December 28, 2007

Humiliation

I should’ve gotten my hair cut. I know that now. I felt this the moment I sat down at the table in Verlaine and saw the disappointment in her face.

“How old are those photos of you?,” she asked. She was talking about my profile pictures on JDate, the dating site where pussy Jew boys find their cantankerous, scolding mates.

“What?”

“You look older than the photos. How old are they?”

“Just a few months old, three of them, anyway,” I stammered, confused and still struggling out of my coat. I couldn’t understand what she was driving at. I sensed her disappointment and I was still coming to grips with my own disappointment in her. Luckily the lights were set low in Verlaine, otherwise she might have noticed that my face burned.

She looked skeptical.

“Well, you look much older.”

“How much older?”

“Ten years older.”

“Ten years!”

“You’ve aged badly.”

“Really?” Although this exchange sounds pleasantly chatty, I was reeling. I thought that I probably should leave. If I had a shred of personal dignity, I would have. Instead, I ordered a martini.

“I’m brutally honest,” she said. “Most people aren’t, but I am.”

I wanted to be brutally honest, too. She wasn’t nearly as pretty in person as she looked online. In fact, her face looked monstrous to me. I wanted to tell her this. It would have been liberating to say it out loud, because one never says things like that out loud. She would have understood; brutally honest was her thing. But sadly, like the others before me, I’m a pussy. I stand on the shoulders of my ancestor pussies. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I sat there, idiotically, holding my martini in an old hand that might even have been trembling.

“Well,” I said, pretending to relax into this horror and calling up the dregs of any kind of charm left in me, “I’ve never heard that before. Nobody’s ever said that to me.”

“They were probably just being nice. People don’t usually tell the truth.”

“I’ve dated plenty of people your age,” I insisted. “And I’ve never heard that. In fact, I’ve heard the opposite. People always say I look younger than my age.

She shook her head. Strenuously.

“They were just being nice. You’ve haven’t aged well at all. Do you smoke?”

Then she suggested that these younger women I once dated had undoubtedly broken up with me because I looked too old. We were into our second round of martinis. Why was I still sitting there?

Courting further humiliation, I wondered in what ways I looked older than my age.

Tracing a finger across the discrete areas of her face, she explained.

“You have bags under your eyes –”

“–I slept badly last night.”

“You have bags under your eyes, deep marionette lines on either side of your mouth, and deep furrows in your forehead.”

“But everybody says I look younger.”

They’re lying. But you can take care of those lines.”

“What? Botox? I won’t do that.”

She laughed.

“You will,” she said.

December 27, 2007

To Haircut or Not

I need a haircut. Today. My hair is simply too long. But it’s not going to happen and it doesn’t change the fact that I need one right now. I used to like my hair a bit long. Intuitively, you’d think it would make me look young. But I’m getting older and for some strange reason long hair makes it worse. I think it might put in relief how old my face is. When I was little, short hair made me look precocious. Now, says my mother — annoyingly — short hair makes me look younger. She said this after I told her I was going on a date tonight — a first date.

“You must get your hair cut today,” she said.

“Why?”

“Your hair looks awful. It makes you look old.”

Naturally, that put me in a bit of a panic. But it’s impossible to get my hair cut before tonight. Well, it is possible, but I won’t just let anyone cut my hair. Whenever a professional does it, I’m invariably disappointed. And invariably, it takes days afterward for my hair to settle into something that looks decent. I usually get my hair cut by a friend.

“I understand your hair,” my friend once told me.

I pay her fifty dollars. She doesn’t cut anyone else’s hair; just mine. She used to throw in a blowjob at the end. But it started seeming silly, so she stopped doing that. No one cuts my hair the way she does. She makes me look like a hip Etonian. The problem is, she’s out of town for the holiday. So there’s no way I’m going to risk a bad haircut right before a date with a stranger. But my hair really looks awful. There are some other problems. The date is ten years younger than me. And also, she sounded humorless in her emails from the dating site; she did not like jokes.

I feel that a good haircut might resolve everything. Alas.

December 26, 2007

You’re Not a Jew, Are You?

I am a Jew. We barricade ourselves in our apartments on the 25th of December, comforting ourselves with stocks of kosher wine and loaded rifles. But I still had time to go on JDate, the Jewish dating website. I had sworn off dating fellow Jews, yet there I was, desperate. A few days after I joined, I received my first email:

“Terrific profile, but you aren’t Jewish are you?”

That hurt.