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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 Men Don't 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 demitasse.

* Do not use the following date sling: "bait box" (dating service), "head-on crash" (perfect match/basherte), "chip trip" (computer date), and "debenture" (financially sound)/G'vir).

* 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, "S'iz oys."


Marjorie Wolfe has been happily married since 1958.

~~~~~~~

from the January 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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