Seven Things I Learned from Dating R.
1) How to say "conscience" in Hebrew (mahtz-POON)
2) Confirmation of what I've been saying for years:
A man who is not calling, is a man who is not interested.
3) Confirmation of something I have often suspected, and now realize to be true:
If you are constantly making up excuses for a man, and giving him the "benefit of the doubt" . . . he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. No, he's not in a hospital somewhere, comatose, with worried neurosurgeons hovering over him, his cellphone lying useless on a chair next to him. No, he's not too stressed out at work to call you or be nice to you. No, the mean things that he says are not because of cultural differences. It is because the relationship is not working and he is being a jerk. Run away. Far away!
4) I really, really love being an Ashkenazi. Not because of feelings of cultural superiority (believe me, I'm the first to say that whatever cultural "superiority" we may claim to have is in very short supply), but because I really, truly, deeply love gefilte fish, tzimmes, and not taking everything the Rambam says literally. To me, gefilte fish, tzimmes, and not doing everything the Rambam says just . . . say . . . home.
I'd be perfectly happy to date a Sephardi Israeli again. Seriously. But when I mention that I love gefilte fish, the response must be, not a look of disgust, but the following words: Ah! Gefilte fish! A precious delicacy more valuable than rubies!
5) Sometimes, there is justice in the world, if only briefly. When I was 18 and studying in Jerusalem, I was completely befuddled by my many female peers who flirted shamelessly with Israeli soldiers and sometimes even snagged dates with chayalim. Remember, I am notoriously not cool that way, and so I wondered how in the world they did that. Now, 15 years later, my good fortune caught up with me and I dated . . . not the soldier, but the commander. The experience was brief and not, obviously, always pleasant. But a part of me feels that my teenage self has been vindicated.
6) I love speaking in English.
I'd be perfectly happy to date another Israeli who hardly speaks any English. Seriously. But you know what? I love speaking in English.
7) If I can ride a "roller coaster to nowhere" for a few months entirely in Hebrew, my Hebrew must be pretty good! Unless, of course, all this time, when I thought I was saying "R, I really like you. You are smart and funny. Thank you for dinner," I was really saying "R, it seems to me that your liver would taste great with Fava beans." Which, of course, would explain a few things about why I now know how to say "conscience" in Hebrew.