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.