Marting Bodek reveals more humor in Jewish Dating rituals.
Robbing the Bank – This is usually the first stop on a boy’s itinerary for his date preparation. You have to fatten your wallet with as much cash as possible, because – like a Boy Scout – you have to be prepared. After holding up your local ATM, you convert half the stash into singles, because you’re gonna end up tipping half the planet. But it isn’t really necessary to “download” so much cash, since most of us are equipped with credit cards, personal checks, the address to the nearest Western Union, and Mommy’s phone number.
The Fragrance Wars – Epic battles are waged the minute you follow your toothpaste with mouthwash. Mouthwash usually wins this first of combats. The next battlefield features Cologne vs. Deodorant. Cologne usually emerges victorious because the deodorant is hidden away beneath layers of clothing, and because cologne stinks. Cologne relishes its victory until you enter your vehicle, where Cologne fights a brave-and-bloody, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners duel with the Tazmanian Devil Air Freshener. They’re still duking it out when your date enters the car brandishing perfume. Cologne and Taz then make peace, and start beating up on Perfume. There are so many volatile chemicals jockeying for position in the car, it’s a miracle a date has never spontaneously combusted.
The Snapple Bottle Mystery – Ladies, ever notice that distinct clink-rattle coming from the trunk? Those are Snapple bottles. For you, the mystery has now been solved. For us, the question still remains: How did they get into our car to begin with? Do they grow in there like fungus or Chia Pets? Does the Snapple Fairy put one there every time we drive nicely? Who knows? The mystery continues…
The F.D.R. (Fanatically Demented Roadhogs) Drive – When boys hit the FDR Drive, we become the Morality Monkeys. Ladies, we cannot see you, hear you, or speak to you. The reason we can’t glance over at you is because we must concentrate on dodging the lane-changing freaks, random fallen debris, and menacing potholes. The reason we can’t hear you is because the adrenalin rushing past our ears into our brains has rendered us temporarily deaf. We can’t speak to you because we’re busy muttering Tehillim. By the way ladies, if you think you heard your date say, “That was some meal, huh?” then you misheard. What he actually said was “Shomeah Tefilo.”
Asking for Directions – This is the most humiliating and emasculating experience of a man’s life. We would rather do barefoot cartwheels across fields of broken glass and razors. Besides, in Manhattan you technically can’t get lost, because no matter which direction you drive, you’ll always hit water. Once there, you can check the water current, wind direction, and position of the moon and stars to determine that your destination must be…THAT way!
The Parking Ticket Revelation – I’ve done careful research and have discovered that you may actually SAVE money if you get ticketed once every three times you park illegally, rather than parking in a Manhattan garage or lot. Of course, the odds that you WON’T get ticketed two out of every three illegal parks are approximately nil to none.
The Pace Problem – Boys walk faster than girls do. This is because we’re usually taller, we usually have stronger musculature, and we usually don’t wear straight skirts and high heels. Great care must be taken to ensure that your date can keep up with you, or you may end up walking alongside either someone else’s date, a stray pit-bull, or the lamppost your date just smashed herself into when she was trying to catch up.
Time Check – Checking your watch is sometimes necessary but always subliminally insulting to your date. There are several methods you can employ to ensure that she won’t notice. The first method is wearing a digital watch. This ensures that the swiftest glance will give you the exact time. Analog watches won’t help, since most of us still don’t know if the shorter or longer hand is the minute or hour hand. The second trick is to point behind her, and yelp, “Look! Tom Cruise!” and grab a peek while she searches in vain. Method number three is to glance at HER watch while her eyes are on her food. This way, only your eyes tilt, instead of your entire head.
The Tip – How much should we tip and how do we figure out the amount? Some members of my species have been so confounded by this, that they’ve actually produced pens, calculators, and abacuses to figure it all out. Behold, the answer: It has been generally accepted across this great blue-and-brown planet of ours that a waiter or waitress is tipped 15% of the cost of your meal, 20% for a meal exceeding $100. But what about the mathematics? That’s simple too. Forget mathematics. Just note the tax on your bill, and double that. Voila! If your date is peeking, slip in a buck to impress her. If she’s still peeking, go ahead and slip in another bill. If she’s STILL peeking, yelp, “Look! Our Shadchan!” then bury all your bills in the checkbook (manufactured in black only) and shove it to the side of the table for easy pickup.
Ma’ariv – This is usually the last stop on a boy’s itinerary before he heads for home to discuss his date with his mother. Depending on where you just dropped off the girl, you end up in either Shomer Shabbos in Boro Park (Ir Hakodesh) or Landau’s in Flatbush (Chutz L’oretz). During Shma Koleinu, you pray that your experience tonight should work out for the best. While you’re at it, you pray that your dating friends that will arrive to daven here until the wee hours of the morning – and the ladies they shared company with – will find their basherts B’koruv Ub’naikel, B’nachas V’loi B’tzar, B’eetoi Ubezmanoi, Ooh-mine!