Wednesday, June 23, 2004

This weekend I’m going to a singles’ Shabbaton. I don’t know why I bother. I can stay home and be alone and have it come to nothing, or I can spend 200 shekels, get my hopes up, and have it come to nothing. Worse than nothing, because I’ll have made myself vulnerable and been disappointed. And I’ll be out 200 shekels.

There are two kinds of singles’ Shabbatons. There are the ones where the men are so not for me that I just have to laugh. At such a Shabbaton I relax and have a great time meeting the other women, people-watching, and in this case perhaps, improving my Hebrew. I’m not sure this type of Shabbaton is worth the time and expense, but at least I come home with my dignity intact, since I didn’t want any of the men anyhow. I chalk it up to “an experience,” glad that I met new people for the sake of meeting them, and move on.

The bad Shabbatons are the ones where theoretically some of the guys there could be for me, but they don’t ask me out. I spend the whole Shabbat trying to mask my disappointment with a sparkling smile and disarming laugh. This takes a lot of effort. I’ll put on my prettiest Shabbat outfit, my favorite lipstick, and a big smile, and force myself to get out there and talk to new people and be charming, and it will come to nothing. I’m posting this so that in a few days, when I post that it came to nothing, you’ll have proof of my prophetic powers.

There are 3 kinds of women at singles’ Shabbatons:

1. The Veela. These are the 3 or 4 stunningly attractive women who, starting on Friday night, become the object of pursuit for every man at the Shabbaton, who spend the next 25 hours competing with each other for the Veela’s attention. Being a Veela is actually not so great, because the Veela don’t get asked out much. Oh, the men flirt with them. A lot. But then they chicken out about actually asking for phone numbers, because they are afraid of being rejected. And none of the other women want to hang out with them, either; sitting next to a Veela is depressing.

2. The Winners Circle. These are the 4 or 5 women, out of about 30, who will actually get a date as a result of the Shabbaton. Some might be Veela, some might be Wallpapers whose efforts at sparkling and disarming actually worked. Unfortunately there is no way to know whether you are in this category until several days after the Shabbaton is over, though if you are never, by far, going to get in the Circle, you can usually tell by Shabbat morning. By the end of lunch, it’s Game Over. At that point you may as well go home, but you are trapped in a community in the middle of nowhere until after havdala.

3. The Wallpaper.
These are the women – most of the female attendees—who are neither pursued during the Shabbaton nor asked out afterward. In an attempt to gain a spot in the Circle, most of them act the good sports, participating in the activities and, unless they are very shy, talking charmingly with the men when the men aren’t busy with the Veela. They may also spend time avoiding the shlumpily-dressed man who is obviously a good 10 years older than the age limit set by the organizers, and who has an IQ of 80. By seudat shelishit, most of Wallpapers have mentally given up on all the effort and are focusing more on getting to know the other women. For 200 shekels one should at least make a new friend.

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