They're not all nice Jewish girls, you know

By Paul Lester, December 17, 2009

At the risk of sounding like Frank Sinatra, this year I’ve lived a life that’s full, even if I haven’t exactly travelled each and every highway, mainly because I only just got my car back after a six-month driving ban.

Regrets? I’ve had a few, among them being insufficiently exacting when it comes to dating, mistakenly assuming that if you throw enough lockshen at the wall, some of it will stick.

Still, you can learn a lot about a culture by meeting its women. That’s my excuse, anyway, for my prolific dating. You could put it down to an interest in anthropology. I just had no idea that Jews’ lives were so… I was going to say colourful when really I mean disgraceful.

All I do is ask each woman one simple question — “so, how’s it going?” — and it opens the floodgates for a tsunami of tsouris which it would take a whole battalion of Freuds to contain.

What was it old Uncle Sigmund said? Something about how “the goal towards which the pleasure principle impels us — of becoming happy -— is not attainable”. He must have been eavesdropping on one of my typical conversations at the Coffee Cup in Hampstead as a young lady regaled me with her tales of woe and psychoanalyst’s dream — or rather nightmare — of a childhood.

It was also Freud, was it not, who decreed that “a certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychologist.” He would have said that — he was charging by the hour. But it got me thinking: are Jews, especially the female variety, genetically predisposed towards garrulousness, or do women see me and think “amateur shrink”? I ask this because some of the stories I’ve been told lately have been so lurid and gynaecological in their detailed intimacy, they’re like episodes of ER written by Caligula.

Call me old-fashioned, but when I think of north London Jewish girls I think of middle-class suburbanites whose idea of a walk on the wild side is watching The Jazz Singer after sunset on Shabbas. The ones I’ve been dating recently are more like crazed characters from a kosher remake of Last Tango In Paris directed by Quentin Tarantino. Reservoir Snogs, anyone?

The first girl, a blind date, had my jaw on the floor within minutes of meeting her in otherwise mundane Mill Hill. After expressing a fondness for the sort of sexual practices normally reserved for after-hours cable TV channels with “X” in their name, she invited me to join her for what she coyly termed “dark pleasures”, but I don’t think she was referring to Cadbury’s Bournville Plain.

But first prize for Shocking Date of the Month — beating hands-down the one who proudly declared that she was “into madness”, and she wasn’t talking about the’80s ska band — goes to the twentysomething goth from Israel who was staying with family in Finchley. She contacted me after spying my shiny pate on a newspaper website, prompting her to confess to “having a thing for neo-Nazis and bald men with tattoos.” Hmm, I thought to myself, she seems nice. Must meet her.

“I’m into pain and S&M,” she breezily announced over cappuccinos the following afternoon, adding that: “You can enjoy pain if you take it the right way.” Of course you can.

She also boasted that she had been censored five times for profanities by the authorities at JDate. There’s a surprise. “I’m going to shake you, man,” she warned me, lasciviously licking the froth from her lips.

She wasn’t wrong. I haven’t been able to sleep a wink since.

Last updated: 4:22pm, September 3 2010