My Story, Yours Too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Woman on the Verge of Paradise: Working my Quaker-Jewish-Nun Attire

Sign reads "May you find Paradise to be all its name implies."

Thanks for joining me on the verge of Paradise, as a new chapter of my life unfolds. If you're new to Life by Chocolate, or just madly trying to catch up with your blog reading (Can we ever truly catch up?), this non-fictional autobiographical story begins here. While I strive for accuracy regarding place and time, I am altering a few names as I see fit. This does not include Nora Profit, Mimi or Mojo the cat. Those names are perfectly right and perfectly real.
My dilemma lay in finding an outfit apropos for both worship and salsa. I couldn’t slip into my new shirt that dares to display cleavage. Oh no, I can never wear that one, especially not for prayer. I even bought it on my second day here for a new image thing, but insecurities triumph. It’ll just look cute on the hanger until I die and thereafter. Yeah, the only safe option was my modest standard Quaker-Jewish-Nun garb: a black skirt falling below the knees and an equally black shirt with neckline so high it threatened to prevent inhalation, topped by my Star-of-David pendant. Perfect.

Properly decorated for my first Friday night on the town, I headed for the Congregational Church, meeting site of the Chico Havurah[1]. They’re a nice group of Jews, not too woo-woo, not too traditional. I didn’t need to frolick around embracing everyone, nor was I – on the other hand- required to hide my elbows from the men lest said elbows arouse their lustful desires. There are no eligible bachelors in the group to crave my elbows anyway. I’ve made friendly connections with some cool women, though. So it goes.

We chatted after services and Laila inquired about my writing.

“It’s humor mostly, my dating nightmares, stuff like that.” Without hesitation, I launched into the Mr. Cemetery pitch. I’ve got it down to 14 seconds by now: “It’s outrageous what these men put in their ads. There’s Mr. Cemetery, who’s given me the best reason for celibacy. He’s looking for shared cemetery in a relationship. He believes that if the cemetery’s there, everything else can fail. Yep. It’s pretty morbid out there.”

With that, I bid the Jewish gals “Shabbat shalom” and headed to CafĂ© Culture. My night would surely get exciting. I just knew it, until I pulled into the parking lot. Why did I get a space directly in front of the club? Note to self: You are not in the Bay Area anymore. Yet the place emitted Berkeley beatnik. With African masks spotting the walls, yoga retreat postings, and fliers advertising drumming circles, I was at home.

Plus, I danced with some cute, sweet partners during the salsa lesson. I wasn’t happy about this, though. They were women. A total of 12 females and 3 males attended. Reminder note to self: You are not in the Bay Area anymore.

Alas, Javier won my heart, the dark and sexy instructor with an ivory smile and manly physique. Wow. Less than a week here, and I'd already found my dream man. Could it be so easy? I knew he felt it too, since he approached me for a dance right after the class. “You’ve done this before,” he told me. That clenched it. I began planning our wedding song list. But the dance ended, and Javier proceeded to ask every woman (one by one) for a dance.

I sat for hours or minutes pretending not to sulk. But wait! Javier was darting my way again. Slowly and methodically, he reached for a glass of water that rested on the table in front of me. And then, he took a sip. He then placed it down, and then walked away. I could almost hear an obnoxious man’s voice over the microphone announce: “Would the woman who’s dressed in Quaker-Jewish-Nun attire, the one who’s sitting alone at the table – as in, all by herself – please report to the losers’ section. That’s 'losers'' with a capital ‘L’ babe.” I pulled my right hand up from my lap to flip him the bird, just as Rory asked for a dance. Then, there was Juan. Next, Luis.

Finally, I departed with pride, though I could best describe my night as “not exciting.” Reminder of reminder note to self: You are not in the Bay Area anymore. Get used to it, self. Non-excitement abounds.

I landed home to an email from my new gal pal, Donna. Though her spare room wouldn’t suit my needs, Donna and I get along splendidly. One month after moving to Chico, she has a new beau. They met through “It’s your turn to place an ad now,” she wrote. “I need someone to swap stories with.”
[1] A community of Jews that meets for worship and socializing. 


  1. My nail tech told me a story about a friend of hers, named Mary. She said several of the girls get together on Friday night and go out every once in awhile. We do each other's nail"s and hair and then we get all glammed up and meet outside of the chosen night club. Guys walk past us like we aren't even there. Then there's Mary. She steps out of her dumpy little car, dressed in jeans, a plain top, boots and a funky little hat. Guys flock to her before she even gets in the door.
    Knowing Mary I told her, "Mary is just being plain old Mary. She is comfortable in her own skin and exudes confidence and is genuine. Guys don't feel threaten by her. She isn't high maintenance, she's the girl next door!"

    Yep, there's just something about Mary! :)

    Just have fun! And everyone else will want to join you! oxox~Ames

  2. I had no idea that elbows were something people looked at. Hmm....

  3. Did you find Cafe Culture because it was in the headlines last week?
    Well not exactly the headlines but it was on TV for a few days.
    Do you know if they caught the shooter yet?

  4. Thanks Ames, that's a great scenario and sweet advice. Yep, I'll go change my name to Mary. J/K. xo

    OT, check out some gals' elbows this weekend and tell me what you think. Don't go to the local chabad (observant Jews worship there), though. You won't see any. ;0)

    IT, you are scaring me. I don't know about the shooter. I found it because of a facebook blurb (google ad, I think). What happened? xo

  5. This story made me laugh, as all of yours do! I doubt you looked like a Quaker-Jewish-Nun girl. Ha! I'm glad you are putting yourself out there, living your life and having fun even when you know there are Mr. Cemeteries out there. There's bound to be a Mr. Normal out there for you, too!

  6. Happy Saturday Robyn :) Girl, you seriously crack me up! I love to come here!!!
    I will make sure to keep my elbows covered when I see a Jewish man, he he! The only Jewish man I know (in my small Iowa town) is my lawyer Barry! I'll have to watch to see if he checks my elbows out! Ah ha ha!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    lots of love
    gi gi

  7. Non-excitement is the new excitement I believe!

    Call me selfish but anything that gives you material to write funny posts like this is good by me!

    Rapunzel x
    *Tales from the Tower*

  8. Quaker Jewish Nun Girl...nope...I don't believe it. Not with your smile. Your too much fun. Everyone enjoys your spark. xo

  9. There's a site called Plenty of Fish? Why would you want to date a trout? Or worse, a large-mouthed bass?

  10. I do like ladies with great, thick eyebrows. That is one area that I would change in my wife. Hers are too thin.

    I doubt that there is anywhere quite as cool and exciting as Bay Area.

  11. I think I'm developing a fetish for the Quaker-Jewish-Nun outfit. Does it come with stiletto heels?

  12. Glad everything is going well for you "crazy girl"!

  13. Kelley, thanks so much. xo

    Gigi, lol. Thanks. Psst, keep hiding those sexy elbows! ;0)

    Rapunzel, "the new excitement" - I like that! I think that's my new motto, with credit to you of course. Thanks. xo

    Marnie, you're a sweet friend. Thanks.<-:

    Alex, good point. Yet it's the most popular dating site out there (because it's free). xo

    Cheeseboy, that's great. I mean, not for you or your wife, but it was good for a laugh on my part. True about the Bay Area too. ;-D

    GB, yes, and the heels can be replaced by flat rubber soles to appropriately match the context. xo

    Gayle, thank you. d-:

  14. Robyn, sounds like a fun time in the big city..oops, I mean in Paradise!

  15. OK! Now I am up to date! Thanks!

  16. Elbows? Seriously?! LOL!!!

    I have confidence that this is your year, baby! You will meet someone tall, dark and handsome. (Or at least one of the above.) ;)

  17. I never knew elbows could be so troublesome! And what is with men that so many body parts can excite them? They should just get over themselves. Hey, at least you had the guts to go out dancing, I haven't reached that stage yet and wouldn't know where to go if I did!

  18. I always love reading your point of view but seriously ... ELBOWS? I knew ankle were lust provoking but elbows? So sorry about the cute sweet (female) dance partners! Life, even in Paradise, has to get better! Right?

  19. BTW ... where's a picture of that outfit? :)

  20. Tall, dark and handsome translates to boring, vain prick...elbows are taboo, who notices them??... Enjoy your self...nun style or otherwise...

  21. Chuck, not too exciting, but I checked out the scene. ;0)

    BB, thanks for catching up. xo

    Marlene, may he have elbows. The bar is that low, my friend. [~;

    Ca88, thanks. I don't know if I'll have the guts to try it again. xo

    Beth, sorry, no pictures of that outfit. Thanks for your supportive comments. =o)

    Rek, you ALWAYS make me laugh. THANK YOU! xo

  22. 'Youre not in kansas anymoe Dorothy.'
    but thats where the fun begins...

    Great telling of not a bad night...could have been worse right?
    ps..what if they read this?

  23. Oh boy, you are NOT in the bay area anymore...but really, who needs that. You are finding your comfort zone and settling in and I can only Imagine the stories that would come from you involved in an online match making service...really...I think you'd be able to write a book!!!