March 5, 2006

If my hair is clean, I consider it done. If I have a date then I'll pull out all the stops and brush it.

My friend Liza continues to use a Jewish dating agency. Even though she's ticked "no" to keeping kosher, going to synagogue and observing Shabbat, she still feels it's better to date within the tribe. Her reason? A lot of Jewish men live on the Upper West Side, and she likes to stay close to home.

A month ago, she found someone she liked, but in the photo he e-mailed, he was jumping out of a plane. That would have been enough for me to say: "No, thank you." But Liza enjoys the adventurous type.

The following night they met in a bar and hit it off. But something was amiss with his eyes. She couldn't tell what because it was dark, and besides, she liked him, so it didn't matter.
The next date was dinner. When she arrived, he was already waiting. The restaurant he chose was, like the bar, dark. Over a candlelit meal she tried to figure out what it was that didn't seem right. Afterwards, they stood on the street and, yet again, she couldn't tell. Just as she was about to propose that they get on the brightly lit subway so that she could get a good look at his face, he hailed a cab. I told her the only thing left was to go on a daytime date. For Liza, this is tantamount to a date without clothes. It takes her about eight hours to achieve date-worthy hair, and going out in the afternoon meant she would have to wake up at dawn to get ready. If you call her during the hair process you're likely to hear: "Can't talk, doing hair." Putting the product in just so, sitting completely still for an hour and then sticking her head in the freezer to lock in the curl. The end result is the "natural" look. When it comes to hair, I admire Liza's devotion. If my hair is clean, I consider it done. If I have a date, and it's someone I really like, then I'll pull out all the stops and brush it.

Liza took my advice. When he suggested the cinema, she chose a matinee performance. Finally, she would get to see his eyes while queuing for tickets in daylight. But when he showed up, he was wearing sunglasses. And he kept them on right up until the movie began. By this point, she was really beginning to like him. Whatever was up with his eyes wasn't important any more.

A few nights later, he called. He would be unavailable for a while because he was getting eye surgery; he'd call when it was done.

"Eye surgery?" she asked. "For what?" He told her he had a wandering eye that he was having corrected.

A few weeks went by. And a few more. She left a message on his machine saying she hoped things had gone well with the surgery and she was looking forward to getting together again. She never heard back from him. Nothing.

Ever.

"I guess I was only good enough for him when he had a wandering eye," she said. "Now he probably thinks, 'Hey, I'm a Jewish man in New York with two good eyes; I can get Natalie Portman!'"