Food always does such a nice job of turning my head…On topic, when we last "talked," I was fresh off the boat, having made aliyah a very short time before. I was in a heightened state of speculation, completely unsure of what to expect from the Israeli dating playing field, having left the US jungle behind like so many used café hafuch cups.
Now, as I sip my delightful cappuccino (I am now Israeli and frown upon Americano brew), I look back on my cautious optimism as a fond, much older and wiser sage. I was right to have expected many adventures, much fun, a fair bit of alcohol and more than a modicum of confusion.
As it turns out, every week that passes is like a year in ‘Zahava time.’ If I’m sad about some potential whirlwind romance that didn’t quite work out – or should I say imploded in a Sodom and Amorah-like cloud of fire and brimstone – there is no need to worry, because by that time next week, I will have moved on to a deep and meaningful crush on some other lucky soul. This is based solely on intellect, of course.
After all, as I previously surmised, this is the Jewish Homeland, a veritable Candy Land of eligible bachelors that hail from a cornucopia of distant lands.
I must stop here and say that the word bachelor in no way connotes my acceptance of leopard shag rugs, pleather couches or other questionable furniture known to populate the ‘pads’ of single dudes. (Although that image may not be realistic and just be left over from watching one too episodes of 70’s movies.)
Anyhoo! The ironic thing is that while I have been dating up a (non-perfect) storm, every single one of my potential paramours has been Israeli. True, many if not most of them have some sort of Anglo connection, whether it is the result of their having a parent born abroad, some sort of work history in an international capacity, or just living adjacent to Ra'naana/Efrat - but all have been largely Israeli by culture. I would estimate that these lovely male specimens are about 60-75% Sabra, as compared to my 5-10% (calculated scientifically based upon my new Israeli passport and my love of each and every foodstuff produced in this country).
Nevermind the fact that prior to leaving, I vowed to any poor soul in the vicinity that I would never, ever date anyone remotely Israeli (despite moving to a country bursting with them). According to my way of thinking, there was no way in heck we would ever get each other, and we would spend all of our time arguing, rather than eating and gazing into each other’s eyes (eating being my first priority).
Now I’ve found myself being surrounded by Sabras on every side. Nary a South African or Swiss Mister in sight.
As a result, I’ve quickly had to learn Rule #1: Missed call = Voice mail. This took a while, since I was operating under the standard assumption that if no message was left, I could expect a ring back. Not so, as a missed call functions as an acknowledgement that a potential date requested your telephonic presence, and not phoning in return is tantamount to a slap in the face.
Duly noted. Another interesting wrinkle has been the level of, shall we say, attempted physicality. Apparently it is normal for guys that wear yarmulkas to attempt to get quite close to you on the first date, which is completely not my bag. I’m still not sure if it’s a respect issue or mere aggressiveness. Still, it’s hard to reconcile an obviously religious appearance with these actions.
Speaking of aggressiveness, being that Israelis are so blunt, when they, for example, harangue the waitstaff about the specials of the day, it’s hard to know if they’re being obnoxious or just true to their culture. I’ve been schooled my whole life to pay close attention to how a guy treats the waiter. But no one here seems to give it a second thought. Which is why I so often sit there with a quizzical expression on my face when I should be reading a menu of delights.
On the positive side, I always know where I stand. Not only will ‘Izzy dudes’ tell you straightaway exactly how much they like you, they will text you immediately after dropping you off and call you the next day (or in some cases, the next morning) to ask you out again. This approach has scared many an Anglo girl, lending an air of ‘overly eager and potentially psycho killer stalkerage’ to the proceedings. However, after a little bit of time in this medina, it’s become obvious that this is just the way things are done here.
And might I add, contrary to what I’m accustomed to, calling the next day does not mean the chap is completely enamored of you. They can also be issuing you a bulletin that they had fun but you’re not for them, so l’hitraot. Though more often than not, they want to set you up with a friend. (To which I usually say – why not?)
All of this openness has afflicted me with my own ‘Case of the Blunts,’ in a good way I think. I’ve often had problems being fully open about my feelings. Here, the words just flow ever so freely. If a guy says something and I am not 100% sure he means it, I will ask him right then and there if so-and-so is really going to happen, or if it’s just so much lovely language. After all, as I always say, lay it on me! I can take it. And I do handle it just fine.
It’s all been pretty dang liberating.
It’s also been mighty exhausting. Which is why, upon some serious reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to climb out of the Israeli pool and surf the Anglo waters for a while. It will be nice to get a taste of home again.
However, I’m not going to dial down the bluntness (that much). Let’s see how this all works out! I will certainly keep you posted. Until then, I remain your intrepid Girl Friday.