Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Poem in Honor of RayRay's Second Pregnancy

I'm officially old. RayRay is six months younger than I am. She is happily married, wanted her first kid, still wants her first kid, and wants this second in-gestation fetus as well.

Naturally, upon hearing the happy news, I wrote this poem in her honor. RayRay found the early drafts quite amusing, in case any of you were wondering.

The Correct Number of Kids For Frum Non-Millionaires To Have

After one
 Most parents don’t feel quite done
You have two  
Your husband meets Pru U’Rvu
To have three?
“One and two are big: yes maybe!”
You think,  “Four?” 
Budget says “Stop here, no more!”
You said  “Five?”
You're not even alive anymore! 

If you're wealthy,
Keep going until infinity!

The Time I Kicked My Principal's Son: Part 1/4

The italicized part was written by Bad4shidduchim; I wrote the actual story

Here’s another tale from For Real. Her previous series described what it’s like to be a non-rebellious outsider in Bais Yaakov. Coming from a public school elementary school, For Real never really felt at home in her bais yaakov high school. In this story, I suspect that’s also the reason she had the guts and awareness to do the only right thing. I mean the right thing in part 3, but part 1 isn’t bad either. 

The sun beat down. I was waiting for a bus and feeling very ugly. My parents were stalling on getting me contact lenses, I was wearing my Bais Yaakov uniform, my hair was frizzing, I wasn’t wearing makeup, and I was sweating a bit. I was thankful that only a little old lady at the bus stop was seeing me in this decrepit state.

A scrawny boy with a pizza face peered at me from a store window across the street. Even underneath his acne, his face was ugly. His gaze made me feel like squirming uncomfortably, but I restrained myself as a matter of pride. He crossed the street and walked up to the bus stop, peering closely at my uniform. “Hi. You go to That School?”

I disliked him immediately. “No, I go to another school and I wear this to fool people,” I snarled.

He smirked. “What do you think of Stein?”  Rabbi Stein was one of the principals.

“I don’t think anything of him. I avoid authority figures whenever possible. After all, they don’t understand that girls at bus stops might not want to be talking to the boys that bother them there.” The last thing I needed was to be hauled in to explain this situation.

His smirk broadened. He took out a cigarette and lit it. “I’m Stein’s son.”

My jaw dropped. I had heard that Stein had an asshole son, but I had assumed that it was like all other Bais Yaakov rumors — often overblown and, usually, at least partially untrue.

The old lady at the bus stop chose that moment to cut in.  “Do you mind moving over?” she said in a scratchy Russian accent. “ I have a lung condition.”

Stein’s smirk did not waver. He didn’t budge. My dislike turned to blinding rage. I took a step towards him and jutted my face into his so that our noses almost touched. “Move!” I bellowed.  Somehow, his smirk grew even bigger, but he took a few steps away so that the smoke didn’t blow in the old lady’s face.

My Friend's Blog

My friend  Bad4shidduchim has this blog, Tales Out of Bais Yaakov. It's pretty great, and I've written stories there. I don't link from that blog to this blog because I don't need everyone figuring out who I am. However, I wouldn't want to deprive my loyal readers of my stories, so I'm going to post one that I wrote recently. My pen name over there is Ayala.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Moral Fiber

Rory and I were talking to a friend of his, Menachem, who is expecting his first child. Rory was peppering Menachem with questions as to how he will navigate certain child-rearing challenges as his unborn kid gets older.

I spaced out of the conversation. Frankly, I'm a little bored with expecting-for-the-first-time parents, as a growing number of people I know are joining their ranks.

"....I will raise my kid to have moral fiber!" Menachem shouted, pumping his fists so dramatically that passersby stared. I snapped back to reality, away from my daydream of finally eating meat.

I chuckled. "I've always thought of moral fiber as fiber that you eat so you can poop out your morals and have fun."


We all laughed and went to Menachem's place for lunch.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Me, a traveller?

About a month ago, I was on my way home from work when I bumped into my father's shul's rabbi. I nodded at him, and kept going. I had met Ben at Rabbi X's shul, so I wasn't wildly enthused about any people remotely associated with that place.

Rabbi X cleared his throat. "So, uh, what are you doing these days? Anything fun over the summer?"

This was not a jab at my lackluster attendance, as the shul only has a womens' section on holidays. "I work, like I do during the year," I shrugged. "Unfortunately there is no summer vacation from work."

"Do you ever go up to the country, to the bungalow colonies? Or to Monsey?"

"No," I said, nonplussed. As someone with two working parents I had never gone to a bungalow colony in my life, and didn't see a reason to start. I didn't really see where this was going. Did he want me to take some things to his kids in camp? He and his wife aren't really into the country thing, so they are both home. "I mean, I'm going to Monsey on Sunday, but I don't really go there a lot."

"Does your work let out early on Fridays?" Rabbi X continued.

"Um, yes, it's a Jewish office. The latest we ever got out on a Friday was 2:45PM," I replied.

Rabbi X gave me a meaningful look. "You should get out a little bit, get out of town over the rest of the summer."

Suddenly it hit me. The shul must have finally figured out that Ben and I were over, and everyone in that shul, and the entire two zipcodes it serves, was probably gossiping about me! I vowed to never date someone from my neighborhood again. Rabbi X was trying to warn me without starting a giant fight in the shul between my family and myself versus whoever the rumor-monger was (probably Ben).

I looked at him and smiled to let him know that I understood what he was REALLY saying. "Yeah, I think I'll do that. It could be fun!"

Rabbi X understood, and we parted ways.
In the past month, I have only spent one shabbat at home. It's an effort to avoid being gossiped about, but it's more than that. After a certain point in your life, you realize that you've succeeded at running away from things you didn't like about your childhood, but now you need a destination to run to.

I will say that public transportation is so bad that you should depart at 3:00PM, no matter where you're going.

I will also say that unless you know the community and the people you're staying with, BRING YOUR OWN VEGETABLES. I went somewhere where the local supermarket was essentially a junk food store, and while that might have been what I wanted when I was 10, I'm an adult who eats vegetables.

My review of the awesome New Jersey community and the internet people I met will go up soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Being a Crazy Cat Lady is FUN!

I personally am not much of a pet person. If I had all that extra cash, I'd rather spend it on a human being, preferably a cute little baby who will most probably learn to toilet itself as the years go on.

I'm talking about the PERSONALITY of a crazy cat lady. We all know of such people. We sometimes cal them "eccentric older singles." It's the personality type that gets really really into their niche interests because they are not impeded by  having to care for a husband or kid(s).

Think of  this lady  who has a nut museum. She seems a bit odder than the average person you might bump into at the supermarket, but look at how happy she looks! How many "regular" people look this happy? (Answer: not a lot.)

So my new life goal is to emulate this personality type because my life goal is to be happy. In practice, this means that I have a list of responsibilities that I rush to get through and then I devote my time to my weirder and weirder habits.

Right now I'm writing a book for adults that has the same format as a kid's book and illustrating it with photography and it's so much fun!

I also have a fan page tangentially related to this project. I have fans who are not related to me or my friends! I took a photograph with a fan and triumphantly showed it to my father. "You see Daddy, I'm weird, but other adults are weird in the same way!" My father still thinks it's a very specific interest, but now he seems to feel a bit better about the weirdo he created. I told him that as the person who doodles on our garbage cans with rain-proof markers, he has no right to wonder where I came from. Once a friend of mine drove past the house and called me up to ask about the doodles, and my father was thrilled for weeks. It really takes one to make one.

Another part of being happy is eradicating evil from this planet. As someone who knows a few people who were molested as children, I decided to get involved in trying to protect victims of pedophiles.

My mom was much more supportive of my going to and organizing protests than my dad was; she even wanted to go to a protest with me but fell sick. My father was like "Can you wear sunglasses? Or a wig?" I asked him why on earth I would do that in this sweltering heat, especially when shrieking chants on the top of my lungs for hours on end dehydrates me. His response was "Shidduchim."

There is no better way to get my goat than to tell me to do something for shidduchim. "If some guy has a problem with getting rid of the statute of limitations and educating parents and children about how to prevent child molesters from getting to kids, he is not for me. We would have diametrically opposed world views. Also, remember two years ago when I tried to change in order to get married? That turned out really well!" I huffed, applying sunscreen so that I wouldn't burn to a crisp at the protest. "I'm also not cut out for shidduchville. I've interviewed my frummy friends who are there. Each shadchan nets them less than 5 dates a year. It infantilizes the daters. FORGET IT!" I marched out and protested with some lovely oddballs for 3 hours and felt very happy.

I also decided that as I'm getting closer to my savings goal and to my move-out deadline (25), it's time to start picking out a place to live. Married or single, I'm leaving home to be a real adult. I made a list of places to visit and I'm getting invited to these places one by one. So far there is a clear favorite place if I'm single, and I'd love to live there even if I got married, but I intend to go to every place on the list. While I definitely love my own bed and all of my stuff being in the same place, I like traveling and meeting people. 

In the interest of not caring about others opinions, I decided that going far away to drink and act stupid with friends showed a lack of integrity and was unnecessarily grueling. There is a nearby bar that caught my fancy a decade ago. I once went in there to use the toilet 3 years ago, and they let me use it even though I clearly said that I wasn't going to buy a drink. That's the kind of attitude that makes me come back to a place and buy a drink later. It's a nice little dive bar that is hanging on for dear life in the heart of frummyville.

I brought Etty and Reena to this bar with me. There were a total of three other customers at the place. An old Italian guy  was nursing his drink slowly, a woman who was way to dressed up for this little dive bar and twirling her hair, and a tuna beigel with his peyos tucked behind his ears who was fiddling with his phone. I know that this place was only surviving because the mortgage was paid off because I researched it online.

The Italian guy's jaw dropped when we walked in. "You guys like this bar?" He asked us incredulously.

"I LOVE THIS BAR!" I grinned maniacally. The drinks were good and cheap, and my friends and I played darts. We took some stupid selfies and laughed a lot. The tuna beigel guy was visibly agitated by our presence and after an urgent, hushed phone call he specifically made outside, he left the bar altogether. I started smacking the old slot machine game's buttons, but then Reena got an intense craving for frummy junkfood, so we left the bar and went to a nearby grocery. The three of us pigged out for a bit and then we went home.

Overall, not giving a shit about societal expectations has been great!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Name is Rage

These days I alternate between bursts of rage, in which I am also very productive, and then I lose steam, feel numb,  and consider it a huge accomplishment to make it to work and to shower.

At this point everyone knows that I dumped Ben. This has led to an outpouring of sympathy from friends and family. This has also led to some assholes reaching out.

Look. In 2014, after Ex # 2, I made out with a few stupid people. I just didn't want Ex # 2 to be the last person I had ever made out with. Additionally, I felt that getting married was financially out of my reach, as I didn't want my parents or the potential husband's parents to be overly involved and controlling. Since I'd rejected the idea of parental support, I realized that I was too poor to not be totally dependent on a husband. The potential imbalance of power with a husband who would be earning way over 50% of any money we'd earn  made me nervous.

I also felt that I didn't have the right personality for marriage. To get married as a woman, it helps to be an introverted, quiet little sheepie who will flutter your eyelashes and say, by gesture and words, "Oh how WONDERFUL you are, husband!" twenty million times a day, even if the husband hasn't actually done anything all day except play video games.

Obviously, when you're dating you can't say "Oh how WONDERFUL you are, husband!" However, you should give off the impression that you're the kind of person who would say such things all the time when you're married.

I am not such a person. As a person, my hobbies include writing this blog, writing stories and books, buying books, going to internet meetups, finding new bars (the more of a dive it is, the better), exercising, drinking coffee, cuddling with stuffed animals, cooking, and singing to myself. My only acceptable hobby is cooking.

Taking all of this together, in 2014 I decided that marriage was out of reach. So I adjusted my goals. I decided to focus on school, friends, and hobbies.

It was in this time period, from mid-2014-2016, that I allowed these temporary people into my life. In that time period, they served their function. At the time, I liked all of them as people. Some of them even seemed to like me a bit at the time, but it was never enough for me to ever put them in a serious box. One wrote me a song that he would play on his guitar. Another one taught me about the true definition of honoring your parents. Another one of them even took me on a date and introduced me to his friends and some of his family members.

For various reasons, all of these people were eventually categorized as "not compatible for the long term." At that point I would be straight up and say "I don't think we should see each other anymore" and often strongly imply that I was moving on in my life and that I didn't think they could go the distance with me.

In 2016, I realized that I had saved up enough money that even if I was temporarily dependent on other people, I would have enough resources to escape a marriage if it didn't work out. It dawned on me that I was much, much closer to earning enough money to not have to depend on other people. I immediately decided to only pursue serious relationships.

The people from my past do not understand why I want nothing to do with them. At this point in my life, they offer me NOTHING. They want my time and my eroding youth for NOTHING. I know these people and I KNOW that we could not make it to the chuppah.

One of them wanted no kids; one wanted 10 kids. One never wanted to leave our shitty neighborhood, and another one wanted to live in Israel. I was, within a 4 month span, declared too fat, too thin, too nerdy, and too mainstream. Two of them considered me too unambitious because I picked career because it helps people and gives me 3 day weekends and will never earn over $150k a year ( I should have been chasing the big bucks and working 15+ hour days too, because the obvious misery their schedules gave them was so encouraging).

On top of all these obvious incompatibilities and lack of acceptance on both sides, none of these men were comfortable with FEELINGS. I cannot deal with a person who cannot tell me what they are feeling- not WHY they are feeling, but WHAT they are feeling. They expected me to essentially be some kind of sexy therapist mom who also never had her own needs and schedule.

None of this remotely appeals to me. I NEED THINGS. If you want to work here, CLOSE.If you are living a double life, looking down on me, not in touch with your feelings, using drugs (POT COUNTS) , have incompatible life goals, or are are not closing. So fuck off.