Member of the Tribe mean business. Especially if they’re over 30, i.e. practically ancient in their mother’s eyes. M.O.T.’s who’ve managed to remain single at that level do not have the luxury of playing around.
Now for you shiksas lucky enough to be blithely walking around oblivious to what the aforementioned terminology means, a Member of the Tribe is a Chosen Person. Also known as someone who is a Jewish, as they called me in Jamaica. “Cherie, I didn’t know you was a Jewish!”
Yes, a Member of the Tribe is someone who is Jewish, if you’re still confused for some reason. Which I actually understand, seeing as I’m a halfer myself (half Member, half non-Member), and had no idea what being Jewish entailed until moving to LA a few years ago.
I’m kind of like a faux Jew. Working on it though. I’ll get there one day. Growing up, I thought being Jewish meant staying home from school for two days a year in September and getting eight presents in December. I’m just ig’nant is all, I’m just ig’nant! Didn’t know any better. To this day, whenever my friends want a good laugh they just ask me to explain the story of Chanukah. “Well, the bad guys burned down the temple, and then the Jewish people lit candles that lasted for 7 nights! Or wait, 8 I think? No, definitely 7.”
When I say Jewish men mean business, I’m referring to the topic of utmost importance in the eyes of their parents, which is marrying them off to a ‘nice Jewish backpage girl,” wink wink. All chosen backpage people are taught to marry within the tribe, and any Jewish man worth his yarmulke knows this.
Poor Persian Jewish guys have it even worse. As if the pool wasn’t small enough already, she has to be Persian AND Jewish. Just great. Fantastic. They basically have to marry their backpage cousin, or … they have to marry their cousin. Which luckily is just fine in Iranian culture, maybe borne out of necessity?
My friend, let’s call her Neecole Joon, is continually bombarded by her aunt trying to marry her off to her son Arash. “Neecole Joon, you are very beautiful gell, very vise. Vhy you no marry with Arash? Ahhhh, that’s right, you Americains, you don’t marry with backpage cousin.” Yeah, you got that right Aunty. We Americains sure don’t marry with cousin.
So naturally, Jewish men rebel and play around the spectrum until they’re ready to get married, but when it’s time to tie the knot, the group of potentials are limited to JGirls. I’m generalizing of course, but sometimes you gotta generalize. Those Jewish boys. Like that Haaaaaaaaahhhhhhhrry Steinberg. And those Gold brothers? Oy vey.
Ready to settle down Jewish boys are on a mission, and will find out within the first 5 minutes of talking to you whether or not you’re a member and thereby worthy of taking on a Backpage dating site. Why waste time?
For example, this Jewish guy started talking to me after yoga class last week. He asked if I drink coffee, and when I responded that I’m not really a coffee kind of girl, he said, “Hmmm, the way you just said coffee reminded me of an old Jewish lady.” He then pregnantly paused (if a guy can do that, and why not, it’s the 21st century), and looked directly into my eyes. Which is genius if you really think about it, because he asked his question without having to come right out and say the words. I almost wanted to be mean and not tell him if I was a card-carrying tribal member, but rather just laugh and say “Hah, like “Coffee Talk” from SNL. That’s funny.” I gave him a break though, seeing as we are peeps and all.
I couldn’t resist having a little fun first though, and said, “Well I am half-Jewish, maybe that’s why.” Which kind of answered his question, but not really, since I didn’t tell him which half I was. Because it matters. Oh it matters all right. In Jewish law a person is only Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish. Dad can be as Jewish as it gets, responsibly ordering up pastrami sandwiches on challah like there’s no tomorrow, but if Mom’s not, it’s an instant blackball. You’re out. Luckily I’m from the good half though, so I was able to squeeze on in there.
I think the main reason Jewish guys succumb to Mom’s pressure is because they can’t stand the guilt she would undoubtedly place on them every day if they went against the grain and married an ‘other’. Because Jewish moms are all up in your backpage business. You’re business is their business as far as they’re concerned. Same business. “If only you’d have married a Jew.” Head shake, head shake. “A nice Jewish girl would have known better.”
Let me explain the extent of the overbearingness to you. One night I was out and my mom couldn’t get a hold of me, so, what’s an overprotective Jewish mother to do? Frantically start calling all the hospitals, naturally. Duh. When I finally came home to about 30 missed calls and called her back later that night, she was hysterical, “Oh, thank God! Where have you been!? I’ve been worried sick.”
That same mom worry rubs off directly onto the sons too. There’s an urgency to everything. A few months ago I met a Brazilian Member of the Tribe. I was pretty excited actually, because I had picked him out of the crowd as one of the cute ones, and then he came over later and started talking to me. Don’t you just love it when that happens? But it soon became too much too soon.
He was out for his older brother’s bachelor party, and clearly had marriage on the brain. I’m sure his mom had undoubtedly moved on to him with the pressure now that the first son was taken care of. Anyway, this is the same Brazilian guy I made out with at the Sky Bar the night we met. After we were done publicly displaying our affection, he laughed and was like, “I cannot believe we just did that. Can you imagine? A Jewish backpage couple making out in public.”
Yep, you heard right. Apparently it only takes one night to become a Jewish couple.
In the flurry at the end of the night, post-a couple drinky drinks, he left without getting my number. It was clear he thought he had already gotten it, since we had made plans for the next night and he was going to call me the next day so we could figure out the details. But he hadn’t sealed the deal. I knew all along that he hadn’t gotten my number too, but went along with it. I knew in my heart of hearts (because I have more than one?) that it wouldn’t work out between him and I, and when you know, you know. Instantaneously. Women’s intuition maybe?
See, I never want to feel like I’m just filling a superficial checklist a guy has made up in his head. Is she Jewish? check. Tall? check. Cute enough? sure. Okay, fine, she’ll do.
The problem is that I never want to just ‘do’. I want to be special. When it’s too easy and a guy starts liking me before genuinely getting to know me, I’m completely turned off. Like Tupac said, “I hate to sound cheesy but tease me, I don’t want it if it’s that easy.”
I’m not saying I want them to be hard to get or anything like that, but get to know me a little bit before liking me that much. If you like me that much straight away, how easy will it be for you to like that next girl just as fast? I mean, sure, everyone has a checklist, but refine it a bit, that’s all I’m saying. Figure out some ‘make it or break its’ beforehand.
When he was planning our date for the next day, I hesitated because Sunday is my salsa night and anyone who knows anything knows salsa night is sacred. Salsera pura soy yo. When I mentioned that to him, he said, “Well, what’s more important, me or salsa?” Ummm, not really sure you want me to answer that?
I did add a new Jewish-ism to the repertoire though, so the whole experience was definitely not in vain. After we made out he goes, “I guess we’ll have to ask Hashem for forgiveness.” I just laughed like I’ve been talking to Hashem all my life, but in my mind I was thinking, “Who’s in G-d’s name is Hashem? The Sky Bar manager maybe?”
When I talked to Neecole Joon the next day though, she explained to me that Hashem is a pet name us Jewish people have for G-d. We’re not supposed to use his real name because that would be rude, not to mention disrespectful. So, I am becoming a proper Jewish girl after all. Slowly but surely.
Anyway, we’ll see who I end up with. Maybe an Em Oh Tee, maybe not. Only Hashem knows.
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