Candy-Store Relationships...

Written by Tobye Adar

Jewish Dating, Jewish Singles Advice A Few weeks ago I flew to the US of A to surprise my sister and witness her girls walk down graduation aisle to receive a piece of paper they’ve diligently worked towards since pre-school. With two hours in my time bank, my first stop at the Atlanta International Airport was the bookstore/souvenir shop. My attention was immediately arrested by the bright green packaging of some wonderfully, synthetically yummy new Starburst sour liquid filled gummies. But then, I thought of my mom who always had almonds with some sweet accompaniment (dark chocolate or cranberry/cherry bits) in her purse, just in case she didn’t have time between appointments to eat properly. I looked at the trail mix, nixed it for its look-a-like m&ms and then the smoked almonds, which I inherited as a first choice. But then I spotted, on its own hook, a packet of dark chocolate roasted almonds. I had to have them. I checked them out, along with a Newsweek (Oprah on the cover) and The Art of War.

I kept walking. I could afford to engage the menu at “Seattle’s Best” at my leisure. I don’t live in America. In Israel, the most sophisticated blended coffee drinks consist of vanilla bean, chocolate, and a Chai latte on occasion. So it took several long breaths to begin internalizing the huge menu on the wall. I caught sight of “Raspberry Mocha Kiss”. My first thought was: “who thinks up these coffee concoctions that, at first glance, don’t even seem to make much sense?” But at that moment I stopped any further reflective effort and simply decided: this is what has caught my eye, this is what I’m going to try. These constituted my initial interactions, stepping on home tile, right after which my chest felt like a momentary waterbed, when the immigration officer looked at my customs form and said, “Welcome home”.

In Tel Aviv coffee houses, coffee still tastes like coffee. What is the source of these domestic background flavors? Are we so flooded with choice that it has impeded our capacity to choose? Or do we want it all, deny the need to choose just one, and feel relieved an alternative exists packing all sorts of flavors together? Is the nut the new wine? Has coffee become a virtual meal or an orchard of aroma?

I come into contact with people who have cultivated careers of all types, women and men who are excellent at their jobs and, sometimes because of that, can’t understand why they aren’t meeting the person of their dreams. Is it possible that balsamic vinegar potato-chips, Vitamin infused Coca Cola and mint flavored cashews lead us to believe that any combination is possible? And while I don’t deny that it does wonders for ad campaigns, and even reeducates our palettes, do we want to live reading emails during lunch and updating our calendars during sex? How far are we taking the concept of blending and multi-tasking, and are we possibly confusing that with flexibility? Also, what influence does this socially condoned behavior have on our subconscious expectations of human relations?

I am an undiscriminating fan of progress. I also believe that there are times to laugh and times to cry and, while I harbor a trivial appreciation for Comical Defensive Driving and aerobic stripping I marvel at the myriad of combinations available, and enjoy wondering which works for whom. I’m not here to defend an Asian fusion meal over one at a Country steakhouse, rather, to prod us to that place where we break things down, take a good look at what we want, and examine the actions we take to get ourselves there. If you want a loving relationship, what difference does it make that you’re a Wall Street guru? What are the traits you possess that contribute to and create a caring dynamic?

A lot of us, including myself, forget that bullet point inundated résumés count for something far beyond those typed lines of achievement. Tenacity and commitment are desirable qualities, but the question all of us résumé holders must ask is, committed to what? Certainly one may possess ambition, perseverance and strength that may even be evident across a wide spectrum of résumé entries and constitute fruits of the undocumented resulting circumstances. Even the things that are handed to us, like brains, innate attributes, social skills – without their cultivation we won’t achieve a fraction of what we are capable of achieving. What I want to say is that just because you are competent in one area doesn’t mean you don’t have to invest in others. If you want a relationship and don’t have it, it is essential to ask yourself why. No one else can answer this question, only you, with your own molecular construction of strengths and weaknesses that make you YOU.

I have spoken to a fair amount of people who would like to be in a relationship and are not currently in one, and the level of desperation appears proportional to their own lack of personal responsibility. It’s either “there are no normal ones left” or, alternately, “who would want to date her?” I heard this response from a 40+ year old man, who was vying for this particular woman’s phone number, and once he heard the age of the 39-year-old who politely refused to exchange phone numbers, his choking grip on the specter of age allowed him to verbalize that no one would wish to date a gorgeous exotic-accented 5’8” blond, because of it.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that while combinations reside on the agendas of probably any product or service that can be complexly marketed to make our lives easier and more conveniently integrated, why not exercise personal discretion in our own emotional lives to determine what is feasible and what is not? Everything we wish to achieve takes an amount of dedication. And most of us can attest that often the more satisfying achievements are those we have invested in.

I had an interesting realization recently. I decided that the kind of matchmaker I wish to be is one who understands, enables openness, authenticity and honesty, while creating an easy-going and flowing environment. But this collided with my auto-pilot aversion to anyone who sounds off their personal grocery list comprised of purely external demands. I used to think to myself, “Why is it that this decent but not so gorgeous looking guy, expects to attract runway model material (except that she has to be petite, because he’s rather small in stature) and refuses to meet a slew of girls for even an hour?” I had to shine a heavy light on my blind spot before I could take one more step as a professional who cares about the best interests of my clients unconditionally. And I have. I recently had the pleasure of answering an email from someone (else) expecting physical perfection (along with cooking and baking skills). I found myself leaving my own judgments and hang-ups aside, and looking forward to a time we would meet for an interview and try to reach what lies at the root of his attraction. Attraction is an extremely important component of a relationship. I’d go so far to say the backbone of a good beginning. Why not value this person’s commitment to attraction rather than instinctively deride it? Only in my own transformation may I be the vehicle or channel I envision. I often ask myself why people look for reasons to break deals rather than foster a sense of community. Why not look for reasons to get to know someone rather than concentrating on why you shouldn’t? I also sometimes wonder whether people want what they say they want – or whether they really want the result of what they perceive others to have. I am not new to this phenomenon. I know my share of people who are frustrated because they want the kinds of relationships - be it parent-child, romantic or work - which they perceive another enjoys. And the key word here is perceive because, generally, such specimens have no clue of the work and unrelenting commitment it took to sow, nurture, tend and protect that relationship before the fruits could be reaped. And, even then, those who see the result not only desire it, but expect to match it.

When I sense that immediate gratification outweighs effort one is willing to expend, I humbly whisper: “almonds do not grow on trees already chocolate-coated.” Not even in California.

About Tobye Adar:

Tobye Adar is a resident of Tel Aviv and has made aliya to Israel from the United States 15 years ago. She served in the Israeli Air Force, acquired an LL.B, MBA and MA in Creative Writing. She is the founder and operator of She is inspired by the clients she meets and developing opportunities for people to meet and fall in love is for her a great source of contentment.

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