The Nice Jewish Boy
“Everyone…we have a new member joining us today. Why don’t you stand up and introduce yourself.”
“Uh…hi…umm…my name is Jon…and umm…I’m a nice Jewish boy.”
I couldn’t believe it. I finally said it. After years of denial, a piercing in my left ear and a brief infatuation with 80’s hair bands, I had come to accept my destiny…a curse, if you will, handed down by my father and his father before him.
I was a nice Jewish boy.
Not surprisingly, the revelation initiated a tornado of pent-up aggression I launched onto the group like a 140-mph Rafael Nadal serve. “I’m a good listener.” Collective moans rang out amongst the twelve or so men gathered in the small high school Biology classroom. “I always call when I say I will.” The group nodded in guilty acknowledgement. “I’m devoted to having a committed relationship.” The man next to me put a comforting hand on my leg.
For years, I’ve been trying to convince myself there are others like me…well-adjusted single Jewish males who actually view women as loyal subjects rather than discarded objects…as if somewhere between the Paleolithic age and the invention of Super Glue®, we just sort of fell off the face of the earth.
And then it hit me. Nice Jewish Boys aren’t extinct. In fact, we’re everywhere.
That shoulder you just cried on when that rock star/actor/Scientologist you were having great sex and no conversation with suddenly dumped you for a model? Yep, that was ours. That new guy you just started dating shortly after we admitted we had feelings for you? Yep, he is…er was our best friend. That kidney you helped locate that ended up prolonging the life of the philandering married man you’ve been living with for two years? Yeah, that was yanked from our warm bodies.
To understand the generous nature of the NJB is to appreciate his past. For me, I was the product of a loving Conservative Jewish family, a normal family. I grew up in a home with three women and a father who was a Gynecologist. While other families were discussing their day at the dinner table, my family was deconstructing the female reproductive system. Okay, maybe we weren’t so normal. But, I learned to revere women at an early age, even as I terrorized my two sisters by subjecting them to my buddies, as we streaked naked across our deck into the pool and tore off the heads of their Barbie dolls. There was always a lesson to be had as a result of my constant badgering, usually at the hands of my father.
“Respect your sisters, because one day they’ll be big enough to fight back.”
Well, they never really did fight back, but his statement did make me realize that maybe treating my sisters nicely could have its benefits. Perhaps, one day, I might need a kidney or a shoulder to cry on. And that geeky friend of theirs I used to make fun of? One day, she’s going to blossom and I’m suddenly going to need a reference.
By the time I finished my own tortured tale, I could tell the group was spent.
“That was very brave Jon,” the moderator sympathized.
You’d think they’d heard the worst stories possible. The truth is, nice Jewish boys just don’t learn. We’re programmed not to. And, as the last of the group dispersed, I took one last deep breath and slowly walked out of the room, suddenly aware that I would have to face the real world again. However, hope springs eternal, because somewhere out there in that huge circle in the solar system, a fun, attractive and completely uninhibited woman is looking for a good guy.
And when I tell her I’ll call her in one or two days…I most certainly will.