Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hints from Ellie-oise: Ellie's Guide to the Jewish Male

I preface with a correction. In an earlier post, I explained my basis for considering my friend Ellie to be A Woman of the World. As follows:

However, not only did Ellie live in Manhattan for many years, she also owns at least one pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes—the same type of shoes favored by the women of Sex and The City.
Ellie has since pointed out to me some serious errors in the above statement. First, she owns not one, but several pairs of Manolos. She also owns a few pairs of Jimmy Choos and a lot of Prada. So she is truly a woman of the world—she just wanted to make sure that her qualifications were properly established.

Last week, I published the post: Male, Female and What's-His-Story He Created Them, in which I described a fascinating (if highly irritating) third gender found wherever there are Jewish singles. In the comments to the post, a few men suggested that my account was, shall we say…a bit one-sided? And that there might be a female version of this creature—a What's-Her-Story, if you will. I suggested that perhaps one of the men would be so kind as to serve as a guest blogger, and elaborate on their theory.

So far, none of the men have taken me up on my offer. Ellie, however, did. In her case, she was worried that my account was not detailed enough. The What's-His-Story is only one of the many Jewish male varieties. The Jewish female needs a lot more information in order to safely navigate the dating world. Ellie has nobly offered to share her hard-earned wisdom, the theories she has developed over years of Living in the World, with the masses. Accordingly, we present yet another public service announcement: Ellie's Guide to the Jewish Male.

1) Jewish Gay: Not really gay and possibly not really male. Definitely Jewish. His male organs are strictly window dressing. Admit it—you know the type. He's got millions of women 'just-friends'. He never seems to have a girlfriend. He never seems to ask anyone on a date and if he does, it is a just-friends date. [Definition is 1) no touching, EVER and 2) they go dutch]. He has an extraordinary ability to squeal and giggle.

As an illustrative example, Ellie described to me a series of outings she once had—over the course of a few months— with a man she knew from shul. The meetings were often mid-day and on several occasions, the man brought another female friend with him. They always split the check and the entire relationship was strictly platonic. Ellie, naturally, assumed that they were just friends. It was only after she started dating another man, and the first man disappeared off the face of the Earth, that she realized that, in his mind, they were dating.

My question to Ellie: what differentiates the Jewish Gay from a What's-His-Story? Her answer: not too much. The key difference is that the latter gives off the impression of being interested in you. They flirt and so on—they just never follow up. Jewish Gays really are just friends.

2) Jewish Really Gay: He is really gay but he is really in the closet. We all know some.

Ellie does wish to emphasize that the "Jewish Gay" and the "Jewish Really Gay" should not be confused with normal, well-adjusted Jewish men who happen to be homosexual and who are secure in their identities and all that.

3) Commitment-Phobe: Just what it sounds like…but with one caveat. Even the most commitment-phobe man might have an epiphany somewhere between the ages of 38-41…generally 39-40. The trigger is the big four-oh. At that point, he might decide to put his bullshit on the back burner long enough to meet a woman, fall in love, get married and have a couple children. However, if he cannot get his act together, forget it. He is done. He may or may not spend the next five to six years whining about how he cannot meet the right girl, but really, he is done.

To clarify—the type whining Ellie is referring to here is what she calls "Seinfield-whining". For the non-TV savvy (like myself) Ellie defines Seinfeld-whining as: "stupid shit". For example, "she doesn't chew her food well" or "she doesn't use the right toothbrush". In short, the man breaks up with her for no reason at all. Here as well, Ellie provided an illustrative example. A man she knew broke up with a woman after a 10 month relationship. The reason? He decided that he did not like the way she smiled.

4) The Cohen: Commitment phobia with a twist. Like the standard Commitment-phobe, the Cohen's shelf-life is also until about age 40. However, unlike the run-of-the-mill, non-priestly Commitment-phobes, the Cohen does not have to fall back on Seinfeld-whining to justify his lack of staying power. His commitment phobia is all for the sake of a Higher Power. For those of you who are not Cohen-savvy, a Cohen—a member of the priestly class—cannot marry a divorcee, a convert or a fallen woman who has had sexual relations with a non-Jew. Unfortunately for the Cohen who misses the moment of epiphany, he really and truly may find himself shit out of luck because the older a man gets, the harder it is to find a woman who meets the standards. (Per Ellie, some of these men institute a "don't ask don't tell" policy in respect to the non-Jew boinking).

Please note that these limitations do not stop the Cohen from dating these ineligible women. He will enjoy their feminine charms, all the while proclaiming that he just cannot seal the deal. To his credit, Ellie reports that the Cohen tends to be very upfront and honest about this. (This is as per Ellie's interactions with Cohanim, though she has not actually dated any). The problem is that we women want a Hollywood ending and choose to believe that of course he will change his mind about this once he falls madly in love with us. He can't, and he won't. Moral: if he says he cannot marry you, believe him.

5) The Pathological Liar: The Cohen's evil twin. Unlike the Cohen, who is honest about his intentions, the Pathological Liar will lead you down the garden path. He says he can, he will and he wants to…but then has no follow up. I asked Ellie if this were not the same as the Commitment-Phobe? Her response: not exactly. A Pathological Liar has to be, by definition, a Commitment-Phobe, but a Commitment-Phobe is not necessarily a Pathological Liar. Put differently, the Pathological Liar has a PhD in fucked-up-ness while the Commitment-Phobe only has an MA.

[For those interested in this track, the Open University is now accepting applications for the fall semester].

So, with all this fucked-up-ness running rampant, how does one recognize a good man?

ALL those men are good men…just with a fatal flaw. Because—and Ellie asked me to emphasize this—she does not believe that all men are assholes and jerks. Apart from the Jewish Gay series, who never start at all, both the fucked-up good men and the non-fucked-up good men start off great. The difference is that, while the non-fucked-up good man has staying power, the others, due to their tragic fucked-upedness, simply cannot keep it up. And in this case, Viagra simply will not help.

So remember Ladies: It really is them, and not you.

And Gentlemen: Since I believe in equal time, my offer to host a male guest blogger who can present the male point of view remains open.


Anonymous said...

Such a great post, Ellie and Gila! LOVED it!

e.e. said...

I am highly amused as usual by your postings, observations and categorizing. I do however, have some comments.
As a feminist, I don't let men pay for me on dates, unless it's my birthday or some other, better reason for celebration:)
I do draw the line at actually paying for the guy (unless it's his birthday, or some better reason etc…). To the annoying question, "If you're such a feminist, when are you going to take me out for dinner?" I answer "When I make your salary".
Two, about the hottie issue – why on earth would you want these idiots to beat themselves up about what they missed out on, based on LOOKS alone? (OK, I know it does count, but still there are other factors).
My cousin is a Cohen. The !@##$%&&* idiot let a wonderful woman slip away due to family pressure. What a chnoon*!! [*Wimp in Hebrew slang]

Anonymous said...

Loved it!

Sarah Likes Green said...

great post :)
wise, very wise.

if only i'd been more aware of these things before i started dating (for longer than i should have put up with) a commitment-phobe.
(who is approaching 40 so wait and see which direction he chooses...)

RivkA with a capital A said...

e.e. -- I think the word you want is "dweeb"

A "chnoon" is a geek or a teacher's pet. you know, the kind of kid who has no social life because he is busy doing extra credit homework!

Unknown said...

Gila, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the male answer to your post.
For one, I don't think that there even exists a female counterpart for whatshisstory. I think that 99.99% of women are commitment-bound. It probably has something to do with that maternal instinct thingy that makes most of you want to make babies. The other 0.01% are, apparently, "damaged goods" (I just know I'll be catching some heat for that one) in some way. Or maybe not. How the hell would I know? You all mystify me and 100% of heterosexual males. And I don't, for one minute believe in those "Don Juans" who have all the women they can handle. They have "moves", but not real understanding.
Don't get me wrong. I really like women. I think that woman is the greatest thing since the invention of bread, and maybe even before that. It's just that we completely don't get women. Don't follow their train of thought. Have no friggin' concept of what makes 'em tick.
And you know what? It's probably better that way. Sure, it would make getting into, and maintaining, relationships much easier. But at the cost of overwhelming boredom.
(If this is worthy of a guest post, please feel free to copy/paste).

e.e. said...

RivkA - the term chnoon may be applied more broadly, some of them do actually have social lives, but have other fatal flaws (over-attachment to their Mom is just one example).
The term chnoon has also evolved to the newer "chnana", and of course there is also the word "chmar".
But I guess "dweeb" will do too.

e.e. said...

QuietusLeo: I won't bother to comment on your commentary.
As far as the facts are concerned, I'm not sure that the percentage of women that don't want kids is0.01%; there are also differences between societies (more willingly childless women in certain European countries than in Israel, for example).
If you read Hebrew, see this Tapuz forum - women that don't want children:

Tzipporah said...

Wow, ALL those shoes? Ellie clearly knows her stuff...

I nabbed a Cohen, AND I'm a convert. Wish I could figure out how I did it and write a book, but then the RCA would probably issue a fatwa on me, and, you know. Oh well. ;-}