By Tamar Caspi Shnall
After Rosh Hashanah services, the hubby and I both got a kick out of watching the singles mingle when everyone congregated in the lobby and parking lot. An acquaintance of mine, Vanessa, is always dressed to the nines and of course it was no different for the High Holy Days except she was, of course, respectfully and conservatively covered. Nevertheless her attractiveness was totally apparent and I watched as more than a dozen young male heads turned in her direction. It was like watching a movie in slow motion. I knew what was going to happen and yet I was glued to my spot, my swollen feet still standing in three-inch stilettos screaming at me to leave, but I couldn’t. Even my husband was caught in a trance; we were studying anthropology not in a textbook but in person.
Simultaneously, three different guys started excusing themselves from the conversations they were holding so they could approach Vanessa, who was greeting synagogue elders as she made her way toward her girlfriends. Another handful of guys were trying to get their mothers to stop asking questions about which girl they were going to talk to, while hoping (unsuccessfully) that their mothers would magically leave or that they’d find someone to talk to that would ensure their backs were turned to where Vanessa was standing. Ha! Tough luck. There was a semicircle of overly-excited Jewish mothers unknowingly surrounding Vanessa and ready to pounce as soon as their sons made contact so they could join the conversation, unabashedly promote their sons and create the shiduch.
As Vanessa smiled and waved to me, she was unaware that multiple men were headed in her direction. In fact, a few caught each other’s eyes, figured out they were on the same path and stopped to rethink their plans. Then, it happened: Two guys approached Vanessa at the exact same time. They stumbled for the right words, turned shades of crimson and nervously smiled. Vanessa, class act that she is, introduced herself and then introduced each man to the other. She kept the conversation going, including them both, while waiting for one to take charge. I saw one of the guys shoot his mother daggers with his eyes when he noticed her slyly approaching. Then, a third man, a knight in shining armor, swooped in. He wasn’t any better-looking than the first two, no taller, nothing physical set him apart — except his confidence. Shoulders back, head up, strong handshake, great eye contact — this guy was business. He acknowledged the other men, introduced himself to Vanessa and then asked if he could walk her to her car.
I was duly impressed, as was Vanessa, who accepted his offer and excused herself politely. This guy surveyed the scene, knew he had to get Vanessa apart from the mob and concocted a surefire plan complete with the right attitude. He was a smart cookie and it paid off. I lost count of the number of men who watched them depart with envy in their eyes; these men had been schooled by one of their own. But I could also tell that they had learned a valuable lesson on the first day of the Jewish New Year — take the bull by its horns (a little shofar reference). I knew these men would never let a similar opportunity pass them by, and I was glad to see them walk away not feeling rejected but rather with a renewed sense of purpose.
Tamar Caspi Shnall recently married a Dallasite but has 15 years’ worth of dating advice to share! If you have any dating dilemmas, you can e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.