Friday, August 31, 2007

NY snobs in Europe

Note: Below is guest post from my friend and occasional editor, known here as Lance.

During my recent trip to Europe, after much angst I decided to take a minimalist approach and pack as little as possible. But I included a nice pair of slacks for my shabbos visit to the shul nearby the center of town.

I was surprised when I discovered a group of young guys from Queens. One of the guys actually brought his suit, but it was totally wrinkled because it had obviously been squished into his suitcase for several days.

I'm all for dressing up for shabbos and holidays, yet there has to be some point of practicality to the whole deal. I mean was this guy so obsessed with maintaining the Queens kewl guy look that he absolutely had to bring his snooty dark suit?

I understand that there's a thin line between classy and casual, but when on vacation I think most sane people understand that it's ok to take a minimalist approach.

Plus, what about when in Rome do as the Romans do? Almost everyone there had a nice button down shirt and slacks.

But what irked me more was that there was also a group a girls roughly the same age from Queens there as well. For some reason or other, we all failed to connect on Saturday night together, despite the fact that everyone was headed to the same direction and that they all casually knew each other.

Why is it that even hundreds of miles away from home we still can't all get along? Am I being to impractical? Why can't the commonality of being young, Jewish, around the same age be enough of a reason to want to join up together? Isn't it more fun that way?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Do guys have to pay for a girl on a faux date?

Does the guy pay for a girl even if their not dating? Every so often I hang out with this girl, despite us trying the dating route which didn’t work out, we continue to go places once in a while as we share similar interests. I don’t want to discuss whether platonic relationships can work out and whether this is one. That’s been covered already enough in the blogosphere, so there really isn’t a need for people to hear me speak about it. This is about whether a guy should pay for the girl when they do hang out as friends.

Recently I took a full day trip out of state with this lady friend (it was just us), and after I offered to pay for the gas, I would’ve assumed she would cover the tolls and her own admission fee. She did tell me a few times that she is going to pay me back for the expenses I laid out for her (even a souvenir), but the end result was, she didn’t give me any of the money. If this isn’t a date and we are not in a relationship and we are going strictly as friends, I should treat her like other guys I hang out when I drive with them, although most people give me the money without me asking for it. I am not the kind of guy to ask for the money at the end of the trip, I hope they are nice and honest enough to cough up with cash voluntarily. Am I being ungentlemanly about this?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mornings and Marriage

Maybe it’s because I’m just not a morning person, but certain things scare me about the morning. For instance waking up in the mornings and being married. I don’t know enough about this and nor do I voyeur on couples morning habits, I guess the only evidence I have is from TV and movies.But the point I’m trying to make here I guess is that I really hate mornings and when I wake up because I hate being bothered and spoken to. I like my privacy. I like waking up and not having a million questions asked.

I’m a type of guy that won’t talk to anyone regarding anything for at least an hour after waking. This never really came up on dates, though. I guess its something not to brag about to a girl, such as telling someone, "Oh by the way I’m a cranky bitch in the morning, so if you’re not interested in another date I’ll understand."

I know I’m far from the only one who’s like this, but from TV, these couples wake up at the same time and start yapping the moment their eyes open. What amazes me is that these people hop out of bed in an instant.

Maybe this is just me, but I feel going to sleep alone is tons sadder than waking up alone. I love waking up alone with the quietness. If I’m off and my alarm clock isn’t waking me up, I'll probably rise at noon thinking it was 7 am. I guess in married life, if your spouse is an early waker upper, you’re pretty much screwed for life.

I remember speaking to some older married guy about this on a ski lift (great place to start schmoozing with random strangers you’ll never see again in your life) about this issue. He told me he and his wife have an understanding that he hates mornings as well and they don’t speak to each other until 10 a.m. or so. I think that’s brilliant. Although it may take time for it to work because they each wake up in the same room and use the same facilities and eat kind of near each other. But they can do it 5 or 10 min shifts.

It still gets me thinking every time I wake up and people start talking to me and asking me questions. One may wonder how this has anything to do with frumness, well it doesn’t, but NSF is without internet and is over thinking about life complications.

Editors note: Despite this post being posted at night, it was thought out and written in the morning.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jews and arabs can get along

There was an interesting article in the USA Today like 2 days ago regarding good old flatbush . Nothing like some good free PR for our lovely community. Basically, they were saying how the orthodox Jews, the Muslims, and the Russians can all live side by side in peach and harmony, sans the dunkin donut incident. I was always waiting for an article about this to be written about the peace we have with our neighbors, and now finally the rest of this country can see how peaceful and civilized we can really be. The article also pointed out that the main reason is because what it comes down to, its all about business and not about one's beliefs. I'm OK with that. Which reminds me of reading about an article on Dubai a while ago, of how it is a welcoming city to the Jewish people as well, despite being in a pure Arabic country, because again, all it comes down to - they care more about making money than fighting. And what better religion to welcome into their desert than the wealthy Jewish business man. I was also pleased to see that many of the comments were positive towards Jews.

Also, I probably wont be able to blog much in the near future because my current job decided the block the internet, which occupied much of my dar. Now, i can have all day thinking on what to write about.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I wish I knew more non frummies

I was thinking recently, rather I’ve been thinking this way before, but was thinking about this again more recently; I regret I didn’t know more non-frum and non-jews when I was growing up. I’m sure I’m not the only one, as most frum people from Flatbush never really had the opportunity to associate themselves with people other then their type either. I regret this however. When I grew up, my block was always 90 percent Jewish, so whoever I played with were frum yeshivish kids. Then came yeshiva, and again obviously, all frum Jewish guys. This was like all the way through high school and Israel beis medrash. Then came college, that was another story, you moved from hanging around and associating with frum guys, to frum guys and frum girls. But still hard to become close friends and hang out with the non-frum crowd. Yes, I spoke too many of the non-Jews and joked around a lot, but still we never actually hung out after wards like I would do with my close frum friends. Why is this?

Whenever I speak too my non frum acquaintances, their surprised that everyone of my close friends are orthodox jews. I’m surprised as well. But I never really had the opportunity and it just ‘sorta happened’ like this from my up bringing. Now, being post-college, it’s a little bit more difficult to gaining new friends that share the same interests like me, not to mention the difficulty to gaining non-jewish people that share the same interest. I understand that there can be issues, such as if they want to eat out in their restaurants or hang out on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons, it can create some problems. But these issues can be looked over and just tell them the differences, and do stuff where there is no eating involved (although this too is easy to overcome, I’m totally cool with just having a beer while they eat in a non-kosher place) or hanging out on shabbos.

I know a lot of sheltered frummies are totally against this and one may start bringing down pesukim saying how its “associating oneself with a non-jew is bad and lead to bad stuff’, but this is my view. I wish I had a more diverse group of friends, and I don’t mean by the kind of suit and whether or not they wear a black hat.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hey Yeshivish guy on a date - drink the water!

I briefly wrote about this on a comment on a post I saw on nice Jewish guy’s blog a few days ago, in which he wrote about a funny sign he saw offering separate classes for dating advice. It was funny because it reminded me what I saw on Sunday in the mountains (yes I went there after I ran the half). When I was having a family barbeque at this outdoor park near some bungalow colonies and camps, there was this really yeshivish couple on a date a table away from us in this gazebo type setting. I know I shouldn’t be staring and judging at other people’s dates, as I hope no one analyzes my dates, but it was too hard not to. First let’s mention their attire; this guy was wearing a whole suit, tie and hat while the girl was wearing this thick black dress and long sleeves during the date. I’m thinking this guy must be sweating his ass off. I was hot in just my t-shirt while he’s outside with a whole suit on. I don’t wear suits ever on any dates for a whole other issue, no matter the temperature, but there’s got to be some kind of leniency when its 90 degrees out there for those yeshivish folks, seriously. Where does it say that they have to be uncomfortable during the entire date?

Another thing I noticed while they were there, which was like an hour, none of them showed any bodily motion. No arms or head movements, nothing, I get restless 5 minutes into a date, I start changing my seating position for a more comfortable one, but this guy and girl was firm for the whole time. Also, they brought water with them to drink, right, but an hour later both waters were still sealed closed. There was this other family there having a barbeque who was also getting a kick out of this date, he began yelling “open the water”, he even offered some of their left over beer they had. They ignored their bickering. I found it funny, somewhat mean, but still entertaining. The date finally had enough of us making fun and staring, they went to another park down the road (I noticed them from the car when we left).

If it’s anyone who needs tips on dating and advice its people like these. I’m not saying I know everything about dating, hell ill be married if I did, but I definitely know how to actually enjoy and feel comfortable during my dates and actually drink the water I bring.

Monday, August 6, 2007

NSF runs the NYC half

As I slowly regain feeling in both my legs from yesterday’s NYC half marathon, I wonder why people run these races, and how in the world 38,000 people run the full 26.2 mile around the 5 boroughs. The good news is I actually finished the race and I did it in about two hours eleven minutes, which is good enough for me. The max time was 3 hours or else you’re out of the race, which I was terrified of having to be picked up by bus for the people who weren’t able to finish it in the allotted time.

So I woke up at 4.40 yesterday to make to my corral at 6 am, for a race start of 7 am. Let it be told I have never waked up that early on a Sunday morning. Nsf likes his sleep. So after I stretch and wait in the enclosed area of the park for 45 min or so, I stand in my corral with thousands of other people, my position is still about 6 blocks away from the actual starting line. I fully regret this decision but it’s too late now. I can barely hear the horn go off and still not moving for at least 2 min, I see we start walking slowly, then running slowly, I was thinking I can do this, then we stopped for another min then we walk again, then we began running and I knew this was it (exactly 8 minutes after the official starting time). No stopping now. For the first few miles it was so tight, I tried not to run over people and not runners come into me. I saw 1 frum girl there walking smack in the middle of the pack of runners, I’m ok with people walking during the race, I walked for a minute or so by mile 11 or so but don’t do it in the middle of the pack especially at the beginning of the race where it’s really crowded, she caused this huge back up.

Before the race, I was talking to some people who ran these things before and they were giving me tips, I remember one was ‘pace yourself thru the park and hold yourself back when you have an urge to go faster’, which pretty much helped me out through the 7 miles through the park. I did the park in a pace a bit slower than I usually go, because the most I ran was 7 or 8 miles (not 13.1) but felt really comfortable when I actually left the park. Which was also probably the best part of my race, coming from a semi quit park to screaming cheerers and live music bands playing on 7th ave, that definitely helped me out.. I was even comfortable going to the west side highway, and then about half way down the west side, I felt my legs acting up on me. Although walking thru most of the water stops and grabbing a cup, my legs began to tire up. I walked 1 min here then ran another 10 min, it was kind of working. Then I hear people yelling ‘its almost over, right over that hill’, what a load of crap that was. I went over that hill and saw a sign another mile to go.. Ahhhh. Then every time I thought it was over – it wasn’t, it was just another damn sign saying how close you are, but no finish line.. where the hell is finish line?

It finally came at last, but then they made us slowly walk for 3 blocks full of thousands of other people as they give me a cold towel, my medal, and they take off my chip. Oh, how thankful that’s over, but still thinking, how cool will a full marathon be.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Korn vs Tu B'av party

The last time I went to the Bangitout Tu B’av party was around two years ago. Since that time, I've had less interest in going to the way over hyped, full of themselves clique event of the year. This year instead I checked out a free Korn concert in lower Manhattan. That’s right--I chose a few thousand blue collared, tattooed, long haired, and smelly head bangers over a few hundred middle aged snotty foxy yids.

I was able to get a date the first time I attended the party, but was unsuccessful the year after. If you’re not aware of how it works, everyone gets a sticker with a unique number with your name on it and then you are SUPPOSED to put it on your shirt where other people (usually those of the opposite sex) can see it. Then if you like that person you write down their number, and if you both write their number down, well, you will each be contacted by the parties organizers the next day or so.

That sounds like a great idea, but many people hide their numbers or don’t wear their sticker. I remember the first time I was there I somehow ended up being with someone who knew someone, with this totally unattractive overweight older woman. But her sticker was covered by her hair. I told her that it was blocking the number and people are not able to see it if they want to approach you.

She nonchalantly replies, “It was placed like that strategically.” Is she serious?! Did she actually think I was interested in her, or does she think that too many people are going to go after her? None of that was going to happen! If you’re going to an event like this, you should appear as if you’re out there to meet people, and not think your some obnoxious bitch. Another line I always love hearing is when a girl says: “I don’t do these things, I’m just here to help out my friend.” Was she ashamed of being single? If you’re at the party at least try to attempt to have a good time and be honest.

Somehow, I find Korn fans a lot more honest than those Bangitout people. If you were at the party this year or previous years, I would like your hear your input as well.