Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Meet My New Boyfriend, Who's Awesome

Meet my new boyfriend. Meet his prolifically tattooed forearms, noting that it isn’t just their soft white underbellies that bear tats, but the hairy uppers too. Is that cool, or what? And the tats themselves? Ugly crude anchors, and God knows what else. Who can tell? Not exactly prison shit, but not nearly the sort of thing you’d get in the new tattoo parlor in the mall either. They bespeak his individualism, and so does his pierced right eyebrow, and his backward baseball cap, with a little crescent of forehead showing through the space above the adjustable band. 

No lumbersexual, he has a soul patch, but not an actual beard. When we first started dating, I tried to persuade him to get one of those stingy-brim fedoras, but he said, “Everybody and his dog’s wearing one of those, dude.” How not to love a guy who refuses to be part of the pack, and who addresses women as dude?

Most of the guys I’ve dated have drunk Pabst Blue Ribbon in the same spirit that they wear the stingy-brim fedoras, but not my new boyfriend. He says, “Irony sucks,” and drinks beer brewed in microbreweries. How awesome is that?  And he’s not the clingy type, not at all. When we met at happy hour tonight, for instance, he said, “How you doing?” and then, before I could answer, got busy reading text messages on his phone. 

That a lot of people have a lot to say to my new boyfriend should surprise no one. Other dudes I’ve gone out with would have been all, “You’re looking amazing,” but my boyfriend’s got enough self-confidence not to bother with all that. It took a little getting used to because I’m not exactly Ms. Self-Confident, and demand regular affirmations from others, but I’m getting there, slowly.

As I compose this, an LAPD helicopter seems to be circling above the eastern third of the heavily Jewish Fairfax district, which reminds me that around 10 days ago, while I was having a traipse in my male clothing on Fairfax Avenue, one of those traditional (Hasidic?) Jews, in black and white clothing and the sort of fedora men wore in the 1930s or whatever, the generous-brimmed kind, asked me for directions. I was happy to provide them, but then he demanded to know if I were myself Jewish. 

I am the descendant of Semites who somehow wound up in Russia and Germany, and an ethnic Jew. He looked skeptical. Was my mother Jewish? Through and through, I affirmed, whereupon he wondered where were my tefellin, small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, worn by observant Jews as a ""remembrance" that God got the Israelites out of Egypt. I told him I lacked tefellin, but had once owned some Teflon cookwear. He wasn’t amused. I mean, he didn’t smite me or anything, but he made no secret of his disgust either.

His displeasure increased when I told him that the God I’d be inclined to believe in doesn’t care what I wear, and, being omniscient, wouldn’t have created Egyptians in the first place, knowing that they’d enslave his beloved Jews. I admitted that I find deeply offensive the notion that God likes one nationality or ethnicity more than others, and pointed out that God seems to inflict unspeakable random cruelty on all races, cultures, and creeds. Whereupon my new friend said, “Harrumph!” and stormed away. May your flock increase, pal, or whatever.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this. Maybe it’s because you’re such a good listener.


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