Tag Archives: Jews

The Beautiful and Damned

Consecutive days spent in Brooklyn: 2

Jews are the absolute worst neighbors in the world. ..Not actually, they’re pretty great, but in my new neighborhood they are definitely the least friendly ethnic group. It’s strange, these are not the “I was raised Jewish but still eat chicken nachos without guilt and go to synagogue every six months” jews that I was used to… these are “I wear a bonnet on my head at all times and will not shake hands with a woman because she isn’t my wife and that’s the only woman I can ever touch” jews. Kind, honest, modern, modest and respectful jews, who also go out of their way to pretend you don’t exist.

These jews are only the worst neighbors by comparison, as all the rest of my neighbors are pretty much kick-ass. The jews tried to hit me with their mini-vans. Not cool. The Chinese have delicious food and super cheap wash-and-fold laundry services. The Polish have *amazing* delis and tasty beer (at even tastier prices!) along with the cutest cashier-girls ever (seriously, any straight males need to start hitting the Polish deli on 8th ave for a date- so cute). They also make wonderful desserts for a ridiculously low price.

Yes, I have fallen in love with my neighborhood, aside from the jews who refuse to acknowledge my existence on the street. The neighborhood feel, the young families running around, the little asian children who always say “herro” to me every morning on their way to school, the man at the corner store we speaks to me in Arabic and every week I have to remind him that I’m not Morocan, I’m Michiganian. This last weekend I spent an entire day eating Polish desserts and drinking the world’s cheapest good beer ever in between bingeing on delivery Chinese food… so unhealthy, so cultural.

All of this has been done to in attempts to stay in Brooklyn and not make a whore-phase run to Staten Island, where the getting is good and the hot tub is better. Most friends here assert that at our age there is no shame in good sex, but my Lutheran upbringing keeps me from fully embracing the idea. Or maybe it’s less about the Lutheran upbringing and more about Professor B.

After a few weeks of casual dating with Professor B each night begins to become more emotionally revealing and gratifying. A stroll through the jewish side of my neighborhood brought us through an adorable park, over crunchy autumn leaves, past a brightly lit hockey rink, and into the truth about his terminally ill mother and my past of dealing with dying family members. We walked alongside coffee shops and he buttoned my jacket a little higher to keep me warm and revealed the story about first coming out at the age of 30 after years of dating a woman. We strolled into a local pizzaria and I filled him in about the LA-X and gave warnings about a few of the walls I’ve been known to put up. By the time it was dark and cold outside we were already in my dim room and warm in bed, where he spoke about taking it slow and admit that he was stunned at how nonchallant and friendly my roommates treated him.

We’ve spent a month slowly peeling the layers of eachother and liking what we see as each layer is shed, and all the while we’ve yet to actually sleep together. When I look at it with a little perspective, I see the whore-phase can’t be as gratifying as I would hope right now. Emotional intercourse is much more stimulating when you let yourself have it.

Oh man, that’s gay. Even for me.

So in the span of a month I’ve fallen in love with a neighborhood instead of falling for a teacher, but I’m warming to the idea of dating someone for the first time in a long time. And I’m genuinely looking forward to the weekend he wants to plan for us.

But then it occured to me that this upcoming weekend is Halloween. And Halloween is a holiday invented strictly for those in the whore-phase. It’s hard to pass that one up.

Even more difficult to pass up, Weather Man will be coming to New York and staying in my apartment for the weekend. Debauchary, a close friend and old-flame, an unofficially non-monogamous relationship… and I just bought new sheets. I’ll wash them Sunday.

Walking down the street the other day my roommate approached a young Arabic mother and her elementary school aged sun as they carried their umbrellas home. Straight Boyfriend smiled as he walked past them, but suddently stopped as both the mom and son pointed their umbrellas like guns and exclaimed “pow pow pew pew bang!” and began laughing hysterically. The least PC joke for these Brooklynites to ever make, but hilarious. I believe my love life (with the impending weekend) is much like my neighborhood: diverse, tasty, surprising, and absolutely hilarious in the worst way possible.

[so just lick your lips, these are the goods times that you’ll miss]


The Merchant of Venice

Day 59

There are approximately 13 million Jews worldwide. Most of them currently work in television.

I discovered these facts when walking down the street with my NYC accomplice JAP, a lovely LA girl with family money and challah to spare. 13 million is a staggeringly low number, it seems like there are more than that in New York alone, but she informed me of these statistics the other day as we strolled down 14th street and talked about how we were under-represented minorities in our fellowship. Only two Jews out of 30 students in a New York based media fellowship. Thats pretty surprising, come to think of it. Even more shocking, our fellowship only includes two gays… it’s television in New York! How is that possible? Under represented, certainly.

Now, exactly where all the homosexuals have disappeared to I’m not sure, but I’ve found all my Hebrew friends sitting right under my stubby-little-gentile nose. Of the 6 interns who work on my floor at *B& television network in Manhattan, 5 of them are jewish. FIVE! That’s a disproportionately large number considering there are only five of them left in the entire state of Wyoming. Turns out three of them all earned their internships through family connections with some higher-ups at the network. I’ve heard the Jews run Hollywood, but apparently they also run primetime television as well. The best part, none of them are even practicing Jews. Oye! So that’s why the descendents of David are underrepresented in my fellowship- they’re already working in television through family connections! Lucky schmucks. As an Irish Lutheran, I’ve got culture envy.

Not to worry, as the universe launched me some gay reinforcements in the form of my friend Weather Man, a former media professional who now dapples in internet technology. After a year of “friendship” and more than a few ups and downs, it seems as if the tectonic plates of our relationship have precariously balanced themselves for a brief time, allowing for a quake free weekend of boys’ nights out and the kind of conversation that can only be shared with a true friend. And anxiety. Lots of that.

Once before I was described as emotionally unavailable, which is funny because I’m perhaps the most available person in the world (except for my emotions). So as Weather Man began his torrent of “I love you”s and “I can’t stand being away”, I couldn’t help but think of anything besides being away. His loving grip became like a vice and I envisioned the concept of emotional claustraphobia, feeling your stomach and throat constrict- the more sweet his words were the more dizzy and overwhelmed I felt. What was supposed to be sweet and beautiful became dreaded and nauseating, which pretty much makes him the verbal equivalent of Janice Dickinson (eek!). But I have strong feelings for Weather Man… and I love Janice Dickinson… so what’s causing me to react to this intimacy the same way that guy reacted when he drank from the wrong cup in the old-school Indian Jones movie?

Word vomit.

That’s what makes me so queezy. I’m fine feeling these emotions for someone and perfectly comfortable knowing that he may feel something even stronger for me, but I just don’t need to hear about it constantly, bubbling out his lips like a fountain or raining down like the storm cells he used to forecast. If anything, I just prefer to talk about the warm front. Emotions aren’t scary, it’s the windy words that accompany them that make the thunder storm so noisy and frightening. But how do you tell someone that you cannot tolerate their emotional word vomit (hopefully not through a blog…  super eek)?

Fortunately many events that rescued me from the poems and soliloquies (moderate eek). Most notably the introduction of two of Weather Man’s close friends, who shall be dubbed Rick & Steve. They friendly and have settled in Manhattan as well. Unfortunately, they heard quite a bit about me (again, word vomit) before we met, so my introduction was followed with a knowing smile and a standard “Oh, you’re Burkeman” as if to say “so, you’re the face to the name I’ve been judging for the last year”. Greeeeat.

However, it’s hard to be the center of attention when you’re at a gay sports bar with a midget. Which I was. The friendly little person was a friend of Rick & Steve’s, and was a charming conversationalist even if he couldn’t see over the bar. The pint-sized pib-squeak of a homosexual may have been my saving grace, as engaging him in conversation kept me from being further judged by Weather Man’s friends (who’re still undecided if they should hate me and chase me with torches or love me and douse me with alcohol). I led them by example and doused myself with alcohol while chatting with the friendly little person, who turned out to be the most conversationally competent guy in the bar. By the end of the night Rick & Steve seemed to warm up to me and we even set a faux-dinner date for August when “life calms down” a bit.

Escaping the world of gay bars (which is uncommon for my time here in New York), I returned to the familiar territory of dive bars and met with my standard crew at McKenna’s for our LAST WEEKEND AS A GROUP. Tragic. McKenna’s low prices and stiff drinks quickly inspired the group to find a dance floor at Flannery’s… which just happened to be playing 80s music all night. By the time I got to Flannery’s the entire mess was on the dance floor and Take On Me was already in queue. Whatser Name was bopping around and on the prowl for boys, Times Square was doing the twist, Georgia Ann was going wild and shouting about calories, Stretch Armstrong was buying shots and the rest of the crew was breaking it down like the media nerds we are.

How could I resist?

Pouring myself into bed at 6 in the morning is always an exhausting experience, but with Weather Man in tow it was both physically and emotionally exhausting. It was hard to tell if the morning was going to bring word vomit or the real thing. That’s the danger of bingeing all weekend.

[there’s a gentleman who’s not so gentle cuz he’s too generous with his chit and his chat]