Pity Me

“I don’t like eating out at families for Shabbos,” my Flatmate said. “I hate being the nebach case at the table.”

“You think that’s why people invite us?” I asked. “Really?”

“Well why else do you think they do?”

“For the pleasure of our company?” I replied, suddenly doubtful. Maybe my company isn’t all that scintillating. Maybe the only reason people invite me over  is because otherwise they imagine me alone in a dark room with cracked walls, lit  by a single, dangling, lightbulb, sitting at a wobbly table eating dry bread salted by my own tears.

Then I laughed. That was ridiculous. Who could imagine I had such a pathetic existence? No, they definitely invited me over for a much-needed break from discussing community politics and preschool options. They probably appreciate having someone new around to provide a more youthful perspective and broad-ranging conversation…

Friday night, as we proffered our parting thank yous to our hosts, the hostess leaned in and urged us to invite ourselves over any time. “You know Elisheva, who lives a few doors down from you? She has a hard time finding meals for Shabbos. She told me that sometimes she eats all alone. I feel so bad! But sometimes the week just gets away and I forget to invite people. So don’t feel uncomfortable about calling, okay?”

Pop. That was the sound of my bubble.

Okay. So maybe they don’t invite me for varied conversation. Maybe, I go to them for varied conversation. The truth is, if you want to imagine me in a nebach situation, it would be a teeny drop different than the dry-bread-in-a-dark-room situation.

You’d have to imagine me in a brightly lit, spacious apartment, at a table brimming with food and surrounded by friends, all carrying on an LCD conversation about… dating. It sounds so familiar, I suspect we had the exact same conversation last week.

“Hey, anyone try any new recipes lately? Read any good books?” I try.

Blank looks.

“Um, how’s work?”

“Ugh, not on Shabbos.”

“Goethe? Post-modern art? How about that government shutdown? The weather?”

“C’mon. This is what I come here for,” a guest says. “To get in my weekly crabbing about dating.”

Sigh.

Diaper brand comparisons? After-school daycare? Bring it on.

Nebach me.

Thursday Link: Things Not to Say to a Single Woman

I enjoy it whenever someone reminds the world that being single and female is honestly not the worst thing that can happen, because it’s really not.

Of course you don’t have to say things to insinuate it. I was recently at a classmate’s wedding. You know, the one who officially makes me the 10-percent forever single. I met a truckload of long-lost classmates, all wearing black, all busy working in some sort of therapy (occupation, speech, physical, mental). Somehow a few of us wound up in conversation with an even older (married) woman in black who spoke about her single days, crammed in an attic with other singles, living on leftovers from their dates.

“We had such good food every night, and we didn’t appreciate it,” she sighed. “When you’re single you just don’t appreciate these things.”

I was immediately jealous that her dates were so generous with the food. Mine, although usually employed, rarely spring for dinner. (And I, with the unfeminine ability to devour an entire entree and then peek at the dessert menu, rarely have leftovers to bring home.)

“I appreciate it!” I protested. “Sometimes the food is the best part of the date!

I immediately felt an uncomfortable shift, and when I glanced at my classmates they were gaping, rather. Had I taken the conversation into awkward territory? Had I done the  equivalent of declaring that “I love chemo! You lose so much weight!”?

The conversation broke up after that, although I suppose it would have broken up faster if I’d just nodded and smiled: “Yes, singles don’t appreciate the goodness they have.” 

For the record: We do! At least, I do. I appreciate everything about being single – my parents would say too much. And when a fellow takes me out to eat, I definitely appreciate that too.

It’s always nice to hear someone make singlehood sound like the good old days. It sure beat when they make it sound like a terminal illness. Which brings me to the link: Things you really shouldn’t say to single women. (Link goes to Huffington Post.)

 

Just Go With It

This week I found myself far from home for Shabbos after a Megabus failed to arrive. Don’t weep for me: instead of Washington Heights, I wound up on the Delaware shore in a beach house. My major crisis was that I’d packed NYC clothes, and had to choose between wearing sneakers or 3-inch-heels to the beach. Seuda Shlishis was to the sound of a bunch of middle-aged men in Hawaiian t-shirts plinking away at 70s rock with various string instruments.

Havdala, though, was an issue. Short a candle and anything that smelled particularly nice, we walked out to the nearest shul to listen in. There was some curious  peering over the mechitza during ma’ariv (tsk tsk, gentlemen. Haven’t you ever seen women before?), and then everyone retired to the back for the ceremony.

It was a sonorous one. The rabbi had a pechant for chazanus. But finally he finished. “Ah gutteh vuch, ah freilichen voch, a mazaldikeh voch,” he wished his audience. “Ah shidduchdikeh voch,” he nodded at us.

We nodded, smiled, and headed out.

“I’m affronted,” I murmured to my friend.

She rolled her eyes.

“Oh stop it. He saw three pretty young women and singled us out for attention. When he doesn’t identify you as matchable, then you should start to be offended.”

Okay. Point taken.

Thursday Link: Freezing Fertility

I admit, this article came as a bit of a shock. I always assumed, in a sort of vague way, that if I wasn’t married at 30 I’d freeze some eggs. I figured I’d do more research when the time came.

Well, it turns out that freezing eggs is over $9,000 a pop, and has at most a 50% chance of success. (Is that per egg or per batch, I wonder?) This information had on me the reverse effect the article intended.

But trot over and read it for yourself. And then let me know: would freezing your eggs be a relief or an additional stress?

 

HT to Kansasian