By Stephanie D. Lewis
Caution: Never speak with anyone probing into why your former relationship didn’t work out! First came the unexpected text: “Hello! You don’t know me, but I’ve become aware that you were Gabe’s previous girlfriend for several years. I view him as a very large and serious investment and would like to get your opinion — all the pros and cons. Are you available by phone?” Huh??
I believe in women sticking together and the value of female friendship, but this was going too far. “Listen, Sister! We all get married and take our chances. There’s no warranty against product defects and no User Reviews on men — so do your own research and buyer beware!” Did I text that? No. Would I have wanted a warning on Gabe before I’d gotten involved? You betcha! Okay, I’d take her call and alert her about Gabe.
Scarcely had we said hello when she asked how Jewish would I assess him to be? Too little? Too much? Or just the right amount of Jewish? Who was I taking to here? Goldilocks? Next, she wanted to know if he left the toilet seat up? Seriously? I guess women have walked away from relationships over less. But that was only her second question! If they were coming in order of priority, this was gonna get interesting.
I gave her a full run-down on all his many faults. He was messy, lazy, arrogant, he couldn’t show up on time to save his life, and he never even thanked me for giving his family a Milton’s Deli gift card so they could go out for good corned-beef sandwiches.
“Well, that’s what makes him the wonderful man that he is,” she countered. Okaaay. Time to get serious with some real red-flags. I confided in her that he couldn’t even hold down a job for a week! So, if she was planning a future, she better make good money herself.
“Well,” she hemmed and hawed, “That’s more of an orangish/yellowish flag. I’m sure he had his reasons that were perfectly justified.” What? This was ridiculous. The two of them deserve each other!
When I happened to mention a lot of his personality flaws could probably be traced back to his tumultuous childhood, she fiercely defended his family. “Look Sister,” I said. (And this time I really did call her Sister!) “Did you phone to hear my opinion on what you should watch out for or not? I’m not gonna debate his life virtues with you. If you think he’s such a mensch, then say “yes” and walk down the aisle with him already! But stop noodging me and gey avek!”
I heard a huge ruckus and she dropped the phone. Maybe my terrific command of the Yiddish language shocked her? Nope! When she got back on the line, she announced if that’s the tone of voice I used with him, no wonder he left me. “He left me?” I shouted. You’ve got your facts wrong, Sister! Did he tell you that? If so, we can add “liar” to his list of shortcomings. Because I was the one who broke up with him!” There was a long pause after which she said, “The story I heard was that you burned kugels and couldn’t make a decent pot of matzo ball soup! And stop calling me sister. I’m actually his mother! I just figured since I manufactured a product, I should probably conduct a few focus groups to see how he’s turned out. Before I release him again to a nice, new Jewish female owner.”
“His mother?” I gasped. “He told me his mother had abandoned the entire family when he was a baby to become a Neil Diamond groupie and live Forever in Blue Jeans.”
“Gabe would never make up a bubbameister story like that,” she huffed. “I’ve obviously got the wrong number. Oh, and by the way, Milton’s deli is good for stuffed cabbage – but every good Jewish woman knows D.Z. Akins is the deli for corned-beef sandwiches. So your measly little gift card just sits in our kitchen junk drawer! And with that, she hung up on me. But I have a sneaking suspicion there’ll be a new and improved Gabe out on the market very soon. And I think I’ll call the next innocent consumer and forewarn her…about both Gabe and his busybody mother! Oy.