Siggy went into my head to see what I was thinking, but she called me out on the two things that were troubling me. I suppose that is why she is an expert. We spoke for five minutes and she narrowed it down to the basics in a way that frankly freaked me out. When I got off the phone with Siggy I cancelled my plans with the man I dated in the past, and changed my coffee date with the new guy to drinks. I am going to keep my eyes facing forward.

I am 51 years old and alone. Not because I want to be alone, but because at this stage of my life I finally learned that I would rather be alone than be with an asshole. I’m going to take Siggy’s advice and change my dating patterns. I am going to find someone new and not look back. I am going to value myself, and therefore attract someone who values you me in return. I will take the advice of an expert, instead of guessing on my own. I am jumping all in and keeping the faith.

 

Keeping the Faith


I am a regular temple goer throughout the year, but there is something about the high holidays that brings me peace I don’t know how to properly articulate. I love my faith and could listen to my Rabbi give a sermon all day, every day, but there is nothing better than Kol Nidre with Rabbi Naomi Levy.  It is a moving service and I feel like I am in the presence of God on this particular day. Perhaps it is because I am surrounded by such a large group and we are all in prayer together, or maybe it is just because my heart is completely open on this day. Open to joy and sorrow, happiness and heartache. It is a day that matters to me.

I am going into Kol Nidre this year with both relief and fear. Relief to unload the weight of so many things on my soul, and fear about what my life will look like without so many burdens pent up inside me. After a year with so many unanswered questions and trials and tribulations, I have no expectations, but real hope when I go to Kol Nidre services. I simply want to be free. Free of my demons, of which there are many, and free of the busyness in my mind that prevents me from sleeping. I want my choices to be unaffected by cancer, and I want my future to become clear. No guarantees, just clarity after foggy days.

I am not the type of person who looks for guarantees in life. Things happen, both good and bad, and I am a roll with the punches kind of girl. I will think about the last year, thank God for holding my hand through all of it, and pray for the strength to be always be brave, even when I don’t think I can. I shall search for forgiveness, knowing it will come. I shall search for clarity, knowing it will come. I shall ask for sleep, knowing it will find me. I shall envision all of our names being inscribed in the book of life, and I will focus on keeping the faith.

 

 

Dating 101 – Not OK Cupid


I spent the weekend at home. I was dealing with jet lag and fighting off a cold that was trying very hard to derail me. I drank a lot of tea with honey, soaked in the tub a few times, and basically just rested. When I got an email from OK Cupid on Saturday afternoon letting me know someone was interested in me, I logged in thinking a good man might make me feel better.

That was the only mistake I made all weekend. These are the actual pictures of the man who got in touch with me. They have not been altered in any way, other than to delete his face. Yes, you got that right, they are posted online, for all to see, with his face clearly showing. This man is not shy or embarrassed by who he is or what he is looking for. Good for him I guess that he is so comfortable in his own skin, but surely there is a fetish dating site for him to be searching on.

Needless to say, after one week on OK Cupid, I was done.  Dating is a nightmare under the best of circumstances, and this was almost too much for me to handle. Maybe it was because I was tired, or perhaps because I was sick, but I wanted to scream and think I actually may have. I got up today at 4:00 am and the first thing I did was delete my OK Cupid account. Why didn’t I delete it immediately upon hearing from this man? Because my head exploded and I lost the use of my hands for a short time. That and I threw my phone on the floor and was too tired to go get it.

Dear Lord. I am 51 years old, cute, funny, successful, independent, kind, loving, supportive, open to love, and a great woman, yet this is what is available to me to date in Los Angeles? I will remain hopeful, because that is who I am as a human being, but to say this man did not crush my spirit a little would be a lie. In an attempt to shake it off and embrace the midlife crisis I am currently going through, I chopped off all my hair. A bit rash I suppose, but it’s just hair and it will grow back. At the end of the day I will be fine, because I am always fine. When it comes to my dating life however, today it is a bit of a struggle to keep the faith.

Dating 101 – Baggage


Men often say women have a lot of baggage and they don’t want to deal with any drama. I read as much in countless profiles of men dating online. They are very specific about not wanting to deal with the damage of all the men who have come before them. I get it, but if men think it is only women who have baggage, they are delusional. Men are also scarred by previous relationships and it is funny when they insist they are not. Men not only have baggage, but it is much heavier.

I have spent the past week speaking to a man from Santa Monica. He is 61, divorced with 2 kids, and painfully fragile. We didn’t have any interactions that did not include him telling me he did not like what I was saying. If I said something sarcastic, as I am known to do, he would say “I don’t like that.” He spent a lot of time telling me what he didn’t like, what he wouldn’t do, and letting me know he was desperate for acceptance and kindness. It was sad and exhausting.

We spoke and texted for little while, then in what would be our last conversation, he had what can only be described as a nervous breakdown. We were chatting about relationships and sex. I asked him if he was still sexually active, which I think is an acceptable question. We are adults, he is 61, and I thought the question in the context of our conversation was fair and appropriate. He didn’t think so and started to scream at me that he doesn’t answer those questions.

One might of thought he was rude, or perhaps assume he’s dealing with sexual issues, or conclude he has been treated unkindly, but either way it was weird and his reaction was disproportionate to the situation. He was angry, confused, flustered, and embarrassed. This is a man who is carrying around so much baggage he is weighed down and simply walking around in circles. It was strange, then funny, then really quite sad. Needless to say, we won’t be speaking again.

Relationships are hard and more complicated at age 51. Everyone is coming to the table with history, and with history comes baggage. I don’t expect someone to not have needs or reactions based on their past, but I do expect someone to not yell at me, and certainly not approve or disapprove of everything I say. To this man who felt he could yell at me, I hope you take a moment to step back and reevaluate what it is exactly you are doing in terms of your dating style.

I would recommend you focus on your kids and work and not date right now. You are emotionally not ready. The truth is that any woman who is willing to date someone at your level of pain, is equally as unavailable. You’ll end up having a relationship that is unsatisfying for you both. There is nothing wrong with having baggage. We are adults and that is life, just be careful how you pack it. I am continuing to date, doing a little unpacking of my own, and keeping the faith.

Dating 101: Ex marks the spot


I do not have relationships with my exes. I think it complicates things, and have never really understood how people do it. Important to note I define an ex by the presence of love. I have dated men who I cared about and thought that I loved, but there have been very few men who I have really been in love with. Soul cradling love that makes you see the world in colors you never knew existed. I have loved like that twice in my life. Once with my ex-husband, and once with the Englishman.

There are degrees of love I suppose. Differences between loving someone and believing they were your soulmate. A bashert. Someone you feel was placed on earth by God to be your person. My ex-husband is the first man I ever loved. I can remember looking at him when we first started to date and thinking he would be the father of my children. Our courtship was fast we were engaged after only weeks. We were young and in love and I thought we would be married forever.  We weren’t, but we have a child, and so he is my bashert.

Our son is magnificent and truly equal parts of his dad and me. He looks like his dad, but his personality is all me. He has my sense of humor and his dad’s desire to do right by the planet and others. I will always love my ex-husband because he is a part of my child and if I didn’t love him, then what does that mean about the parts of my kid that are just like him? We don’t have a relationship, and haven’t for years. He has a horrible wife who never quite forgave me for being the mother of her husband’s only son.

I feel sad for her and also for him. They blocked a lot of great things for my son by our strained relationship. I’m not blaming them for everything, because I had an equal hand in it, but when push comes to shove and blame must be assigned, my hands are clean. The end of a relationship is tragic for everyone involved and whether you are married or dating, kids are often hurt by the loss. I loved the Englishman in a soul crushing way, I also loved his children as if they were my own.

His oldest child is a remarkable person who has no idea how great she is. His youngest child has the heart of an angel and made me smile every moment we were together. We were building a life together and our children were like siblings. I thought he was the man I’d grow old with.  We spoke of the kids growing up and going off to college, and we would move to England and drink lots of tea. It was great and while we certainly had our share of relationship troubles, he was my person. You can imagine my surprise when he not only broke up with me on Facebook Messenger, but was cheating.

After we broke up I did not see his kids. There were a series of miscommunications, and one day contact just stopped. Not only between me and his kids, but between our children and each other. These two young people, who had woven themselves into my heart were gone. It was heartbreaking because I loved them. Still do. It is strange to have spent the last year in London as I thought I would be living here with him by now. I am not sad to not be with him, but sad for what was damaged.

The Englishman and his children mattered to me. I trusted him with my heart and more importantly, with my son. He broke that trust. Not only broke it, but then shit all over it. He is now living with the woman he cheated with and I hope he is happy. She clearly was able to give him something I didn’t and that is okay. I wanted him to be happy when we were together and I want that for him now. Just because he is unworthy of me and my son doesn’t mean he is unworthy of other things.

I have not seen him in over four years, but today I am flying back to Los Angeles from London and it turns out the Englishman is on my flight. Oy to the vey! He sent me a text last night when he heard we were on the same flight. It was somewhat ominous and threatening to me, but it turns out he thought he was being funny and breaking the ice. Um, no. My heart felt hurt and I did not sleep in anticipation of my flight. I prayed I would not see him. Which is very sad to me.

My heart has healed, and life has gone on, but I can’t help but wonder how things could have been and should have been different. I wonder if he ever really understood how much I loved him. I wonder if he ever really loved me. He couldn’t have known how much I loved him or wouldn’t have done what he did. He could not have loved me, or couldn’t have done what he did. What he did damaged not only me, but our children. My son was a baby when I got divorced, but he watched this break up and what it did to me.

At the end of the day none of it matters. We were together for a short time, a long time ago, and I am fine because I am always fine. In the interest of full disclosure, it is 8:40 am and I am having my second Cosmo. I feel nervous, anxious, sad, tired and ultimately sick as I am dealing with some medical stuff and am emotionally and physically drained. I would have given anything to not have had to deal with this today. Life is funny though and can throw you a curveball.

My father used to tell me I was a wonderful human being. As sit here getting drunk in anticipation of seeing someone I probably won’t see, I believe him. I loved the Englishman in a way people dream of being loved. Our not being together is not a reflection of me, as much as it is a reflection of him. He is blessed to have been loved by me and I am blessed to know I can love like that. My son is picking me up at the airport and I can’t wait to see that beautiful boy. Life is grand, love will be found, and I am keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Dating 101 – Oh. My. God.


My dating life has always been interesting. From my first date with my ex-husband, to all the men who have wandered into my life since, it has always been… interesting. I don’t know if that’s because I’m interesting, because I really am, or perhaps it is simply because I am brave and willing to put myself out there. But interesting is a good thing.

Until it isn’t.

This week my dating life was interesting for a lot of reasons, but I am left exhausted and wanting to get another cat.

I went back online this week, because how else do you meet anyone? I looked around on Match.com and JDate, and was not even a little surprised to see it is all the same people, with all the same photos, saying all the same things. I updated my profile, and put up new pictures, because it has been several months since I was dating online. I don’t think the majority of men got the same memo. Would it kill them to change it up a bit? Ugh. I am back where I started. Whatever.

I got a notification on Wednesday that I received an email through one of the dating web sites. I was happy that he wrote a proper note and didn’t send a passive aggressive wink or simply “like” one of my pictures. I logged in to my account and found the following message, which I have read at least a dozen times to make sure I understood. Important to note I’ve blurred his picture and name, but he wears glasses, is losing his hair, and his name sounds like Barvey.

You really must read it a few times to get exactly how gross this email is. He is 66 years old and his photo is as creepy as his note is. I think it may be in my best interest to get another cat and call it a day on my dating life. I will never understand how someone could possibly think this email is cool to send to a stranger. In what world does this man think this is okay? He is repulsive, and I am offended by his note. It has also somehow managed to hurt my feelings.

Of course, that is silly, because I don’t know him, and he is just a freak on the internet, but it is sad to me. I suppose I could adjust my thinking, view it as funny, and wish this man luck on his search for the woman who will float his boat. But I can’t get there. There is no world where his note to a stranger is acceptable, and there is no world where I would find it funny. Dating is tough, but I am tougher. Usually. It is taking a minute however, to shake this one off. Barvey is a pig and now blocked.

My dating life is always interesting and occasionally sad, with just a pinch of pathetic thrown in this week for good measure. I told my son I was going to die alone with 18 cats. He told me if I have 18 cats I won’t be alone. Why stop at 18 is the bigger question.

I am going to services tonight to pray the stink of Barvey’s email off of my dating life. As we enter the month of Tu B’Av, the holiday of love, I remain hopeful. My remarkable Rabbi, Naomi Levy, will bless me, and that blessing will guide my search. I am blessed to have a lot of love in my life, and am certain I will meet a man to share my journey with. Anyone with the name Harvey is now sadly out of the running, but he is out there and there’s a chance our paths will cross, so I am keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

JSwipe: Navigating love via online apps


Jonah Goldfinger’s past profile on JSwipe. Screen capture courtesy of Jonah Goldfinger

Any single man or woman who tells you they’ve never used a dating app while on the toilet is a liar.

JSwipe is the app of choice for those looking for a Jewish partner, but there are plenty of other swiping apps, including Bumble, Raya, The League and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, Tinder. They allow us to swipe right or left on prospective matches in waiting rooms, at red lights, on bad dates (uh-huh) and, yes, in the lavatory. Basically, anytime we’re bored, we swipe. (Does anyone read books anymore?)

It wasn’t always this way. In the beginning of online dating, there was JDate, and Jewish singles saw it and it was good.

In those innocent, pre-smartphone days, you didn’t log on simply because you had nothing else to do. It actually was a chore to find an online date! It required considerable time and energy.

So you did what everyone else did: You searched for your soul mate on the office computer when nobody was looking.  And you’d have to remember to keep the JDate browser open next to an Excel file that you would click over to when your boss walked by. JDating could simultaneously get you a life partner and cost you your job.

And not everyone had pictures up with their profile! Seriously! Because that often required a scanner that often required a trip to Kinko’s to scan the photo on a 3.5-inch floppy disk that often required uploading it to the internet back at the office computer.

But most striking back then was the stigma associated with dating online. Should an online couple actually go the distance, a friend might ask the obvious question: “How did you two meet?” To which the following dance usually followed:

“Well, we have these common friends …”

“And then I saw her at this party.”

“But he didn’t talk to me until …”

So you met on JDate?

“I mean, yes. Technically? But …”

Not anymore. Today, it’s basically assumed you met via a common right swipe. It’s gotten to a point where we singles feel compelled to clarify if we didn’t meet via an app: “Yeah, we met at a party. No, we weren’t swiping at the party; he actually came over to me! Yeah, I thought it was totalllllly weird but I went with it …”

It’s easier than ever to connect. Take out your phone, swipe, connect, text, go out, swipe again. Thank goodness JSwipe logs old conversations in the app; otherwise, we’d all unknowingly go out with the same person again.

So it is, as Tu b’Av, the Jewish holiday of love, approaches that the question inevitably pops up yet again: Are we singles inundated with too many options?

“The problem with JSwipe and all the other dating apps is the Jelly Theory,” my JSwipe date said between sips of tea at a Coffee Bean one spring afternoon last year.

“The Jelly Theory?” I replied.

“Yeah. See, these sociologists brought out all these different flavored jellies to sell at a farmers market. And they found, when faced with more flavors, more people would stop and look but fewer would buy. But! When they brought out fewer jelly flavors, fewer people looked but actually more people bought jelly! Fewer options equals more buying. There are too many dating options thanks to all these apps. Which is why nobody is settling down anymore.”

One coffee date and we never went out again. She was right, in fact. I had too many other options.

But since when is having options a bad thing? Marriage is a lifestyle choice, not a necessity. And nobody other than maybe our Jewish parents is putting a gun to our heads. So why can’t we be as picky as we want to be? And who cares if I sample every Jewish jelly in America, even if that means I never, ever, ever buy one?

Two months later, I right-swiped on Lisa.

I wasn’t in the bathroom but I was, indeed, incredibly bored. I was sitting at a poker table at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, having a bad run of cards. Tired of folding one hand after another, I finally opened up JSwipe on my iPhone and started swiping. Twenty minutes later, I cashed in what was left of my chips and went to meet my date down the Strip at the Wynn.

She was a pretty jelly. And she was a smart jelly. And funny. She laughed differently and talked differently, and she admitted that, like me, she was bored on this Vegas trip and this was something different. We went out again the next day.

“You know,” I said to Lisa while we watched a basketball game on date No. 2, “no matchmaker would ever set the two of us up on a date.”

“Totally. If it wasn’t for JSwipe, we’d probably never meet.”

And she was right. Lisa was four years my senior. She lived in Canada, while I lived in L.A. We wanted different things. Aside from being Jewish, we had very little else in common. But we were bored, in Vegas, and we had this amazing app at our fingertips ….

I had done enough JSwiping and tested enough jellies to know that this was someone I wanted to be in a relationship with. All of our options made me and her better consumers. My palate is refined. I know what I want.

One year later, I’m happy to say that Lisa is still the jelly to my peanut butter. Now, I just have to find something other than swiping to do when I’m bored. Can anyone recommend a good book?

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