mothers 88 248.
(photo credit: Illustration by Juha Karhula)
It's one thing for your mom to insist on paying for your J*Date membership, it's quite another thing when she creates her own J*Date account to pick out eligible men on your behalf. True story. My mom actually signed up for a free J*Date membership, logs on, finds men she thinks are appropriate for me, writes down their screen names and then e-mails me the list. Curiosity ultimately gets the best of me and I log on to see who she thinks is right for me. One after another I type in screen names and one after another I am supremely disappointed. My mom gets it all wrong: she picked guys who have been on J*Date for years, guys who prey on every girl at networking events and guys who just simply aren't my type. Even though she's seen my spreadsheet, she believes she knows what I want and need better than I do.
This isn't an uncommon scenario. Jewish mothers are known for their meddling ways, and every Jewish mother thinks her child is the best, the brightest and the most attractive. They're great at promoting their kids, but when they're trying to set their kids up on dates it can get out of control quickly. So many mothers have told me how handsome their son is, how successful, how funny - only for me to meet the guy and find he's anything but. This phenomenon is not gender-specific: the father of one of my guy friends was so bummed his son wasn't interested in me that he set me up with another man - a tall lawyer with a full head of hair who was missing just one thing: a personality.
EVERY TIME I talk to my mom, she asks if I'm dating. When I make the mistake of divulging any information, I instantly regret it. Suddenly I'm bombarded with questions, the first of which has remained the same since I began dating at 14: "Is he Jewish?" Next comes: "Who is he? What does he do? How did we meet? Where is he from and does she know the family? When are we seeing each other next?"
From then on, each and every time we speak, my mom asks how he's doing. And if it gets even slightly serious she'll even go so far as to Google him! Inevitably, the relationship ends but she continues to ask about him, forcing me to recount how he dumped me or why he was such a dud I had to cut him loose.
If I tell my mom I have a date, she'll call the next day to ask how it went. But it doesn't end there. No, instead she'll inquire as to the particulars: Did he pick me up? Where did we go? Did he try to kiss me and did we make plans for another date? When can she meet him? It's exhausting and annoying. She asks me for information I don't even supply to my closest girlfriends. And when I refuse to tell her every last detail, she gets upset and says I "never tell her anything."
TELLING YOUR mom that she doesn't understand because "dating is different nowadays" will get you nowhere. But it's true. Our parents didn't have J*Date, they didn't have Google and they got married a lot earlier than we do. But our mothers have a point, too. The differences between men and women haven't changed since Eve took a bite from the forbidden apple.
My mom may like to catch up on all my business, but I can deal with her. It's the mothers of the eligible Jewish men out there who have made my life more difficult. Jewish men's mothers have given them a complex. They've been raised to believe they're better than the rest, can do no wrong and deserve nothing but the best. It's a great way to give your son confidence but it doesn't make dating easy. No woman will ever make him feel as special as his mother and no woman can love a man as much as his Jewish mother. And those Jewish mothers don't have an easy time giving up their spot atop their sons' list of priorities and accepting the new woman in their sons' lives. But once you do get that much-sought-after approval of a Jewish mother, you'll know you are loved, you are special and you are in good - albeit nosy - company.
The children of Jewish mothers are the lucky ones. We have mothers who love us more than any person ever thought possible, who let us move back in when we need a place to live, who will babysit their grandchildren so we can have a date night, who will pay for our J*Date accounts and Jewish networking events, feed us home-cooked food until our stomachs burst, and support any decision we make as long as we listen to their point of view first. Our mothers do after all have our very best interests at heart, and we can't fault them for that.