Chronicles of the Single Man, Episode 8: Judging A Book By Its Last Name

You can be Italian… and Jewish? What’s next, Black and White?

This story is, in fairness, a few years old at this point. That doesn’t remove any of its value or humor.

I was at a friend’s birthday party in New York City. I felt generally uncomfortable for a few reasons:

  1. I didn’t know anyone besides the friend whose birthday it was (and he is/was one of those kids with a seemingly never ending supply of pals… all of whom were in attendance).
  2. It was in a trendy hotel bar with one of those oh-so-cool decks.
  3. Everyone was dressed up like you’d expect them to be (which is to say aggressively straddling that line between douche and douchier*).

So, there I am, generally feeling like I was watching the whole event from outside of my own body. It was, as a friend and I like to say, a Robin Williams moment. My one and only concern was finding someone or some group that I could either talk to or that would let me stand close enough that it wouldn’t be weird (and would still appear as if I was in their group).

Most of the time, I flitted in and out of various mediocre conversations… until I met her. She was cute. Long, dark and curly hair, a sharply featured face and mind to match. She was a real joy to chat with and I even asked myself (at the time) if that was influenced by how badly I wanted to find someone to attach myself to. The answer was, resoundingly, no. I was, to my surprise, having a legitimate good time.

Over the course of conversation, we exchanged phone numbers and last names. Hers was decidedly Jewish… mine as you can tell, is not. Once we separated for the evening, we agreed it would be great to see each other at some point soon. And why not? We seemed to be experiencing some physical attraction to one another and the conversation was certainly stimulating.

A few days later I text her to follow up, asking if she’d like to get dinner that week. A few hours later she responds to my text**:

Scott, I had a great time meeting you last weekend and you seem like a great guy. It’s just that I’m looking to date seriously right now and am only interested in Jewish men. I don’t want to waste either of our times.

As you could imagine, I was floored. I responded, fairly shortly thereafter:

Well, unfortunately for you, I’m Jewish. How does this Thursday sound?

She thought I was kidding just to get a date. I didn’t say this, but I wanted to tell her not to flatter herself. We exchanged a number of texts that ultimately ended in the following things happening:

  1. Me explaining the whole “your last name can be Italian and you can still be Jewish” thing.
  2. Her saying she was sorry (several times).
  3. Me saying I understood even though I didn’t.
  4. Her saying that she would love to go out that Thursday.
  5. Me saying I’d see her then.
  6. Me realizing I’d never, ever date this girl more than once or twice.

And of course, that’s exactly what happened. We had a lovely first date, a mediocre second date and then never saw each other again. I couldn’t get my mind off how she was willing to not see someone she had a great time with simply because his last name ended in a vowel. I could get into how truly ridiculous this, but I’ll spare everyone.

The irony of the situation is that she didn’t want to go out with me because she assumed I wasn’t Jewish, and I wound up not wanting to go out with her because I was.

Life’s a trip.

*For anyone that’s ever been to The W in Hoboken and been told they can’t come in because they’re wearing sneakers with the wrong colored soles, you know what I’m talking about. Fuck that place. For real.

**As this was over two years ago, I obviously don’t have the exact text, but this is the general gist.

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