Friday, October 2, 2015

You Can Take the Boy Out of the South but You Can't Take the Ass Out of the Hole

Eight years ago, tears streamed down my face sitting in the passenger’s seat of my father’s car loaded with everything I owned, headed west for college. The following four months I spent hours aching for home. Eight years later and the distance between myself and Alabama has only grown, and while the pain has dulled, I know I will forever be heartsick for my home. I can spend hours describing in gorgeous detail why the south was a wondrous, compassionate and inspiring place for me to grow up. It’s this relationship with my region that has my family and friends repeating the phrase, “You need a southern boy.”

Up until last month I agreed with this notion. That was until I met Steven, who was far from Dixie’s number one fan. Prior to our date, I was certain we would have truck-fulls of turnip greens in common. When he opened his mouth, there were no similarities to be found.

Upon shaking hands hello (that should have been a red flag), I commented that I (in a sundress) felt under-dressed in comparison to his suit. A gentleman would have mitigated the issue by telling me I looked nice. Steven was not a gentleman replying, “Yes, well, I have to look nice for work.” (Fine, you think I look like a schlub. You’ll have a lot in common with my mother who would agree.)

Knowing almost nothing about him, he immediately told me everything, which I will summarize here: His parents were uneducated and feared the Lord, which made him cringe. The moment he got the chance to leave the south, he got a ticket to concrete paradise, which he LOVES (said in a sing-song tone). Don’t get him wrong though, there are still areas in the city he dislikes, such as my neighborhood as there is little to do because it’s so dense with families. He’s not about that “party life,” but he likes to be able to hustle right outside his door to shimmy with the ladies. Did he mention that he travels?!?! He tries to take one international trip a year, most recently he’s been to Canada…last year to Mexico. (North America…Fancy!) Finally, he has no intention of ever making the pilgrimage back to redneck land where the women have big dreams of marrying men with small-town aspirations.

After he caught his breath bragging about his self-reinvention, we discussed one thing about me causing him to immediately wave his red flag in my face. “You sound very close with your family,” he said to me. “I’m not. I’m very independent. I don’t see myself ever being keen on rearing children.” Let that first date remark sink in…

How did he go from point A all the way to point Z? I was not asking you to “rear” a family with me. I was trying to carry a conversation along until you finished your drink so I could TTY-Never. And what exactly was he expecting my response to be? Instead of stroking his ego, I did what any southern girl would do. I smiled. I sighed. I breathed in. And then, “Bless your heart, Steven. Should we get the check?” (To my non-southern readers, that’s the polite form of verbally giving someone the big ol’ middle finger.)

Now I knew I would never see him again and while I know the right thing to do would have been to split the bill, but he bragged so much about his success (code: fat wallet…this wasn’t outlined in the above summary but he spoke at length about his salary) and made it clear that a girl of my caliber was immensely below his standards (code: gross, poor and dumb…he said in fancier verbiage), so I let him pay for my drink that I did not finish. I scooted out faster the Forrest Gump making his way to the Alabama End-Zone.

Maybe my NJB isn’t a southern gentleman after all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Second Time Around

My voice carries. So much so that people tell me not to yell, and I have to make them understand that my boisterous volume is my standard tone. Along with missing the demure gene, I didn’t develop an ability to be cripplingly embarrassed. I also am one of the maybe five Jewish girls in Manhattan from Alabama. My hair also grows outward as opposed to lengthening, which is a rarity in New York where most Jewish girls apply extreme heat to their curls. All this to say, if a boy doesn’t remember my amazing non-award-winning-but-my-family-says-spectacular personality, the above should help ring a bell.

I have been called forgettable twice in my life, and only once was a drunken mistake…by my father (one too many complimentary margaritas at the hotel happy hour after depositions went well in Arizona...) The other time happened in the middle of this story:

Rahul (I’m using his real name. To H-E-Double Hockey Sticks with anonymity in this great big world anymore!) had it almost all, the part missing of course was actually wanting to like me back. Ever looked someone in the face and seen the Indian male version of yourself? This probably only happens one or two times in life, but it was as if I was enjoying my personality for the evening. It also didn’t hurt that I could check the boxes of smart (Princeton Grad) and cares about social justice (spent a year in India volunteering).

That evening in August of 2013, I called my best friend from home to tell her I had met my match and wished on every star in the sky that he would contact me. When he did, I was in such shock that a boy like him could like a girl like me (not fishing for compliments; every girl has thought this before…stop making that pity face at your screen.) It didn’t take long for us to plan a second date. It also didn’t take long for him to make like a hay stack and “bale” on that date. When I reached out for alternate plans, I was met with “the sound of silence.”

FAST FORWARD to March 2015

I received a message on the same dating site I had originally met Rahul on. To my surprise, it was a message from brown sugar himself. After politely shaming him for his fade away as well as forgetting me, we decided on a do-over.

Let’s take a timeout: My profile, in both cases, described me as an Alabama-Football-Loving-Southern-Jewish Girl. Again, there are maximum five of us in Manhattan, so he had forgotten me. (Bad memory for an Ivy Leaguer)

As the writer of this blog, I was thrilled to have this happen. My sister and I were the only ones who saw this as a potentially great love story (but I guess there lay my problem, writing the ending before there’s been a beginning).  We went on a few more dates with the wittiest of witty banters in between, filled with sarcasm and stuffed with intrigue(at least for me…my parents were massively less than thrilled that my newest interest was still not Jewish Charming.)

No worries though, Second Time Around, as my co-worker nicknamed him, has no happy ending. Two hours prior to a date I planned on a Sunday afternoon, a half hour after I showered and shaved my legs with a brand new razor (WASTE!), an hour before my sister and brother-in-law went on the date I planned, and nine hours before I lay in my bed asking the worn out question, “What’s so wrong with me,” Rahul texted to cancel with a probably false excuse of having to go into work. He asked to reschedule. I told him I understood. I never heard from him again.

I guess it’s true what they say: Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice… this was a blessing in disguise because a Rahul isn’t my NJB. And the search continues.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Excuse me?

An ode to the boy who told me my job could be accomplished by formatting an excel file:

Ross seemed like a nice boy from the looks of it: nerdy, tall, possibly Jewish with a Christian father. But as of late, I have learned my judgment in boys is far from taking first place. When he asked me for drinks, I thought, “Sure, why not?” When he scheduled them for 8:30pm on a work night, I thought, “This is actually around my bed time, but I guess.”

He promptly arrived at 8:45pm, and I had been sitting at the bar alone since 8:25pm because of my severely-anxious, on-time personality. After he sat down without apologizing for being late (Five minutes, fine. But 15? On a work night? At least acknowledge it.), he proclaimed, “I don’t really know much about alcoholic beverages.” (Excuse me while I choke on my cider, but why did you suggest meeting at a bar?)

After discussing if he should eat the orange garnish on his Blue Moon or let it soak in his drink, he went on to tell me how he graduated from the University of Virginia. He told me about how he likes to watch polo matches. I heard  all about how prestigious his university is and all of the high class activities he participated in (…alcohol free obviously…doesn’t sound like college.) So I told him my brother-in-law went to Cornell, and then paused for a moment to state, “I think that’s an actual Ivy.” (Seriously, you’re not impressing me by bragging.)

We quickly moved on to talking about where we called home in the city. After he made fun of my elevator apartment building (with dishwasher!) being right on the 2nd Ave subway line construction, he hesitantly told me he crashes on his grandfather’s pull out couch in Union Square… There is no shame in saving on rent, but at 27, you shouldn’t be shacking with gramps on a pull out couch. At least you shouldn’t have the gumption do that while making fun of my apartment that I pay for myself.

But my dear readers, it does not end there. At 9:07, we began to talk about work. As a media planner/buyer and as most of the world, I deal with excel charts, but my job as a whole could not be done by an excel program as Ross simplified it, “So, your job is basically an excel file?”  As I began to defend my job that pays for my self-sufficient lifestyle, he began to laugh, “I didn’t mean to offend you.” (Did you hear what you said? Did you think it was appropriate?) I asked about his job, which had something to do with airport efficiencies, but what I mostly got was that after six weeks on the job, he hated it. At 9:17 I excused myself to the restroom with a sigh, “I’m glad I love my excel file job that I have a few  years of experience in.” (Did I mention he just finished grad school and this is his first real job that he is about to quit?)

When I returned, I threw down cash for my drink, shook his hand and headed in the opposite direction of him…unfortunately the opposite direction was away from the subway, and it was raining.

I’m starting to think maybe I should just be an NJB for myself…

Monday, February 17, 2014

He Was From Iran So...I Ran

If I had a penny for every time a boy called me crazy, I would at least be able to afford all of the dinners my dates have not paid for. Up until this month, I believed I was the epitome of this “C” word. I believed that my obsessive and compulsive behavior was supremely abnormal, but luckily I was proven wrong by a crazy Jewish boy whom I will now refer to as CJB.

THE BACK STORY: I met CJB at a Havdalah happy hour for people in their 20s. The truth is, I went to this event trying to meet people who would take me under their wings and volunteer to be shul buddies (in short, I was looking for some funny girl friends). However, I was approached by an Iranian Jew. After speaking for approximately five minutes, he instructed me to give him my number…(Who does that? “Let me have your number.”)

I received a phone call three days later when he asked me on a date. “Sure,” I said, my tone unenthusiastic because I spent half of the 20-minute-conversation asking him to repeat himself due to the thick accent.

On a first date usually conversation is light. Conversation is easy. Conversation is breezy. Conversation is basically CoverGirl. On this first date, he told me his Dad passed away. (I am not by any means making a joke of someone dying, but what does one do with that information from a practical stranger?) I awkwardly danced around this topic and kicked myself every time I said something about my father, which seemed to be more frequent than any other date when I have barely spoken about my parents.

The date was fine enough to agree to a second date, but with friends in town, I wasn’t willing to give up a significant portion of my time to someone who probably wasn’t going to be in my near or far future. So I suggested coffee and a walk in the park.

As he dropped me off at my Metro stop, he told me the more time he spends with me, the more he likes me. I paused, taken aback by this statement. On both our dates, I was bored. I wasn’t able to make one joke. His serious nature made me uncomfortable, and I was forced into being some polite version of myself that I only sport around my parents’ friends. I confusingly thanked him, and he tried to schedule another date to go grocery shopping, which I laughed off and scooted down the stairs. (Why would I take you grocery shopping with me?)


A few days later I receive a call from CJB at 10pm, a time when I informed him I would not be available. (I am true believer in the courtesy 9am/pm rule…no calls before or after unless it’s an emergency.) I didn’t pick up. He called again the next night even later at 10:30pm when I was already in bed. At this point, I wasn’t ignoring him, but I also wasn’t following up…He didn't leave a message to call him back like my voicemail instructs.

In the morning I woke up to this disgusting text (Note for context, I work in advertising on the Duracell account): “I don’t hear from my sweet Duracell Bunny these days! Is everything alright?!”
 No. Gag me. Gross. No. Ugh. What? Are just a few thoughts that went through my head.  The next morning he texted me saying he saw me tweet and that the silent game was over, and that “[I] think the silent treatment will work, but [I] will speak!” Two minutes later he texted telling me I was a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing…super poetic.  

Gathering my thoughts as any sane lady would do I took the day to figure out how to politely tell him my interest was on the decline, “I’m really sorry for my lack of response! I’ve been trying to come up with a polite way to say I don’t think we are compatible. I’m sorry if I’ve led you on or made you upset.”
In response, I got the email below:
“It's good that you decided to respond because I wanted to call your father tonight to ask him teach you some life lessons which would prevent you from remaining single for the rest of your life. It isn't your fault that you couldn't come up with a polite way of expressing yourself because you don't seem to have much dating experience (if any), and I think you didn't even care to say anything. I'm not sure when you came to the conclusion that we aren't compatible but regardless, unless something really strange happens between two people who are dating, it would be almost impossible to judge each other after just one date, which I think was pretty fine (or two, if you can actually call that rushed walking in the park a date!). You said you would be free on Saturday to go the NFL event because I wanted to have fun together instead of just dry conversations but instead you made plans with your friends and didn't even have a second to sit down! This rude behavior made me both surprised and uncomfortable but I didn't take it personally because I understand that things can happen. You always (especially after the first date) said that you're really enjoying it, etc., and that you want to do it more. So understand that your actions were very abnormal. You really need to work on yourself. Also, if you were dating multiple guys at the same time to eventually find the ‘right’ one, this is a huge mistake. You should avoid it. Try to understand these because they will really benefit you.


Since I felt it was much too cruel to respond to his email, I will respond here to my readers:
1. You actually think my father wants me to date someone who thinks a man can tell me what to do and how to behave. He would be glad I discontinued communication with you.
2. I have dating experience, which you can see in my blog. You should have been able to read this all when you stalked my twitter out.
3. It wouldn’t have been dry conversation if you had asked me about myself or talked about something aside from school.
4. We weren’t dating. We went on two dates.
5. Of course I am going to spend time with my friends from out of town who I never see over you because I have a pre-existing relationship with them.
6. It’s fine to date multiple people at once. It’s an efficient use of time.
7. Let’s take a look back at 2. I have this blog, and you know about it. What were you thinking, you crazy human being?

And boys think girls are the crazy ones? Hoping I find an NJB who isn’t crazy and who understands my neuroses are quirks rather than a bout of mental instability.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do you want Coke with that?

Where I am from we question the word “coke.” Does she want a Coca-Cola or did she want all twenty-three flavors in that Dr.Pepper? Never did I imagine looking up from a text message and begging the question, “Is he referring to the soda or the drug?”

“I’m so tired,” The text read. “I can’t decide to get a coffee…or coke. Lol”

To be honest, I should have known anyone making a joke about doing a drug to a practical stranger, probably wasn’t making a joke. (I should have also gone with my intuition of repulsion to the use of “Lol.”) Instead, I channeled my sister’s constant advice to “just try.” (Note: I am no longer a fan of taking my sister’s advice.) 

On our first date, everything seemed normal. He was the typical Jewish boy: Exactly one inch taller than me, a case of the nasal voice and had a strange sense of entitlement. So obviously it was good enough to warrant a second date. 

On the second date, this Cali Non-NJB talked about the crazy parties he attends. Fine. He bragged about his medical Marijuana license. Fine. He then told me about the last party he attended where there was an area dedicated for attendees to enjoy Coke…and he didn’t mean soda. Nope. NOPE.

After leaving the restaurant, he suggested we continue the night in my apartment, and I suggested he go home.  Unfortunately…very unfortunately, my suggestion fell on deaf ears. He put his arm around me while walking, and I was forced to put my arm awkwardly above his and around his shoulders since my short wedges put me in the awkward position of being taller. 

Finally, standing outside my apartment, could it be? Could the date finally be over? Wrong! He went in for the kiss. Now, I have had my share of bad kissers. Hell, I’ve probably been someone else’s bad kiss. But this, my dear reader, this was a kiss to give you the heebie-jeebies.  The only way to describe this unwanted interaction is to equate it to the limp fish handshake…I was left questioning if his lips even did anything.

When he texted to ask me on a third date referring to me as “Baby,” I told him there were issues I was uncomfortable with so it was best to not continue. When he asked what the issues were, I politely told him that marketing himself as an NJB on our first date was falsifying information.

With that I continued my search for an NJB who is a fan of the soda and not the drug.

Friday, July 12, 2013

B is for Brave

When I was 10, I was guaranteed that everything gets better. My pre-teen hardships and burdens would ease, and my 20s would be a decade when I come into whoever I am supposed to be. This is what was promised to me by every adult, all coming of age books and my guidance counselor who lectured me on the importance of wearing a bra. It was the piece of truth I held onto at each obstacle I faced.

One day the beloved jock would change the oil in my car, and the mean girl who seemed to have a breeze of a time would have a reality of 16 and pregnant without the fortune and fame of MTV. I was confident that my success would skyrocket in my 20s. I would be so great the girl who called me a “slut” at 15 (when I hadn’t even kissed a boy) would regret using that four letter word and beg for my approval. I looked forward to dating because it was going to be easy. I was excited for my 20s because at 12 my reality seemed heartbreaking, so much so that there was no other way for it to get than better.

This is what I have been thinking about all month, who I was and who I am now. After journaling my most private thoughts I have come to the revelation that, if I could go back and do it all over again, if I could change who I was, shave off weight, tame my hair, learn that concealer was meant to be blended into the skin and not dabbed on in an extremely apparent way, I wouldn’t change a thing. Because, damn it, I was braver than any person I knew or have ever known.

As I learn what it takes to be an adult, I wish I could channel exactly who I was at 11. Today, I consistently hold everything I feel and think inside never exposing it to the appropriate parties. Why bother? She won’t care that she hurt me, and there is no chance someone like him could like me. I find myself being mean and judgmental to those who are mean and judgmental toward me because you don’t get to be an ugly human being without reciprocation.

But at 11, I dialed Walker Mason up. I told him I liked him, and asked him what he thought about me. When I was rejected, I went to computer class the next day and asked him to help me beat the next level of Snood. There was nothing awkward or uncomfortable about having expressed my feelings.

When Karen Keefer told the entire sixth grade class of girls that I was a Lesbian, I invited her to my birthday party, and I gave her a Valentine. As long as I kept being who I wanted to be (nice and smart and expressive), I was able to get up every day and look forward to the next because it got better. If I were then who I am today, I wouldn’t have asked Walker if he could fathom liking me, and I would have never dressed out for P.E. in the girls’ locker room ever again. I was brave.

So at 23, why is it so hard to ask someone if they like me back? And why do I feel the need to be mean to someone who thinks I’m not good enough. Whoever I like probably cares more about me and fostering a friendship with me if he doesn’t like me than Walker did. He still helped me over the 7th level slump. What’s so scary now? I am not facing a lunch room of 300 kids who repeat and believe everything they hear out of one person’s mouth.

I’m learning more and more that I want to be the chubby 10-year-old mathlete. She was brave, and she didn’t know it then, but she had confidence. Her denim overalls might not have been the best, but she is a role model to her future self. I want to find an NJB who will fall in love with that girl, because as far as I am concerned, she was pretty amazing.  As my search for my NJB continues, I want to find the one who sees that NJG in who I am today.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Have the Best Dad Ever

My freshman year, I thought I got a failing grade for a class I dropped. When I got home for Summer Break and saw an "F" on my grade report I stopped being able to breathe properly. In fact, I couldn't breathe. I was too busy hyperventilating and contemplating my life as a garbage woman.  My sophomore year of college I got a "C-" on my first test in a Law class that I needed to graduate. I curled up on the floor creating a  steady stream of saltwater trailing down the hall in my sorority house. My dreams of being a lawyer were coming to a crashing end. My junior year, when my professor made an example out of me by yelling at me in front of the entire class, I scream-cried all the way back to my apartment and collapsed on my bedroom floor. My senior year, when I felt betrayed by my beloveds, I sat through Mission Impossible stuffing my tear stained face in a huge tub of popcorn.

The one thing all of these moments had in common, besides my never-ending tears? My Dad. When I couldn't breathe, when I thought one grade had surely done me in for a life as a Walmart greeter, when I thought there was nothing more horrific that could happen to me than taking a public shaming in front of 43 of my peers, and when I thought I was unworthy of friendship, my dad came to the rescue with some wise questions. (And when that didn't work, he gave me popcorn...)

Are you sick? Did you hurt anyone?  Tomorrow, will you wake up? 
​So, the way I see it, this is far from the end of the world. (He clearly never had four girls ignore him at once...he also never made a bad grade in his life.)​ 

My Dad didn't know it then, but he was teaching me two things that no amount of school could ever teach me. 
The first,
​ which I think every person should fully understand, is that there actually is more to life than a stupid mistake, an embarrassing moment, or a silly fight. If it's not a learning experience, it's a story to look back on and laugh about. Sometimes we have to make mistakes and disappoint ourselves to be able to get to better experiences and opportunities. If I hadn't gotten that awful "C-" I never would have understood how to frame and articulate my thoughts. If I had never been ignored, I probably wouldn't fully understand how lucky I am to have people in my life who care about me even if I don't always seem to do the same for them. And if you can't learn from it? SO WHAT? It's not like you did something so bad it's irreversible and uncorrectable (I am aware this is not a word...I just can't think of the proper word).

The other end of the equation that my dad taught me about? That I want to surround myself with people just like him. Out of everyone in my life, he is the one person I can count on to unwind me from my uptight state of being. He has a logical sense about him paired with a childlike sense of humor that makes him the perfect Dad and perfect husband to my mom. (Sometimes his humor can be more than I bargain for, so  my mom is pretty stellar for handling it.) I would be silly to not recognize that his calm, methodical and happy nature is exactly what I, and every girl, should be looking for.

So on this Father's Day, I want to thank my Dad for being the best man I know, for always pushing me to be better and for being there for me when it feels like the world around me is ending. My Momma sure hit the jackpot with that NJB. Here's to hoping there is someone with the same qualities my dad has on my search for my NJB.