I am named after Jesus Christ, the savior of the Christian world, so naturally I tried to find a husband on J-Date.
Don’t look at me like that. I like a challenge.
I found myself reminiscing about my stint on J-Date, which is best described for anyone who doesn’t know, as Match.com for Jewish singles. I fit exactly half the criteria. I was single. The Jewish part? Well, I was willing to learn Hebrew (I was a wiz at Spanish), and I hated ham, so I let my friend who had recently married a great Jewish man put me on J-Date.
She posted a picture of me that was a close-enough approximation of my Irish-Catholic face. She answered the questions on my behalf. She conceded that I did not keep kosher (apparently simple ham avoidance does not make one kosher) and that I was not exactly Ashkenazi. While she filled out my profile, I played with her daughter, while weeping uncontrollably about being lonely on Saturday nights.
She also picked out a profile name that was religiously ambiguous. Something like “Not a Shiksa.” I can’t remember. Details are fuzzy.
The next day I got a few emails from nice gentlemen who had seen my new profile. We chatted over email. It was just like my previous stint on e-harmony without all the questions about my stance on pre-martial sex or my favorite New Testament Bible verse. I “met” a baker and a diamond broker (cha-ching) and a lawyer or two. It all went so well.
Until they learned my name.
“So, what’s your name, Not-A-Shiksa?”
“Your name is Christie?”
“Yes, like ‘Christ’ with an ‘i’ and an ‘e.’”
“Well, I am looking for a Jewish woman. I don’t date women who aren’t Jewish. That’s why I am on J-Date.”
“Why are you on J-Date, if you don’t mind me asking?”
And that’s when I would usually sob and pour my heart out to the sweet mensch on the other end of the phone who asked a perfectly valid question, but got a perfectly long-winded, pathetic answer about my loneliness, my friend’s new Jewish husband, and how I had heard that Jewish men are always nice to their women. “Oh, and my therapist is Jewish,” was a line I started throwing in because I heard Jewish men like honesty. And therapy.
“Well, good luck to you, Christie.”
How many times did I have that conversation? Probably about five. Per week. Every single time it felt like rejection, which it was, but it started to feel less personal each time Marc or Barry or Jonathan said he would pass on dating me because of religion. I told one suitor (I called them my “Jewtors”) that I was willing to convert to Judaism, but he said, “it wouldn’t count.”
Maybe it was weird to offer to convert before even meeting Neil, but I had a good feeling based on the grammar in his emails and the polite way he answered the phone.
These days, I often wonder how I will parlay my J-Date experience into something useful for my children. Will I use it during a religious tolerance speech? Maybe I will use it when illustrating how to set yourself up for success instead of five-times-weekly rejection. Maybe I will draw on that time of my life when I give them dating advice.
Then again, they are smart kids, so they probably won’t be asking me for advice; they will ask their father (a nice Jewish man who never went on J-Date) and get some advice they can actually use.
Hooking up with Yeah Write this week!