How to date like a (ahem) ‘shiksa’
By Julie Wiener
According to one obsessed person who comments on my blog, I think gentile women are superior to Jewish women.
Well, apparently so does “Avi Roseman,” the pen name of a 26-year-old single woman who has written and self-published Secrets of Shiksa Appeal: 8 Steps to Attract Your Shul Mate (iUniverse).
The gist of her missive is that gentile women know better than Jewesses how to entice male members of the Tribe — and instead of complaining about “shiksas stealing our men,” Jewish women can “learn from them and prevent them from doing that in the first place.”
In a nutshell, here’s what “shiksas,” according to Roseman, who also refers to herself as “Ms. Avi,” know and Jewesses must learn: dress sexy but don’t be a slut; take care of your looks; don’t be clingy or JAP-py; do play hard to get and don’t waste your time with commitment-phobes. In short, follow The Rules, the 1995 best-selling dating manual written by, ahem, two Jewish women.
In fact, Rules authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider have bestowed a blurb upon Ms. Avi, writing, “Every Jewish woman should read this book.”
Leaving aside my bristling at her liberal use of the term “shiksa,” and her overindulgence in stereotyping, I found Ms. Avi an engaging writer and oddly entertaining, albeit in a horrified watching-a-train-wreck kind of way.
Now contrary to the stereotype you might conjure up from looking at the book’s cartoon cover illustration and its old-fashioned approach both to gender and intermarriage, Ms. Avi, who lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., is neither a bimbo nor a women-belong-in-the-kitchen type: a Johns Hopkins University engineering grad, she is a former consultant for a major auditing firm.
I’ll be curious to see if the book, out in September, will sell well. It seems to rely on the assumption that (outside the Orthodox community at least) Jewish women are desperate to marry Jewish men, whereas Jewish men have no particular loyalty to their heritage.
I’m not sure if that will resonate with young Jewish women, many of whom seem quite content to date and marry gentile men.
And I am skeptical that Ms. Avi will convince interdating women to change their ways, because the reasons she gives for marrying in seem superficial, more about pleasing everyone’s grandparents, keeping the chain going and making Borscht Belt/Woody Allen jokes (think mayonnaise on corned beef) than about appreciating Judaism’s rich history, culture and teachings.
She doesn’t even make Jewish men sound appealing, referring to them frequently as nerds and at one point declaring that “usually the more successful, good-looking” Jewish men do not go to temple on Shabbat.
In a rare allusion to Jewish texts, Ms. Avi does cite the Talmud’s oft-repeated saying about when you save a life, you save an entire world, before saying: “Should I be held responsible for the destruction of the Jewish tradition because I treated an ex-boyfriend poorly and drove a former Hebrew School all-star into the arms of a Catholic girl?”
Despite her general opposition to dating gentiles, Ms. Avi does make an exception for women over 35, who she believes should date anyone able to provide them with some viable sperm and companionship. “Your children will be Jewish because you’re Jewish,” she notes and “A Gentile man is better than no man at all.”
Ouch. I can see why Ms. Avi is relying on a pen name, because I can’t imagine too many gentile men will line up to date her after stumbling upon that ringing endorsement.
More importantly, if “your children will be Jewish because you’re Jewish,” then why go through the whole ordeal of snagging a David or Daniel or Joshua who may be no more enthusiastic about Jewish living than a Christopher or Luke? Is it simply that Jewish women have a duty to save their former Hebrew school classmates from the throes of assimilation?
In any event, Ms. Avi is currently sticking to her rules and dating only Jews. In an e-mail exchange, she told me that her current beau is a Jewish patent lawyer. When I asked her if she has dated non-Jews, she wrote:
“I want to marry someone Jewish, so that I can eventually have a Jewish family…I’ve noticed among half-Jews, even the ones who had B’nai Mitzvot, they tend to care less about religion and are less likely to date Jews (even if they claimed they were raised “Jewish”) …”
Care less about religion and are less likely to date Jews? Sounds like the Jewish men she describes who need a nice Jewess in “shiksa” clothing to rescue them. Dear readers, what do you think? Will you rush to buy this book?
Julie Wiener is associate editor of The New York Jewish Week. Contact her at email@example.com.