“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)