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The Mating Game

When is a compliment not really a compliment? When it’s a cultural stereotype.

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Turns out thousands of non-Jews have joined JDate in pursuit of a nice girl or boy. They seem to believe being born Jewish gives women a boost in bossiness—some improbably seek mates for their alleged innate ability to mother, or smother—and gives men a leg up in the chivalry department. “I am a gentile looking for my mensch,” declared Agnes Mercado in her profile. “I want to be your shiksa and your partner for life.”

This rife fetishism, bordering on racism, makes my skin crawl. Apparently, nobody balks at invoking these select cultural myths because, comparatively, they are flattering and because they are so prevalent in our culture we have lost sight of their odiousness. I half-expected the Times‘ Style article, written by a non-Jewish woman who has herself trolled for love on JDate, to include an assertion that Jews, being so good with money, make for more responsible long-term companions.

At a party earlier this year, a young Jewish restaurateur made a sly remark to me about Jewish women and their strong opinions. There was an in-group complicity that made him comfortable enough to make his point fearlessly; how could I be offended by what I so obviously am? I may be opinionated and I am a Jew, and I can’t help but take issue with the implication of a causal link.

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The Mating Game

When is a compliment not really a compliment? When it’s a cultural stereotype.

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