Tel Aviv Yourself Ep 3: some truths about dating Israeli men
Welcome to Tel Aviv Yourself: a series about my life in Tel Aviv. Every once in a while, I will be posting short stories about my life in the city I now call home. Now, this series is very raw and unedited. As this is my story, as I have full ownership of this blog as my creative space, you are going to get my version if you choose to continue reading. Thanks, and enjoy!
Warning: If you are still in level 1 of dating Israeli men, do not read this. I repeat. Do not read this.
Level 1: The days where all the Israeli men look like rainbows and unicorns. No flaws, highly democratic, liberated sort of fabulous level like all dating stages, Israeli or not. This level entails the hardship of looking away while walking at Allenby and the rude practice of staring. Women don’t want to be cat-called but seriously, when flocked together, we are the worst in talking about men, most especially if you are single and foreign in a country where men are extremely physically attractive.
As a human being who finds it very easy to adjust to major cultural differences, I wasn’t surprised that in just a matter of weeks, I was able to unlock level 2. It wasn’t difficult because Israeli men are usually straightforward and spontaneous. This seemed to be one of the best features of my life in Tel Aviv. I found it so easy to be here not because of the men but the people of Israel in general.
I am a woman who is not expecting anything when it comes to set up dates. When a girl friend tells me, “I want you to meet someone! You are going to like him,” I simply say OK because I know I’ve got nothing to lose. To be honest, all the long-time friends I have now are from failed Tinder dates. I find it amazing how I was able to build platonic relationships through a dating app which is like a fairy Godmother to the miserable singles. Aside from making friends in a foreign city, I also use it to market my blog/business which is, in turn, 100% effective all the time — to the point that Israeli men recognised me in the streets of Tel Aviv. That was a sensational return of investment for me.
Let me tell you more about my newfound wisdom about dating Israeli men. 100% loyal readers of this blog are very open-minded but at the same time, 100% of passers-by will choose to find the way I write my experiences a grave stereotype to mankind. I respect how we all, men and women alike, opt to see things differently and you’re welcome to do so!
I have arrived at a conclusion that nobody is in the middle ground here. Every Israeli man is on the opposite side of the meter. In general, when you are dating an Israeli man, they keep the tradition of charm, allure, and passion that will make you fall head over feet. It’s a default feature. Sure, they might be the most chill people I’ve ever met but not when it comes to relationships or dating. They are freaked. They can’t keep still.
To make it more clear, let’s visualise the lowest and the highest measurements of a meter:
Low aka swipe-right-let’s-have-sex
Liz Gilbert said that every city has a word: Vatican is “power”, New York is “achieve”, Los Angeles is “succeed” and Rome is “sex.” I differed when I got to know Israel. Rome’s word is not sex. It’s Tel Aviv’s. It’s a municipal pastime here and everyone have joined the bandwagon.
The “coolest” kids on the block enjoy this type of “dating.” (That was a lot of quote and quote in one sentence, but anyway, welcome to Israel!) Being in dates multiple times is inevitable but when the bond is building deeply to the direction of eventually being in a relationship (aka going to the normal parameter), they tend to walk away even if nothing is wrong. They just don’t want to engage nor participate in a deeper level of intimacy because of a myriad of reasons.
They wanted to be in control, unfortunately. I didn’t understand why at first. But you know, different humans, different life dynamics. I am a pure believer of the going with the flow adage. If it happens, it happens. If not, then I move on. Not that there are many fishes in the Mediterranean sea but that’s what I do. I move on. I keep the faith. I understand that some things don’t work out and it’s okay! But to control the situation is a total turn-off for me. If it happens to you, don’t be confused if one day, they want to stop seeing you and couldn’t explain why. They are afraid of a deeper engagement. It seems like it’s a responsibility for them when in fact, we can all just chill and avoid ruining something beautiful.
High aka “let’s get married and live happily ever after”
While Tel Aviv is composed of outrageously drunk, broke and happy young adults, other youngsters of Israel are curating a different story. Mostly from Jewish Orthodox communities, some are married and with children as young as 22. I’ve never encountered an Israeli who is religiously following Judaism but someone I used to see invited me to a Shabbat dinner with his family.
For the women of Israel, Shabbat dinners are freakishly freaky. This is a sign that you’ve upped a level: “Damn! I am going to be introduced to the family!” As for normal people like me, Shabbat is a way of knowing one’s culture and an exchange of ideals. For me, to say yes to an invitation is a way of paying my respect to the people who have been kind and generous to me by offering their homes. I am seriously not expecting to be introduced as a girlfriend most especially if I’ve only been to a date with this man twice.
Twice. Yes. Twice. Two dates and in the middle of the dinner, the mom already gave a very witty remark: “So, you are not Jewish? Did you know that if you are not Jewish, your children will not be Jewish?” I wanted to choke. Did she just indirectly implied that I will be married to his son? What was I getting into?
Apparently, the traditional Orthodox view says that ‘Jewishness’ is passed down through the mother. So even if I get married to a Jewish, my children will not be Jewish until I decide to convert. Too much religion. It was very heavy, I couldn’t…
I wanted to excuse myself from the dinner table. I respect the religious views but seriously don’t want to be involved. Did he tell his mother that we were getting married? Was it why I was invited to Shabbat dinner? These questions were popping as I indulged into a tub of hummus. After all, even if we think that Jewish moms are crazy (they believe that too, btw), they make the best food. I will say no to marrying your son, but yes to food.
I have encountered this twice. In both situations, the lads were in their mid-30’s and really looking for someone to take home to crazy Jewish momma to. This time, I was the one who got freaked. How can you marry someone like me whom you’ve only known for a week? Why are we jumping this fast? Why can’t we all chill the feck out?
Nope. We are not going to talk about kids ages 0-12. I am going to tell you how 30-somethings act like children in Israel. Aside from taking their laundry to their mother’s homes every Shabbat, there is a profound justification on how the Israeli men act like children.
I am no stranger to the party scene, whatsoever. In fact, I enjoy it. But I don’t always have the energy to do it because I’m not a robot on meth — I need to calm down and be surrounded by peace and quiet. Just to try, I’ve gone a 2-week all night party with feckloads of alcohol surviving with 3 hours of sleep per day. I was prepared to go that length because the guy was like me in all ways: an artist.
To be ferociously creative and to understand the nature of work that I do seems to be a rare find for me. I was willing to cross the line of the capabilities of the human body because I really liked him. It was just too much. It all became clear when the drugs got involved. Again, it was too much. I might look like a hipster junkie to you but I have never taken any form of chemical drugs because I am a writer. I don’t want my brain to be harmed. I already have problems with smoking cigarettes and I don’t want to add more chaos. Although I read somewhere that cocaine can help in my writing, I cannot imagine myself sniffing that element nor envision it crawling straight to my brain.
Despite the mutual creative energy we shared, I couldn’t do that kind of lifestyle. I had to cut the bond. And come on, we are in our 30’s and still growing backward? I will never find any growth to that even if a man label it as “just for fun.” I am too old for this substance shit. Maybe if you are 18, I can understand. But 30? Come on.
You want me to be honest? Life is tough here. I keep writing about my experiences in Israel like it’s all rainbows and unicorns but let me tell you that IT’S NOT EASY TO BE IN ISRAEL. I think that goes for anywhere else in the world. I didn’t say this is the best place in the world to live in. In fact, there are no places in the world that can be labeled best. It’s up to you, wherever you choose to live in this world. No job opportunities? Create it. You want a better traffic system? Create it. You want parking to be easy? Create it. You have an idea in mind? Put it to life and create it. Last week was too overwhelming for me. It was still hard to believe that I am making a life here, creating relationships, having neighbours you can share meals with, going to a bar where everyone addresses you with the first name, etc. These are all new to me. I never had this in a long time. I always come and go. My line of work is not also recognised here which made everything more difficult. I was in shock. But I asked myself: “am I willing to do what I need to do in order for this to work? Do I still have the energy and heart to love and accept everything that is happening around me? Above all, am I still happy here?” The answer was YES. All the time, YES. 100% YES. It really is true. Life is what YOU make of it. #TelAviv #TrishaVxIsrael #Israel #VibeIsrael Photo ?: @giladmashiah
I’ve recently discussed on Facebook that girls (foreign or not) always get things for free in Israel. You will always get invited because the default setting of the Israeli men is to pay for everything. In the comment box section of this article, an Israeli reader bashed me and wrote exactly this:
“Oh yes I’m sure you love it when you can go out every night for free. I’m sure you love having a free place to stay whenever you do whatever you feel like that night. And I’m sure you love having a personal butler that morning. Men being nice is a great thing. I have no problem with buying drinks because I’m enjoying someone’s company. I have no problem opening up my home to a guest in need. I have no problem being a great host. But my god you sound so entitled. You make it sound like men should be at your service and do whatever you want. But where in the article did you do anything nice in return? When did you buy a drink? When did you return the favor of their hosting (and I’m not talking about some sort of sex obligation)? I know it’s not the point of the article but I hope you can set an example of how these wonderful Israeli men deserve to be treated in return.”
Obviously, this bloke doesn’t have any idea who I am. Or strong women in general, Israeli or not. I have a fecking job and living on my own. I don’t need for you to pay for me. If you do, well, thank you. I return the favour by buying the next round of drinks or anything that you deem equal. To be honest, I’ve offered to pay many dates but then they always insist. I am a grown woman and wouldn’t play the guessing game. I hate being caught up in a situation that people have to argue who will pay. For me, if a guy insists and rejects my offer, it means he really wants to do it. But can you not complain after doing so? That was what the Israeli reader comment was implying. He was freaking complaining. I don’t have any problems that Israeli men are paying. My only concern is that they feel like they have to do it by default because of their gender. Sharing a bill with a woman will not make you two balls less. You’d still have both, I promise you. The obvious sight of men being emasculated is 100% turn-off.
In further studies and real life interactions, I found out that some are obliging themselves to pay because they wanted to get something in return from the girls. You see, it all boils down to Tel Aviv’s word: SEX.
There is a big tendency that Israeli men will swipe left when they come across my profile because most of them think they are under a human relationship study. That paranoia is coming from their prolific experiences in the Army. My writing has become a ‘threat’ to them but know that even if the texts of this article are from real life situations, I will never disclose any identity to respect the privacy of these men.
I honestly don’t know how to end this article. Bye.