At lunch in Tel Aviv over Passover, Eilon Schwartz brimmed with enthusiasm as he described Shaharit, the Israeli think tank he founded in 2012.
I am back on JDate! (And just in case you’re a Jewish single woman — or the mom/grandmother/parole officer of a cute single Jewish woman looking for a fun, slightly neurotic and mind-numbingly sexy man … my JDate screen name is VICTORSTUART.)
Elyse, 43, is a freelancer for this magazine — but that doesn’t mean she was coerced into being interviewed for My Single Peeps. At least as far as I know. I’ve never met a single person at the office. I write from home. Maybe it’s a tyrannical organization. All I know is she showed up to meet me, and she seemed interested in genuinely finding love.
Jesse is a guy in his 30s whom I’ve been nodding at for years. We’re both actors and we’re often auditioning for the same commercials. We see each other and give a nod, or mumble a hello, before looking at our lines or busying ourselves with something on our phones.
David, 27, seems to be brimming with confidence. He’s got a good, deep voice, and he’s still when he speaks. I fidget. My fingers or toes are generally wiggling, and I shift my position constantly. It suddenly dawns on me — I’m jealous. Why can’t I be as sure of myself?
Francesca, a British woman I’m pegging to be in her 40s, shows up wearing gloves. She seems flustered. She’s holding a notepad full of notes and a Broadway-style hat. She tells me she just reviewed a “Frank Sinatra show” and was inspired to wear a hat.
Tami’s running late to meet me at Starbucks, so I call her to ask what kind of coffee she’d like. “House coffee. Hot.” That’s it. I order my usual froofy drink — any kind of sweetened Frappuccino, usually involving chocolate, caramel or a combination of both.
Most Jewish parents don’t name their child Kristina, but Ukraine — when it was still the former Soviet Union — was very secular. “So my parents just gave me what was the cool, European name of the moment, not wanting to give me some very traditional and typical Russian name like Tanya or Svetlana.”
I met Marcos through my friend Michael. Marcos, who is often standing by Michael’s side, is 6 feet tall with the stance and demeanor of an Israeli bodyguard. He’s not Israeli. He’s 37, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and raised in Houston. And he’s not a bodyguard. He’s a filmmaker. A serious one. He smiles, and he’s amiable, but he’s not silly. I am.
One of Ilysa’s favorite jobs was working at a coffee shop while she was in college. So it was fortuitous that I had her meet me at one to talk. Sometimes when I meet with people, it takes a bit of time for me to get a handle on their personality. Not with Ilysa. She’s nice. She’s personable. She’s never had a job she didn’t like. And she currently has two of them. She’s the youth director at Temple Ahavat Shalom, a Reform synagogue in Northridge. And she works with special-needs kids in a middle school in Van Nuys.
When Jered, 35, first tells me, “I came from a very indulged upbringing, and it kind of put me at a disadvantage,” I start to laugh, because it sounds like something Mitt Romney would say after getting caught for being obscenely rich during the years when his wife claimed they ate pasta and tuna fish in a basement apartment.
I’ve been close with Ari’s sister for years, and the oddest thing about her is that she always has a smile on her face. Married to a self-confessed pain in the ass, four kids at 30, coupled with all the other life crap that bogs everyone down … she still has that smile on her face. And smiles are catching. Like mono, we have no idea how it’s passed from person to person. Just one of those mysteries.
It’s no surprise that a woman who produces mainly chick flicks and romantic dramas would say to me regarding love, “I want Harry and Sally. I’ve been corrupted by a lot of movies.” She amends her statement: “I aspire to that idea but know that someone who can hang through the tough and the real is what I want.”
At 48, Rick is a happy guy. He likes life. He likes smiling. He’s also a bit irritating to be around when you’re exhausted and barely have enough strength to open your eyes after a blink because you’ve been up all night with a cranky 5-month-old and a 2-year-old who’s having night terrors that she can’t explain but that have something to do with tap shoes, swimming and some Spanish words she picked up from the nanny.
A friend of mine told Reuven to contact me. I was told he was a 31-year-old Orthodox Jew who runs Elite Cuisine, a kosher restaurant, with his family. To be frank, I expected someone a little dorky. But he’s not. Reuven’s more reminiscent of Jax from “Sons of Anarchy.” He’s blond, has a bit of a scruffy beard, and has the confidence of a guy who knows he can beat you in a fight. His daily ride is a 1951 Chevy, but there’s no AC so he pulls up in an old convertible — the kind that takes up half the block.
I mentioned to a friend that I interviewed a nice guy today and said, “You might know him. He’s in casting.” When I told her his name, she said, “You’re joking. He dated my mom. I love him.” It turns out that after breaking up, they stayed friends. I can’t think of a better endorsement for the guy.
I like Eric right away for the most shallow of reasons — he’s got a New York accent and he dresses like my father did: jeans, tucked-in polo shirt, tassel loafers with colored socks. East Coast preppy. My father died 20 years ago, but sometimes little things can trigger my emotional memory and I find myself missing him out of nowhere. This was one of those times.
As soon as Robert sits down, his gaze continually shifts from the window to me. I make up reasons in my head: He\'s on the run from the cops. He owes money to a bookie, and they’re coming after him. His partner is outside casing the joint. \"I\'m looking for parking enforcement.\" Illegally parked. I’ll buy it for now.
I met Laurie through another single peep, Katie. They were eating breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast spots, Hugo’s in West Hollywood. Try the El Desayuno Burrito De La Casa. It’s less complicated than it sounds on paper. So is Laurie. She lives in Brentwood. She has two dogs — Maltese mixes. Her ideal is to meet a man and “live on the Westside forever.”
I had a lot of difficulty with this interview. It’s actually the hardest one I’ve ever done, simply because Rob was so difficult to figure out. He’s a grown man drinking soda from a Marvel Avengers reusable cup. He looks lost. A little on the fringes.
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