heart love 88.
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For years, my grandmother has been advising me to accept every date I'm asked out on because, as she says, "you never know who you're going to meet." After all, that's how she met my grandfather. As my 'savta' tells it, she was on a date that was going so-so when the man took her to a candy shop owned by his friend. 'Savta' loved the hand-made, chocolate-covered strawberries at the candy shop so much that she kept going back. Meanwhile, the owner asked his friend if he could ask my grandmother out. The friend gave him the go-ahead, but said she was out of his league. Luckily, the shop owner only heard the first part and asked her out anyway. Decades later, 'Savta' and 'Sabba', the candy shop owner, remain happily in love.
My grandmother likes to give me a lot of advice - as grandmothers tend to do - and most of the time I simply smile and nod my head before disregarding it. But since she was so adamant, I decided to try it her way. No matter how much I might think a guy wasn't right for me, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and go out on a date with him. I decided it wasn't fair to decline a date just because there wasn't instant attraction, nor was it fair to judge him on what we didn't have in common. The more I thought about it, I wouldn't want a guy to discount me as a possible love interest based on first impressions. It's as much a mindset as anything else: if I'm open to meeting anyone at any time, I'll probably end up getting asked out a lot more. And if after spending time together my date and I decide to part amicably, I'll have at least met a new friend who can now introduce me to his friendsâ€¦ and of course, I'm happy to return the favor!
I realized 'Savta''s advice didn't simply mean hoping a dud date with one man would lead to a delightful one with some friend of his: I had to create opportunities for myself. I signed up for J*Date, went to young professional events, became more active in the community and ultimately got off my couch more and went out on the town. I also let all my friends know that I was interested in being set-up; telling people you're single and looking is nothing to be ashamed of. But no matter how much effort you put into meeting someone, often enough it happens when you least expect it.
Case in point: two of my favorite couples are happily married after meeting at 'shivas'. That's right - they met because someone died. It may seem odd to even think of checking out the crowd at such an event, but I'm sure the people who passed away would be happy to know their deaths resulted in a 'simcha'. In fact, the daughter of one of the deceased later hosted the engagement party for one of the couples.
One girl I know met someone at a party at the Tel Aviv Port while vacationing here last summer. She didn't think it could go anywhere - if anything it was just a holiday fling - but when you catch the love bug there's nothing you can do about it. They both felt a connection they never had before and didn't want to risk losing each other. After spending the better part of a week together, he asked her to move to Israel to be with him. She didn't hesitate. She's now living here with him, and they're planning their future together.
Another girl I know was promoting a New Year's Eve party a few years ago when a guy offered to buy a ticket in exchange for her phone number. She told me later she had thought it was odd but romantic and decided to accept the deal since the guy had such 'hutzpa'. He didn't attend the party, but he did call her, and this past New Year's they celebrated their second anniversary.
It turns out there's something to my grandmother's words of wisdom: you really never know when you're going to meet someone, so it's important to be open to the prospect at all times. You could be on a date with another man, sweating at the gym or out drinking with friends, you could be make up-less at the supermarket, volunteering at an absorption center or sitting 'shiva' for a loved one. There are so many opportunities to meet someone just as long as you keep your eyes open, your mind open and most importantly, your heart open.