Guide to the Jewish Man
Male likes: high-speed vehicles and hoodies.
What do women need to know about men, Jewish men in particular? Hmm, tricky. But, as a divorced and remarried dad of three, I clearly have a unique perspective in the field of gender difference. So here are my own 13 crucial pointers. Oh, and by the way — Jewish men are not from Mars, they’re from Finchley.
1 Let’s start with the obvious. Food, it hardly needs saying, is a favourite of Jewish homo erectus. The fastest way to a man’s heart is via his intestinal tract. And remember, it’s less about quality than quantity. No teensy nouvelle cuisine portions for us, if you don’t mind. Stack those viennas high.
2 We like chick-flicks. Seriously. Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore as the titular virgin who finally finds love and snogs the hunk of her dreams to the strains of The Beach Boys’ Don’t Worry Baby before a packed crowd of baseball fans? Classic. Although we draw the line at Sex And The City 2.
3 What you look like is not important, and certainly not a deal-breaker, so stop fussing in front of the mirror. Make-up,
schmake-up. And when it comes to clothes, we go for comfort, not class, especially since, if you go shlochy, so can we, which means another outing for our beloved tracksuit bottoms and hoodie.
4 Mess, or the avoidance of same, is key. For some reason, “man” is synonymous with “slob” when really it should be “fanatically, fastidiously neat”. Those scenes from Men Behaving Badly featuring Gary and Tony’s bombsite of a flat? Totally unrealistic. We’re into order, not chaos. Our CDs are alphabetised, our DVDs are ranked by genre, and our clothes are hung according to style and fabric, even if they do largely comprise tracksuit bottoms and hoodies.
We like chick-flicks. Seriously.
5 Arguing is not our number one pastime. Some people are genetically predisposed towards confrontation, just not ones with xy chromosomes. Our ideal woman wouldn’t challenge our every waking move. Instead she would be accommodating if not compliant, although we can but dream.
6 Men (duh) are meant to be manly. And yet — surprise! — not all of us are. For instance, we hate insects, in particular spiders, even harmless small-ish ones that won’t necessarily kill on contact. It is in our DNA and based on a primordial fear of anything with more than two legs crawling inside our trousers. And so please don’t expect us to squish or splat anything. In fact, we will marry you if you do the squishing for us.
7 You may be aware that there has been a shift in gender roles of late and that “women are the new men”. It is now our turn to be all soft and sensitive. We have feelings, too, and we need to be complimented and appreciated. You cannot, therefore, ever suggest that your fella is anything less than the most utterly irresistible creature on earth, even if he does look less like Brad Pitt than Brad Friedel.
8 Sometimes, when we are at the shops, we might glance at another woman. This is not, repeat not, because we find the woman in question remotely attractive. Quite the opposite. It is because she is so not as attractive as you, and we can’t quite believe our luck let alone trust our own eyes, and we just have to keep checking that it’s true.
9 We adore it when you buy us little gifts. Teddies are nice, so are cute, heart-shaped chocolates. That said, we’d prefer a new motorbike, say a Kawasaki Ninja 600cc. Lime green, with matching fairing.
10 Listening to Larry David complain about the poor service in his local launderette: entertaining. Listening to your wife or girlfriend complain about her terrible day: not so much. Some things are beyond simple explanation, so probably best not to try.
11 It’s supposed to be females who are
congenital gossips, but we also indulge. There are few things we enjoy more than a good old natter by the water-cooler, although for greater privacy it might be more sensible to do it by the cistern in the gents, as long as the subject of the scandal isn’t using one of the stalls.
12 As a rule, Jewish men don’t do DIY, so any expectation that that shelf will be put up or that plug rewired is bound to lead to disappointment, if not dispute. Leave it: you can’t fight evolution. The male Jew is not predisposed, at a cellular level, towards manual labour. No Jew has ever successfully constructed a single item from IKEA, even if rumour has it a chap named Ishmael in Ancient Rome, later to assume the status of myth, is alleged to have erected a bookcase without the help of a single passing Christian. Besides, being naturally benevolent, we are thinking of our fellow man. Mow the lawn? Why, when there are decent non-Jews in the area desperate for gainful employment?
13 One of the greatest fallacies about Jewish men is that we devote much of our time to making money in order to attract a Jewish wife, a genus reputed in some quarters to be acquisitive and materialistic. Not so. No, we do it because we’re still insecure about our circumcision and we’re trying to save up enough money to buy back from the mohel what we lost.
(Please note, the above does not constitute formal advice. Any woman planning a relationship with a Jewish man should first consult her mother.)
Paul Lester’s column, Suddenly Married, appears monthly in the JC