Is it just me?! (The Odelia Poll)

By Melchett Mike
March 23, 2011

If nothing else, melchett mike has always endeavoured to take an honest, warts and all approach (what, after all, is the purpose of a personal blog?) It is with this in mind that, swallowing a large dose of pride, I document my major dating talking point this month. I do so, too, because I am often left wondering “Is it just me?!” On this occasion, I thought I would let you, the reader, decide . . .

Shopping for floor tiles in a plush Ramat Gan store, a fortnight ago, the sales assistant – on learning that I was single and open to meeting a divorcée with kids – dragged me over to Bathrooms.

“What do you think?” Gila surreptitiously enquired under the ingenious – she had clearly done this before – guise of showing me a mirror, though with her gaze firmly fixed on the female seated directly behind us, in the mirror’s reflection.

“Yes, she looks nice,” I whispered back. Odelia was attractive in a harsh, distinctly sephardic kind of way. “Anyway, it’s only coffee,” I qualified, on our saunter back to Tiles, trotting out the commitmentphobe lawyer’s standard, without prejudice, response to such offers. “What have I got to lose?”

Within a day or two – Gila was determined, clearly, not to let me off the hook – I had received a telephone number. And on the phone, Odelia, who is 33, sounded most un-T.A. Woman: she had had enough of aggressive Israeli men, was looking for something serious, and – coming from Kiryat Gat (halfway between Ashkelon and Hebron) – had no time for Tel Aviv and the “scene.”

Odelia and I spoke virtually every evening that week. And so enjoyable and encouraging were our conversations that I even shared my excitement about our impending first date, on the Thursday evening, with my cousin (just a few more lines to go, doomsayers!)

Then the meeting (in Rechovot, where Odelia lives). A kiss on each cheek, continental style, followed by an immediate decision: Dublin, an Irish pub, or the bland-looking café next-door? As we closed in on the latter (her choice), Odelia’s phone rang. A brief, somewhat stilted, conversation ensued, to which I didn’t pay much attention, only noticing Odelia mutter “I will tell you later” at its end. Then, with all the credibility of Andie “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed” MacDowell in Four Weddings (she almost ruined it single-handedly, didn’t she?!), Odelia said “I am so sorry. That was the babysitter. She has to go home. There is always next week.”

Being particularly quick on the uptake, I just knew that something was up. But what does one say? All I could come up with was a line – not bad in the circumstances, when I think back – about never having had that excuse used on me. Then, more kisses – I had never had so many, and so soon, on a first date – followed by the more optimistic thought, on the 35 minute drive home, that “The babysitter really must have had to go home. After all, someone who sounded that nice on the phone . . .”

Sure enough, however, when I sent Odelia the litmus text the following morning, informing her that I was looking forward to the next opportunity, I received a curt one back stating that, after giving it some thought, she felt it “loh matim” (not suitable).

The incident ate away at me that entire weekend. Not because my ego had been bruised (it is not that fragile), but because I simply could not understand how someone – especially someone who had sounded so great all week – could behave with such insensitivity and rudeness. I am no tzadik (whatever melchett mike regulars may choose to believe!), but how many blind dates had I sat through and behaved civilly during – so as not to hurt the feelings of the person sitting opposite me – even when I had no intention of “nailing” them? And however many times a friend, Hanna, told me just to “forget about it,” that Odelia obviously “wasn’t worth it,” and that I had had a “lucky escape,” it all sounded like empty cliché . . . when all I wanted to do was to vent my spleen.

So, at 9:30 on the dot on the Sunday morning, I called up the store, and – saying that I needed it in relation to an order – obtained Odelia’s e-mail address. Within ten minutes, all of the weekend’s pent-up feelings were out of my system . . .

"Attention: Odelia (Personal)

Hi Odelia,

I just wanted to say – I told you that I am very honest and direct – that your behaviour has been disgusting, and befitting of an ignorant, low-class frecha [Israeli equivalent of a British Sharon].

It was immediately obvious to me that the telephone call you received, on Thursday evening, was pre-planned. I was not born yesterday (and you are an extremely poor actress).

I agreed to meet you, in spite of your having 2 kids, not because you are as wonderful as you appear to think, but because Gila said you were a "nice person."

Of course, we will not be attracted to every person we meet – and I have been out with prettier, and certainly more educated and high-class, women than you – but we should still treat them with a minimum of respect and decency.

And why come out with all that bullshit on the telephone, about Israeli men and Tel Aviv, when you are no better than any of them?!

You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.


PS Keep an eye on my blog – – I believe you may soon find it very interesting . . ."

Now, okay, my response may have been a little OTT. With the benefit of another couple of days’ cooling-off, I may well have omitted certain parts of it. And, while not regretting having sent the e-mail, I do not publish it here out of pride (indeed, I have been advised that doing so will do little for my dating prospects . . . though if I had been the type to turn the other cheek, you, in all probability, would not now be reading melchett mike).

Anyhow, that is what happened. And that is how I reacted.

Admittedly, too, I did once escape a blind date in Haifa by going to the loo and not coming back (there were, however, extenuating circumstances: the nut had started yelling at me as soon as she got into the car, about why I only wanted to go for coffee and not spend the entire evening with her at the Haifa Film Festival – indeed, so relieved was I to have got away that, on my descent of Mount Carmel, I turned up the volume in a self-conscious, -congratulatory and celebratory re-creation of Pulp Fiction’s Flowers On The Wall scene).

And we have all heard of similar blind date experiences (feel free to add your own below – therapy for both of us!): A friend emerged from her building, only to be told by the charming Israeli male, at the same time gesturing her away with his hand, not to bother emerging any further. And an English friend was once taken to a Primrose Hill pub and given a fiver to get the drinks, while the date said that he was just going to check that he had locked the Porsche. He never returned.

According to Hanna’s pop (to my mind) psychology, in sending Odelia that e-mail I had “lowered myself to her level.” And according to another friend, Tamar, you just “can’t change people.”

But why the hell not?! I just don’t get it . . .

This c*** (when no other word will do) had wasted an evening of my existence, and even made me schlep to Rechovot for the privilege. To my way of thinking, however backward, you can’t just let people get away with behaving however they like, without saying or doing anything. I had got the pent-up anger out of my system. And even if Odelia had just deleted my e-mail (as Hanna further suggested), it could not have been pleasant to receive it (and at work).

Not revenge exactly, but maybe, just maybe, it will cause her to think twice, next time. Though I leave the verdict to you, the reader (by poll and, if you wish, comment too) . . .


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