Paul Lester

It's true! I’ve become a babe magnet

By Paul Lester, September 9, 2009

Most men, I find, tend to exaggerate, especially when it comes to the fairer sex, and mostly they do so by accentuating the positive — boasting, I believe they call it. I exaggerate, too, only in the negative. It’s kind of a hobby. When my wife left me two years ago, I had a field day — literally, I invited friends and family (and some random passers-by) to a large expanse of grass near my house, sat them down on blankets with tea and bagels, and spent 12 hours moaning about how useless I was with women.

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Suddenly single: My name is Paul and I’m addicted to online dating

By Paul Lester, August 6, 2009

It’s as accepted a rite of passage for the Jewish male as the barmitzvah and supporting Spurs, and as inevitable a part of life for the average divorcee as — to paraphrase Woody Allen — death or taxes. I’m talking about JDate, the online “Jewish singles network” which, after months of trying to resist, I have finally joined.

I tried to resist it because, basically, I saw it as a sign of weakness, even failure, on my part. What kind of red-blooded, north London Jewish man has to resort to a website to meet women? The kind you see in the photograph on this column.

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Sorry ladies, there really is a science to pulling

By Paul Lester, July 30, 2009

Five guys walk into a bar — an Englishman, an Irishman, an Asian, a West Indian and a Jew. No, it’s not the first line of a joke, it’s what happened the other week when I, plus several other blokes of varying races and creeds, went to a nightclub to try and meet women after learning how to score on a course run by an organisation called Love Systems.

As Samir, one of the students on the three-day “boot camp” held in London, put it: “If you feel ill, you call a doctor, so why not have someone you can go to when you’re having trouble getting a girlfriend?”

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Forget the DVDs. To pull, go to Tesco

By Paul Lester, July 8, 2009

There is an advantage to being a single dad with a six-month driving ban who spends most of his free time trudging home from Tesco with bags of Coco Pops and Cheese Strings (and you should see what I buy the kids). No, honestly, there is. It’s not a huge advantage, granted, and I’d probably struggle to get a bank loan to brand it and market it, but it does represent an upside to all that schlepping and straining: you sometimes get to strike up conversations with new people on your gruelling journey home, some of them girls.

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In Watford, it’s smart to fail the dress code

By Paul Lester, June 11, 2009

One of the few good things about getting older is that you no longer have to care about the dress code of nightclubs. This is because you don’t go to nightclubs, mainly out of fear that young people will point and laugh.

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Pulled a Queen fan. I’m a royal failure

By Paul Lester, May 14, 2009

It’s been a busy old month. In fact, I’ve become a bit of a dating machine. I could give lessons… on how to fail dismally on a regular basis with a huge variety of women.

First, there was the sultry Spanish waitress I chatted to at a restaurant in Camden. We were getting on quite well — luckily I know how to say “you’re one red hot mama” in Castilian — so we arranged to meet at a bar in Notting Hill the following week.

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Zarif, Sy Kaye and Alexis Strum

By Paul Lester, April 23, 2009

Zarif

Meet the upbeat Amy Winehouse. Zarif Davidson is the London-born daughter of an Iranian-Jewish mother and Scottish father who is currently wowing the music business — she has just been supporting US R&B supremo Chris Brown at the 02 Arena — with her exuberant pop-soul.

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Chat-up guru can’t help my inner creep

By Paul Lester, April 20, 2009

My New Year’s resolution this year was to make more effort, to go out more, to be more proactive with regard to meeting women because, let’s face it, they don’t just turn up unannounced at your front door — unless you count the haggard care-in-the-community type who tried to sell me kitchen appliances before Christmas. So last week I bought some new clothes — well, a woolly hat and a hoodie — and I snapped into action… before deciding it was too cold to leave the house and slumping in front of the telly. Again.

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I’m just not into the swing

By Paul Lester, April 20, 2009

I keep saying I’m going to do some online dating but, to be honest, there’s been no point, what with the avalanche of mail arriving for me at JC HQ from single women responding to this column and asking for a, well, Jewish Date.

I say avalanche. There have been two letters so far, so I haven’t exactly needed to hire a lorry for a trip to the local landfill. Still, two letters mean two potential dates, and two potential dates mean one potential future ex-wife. How exciting.

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The good news — I’ve pulled. The bad news — it was in a gay disco

By Paul Lester, April 20, 2009

Spring is here and a young-ish Jewish man’s fancy turns to… wretched, neurotic self-regard. Well, usually it does, but not this month. No, this month I’ve taken a sabbatical and kept the navel-gazing and melancholic self-absorption to a minimum — quite a strain, as you can imagine.

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You wait for weeks, and then two girlfriends come along at once

By Paul Lester, April 17, 2009

‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive,” declared a great man, not Jewish but we’ll let it pass. I faced a bit of a quandary myself this month on the tangled-web front.

It’s a profound ethical dilemma. Who is more at fault — the love cheat, or the one who spies on the love cheat and finds out through means nefarious and foul that they are being deceived?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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I’m just not into the swing

By Paul Lester, February 18, 2009

I keep saying I’m going to do some online dating but, to be honest, there’s been no point, what with the avalanche of mail arriving for me at JC HQ from single women responding to this column and asking for a, well, Jewish Date.

I say avalanche. There have been two letters so far, so I haven’t exactly needed to hire a lorry for a trip to the local landfill. Still, two letters mean two potential dates, and two potential dates mean one potential future ex-wife. How exciting.

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Turn off the klezmer and turn up the Ramones

By Paul Lester, February 5, 2009

I hate Jewish music, but I love Jews who make music. Or to put it another way: I never listen to klezmer or any other types of so-called traditional “Jewish music”, but my record collection is full of albums by Jewish musicians.

Now, if I had been born several hundred years ago and was lucky enough to get a job on a Jewish, 16th-century version of the NME (the Jew Musical Express, perhaps), I would probably have been out every night, lapping up the latest sounds by the hottest klezmer ensembles in all the coolest Eastern European dive bars.

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Chat-up guru can’t help my inner creep

By Paul Lester, January 22, 2009

My New Year’s resolution this year was to make more effort, to go out more, to be more proactive with regard to meeting women because, let’s face it, they don’t just turn up unannounced at your front door — unless you count the haggard care-in-the-community type who tried to sell me kitchen appliances before Christmas. So last week I bought some new clothes — well, a woolly hat and a hoodie — and I snapped into action… before deciding it was too cold to leave the house and slumping in front of the telly. Again.

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My ex-wife is having a baby. I feel the jealousy in my genes

By Paul Lester, December 23, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about Darwinian imperatives and the function of DNA. No, not because I’m taking an evening class in advanced reproduction, but because I’ve just found out that my ex-wife is pregnant.

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Review: A Brief Guide To Judaism

By Paul Lester, December 23, 2008

A Brief Guide To Judaism — Theology, History and Practice
By Naftali Brawer
Robinson, £8.99

If, like me, you are rusty on your religion, this is surely a Chanucah must-buy; a neat précis of the story and beliefs of — according to the jacket — one of the “least understood” major faiths.

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I can’t even swing at a golfers’ disco

By Paul Lester, November 27, 2008

It's been a busy week.

I interviewed Glen Campbell for a national newspaper, and Johnny Marr, late of The Smiths, for my book on influential (ie no one's heard of them) art-punk band Wire. I even taught Spanish to some schoolchildren (it's a sideline I have). All very impressive, I'm sure. But still no women, or indeed woman. What to do? As it says in the Torah: "A man without a female at Chanucah is like chicken soup without matzo balls." That was the Torah, wasn't it? Maybe it was my friend Simon after one too many mint Aeros.

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The Paperboy delivers as the Jewish James Brown

By Paul Lester, November 20, 2008

The all-time soul-man greats - James Brown, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett - may now be dead, but their spirit lives on in, of all people, a young, white Jewish boy called Eli "Paperboy" Reed.

After a year in which British female singers such as Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy have dominated the new-soul scene, Reed, a 24-year-old from Brookline, Massachusetts, now living in Boston, is bringing it all back home to the States, the birthplace of gritty, sweaty, horn-enhanced R&B.

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The neurosis doctors

By Paul Lester, November 13, 2008

It is not many television filmmakers who could assemble a cast of contributors so varied it includes Bob Geldof, Stephen Fry, Hollywood stars Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, philosopher Noam Chomsky and spiritual teacher Ram Dass.

And few are the filmmakers who could get Geldof to admit to suicidal tendencies and Robbins to expound on the problems of medicating "difficult" children, all the while acquiring new music for the soundtrack from the likes of Michael Stipe and Alanis Morrisette.

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