Who among us hasn’t heard, “Sweetheart, one day, after you find a nice profession for yourself, then you’ll marry a nice Jewish boy.”
Of course stereotypes abound, but what really makes a “nice Jewish boy”?
Let’s look at the stereotypes and with no actual facts or figures at my disposal, we’ll decide, “TRUE,” “MOSTLY TRUE,” “COULD BE TRUE, “NOT TRUE – PROBABLY.”
TRAITS OF “A NICE JEWISH BOY”
1. Statement: “A nice Jewish Boy” makes an excellent provider.
Rating: “COULD BE TRUE.”
Explanation: While not every “nice Jewish boy” is a Mark Zuckerberg, face it. Gelt, the having it, the making it, the saving it, isn’t a Jewish cultural value per se. After all, did we shlep through the desert in golden sandals? Were shtetls known for their opulent bathtubs? Did most of our grandparents enter Ellis Island on the Carnival Cruise line (or whatever they had in those days)? No. They came with chickens on their heads. So, while money is no substitute for menshkeit, we learned it wouldn’t hurt to have a few kopeks socked away – should more groups hate us.
2. Statement: “A nice Jewish Boy” is smart, educated.
Rating: “MOSTLY TRUE.”
Explanation: When we talk Jewish survival, we talk wisdom. When 90 per cent of the world was ignorant our boychicks spoke and wrote at least three languages. Education, religious and now secular is why we donate $25,000 to Saint Moses Nursery (now all Jewish) and wear, “I’m a Harvard mom, 2035.” To us, our children our gifted—no matter what the Waspy tester with the glasses thinks.
3. Statement: “A nice Jewish Boy” is sensitive to a woman’s feelings and makes a great husband.
Rating: “COULD BE TRUE – BUT WATCH IT.”
Explanation: From the time the little boychick was three, he was surrounded by women who “taught” him to be sensitive to their needs “out of love.” They learned early, if Mama’s not happy, or at least calm, nobody is. Expressions such as: “Oy, Irving bring me my allergy syrup, migraine pills, and my special pillow from that infomercial and hurry before I chalosh! Now, for my Birthday. Don’t go to any trouble. I already did. For you, I made a list. You’ll find the red purse I want in the side window of Bloomingdales. See salesperson, Myra, number 437. She’s expecting you. But wrap it, because you know how I love surprises.”
Statement: “A nice Jewish Boy” is overly-involved with his mama.
Rating: “COULD BE TRUE – BUT WATCH IT.”
Explanation: OK, yes. Maybe there has been a little too much hovering. However, by five, he’s learned the “uh-huh” technique from Daddy. A simple “yes, darling, I did it/will do it/should do it” has been his response. He then added a sigh and took an AV (avoidance nap). As his wife, I suggest you extoll his independence and pretend he has a choice. For example: “I know you’re busy, honey, and you have a golf game … but if you can pick up the dry cleaning it would save me from maybe getting an asthma attack. But … if you can’t, I’ll risk it. Have I told you lately how lucky I am that you’re such a help?” THIS he’s never heard. You’ll not only get your dry cleaning with the tag “couldn’t remove hummus stain,” he’ll suggest you buy that new blouse to replace it.
4. Statement: “A nice Jewish Boy” is not athletic and can’t fix anything.
Rating: “NOT TRUE-PROBABLY”
Explanation: We’ve all heard that stereotypical joke about the thinnest book: Jewish Athletes. I’ll add handyman. Not true! Just look at Marc Cuban! You could get a brilliant athlete who owns teams and isn’t racist. Trust me, he can fix a toilet – or HIRE someone. One Tip. He’s not in New York, or its boroughs. My own father fixed and OK, while he sometimes blew up things like my car, he was our go-to man. But, of course he was a Canadian where they still churn their own butter. So if it’s an athlete or fixer, don’t go to a mixer in New York.
5. Statement: “A nice Jewish boy” understands the importance of family.
Rating: “TRUE, BUT WATCH IT”
Explanation: From infancy he’s been surrounded by f-a-m-i-l-y, and even though his Uncle Moishe sends his sputum monthly to the Center for Disease and Control in Atlanta, this seems ”normal” to him –until he’s entered Harvard Med. He views family as quirky, and even for your Aunt who uses cutout Handiwipes on her eyes tied with a string to control her arthritis, he can find articles in the Uzbeskistan medical monthly to support her handiwipes. No matter who (or what), he’ll do all he can to keep your family from imploding.
So I agree. If we were to fix a rating, “A nice Jewish boy” is the epitome of good mazel.
By all means go for it, mamalas!