T.A. Woman: Feeling a Lemon in the Big Orange

“Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light, or just another lost angel . . . City of Night” (L.A. Woman, The Doors, 1971)

City of Night, the novel from which Jim Morrison took the above lyric, describes a sordid world of sexual perversion. Morrison translated it to Los Angeles, but, today, he might just as easily have substituted it with Tel Aviv (nicknamed “the Big Orange”).

I often get asked – especially by the long in servitude, sure that the single’s “grass” is “greener” – what the T.A. singles scene is like.

“Sodom and Gomorrah,” I reply.

Now, anybody who knows me – or, indeed, who follows melchett mike – will know that, whilst I am no Warren Beatty, I am no prude either. Having grown up in the ‘ghettos’ of North-West London, however, I am also not used to Jewish women having sex on the first date, or in nightclub toilets, both commonplace in Tel Aviv. And if the religious – the genuine ones (not those Charedim [ultra-Orthodox] seen kerb-crawling around Ramat Gan at night) – have got anything right, it is their emphasis on sexual modesty and restraint.

I have blogged about both Israelis in general, and the male of the species, but am regularly asked when I am going to address the fairer sex (if ever there was a misnomer!) Having to tackle them on dates, rather than just paper, I think that, subconsciously, I have been putting it off. I also understand no more about them – and, oddly, perhaps even less – than when I first made Aliyah, over 13 years ago.

A recent experience, however, has persuaded me to break my silence. And if it comes across as cynical . . . that’s because it is.

An Israeli acquaintance – who is actually married to an English girl (he had more sense) – recently suggested that I meet his neighbour, a 35-year old divorced mother of one. He said “S” was nice, attractive, down to earth, and spoke good English.

“Why not?” I replied.

S and I had a pleasant chat on the phone, when I realised that I had seen her in the neighbourhood. We even attended the same party recently, and I was pleased to hear that she, like me, was disillusioned with such gatherings, where you can’t get into the toilets for people doing drugs or having sex.

I found S’s frankness refreshing – she confided how miserable she had been on Seder [Passover] night, which she spent with a happily married couple, and how her ex-husband, who she divorced, has now found someone “younger and with bigger tits”.

I was excited to meet S, which we did the following morning, in my “Shabbes café”. And it was most enjoyable, even prompting me to mention her in my post later that afternoon. True, S spoke almost entirely about herself – T.A. Woman can be quite self-obsessed – but we sat for an hour and a half, and she opened up in a way that a woman wouldn’t (or so one would think) on a first date, unless she was feeling extremely comfortable.

S spoke freely about sex – not a topic I generally bring up on first dates – blaming the absence and quality of it for the break-up of her marriage and most recent relationship respectively, and even mentioning that her octogenarian grandmother was still addicted to it. She also complained bitterly about the behavior of T.A. Man, describing how many will only have sex on their living room sofas, to make it crystal clear to T.A. Woman that she will not be spending the night.

S mentioned that she had been in therapy for ten years, but I figured that she was just too nice for the f*ck-up that is the T.A. singles scene. I walked S home, and we arranged to go out again the following Wednesday evening.

When, however, S neither answered Sunday’s post-first date “courtesy call”, nor phoned back, I started to smell a rat. And when she didn’t answer my sms on the Tuesday, enquiring whether we were still on for the following evening, the rat started to reek. I called her on Wednesday too. But, again, no reply.

Neither shrinking violet nor freier (Yiddish-derived Hebrew for “sucker”), I sent her an sms that evening, stating “U could have just said u r not interested. So much easier… and nicer.”

29 minutes later, I received a reply, “Truely sorry…”

While S could do with losing some pounds – or, instead, adding some inches to her next pair of Levi’s – she is both tall and pretty, and the majority of men most definitely “would” . . .

But I can handle rejection (even with a spelling mistake) – one of the few pep talks on such matters that my late father gave me was that not all women will want me (how right he was!) – but why all the provocative sex talk? And why agree to a second date? And then the subsequent disappearing act, leaving me in limbo for the Wednesday evening . . .

Such behavior is not uncommon on the thirties and forties T.A. singles scene, and Israeli friends could not begin to comprehend why it got me so worked up.

But, even if it means remaining naïve, I will never get used to it.

Sometimes, I think that I am just not assertive enough. For instance, I usually ask a woman where she would like to go on a date . . . but most Israeli women just want the man to make the decisions for them. There is also the theory that, unless the man “makes a move” – however low on the “bases” – on the first date, the Israeli woman will conclude that he is just not interested (how different from North-West London’s finest!)

Whilst it is not uncommon, therefore, to hear the single Israeli woman – especially T.A. Woman (everything is more extreme in the Big Orange) – complain about the chauvinistic behaviour of her male compatriots, and claim that she longs for a “real gentleman”, she is so accustomed to such behaviour that she has difficulty recognising, understanding, and/or dealing with anything different. Indeed, she is like the abused child who can only return to abusive relationships in adulthood.

Anyway, next time, S, save the sex talk for the second date (or a dirty telephone conversation). And remember, everyone is deserving of respect . . . even if you don’t want to f*ck them.

“Never saw a woman so alone . . . so alone” (L.A. Woman)

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23 responses to “T.A. Woman: Feeling a Lemon in the Big Orange

  1. Donna Weisz

    You’re too good for that……her loss……better to find out sooner than later.

    Don X

  2. david bright

    Mike:

    First off I dont do sympathy, empathy or anything close to proclaiming similar circumstances. Life is what it is and unfortuantely there are those in it who don’t get the bigger picture around them and therefore will always feel the grass is greener, the glass half empty etc. This girl was obviously one of them. Either that or she was bored and just wanted an evening out on someone else.

    I am perplexed at the suggestion of shock in your blog that T.A women are different than any others around the world or that they should be. Am I wrong to be cynical in believeing that the continual commercialisation of Israel over the last 25 years has brought just another Western un-civilised group down on the world? I talk of its people and not its importance which I have fully emblazoned on my heart.

    Having been someone who lived in Israel for the late 80’s and early 90’s I am continually ashamed of what certain areas have become like. The ‘next’ generation of young Isrealis back then were born in to potential financial prosperity and with that comes a selfishness that can be witnessed all around the world.

    The girls of Miami, London, Paris etc are no different than those you talk about except for one unfortuante difference. They are not living, representing, shaming or even in some cases, abusing ‘our homeland’.

    When I was a child, I remember going on holiday with my parents to Europe. We were in Cologne, Germany. My father, (a 40 a day man), need some cigarettes and we pulled over at a little street vendor.

    While the line was not too long we watched in horror as two backpackers pushed their way through and demanded ‘gum’., chewing gum. Sadly their accents, presentation, demeanor gave them away as Israeli. As my father tutted in disgust, I recall him saying ‘thank god noone else would know who they were’.

    The truth of that little anecdote is that they were not the norm and represented as always a few selfishly raised children of ignorant people.

    Today, the youth and younger generation and indeed those of ours who have grown in a society of ‘take’ now live with the belief that ethics, morals and respect are not needed but are even seen as weaknesses.

    No Mike: Regrettably, we are in a wolrd that is on the verge of complete moral meltdown. The youth of today live with technology literally coming out of their ears and ignore the very essence by which they exist.

    Our society, communities and schools are raising children, future leaders, g-d help us, who cannot read, write, or even in my step-son’s case tie a shoelace properly simply because everytime we try and guide, teach or dare I say discipline, we get laws, authorities and threats thrown back at us. I weep for where we are headed.

    The truth is that your experience albeit painful in the result was probably a blessing in disguise and one that prevented you from being with someone who (weight issues, and sex chat aside), may have the moral instincts and respect values of a shaved coconut.

    Those of you reading this rant who feel that I am a prude, self righteous or even off the wall may rest assured that I am none of the above. I have always liked the view on the beach in summer. I crave the intimacy of a my good woman and prior to her was just as eager to get laid as the rest of you. I have travelled, I like to play cards and I enjoy good wine, music and a dance.

    What I have never been able to understand and still not to this day, is why oh why did we have to take our privacy, intimacy, sex lives and all the other character building, life changing situations and show our children that it is ok to wear it all on our arms as if it were one big medal.

    What happened to the birds and the bees and then the amazing sexual exploration that followed in the privacy of your room, front room, or in the case of the T’A man the lounge floor?

    As we struggle now to raise our children in a world of financial depravity, sexual immorality and materialistic banckruptcy, shouldnt we at least start with the example that some laundry is washed, ironed and yes even folded very intimately, in the bedroom.

    If I am worng then all I can say to you Mike is: Get of your arse, get out and try again!!!

  3. Joey the Gee

    Mike,
    Sharing dislike of sex in nightclub toilets is hardly a candidate for kick-starting a relationship. Sharing misery isn’t either. What were you planning to be miserable together sharing more and more dislikes?
    P.S. Was there anything you both liked?

  4. No, Joey, the “misery” would have come to an end on the second date, when I was planning to share my love of Leonard Cohen and Morrissey with her. 😉

  5. Mike

    As I have been happily married to the same woman for 24 years now, I’m probably not qualified to comment. Let’s face it, the last ‘date’ I had was a long time ago.

    I’ve never met David Bright, but he’s just posted more or less the same sort of response that I would have done.

    Unfortunately, there are many divorced people in this world and in Jewish London it seems that they’re all using J-date to find partners. From what I can gather from friends, colleagues and family members who have tried J-date, it seems to be more or less a bit of a knocking shop, with the added complication that everyone seems to know everyone else on the Jewish divorced/singles scene.

    Israel is now a ‘modern’ society based on Western lines. Alas, they’ve adopted both the good and the bad that comes with the experience.

    Having lived in Israel both as a child and in my early 20’s in T.A. itself, I’m saddened to hear your story. When I was dating girls in T.A. they all seemed to be crazy Yanks and English girls who came to Israel to ‘escape’ – from what, I’m still not clear!

    As Donna Weisz has posted, you deserve better.

    BTW, totally off-topic, but what’s the thing with Morrissey – surely the most over-rated, untalented man in showbiz. (There – that’ll take your mind off T.A. woman for a while!)

  6. Moshe Abelesz

    Mike,
    I wasn’t going to comment as I’m certainly no expert on the dating scene, TA women or even the kerb crawling district of Ramat Gan and other Israeli suburbs, but I do have one word of advice – save Morrissey and Leonard Cohen till at least the third date 🙂

  7. Hi Eli,

    Whilst Israel (and, again, especially T.A.) undoubtedly is now a typical western society, I would still like to think (perhaps wishfully) – and whether “racist” or not – that we Jews are different. I do not, therefore, compare the behaviour of T.A. Woman with British woman . . . but by Jewish standards, especially those of the Anglo-Jewry in which I was dragged up.

    Thank you for the empathy. I am fine. In fact, I penned the piece in the days following the second date that never was (a few weeks ago), and have, since then, “ummed” and “arrhed” about whether to publish it or not. It does ‘expose’ me somewhat!

    But I have attempted to make melchett mike as honest as possible – a “slice of life”, as they say – and decided to finalise it, yesterday evening, as Barcelona were thumping Real Madrid . . . and I had a bit of time on my hands!

    Mike

    PS IMHO, The Smiths were the greatest thing to happen in the Eighties, and probably since too . . . so, sounds like we won’t be agreeing on Morrissey!

  8. Mike

    I share your view regarding Israel and us Jews. In fact when I was living and working in T.A my habit of expressing that view to my Israeli colleagues and friends was met with much mirth.

    “That’s a typical Jew from the Galut talking” they’d cry, tears rolling down their faces whilst they tried to contain their laughter.

    The general gist of their argument was that as a Western style society they’d earned the ‘right’ to behave as Westerners do. Also, they saw their secular, modern lifestyle as getting away from this romantic Galut notion of Israelis as Halutzniks living the pioneer life in some far away place. It makes some Israelis feel that they’ve ‘progressed’.

    My refusal to get a Coke from a restaurant during Pesach because they were serving bread produced the same howls of derision regarding Diaspora Jews.

    I accept that Jews the world over have their own level of observance (or non-observance) and I try not to be judgemental, but I was still amazed at how some Israelis seem to go out of their way to be more secular than the next man.

    Anyway, I do admire you for your candidness. As you say, it does ‘expose’ you somewhat, but it’s a fascinating snapshot of T.A life.

    Regards

    Eli

    P.S. The only good thing about The Smiths was Johnny Marr’s guitar sound – especially when it drowned out Morrissey’s appalling warbling.

  9. Howard Fertleman

    Mike
    I suggest you look at the lyrics of Strange Days by The Doors to get a better perspective and Riders on The Storm to cope with the disappointment.

  10. The reality is that some women do not feel self confident with themselves although they have all assumtions – “nice, attractive, down to earth, and good English”.
    The obvious sign is “talking about sex”. Woman, talking too much openly about sex on the first date tries to show to man that she is as strong as he is and this lady just used wrong tool – sex talk. Talking about sex is the domain of the men´s world. Psychologicaly she can not win this conversation, because as sex act itself, it is primary man who has the control and dominates. Natural for majority of population is the ever significant code: men are hunters (and they want to stay so) and women are the subject of their needs. Women emphasise this fact by making them more attractive goal for them by beautiful clothes, make-up etc.
    Sure it is possible to show to men that I am strong woman and stay gentle woman but talking about sex is mistake. Because she couldnt win this conversation she prefers not to meet you again so she will not feel as loser again.

  11. The irony (which I forgot to mention) is that, when giving me S’s number, the guy who fixed us up warned me to “be nice” to the bitch! 😉

  12. Joey Garfinkel

    Mike,
    At risk of over-laboring this subject I think Klara’s comments are spot on. Take a step back from being Mr Nice Guy who has been bitten by a witch and try looking at things from S’s perspective. I can hear cries of “insecure, insecure, insecure” whereas M is emanating “SECURE, SECURE, SECURE”. Now consider how she felt. You being cool, relaxed and secure may have only increased her insecurity. Flight may have been her only option. This is kind a men from mars women from venus thing – the more you shared dislike of sex in nightclub toilets, the more at ease you felt and the more distraught she may have felt.
    That’s it, there’s a pinging sound as my 2 cents are running out.
    Now think how you would talk, behave differently to such a “bitch” in the future? Maybe she is not a bitch, maybe as Julie Roberts says in Notting Hill “she’s just a girl looking for a guy”. Or, maybe as you might say to me I am just talking ****.
    Your call.

  13. Henri Berest

    David (Bright), I’m all for forgiving and forgetting, but – in view of the history – the self-righteous pontification from your moral high horse (“I weep for where we are headed”) causes me to shake my head in disbelief.

  14. Nick Kopaloff

    Mike,

    I would wager that the only reason you appear to be so against casual sex in the toilet is that like myself, you have hitherto been excluded from this fine practice. But did you, or did you not, whisper to our waitress the other evening: “I am going to the bog for a shit – do you want to come with me and make it more interesting?”

    Does your revulsion extend to playing Solitaire in the loo, or at the same venue, a game of choke the monkey with Mrs. Hand and her five lovely daughters?

    “Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go…” (Woody Allen)

  15. Or, alternatively from Mr. Allen, “Don’t knock masturbation . . . it’s sex with someone I love.”

  16. Mike

    I also like the dialogue that preceeds the above line:

    Allen – “What’s the difference, it’s all mental masturbation.”
    Keaton – “Now we’re getting onto a subject you know something about.”

    BTW, thinking about your relationship dilema. Again from Annie Hall, in the scene where their relationship is falling apart:

    Allen – “A relationship I feel is like a shark, it has to constantly move forward or it dies. What we have here is a dead shark.”

    Maybe you need to hunt in a different part of the sea, how’s about Raanana Woman?

    Just a thought.

  17. Michael Goldman

    Sorry Mike,
    I’ve got to disagree with all the above.
    What actually happened is that she was dying for a quick shag in the loo, but after all your ranting and raving about the low morals in Tel Aviv she could hardly say that.
    Another missed opportunity.
    As Nick would say, “Another night with Mrs. Hand and her five lovely daughters.”

  18. But aren’t “Mrs. Hand and her five lovely daughters” – needless to say, none of whom I know – prohibited by our religion as possibly encouraging mixed dancing?!

    A bit of a digression from T.A. Woman, but as Eli continues to bash the peerless Morrissey . . . for me, this track says everything. Sends shivers down my spine every time I listen to it. And see what “Mozzer” means even to Israelis. But I guess you either get it . . . or, like Eli, you don’t.

  19. Tel Aviv streets, pubs, clubs, restaurants are not a right place to meet a girl you are looking for. GOOD GIRLS do not go to these places or if they go they usually go with a group of other girls (usually their friends from the army or the university). There are a lot of NORMAL girls waiting for their right man. You can meet them in the theaters, libraries, concerts.

    The best variant for you may be a girl raised in the highly educated family of immigrants from big cities of Eastern Europe knowing English as her mother tongue.

    Another variant is a slightly religious highly educated girl that has normal understanding of moral and family knowing English as her mother tongue.

    You need help from other people, friends, relatives. It is extremely difficult to find somebody perfect the way you are trying.

  20. Anon(ying)

    Hello Melchett Mike,

    For a self proclaimed fan of Morrissey/The Smiths, you seem to have forgotten the lyrics to the song, Girl Afraid. It might not match what was going on with the Tel Aviv bitch but listening to it would be a far more succinct alternative to reading up on the men are from mars psychobabble.

    Also, seeing as you obviously were not paying attention to cyril, dj, sid, osher, skinner et al you might have missed the pearl of great advice that was redacted to the Mishnah around 1,782 years ago, somewhere near where you live now. That is,

    ‘Al Tarbeh sichoh im ho-eeshoh’

    Translated into Churchillian English,

    ‘Don’t speak with women too much’!

    Hatzlachah!

    (ying)

  21. Anon(ying)

    ps the grim, Irish-Mancunian lyrics of Morrisey helps the rudely depraved Israelis through army service which for many teenagers means dodging land mines and arab snipers at check points.

    Hakol B’seder?

  22. Henri B,

    Just got off the phone with Marc Reiss, who points out that David Bright appears to have disappeared since your rather agitated response, on May 4 (see above), to his prior comment.

    Indeed, both Marc and I sincerely hope that your “disbelief” did not result in anything more being “shake[n]” than your “head”!

  23. I am sorry to say that Jewish women the world over are mental, and it does not matter where you are. NY and TA women are, quite simply, the most insane of the lot. I have no idea why anyone needs “therapy”, and would recommend you running from any girl who has had it, is thinking of it, is currently doing it or has read a book about it. And the UK batch were bizarre as well. They would not go out with you unless they had already fallen madly in love with you, and even then they sometimes would not. Heaven forbid if their parents liked you, then you had no chance.
    Therapy is for weak minded moaners. Just get on with your life because everyone has problems, especially those who support teams in the third division.

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