Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vir-gin and Tonic

Notes from the morning after . . . it does feel weird to wake up and realize you've proudly proclaimed on National Public Radio that you're not a virgin.

It's a little like that dream where you go to high school in your underwear, and you don't realize it until everyone is laughing and pointing. Except in this version of the dream, it turns out Carl Kassel is your high school principal.

One of my friends did try to convince me that it's not all that weird. I believe precisely what was said was If you had tried to convince the NPR audience that you were a virgin — now that would have been something.

Please. I'm so not a virgin, I can't even wear white before Labor Day.

So not a virgin, I've caught the Trader Joe's checker snickering over my Olive Oil selection.

So not a virgin, I can't even writhe around on the floor in a white corset and wedding veil singing Like a Virgin.

And lord, if Madonna can do it, it can't require a whole helluva lot of virginity in the first place.

Mostly, I'm so not a virgin, not even my drink is a virgin.

This, as it turns out, may be the greater shondah. Shondah being Yiddish for scandal. And Yiddish being the language spoken by Jews. Who are known more for their eating than their drinking.

Whereas some young lasses will attest that their tippling led to the loss of virginity, for me it was more the other way around. Not that shtupping drove me to drink. At least not shtupping in general.

Shtupping my squeeze the Cheez in particular — that's what drove me to drink.

Well, shtupping him drove me to cohabiting with him. And that's where the booze came in. Somewhere during our time together, my kikey craving for cake was drowned in his sheygetzy seeking of a shot. Or two.

While a traditional Jewish coupling is celebrated with the breaking of the glass . . .

This is so not us
. . . ours has been celebrated with a raising of the glass.

Our first date was at Nick's Beef and Beer, known affectionately to the old schoolers in Harvard Square as the Eef and Eer, both B's having burned out sometime around Paul Revere's ride. Since I'm a vegetarian, eef was out. As for eer, all they had on tap was Schaefer.

You may remember Schaefer from the 1970s ads targeted the heavy drinker: Schaefer is the one beer to have . . . when you're having more than one.

We had the pitcher.

Which for $3 was enough of a bargain, maybe it's no surprise even a Jew would order it.

We fell fast and hard for each other, barely avoiding impaling ourselves on that pitcher. But for the next few years, we were broke graduate students. Which meant not much booze, until the Cheez finally got a job, and we could live the California dream.

Cheap red wine!

When we moved to Oregon, we thought our grand act of acclimation would be trading the Cabernet Sauvignon for Pinot Noir.

But then came the low-carb craze. Although you might think the Hebe in the house would be the one instigating a diet named for the section of Miami were generations of old Jews have gone to die, in fact it was the goyishe Cheez who went South Beach.

I was just a fellow traveler to the land of the lasagnaless.

Sure, we gave up pasta. And bread. And Sunday pancakes. But the real big change? Clear alcohol.

Don't get me wrong. We're still in a mixed relationship. Jew-Goy. Girl-Boy. Vodka-Gin. But with two shakers, we can live happily ever after.

And we are.

So happily that our neighbors have stopped commenting when they see the Cheez out watering the garden, martini in hand.

Now they only comment when they see him and he doesn't have a martini in hand.

Because that seems strange to them.

Hey Farmer John, you're outstanding in your field neighbor Doug says every time he passes by.

Doug's had a pretty rough past couple of months, so if mocking our martinis cheers him up, well, Doug, this at least-it's-not-a-carb-heavy-Bud is for you!

Olive you, even though you're not a virgin —
and everyone who ponied up their $35 for Oregon Public Broadcasting membership knows it


Caroline said...

OK, so I'm a total shiksa. But isn't the word Heeb, not Hebe? Evidence: the oh-so-hip magazine Heeb ( versus the plants growing in my yard ( And let's not forget Hebe, apparently the goddess of youth ( You can claim that title, if you like.

Macaroni said...

You may be a shiksa, but you're opinionated, which is practically the same as being Jewish. Being a person of the book, I went to the OED to explore your question. Both Hebe and Heeb are equally useful as derogatory terms for a Jews, with Hebe getting the slightly earlier first citation of 1932. Though Heeb gets the cool magazine affiliation, but I guess I am just more old (Hebrew) school on this.
As for the goddess of youth, in Judaism we call that person the plastic surgeon.