Mom's Dating Rules
By Marjorie Wolfe
My mother, who is 84 and resembles
the late Gertrude Berg (Molly Goldberg), with
her malapropisms: ("It's late, Malka, and time
to expire"), met me at Borders Bookstore. We
were looking for a humorous book for a 'SJF"
(Single Jewish Female).
The titles offered a smorgasbord of goodies:
"Chupah Helper," "Smart Men; Foolish Choices", "Total Commitment," "Real
Bond" and "The Modern Woman's Guide To
Life"--a grownup Girl Scout handbook.
Mom located the recent best-seller, "The
Rules: Time Tested Secrets For Capturing
The Heart of Mr. Right" by Fein and Schneider.
With a 200-watt smile, she read aloud Rule
No. l2: "Stop dating him if he doesn't buy you
a romantic gift for your birthday."
"What nonsense! Nisht geshtoigen, nisht gefloigen. Why our father
once bought me
table pads -- the ones with green felt on one side and the slick
plastic-like material on top -- for
my birthday! And in 1934 he gave me a set of dishes, accumulated from
the Sutter Avenue
movie theater in Brooklyn. In '36, my
Valentine's Day gift was "Gone With the Wind"
bookends. Recently he offered to buy me a
fur coat at The Fur Vault. They were offering
a full refund on fur coats if it snows six inches
or more; 50% refund for three inches. You should have seen him pray for
snow!" she said.
"Malka, listen to Rule No. l9: "Don't open
up too fast. Too many women tell intimate
details of their lives far too soon. The first date
should be short, so you don't say too much."
"What poppycock," Mom said. "On my
first date with your papa, I told him e-v-e-r-y-
t-h-i-n-g. He knew right away that I carried a
K'nippel (money tied in a knot in the corner of
a handkerchief), and that my father called me
"ziskeit" (sweet thing). I told him that my dad
was a kosher butcher and that we'd always
eat well. And I even admitted that my favorite
drink was an "egg cream." The only thing
he didn't know was that my biggest fear was
that I'd be an "alteh moid" (an old maid).
We both chuckled at Rule No. l7: "Don't
accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday."
Why even in the early '50s, we all adhered to
this practice. We'd rather sit home alone--
depressed and pouting--than accept a date late
in the week
By the time we got to Rule No. 35: "Be
Easy to Live With," we had drawn up our own
list of Rules:
* Never accept a second date from a man
who asks the waiter for a "slice" of
* Do not use the following date sling: "bait
box" (dating service), "head-on crash"
(perfect match/basherte), "chip trip"
(computer date), and "debenture"
* Remember the expression, "Meshugeneh
gens, meshugeneh gribenes" - Goofy
parents, goofy children.
* Never spend a first date attending the
Broadway musical, "I Love You, You're
Perfect, Now Change." If you do,
Marjorie Wolfe has been happily married
from the January 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine