Monday, August 29, 2005

Date update

I did not have a Saturday date. It was never firm and we decided to postpone. However, the vibe I got from our phone conversation was that I would not be hearing from him again. No problem.

The Sunday date was for lunch and I liked him. Frank was cute, smart, and pleasant. He passed the oh-so-important kiss test (would I like to kiss him? Yes. That was easy!). Mr. Friday Night did not pass this test.

Frank is 43 and doesn't look particularly young (or particularly old). What he looks like is a kind, caring man. How can you get this from someone's looks? I'm not sure, but that was my feeling. Our emails were fun and silly, but our one phone conversation was odd. In person, he was not as silly as the emails and not as awkward as the phone call. We had no problem chatting and after lunch we took a longish walk around the neighborhood (super-suburban MD). I asked him questions and he did most of the talking. I learned quite a bit about him--he's always lived around here, he's a computer science guy, he is close to his family. He is calm, good-natured and just a little sad. Maybe that's why I like him--I want to give him a big hug and make him feel better.

The most interesting part of our conversation happened in the last 15 minutes when I should have been on my way to softball (I made it just in time but we lost in the first round of the playoffs).

We talked about Israel. This is a recurrent theme in this round of dates. It has never been an issue before, probably because I never dated many Jewish guys before JDate©. Until this year, the only romantic experiences I had with Jewish guys were: my 6th grade boyfriend (lasted two weeks, then he had to "be free for the summer"); the fellow I had a crush on from age 15-17 (we kissed once); and a guy in grad school I liked, and probably went on the equivalent of one date with. (Mom accused me of not liking Jewish guys when I told her about him. I said, "I'd love to go out with him, but he's obsessed with Chinese women, so I don't think I'm his type.")

Israel keeps coming up because I am not a Zionist. I understand why people feel the need for there to be a Jewish State, but I think it's dangerous for nations to be founded on ethnicity. It gives such states the right to exclude and dehumanize those of different ethnicities. I've been told, in answer to my position, that there are 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel (enfranchised around 1948, and none since, I believe). That there was a conspiracy on the part of the Arab League that is mostly responsible for the plight of the Palestinians and thus Israel is not the cause of their problems. That Israel must act to protect itself at any cost. And that the need for a Jewish homeland trumps any human rights issues.

I do not support the right of any government to oppress people. Just because Israel is a Jewish State, I will not support it unconditionally. I do not feel that Israel is my homeland.

I'm living in my homeland. A place where my family has been for five generations. A place, I am proud to say, that does not use ethnicity as a litmus test for citizenship. I'm way out of the American political mainstream, but this is my home, my culture and the place I want to be.

Yet, many of the people I've met on Jdate have very strong feelings about Israel. They feel it is their homeland. My views will be a deal breaker for these guys. And their incoherent or zealous views will be a deal breaker for me. Or, if they say that the Gaza evacuation was "ethnic cleansing." I mean, what, are you totally insane?

I had a conversation with Mr. Friday Night about Israel. He said he agreed with me (!) but he felt Israel was his homeland and he had no particular allegiance to the US. That he would fight for Israel if it came to that and that he would live there if he could afford it. My response: I never want to live in Israel and this is my homeland. I said to Pele that this conversation, and some other issues I won't bore you with, might mean we weren't suited. And, lo and behold, I get this email from him today (edited slightly):
I must admit that while I found you quite attractive, particularly in a physical sense, I think the areas where we have differences of opinion are too profound (i.e. Israel) to make a relationship worth pursuing. It's not that I begrudge you your views--it's just that one major thing I want out of a relationship is an environment where I feel secure and supported around things that are fundamentally important to me.

That much being said, I'd still be up for further conversations--you are a genuine original and as such you are quite refreshing.
I'm not surprised or offended, but just not getting in touch with me would have been sufficient. (Yes, yes, letting me down easy was fine, but I wasn't actually interested, which makes it annoying.) Anyone think he just wants to get laid?

Where was I? Right, Frank. Our discussion about Israel was interesting. He presented some of the same information I've heard recently, but he was more coherent, more moderate and not bothered by my views. He was genuinely surprised when I said I wasn't any kind of Zionist. The conversation brought us closer and led to a more enthusiastic endorsement of getting together again and a mutual goodbye hug. It was like, "Oh, you're really there, you're engaged. Yay!" I know I would like to see him again, but I'm not entirely sure how he feels. I'll give him a call tonight or tomorrow and go from there.

Grateful for: my homeland.

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