Monday, April 28, 2008

Back to the Rat Race

June 12, 2002

Dear Everyone,

Today, in the latest installment of my “Lives of Poor, Sad, Heroic Victims of Terror ®” series, I will present the following topic: “Mating habits of Victims of Terror”. Okay, okay I am exaggerating. I am not actually mating (and if I were, I really do have enough class not to talk about it in a public email). However, that primal urge to find a mate has raised its head again, and so I have found myself back in the dating game. To tell you the truth, I am not so happy about all this. I wish I did not want to date. When I was in the hospital, I was utterly suffused with the belief that if I never dated again and if I never met anyone it would be perfectly okay. I cannot describe how happy this made me—to think that I was done with being stressed about my love life! What an incredible feeling; it was almost worth going through the bombing just for that. My social worker and my shrink both warned me that 1) this was euphoria, 2) I felt it because I had had a near-death experience and 3) it would pass. Unfortunately for me, they were right on all counts, and here I am, a mere two months after the bombing, looking for men to date.

This is far more difficult than it sounds. To put it mildly, I am not looking my best right now. My face has been healing up very nicely, but my arms, legs and chest are taking their own sweet time and still look really dreadful. I suppose it would help me if I were to wear clothes that cover all of this unsightly stuff up but I refuse and stick to my sleeveless and slightly short sundresses. It is summer, the dresses are comfortable, and quite frankly, aside from the scarring, I look better in them than I have in years. The Machane Yehuda diet plan did wonders for my figure. As for people staring, I have adopted the attitude that if someone is disturbed by the scars that is their problem, and I can and will wear what I please. (It is times like this that my mother’s exhortations to stand up straight and hold my head high really have meaning—I would never be able to pull this off otherwise). Unfortunately, such bravado doesn’t really go over so well with members of the opposite sex, who tend to prefer that skin either be unblemished, and if not that, tastefully hidden. So, in my case, at least, men are not about to ask me out on the basis of physical appeal. If I could knock ‘em dead with my charm that might help, but after a couple of months of extremely elevated stress levels...suffice it to say that charm is in short supply as well. No, the key for me to getting dates is for the guy to neither see nor speak to me until the moment we meet.

Fortunately, there is a solution for people like me: Jdate. Invest a piddling amount of time to set up a profile and voila!—you too can have access to the wide range of fish in the J-date sea I am pleased to report that I have succeeded in snagging a few of them. In the process, however, I have discovered significant differences between the rules of the dating game for Gila the Poor, Sad, Heroic Victim of Terror ® versus those I played by back when I was a normal person. If the dating game was tough to win before, these new rules make it nearly impossible.

So what do I mean by new rules? Well, first of all, I can no longer sit like a normal person. If I did, I would not hear a word the guy says. So, instead of displaying a relaxed, confident yet approachable posture and maintaining direct eye contact, I sit with one elbow propped up on the table and my head angled so that my left ear, which is better, is thrust up and out half way across the table in the guy's direction. This is in the vain hope that this will help me hear whatever it is that he is saying. Then, in order to achieve eye contact, I have to roll my eyeballs in his direction until I am staring at him from the corners of my eyes. This is not a particularly alluring pose. Second, despite the fact that I am not religious and rarely date religious guys, I now dress like a religious person on dates. Even I admit that scars on dates are bad. Where I used to tailor my outfit for the occasion, the guy, or the weather, my primary consideration nowadays is whether all the fleshy bits are hidden. I wear pants or a long skirt and a long sleeved shirt. Sometimes I will be wild, crazy and daring and wear ¾ sleeves. I gave some thought to wearing one of those full face and body outfits that devout Muslim women wear. But that would result in excessive police investigations and I would never make it to the date on time, so I scrapped that idea.

The third and most important change is in what I talk about on dates. On my dates, we talk about one topic: the Bombing. Bombingbombingbombingbombing. This is due in part because I tell the guys before they meet me that I was injured, and so they arrive with a raging curiosity that must be satisfied. (I would not be surprised if some of them agree to meet me because then they can say that they once went out with a Victim of Terror). That being said, I cannot put the blame solely on the man. For the last two months I have been a full-time bombing victim and have spent a good percentage of my waking hours bouncing from doctor to doctor to social worker to speaking engagement to yet another doctor. What else do I have to talk about?

So here's the drill. I go out, I meet the guy, we go through the usual pleasantries, he interviews me about the bombing, we say our goodbyes and I go home. No doubt he sees my enveloping clothes and imagines the wreckage hiding beneath. There are no second dates. At least, that was the pattern until the last guy I was supposed to meet. We had arranged to meet at a local coffee shop. I arrived first and grabbed a table. I had decided on ¾ sleeves, exposing some small ones on my forearms. The guy arrived, walked over to the table and sat down. He looked down at my arms.

“Are these from the bombing?”


He looked at the scars thoughtfully. “Ummm, you know, I really think that zeh lo zeh (this isn’t it)”. How can you argue with that? We stood up, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.

Damn it. Didn't even get a coffee out of that one….

The usual caveats apply:

1) This is from six years ago.
2) My hearing is better.
3) My scars have faded; I can now dress like a whore of Babylon with confidence.
4) Now, the guys do not ask me out because I am a victim of terror. Now they ask me out because I dress like a whore of Babylon! Just kidding! I mean, I could, but this is Tel Aviv. No one would notice….
5) I no longer talk about The Bombing on dates, unless I want to scare someone off. Which does happen from time to time.
6) I talk about accounting instead. It is hard to say what scares them off faster.
7) Jdate still sucks. I still have a membership. Which makes me the worlds biggest freier.


RivkA with a capital A said...

love caveat 6!


The poor, sad, victim of terror thing doesn't scare me.... but the accounting sure does.

Of course, I'm not a guy, so who knows....

(full disclosure: did I tell you that I took a full year of college accounting when I was in high school and enjoyed it??? No kidding)

Baila said...

Can you post a picture of yourself dressed like a whore of babylon? I'd like to see that....

QuietusLeo said...

A whore of Babylon who also knows accounting? Now that's worth a blind date. (I should know, I went on dozens of blind dates when I was a bachelor).

Ahuva said...

I second the motion for a whore of Babylon picture. :P

kleine Maus said...

Accounting?, how exciting, you should get yourself a hobby like bee keeping, origami, art, shooting stray cats, arranging flowers, photography, fishing, there is so much more to talk about.

I did have a girlfriend who's hobby is Icelandic horses, once she told me I did not like horses, being overly social I told her to be wrong, I like them frozen or fried.

Jack said...

I used to talk about that whore in accounting. Uh, did I really just say that out loud. ;)

Baila said...

Can't remember the last time I used the word "whore" in a sentence, Jack. That was excellent. Love it when you think out loud.

Safranit said...

I'm pretty repulsed by guy behavior...

I can't imagine them being so close minded.

If that is all they want is to see the scars, they should be shot...and to think most of them are probably still roaming around Jerusalem...I'd say still single, but that would be cruel to the other single women.

vedaal said...

"[ Now, the guys do not ask me out because I am a victim of terror. ]"

was thinking of setting up a blogger's setup meet

each person who already has a blog, would post their blog address,
and the people who would find each other's blog descriptions interesting, as in
"Wow! I'd really like to meet this person!"
would be able to take it from there and arrange to meet.

The information all the people would have about each other comes only from what the person posted for everyone to see,
and usually much more from the heart than available through any other sites.

i don't know if Hesh (Frum Satire's real name) has it in place yet,
but if you or anyone else think it's a good idea,
he can be contacted at

Jay/Israel said...

You would of been better off finding a man while you were still carrying your scars. That would of meant he was genuine and saw past the skin.
Maybe you still can find that man but try dating men not from Tel Aviv. I think thats half your dilemma.
note: Dont bring up accounting on your dates. Thats a big put off.

Gila said...

Everyone--you all do realize that I was exagerating in respect to my clothing. I do not actually dress like a whore of Babylon.

Though if I ever get the damn diet going, and drop 10 kg, I might start. :P

RivkA-knew you were a kindred soul!

Baila and not a good idea.

Quietus-thank you. :)

Kleine-my hobbies are writing and biking. Does that work?

Jack-I am not the whore in accounting--I am the whore who runs the audit and makes your life hell. Well, not really. I mean, the audit, yes. The whore part, no. Suffice it to say that my life is really laughably tame.

Safranit-That whole episode was rather painful. But I got over it.

Vedaal-I know his site--funny guy.

Jay-Ummmm...apparently, G-d did not agree with you. Had he agreed with you, he would have sent someone who wanted me. It also should be pointed out that at that time I was living in (drumroll please) Jerusalem. And dating religious and traditional guys. The guys there are just as shallow as the guys here.

As for Tel Aviv, well...not too much of a difference from the Jlem variety.

Accounting--also, a bit of exageration to liven up the story.

Ahuva said...

Gila, we know that... but it was too good a joke to let die. :P

kleine Maus said...

But, writing does to me have an aura of being something extreme mothballistic, gardening or something like cultivating bonsai is far more tensional expressive.

By the way, people who do wear these Crocs allways do give me the feeling to be in a way related to a Turtle Ninja.

One of the positive things of a monarchy is the, like today, celebration of her birthday.

kinzi said...

Gila, congrats, you were just my 5,000 the commentor. I see no one who linked to your site from mine commented...

WOW, bittersweet, funny/tragic post. Adds a whole new dimension to dating. Hey, you must already have dozens of 'aunties' looking for a nice Jewish boy for you, but with your permission, match-making dating is my prayer specialty. :)

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Aw Gila,I was just telling this doctor friend of mine yesterday (I SWEAR YESTERDAY) that Israeli women were impossibly gorgeous with crazily good figures (which one sees all too well, given the run of the mill whore of babylon outfits). Frankly, I find it terribly depressing. I mean, what about the rest of us ordinary mortals?