father and I don't talk a whole lot. He's not really a phone guy, and I'm not
really a "go back to New Jersey" guy, so our verbal interactions are
limited at best. We get along fine, he's just a tough guy to have a conversation
with. Very few things excite or interest him. He doesn't have any hobbiesdoesn't
collect anything or travel anywhere; doesn't read or listen to music. He's just
a simple man who loves his dogs, loves his kids, and loves his wife. Pretty much
in that order.
ain't easy for my Dad and I to come up with things to talk about, but occasionally
we find some stuffhe likes hearing about when I go to famous people's parties.
Also, he calls every daylight savings time to remind me to adjust my clock. So
there's some stuff. Unfortunately the last famous person party I went to was the
same night as the clock changing, so when my dad called, the task of incorporating
both these topics into a single conversation kinda overwhelmed him, and after
twelve seconds he said, "Here's your mother," and he got off the phone,
and we didn't speak again for weeks.
would be easier if my Dad and I had a thing. A go-to conversation topic that we
could alwayswellgo to. My dad and my brother Brian have a thing: Cell
phone plans. See, my dad has a lot of free timewhich I suppose is what happens
when you cut out cumbersome stuff like hobbies and interestsand in this
abundant free time, the guy likes to dick around on his computer, checking out
the latest promotions being offered by your Sprints, your Verizons, your Cingulars,
to the point where he can quote cellular plans with Rain Man-like accuracy. I
could care less about cell phone plans. How can I get excited about rollover minutes
when rollover minutes mean more time on the phone with my dad hearing about rollover
minutes? But Brian can talk to my dad about that shit for hours. That's their
thing. That's why they talk almost every day, while I'm on more of the "spring
forward/fall back" schedule of Dad communication.
the rapport between my father and I did undergo a change recently, all thanks
to a new invention that I really think is gonna catch one-mail. It was early
January, and I hadn't talked to my dad since the day after Kathy Griffin's Christmas
party, so you can imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox, and saw that in
addition to the bevy of reminders about the latest Howard Dean Meet-up event (delete),
there were also four messages from my father.
of his e-mails had a different link at the bottom, but the text in every one was
the same: "Dear E. I saw this profile on Jdate and thought you might be interested.
thus marked the transformation of Steve Friedman from do-nothin'-dad, to Jdate
those of you who don't know what Jdate isand god bless you if you don'tit's
an internet dating service for Jews. Hence the J. I have been a member of Jdate
for about eight months now. Hence the Y. As in "Why hasn't some Semitic princess
taken this hot piece of Jew ass off the market?" It's the question everyone's
asking. Well, at least it's the question my father is asking. Which is why I have
received at least one of his pimp-mails every day for the past six months.
anybody can tell me a more pathetic story, I will buy you a beer. (Unless your
pathetic story involves alcoholism, in which case I'll make it a Jamba Juice.)
don't know how my dad first stumbled across Jdate. And to be honest, I really
don't want to know. I thought about calling my mom to see if she and my dad were
still in love, but the truth is, I don't think they ever really were to begin
with, so why rub that in her face? What I do know however, is that once my dad
logged on to Jdate and discovered the yenta-friendly feature that lets you "suggest
a match" for somebody else, my heretofore hobby-less father, theretofore
found a hobby. He collects girls. And then foists them upon me.
first, my Jdad applied a very selective set of standards to the girls he chose
for me. I'm his first born sonyou think he's gonna let just any girl through
his matchmaking filter? No way. He screened those girls, and not one of them qualified
as "Eric-worthy" unless she fit his three strict criterion: Female.
Single. Able to give him grandchildren. Apparently, in choosing my new girlfriend,
my dad gave very little thought to minor details like "compatibility"
or "looks," or, she wrote in her profile, "Do not contact me if
you are under 5'10." (Which reminds me, ladiesy'all gotta stop dissing
the short dudes. I mean, I know I can only speak for this guy, but did you ever
think that maybe, all those extra inches god shaved off the top, he tacked on
down below? Just sayin'.)
to say, my dad's initial Jdate harvest did not yield a bountiful crop. It was
a loooong winter. But over time, I've attempted to educate the old man about the
kind of girls I like by giving him feedback much like I do with my Tivo
via its thumbs up and thumbs down functions. Although like Tivo, my dad's track
record is still pretty spotty, and for every Arrested Development caliber
of girl he sends me, I get fifty ladies who are more in the According to Jim
league. And if anybody reading this works on According to Jim, I meant
then there's his ignorance of L.A. geography. I have had a bitch of a time trying
to teach my dad that even if he finds a girl for me who's gorgeous and hilarious
and owns her own chocolate factoryif she lives in Tarzana, it's just not
gonna work. Nothing against TarzanaI'm just looking to date someone who
lives in a more geographically desirable part of town. Like east of Fairfax, west
of La Brea. Between Beverly and Melrose. Willoughby if she's really hot.
even with the feedback, and the Thomas Guide I sent him, my dad still wasn't having
any luck impressing me with his lady choices. Day after day he sent those e-mails,
and day after day, I'd humor him and sift through his picks, only to decide that
none of them were for me.
then, one day out of nowhere, my dad hit the jackpot. He found a really cool,
cute girl, and sent me her profile. I got in touch with her, we started hanging
out, and even though it's only been three weeks, I'm pretty sure she's the one
right. Like my life would ever be that good. I'm still just as single as I was
the day I signed up for Jdate. Yeah, I've been on a lot of dates. A looooot of
dates. I've even met some really cool girls. But I still haven't felt that
"MMMPH," you know? And I really want the "MMMPH." So I'll
wait for it. As long as I have to.
dad, howevernot as patient. Apparently he's got some sort of biological
grandkid clock, and it is ticking like a mo' fo'! There was a day last monthone
daywhen he sent me 33 girls' profiles. Thirty-fucking-three! The dude was
freaking out! I was trying to embrace my singlehood, but I couldn't, because he
was getting desperate. And his e-mailswhich I used to find amusing, endearing,
even cuteI started to find just plain annoying. And all I wanted to do was
e-mail him back, and say, "Stop! Stop sending me these ridiculous e-mails.
You've already sent me this girl's profile seven times, and I'm not interested
in her, and not just because she lives in Northridge, but because she's not my
type. I mean, come onshe loves John Mayer. She has cats. Plural. She uses
the word spontaneous 11 times in her profile. And she spells it wrong every time.
But even if that's just nitpicking, it's clear from what she wrote that she's
plain and boring, and completely devoid of spunk or humor, and god damn it, I
deserve a girl with spunk and humor, and anybody who knows mewho really
knows what I'm about, knows that I'm a zillion times happier single and alone
than I'd be in a relationship with a girlfriend who's all "girl" and
no "friend." So please Dado me a favor. Don't send me any more
girls to check out. You're just making me sad."
I didn't send that e-mail. And I never will either. Because a couple days later,
my dad sent me a real e-mailwith words he actually wrote himself. The subject
line read "I have no life." And inside was a three line messageall
in lower case letters, and devoid of punctuationlike an homage to ee cummings.
If my dad had any idea who that was. Here's what the e-mail said:
e. i know i am bugging you with all these jdates but you are my life and i would
do anything for you so if i am bothering you with these girls just let me know
and i will stop.
I love that guy.
don't think he's ever said anything that nice to me out loud, but I guess out
loud just isn't his thing. His thing is e-mail. Or talking about cell phones.
Or making sure his kids never forget to set their clocks back. And now, thanks
to Jdate, my dad and I have our thing. The other day, we talked on the phone for
an hour. He was at his computer and I was at mine, and we surfed Jdate together,
checking out girls. Yeah, I knowit's a little creepy, but it's way better
than talking about unlimited anytime minutes.
was pretty hilarious actually. He showed me his favorite girlsall quite
bosomy, by the wayand I showed him my favorites. We debated who was hotterSexyCaliGirl3,
or SexyCaligirl29. I tried turning him on to Surfchickhe didn't
like her because she smokes. He tried selling me on JEW-liette. I didn't
like her because she spelled it "J-E-W-liette," and she said she was
looking for her "Schlomeo."
fucking hate Jdate.
I'll never tell him that.
that pimp hand strong, Dad.
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