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A Muslim guy just asked me outbut with all this terrorism and anthrax and war and everything, Im not sure I want to "date the enemy." What should I do?
- Confused in the USA
Not all Muslims are bad. In fact, I once fell in love with one, despite our many differencesreligious (Im Jewish), cultural (couldnt tear him away from the TV if soccer was on anywhere in the world), intellectual (even after six years in the U.S., his limited English made it tough to plumb the depths of his mind), and professional (his ambition: to wait tables for the rest of his life. Dont get me wrongits a noble profession). I even considered marrying him. Yes, I did.
I first spotted Abdellatif during a concert by the Algerian Rai musician Cheb Mami at Central Parks Summerstage. Fabulous music, and Abdellatif was dancing in the stands with a bunch of Middle-Eastern looking men. Dark, swarthy, macho-lookingjust my type. I think I was staring at his roommate
but Abdellatif came over to ask for my phone number, and, well, he was pretty cute, too.
From Morocco, a liberal kingdom (by the standards of todays Muslim world) where Jews and Muslims largely live in harmony, Abdellatif was kind and soft-spoken, gentle and funny. In his macho, protective way, he really made me feel loved.
There was spicy homemade Moroccan food in the kitchen of the apartment he shared with two other guys (and sometimes more men who slept in the living room) in Long Island Citynext to an auto body shop in the shadow of the Long Island Expressway.
There were soccer games (a kind of ethnic league for past-their-prime players, i.e. 30-somethings with bellies and families)a Moroccan team, an Algerian team, a Colombian team, and others, battled it out on a field somewhere on Long Island. No one could get past Abdellatifa hulking brick wall; his roommate Mosker, smaller and quicker, dodged like a cat and scored frequently (and not just on the soccer field. He had a thing for Hispanic women; usually had several going at the same time).
Abdellatif and his friends were entirely courteous to me. They seemed proud to have American girlfriends and wives. Abdellatif gave me presents his mother sent from Morocco: long baggy tunics (the kind Muslim women back home wore); a prayer rug depicting the arches of a mosque that had an actual built-in compass (so I would be sure to face Mecca when I prayed); a purse and matching shoes embroidered with gold thread.
On Fridays, he spent afternoons at the mosque; I went to synagogue in the evening and we met afterward for Vietnamese food at the Saigon Grill on the Upper West Side.
We ended badly after a little over a year, as mismatched people often do. When things began to go downhill, Abdellatif started a relationship with a Moroccan woman in Boston; they married shortly after we broke up but soon divorced. Last I heard, he was still waiting tables at Houlihans, (which he pronounces "Holy Hands").
All this is to say: Muslims in general are not the enemy. Many Muslims want modest things like peace and security, a decent job, a place to live and a happy family, just like you and me.
Some are fanatics who want to kill people. Dont date them.
I havent felt like having sex since the terrorist attacks. But every time my friend spots a HumVee in Lower Manhattan, it just makes her want to hump. Whats wrong with us?
Sexless in the City
Im with you. I felt depressed and numb for a couple of weeks after Sept. 11, and until recently, I felt really bad about having anything resembling a normal life. Nearly 4,000 people died in the attack. Its hard to think about all the husbands, wives, significant others, children, parents, friends and colleagues they left behind, and how much pain they must be feeling.
For several weeks after the disaster, in Greenwich Village, where I live, flyers with photos of the missing were posted everywhereon mailboxes, supermarket windows, bus stops, street lamps, police barricades, news vans, hospital walls. Impromptu shrines spread over a the wall outside Rays Famous Pizzeria and over the windows of Elephant & Castle restaurant nearby. People in the photos were smilinga young man in cap and gown, a woman in her wedding dress, an old guy with his grandkidsand probably dead. All the flyers listed vital statsdistinguishing marks, height, weight, and that all-important piece of information in the days after the World Trade Center went down: floor number.
Every time I went outside, I saw something that made me cry. How could anyone think about something as banal as sex?
On the other hand, the attack made many people feel terribly alone and sent them seeking consolation of the carnal kind. Both approaches are understandable. We all grieve in our own ways. For some, that may mean you cant bring yourself even to touch your loved ones because suddenly you realize they could, quite literally, disappear. For others, it means clinging to strangers, because someday soon, you could disappearand you might as well live it up while you can.
What to do? Try to face the world with compassionfor our loved ones, for strangers, and especially for ourselves, because right now, we all need time to heal.
Ive heard a rumor that youre no longer a Bachelor, girl. What gives? Have you sold out single-womanhood?
Single and Still Lovin It
Obviously, you dont get your intelligence from the CIA or the FBI.
Yes, its true. Im a traitor to my name. After years of carrying the standard for single women, I finally got hitched.
When the proposal cameI got engaged last November, at 39let me also confess that I became my own worst nightmare of a bride-to-be. I ran right out and bought "Weddings for Dummies"; anxiously awaited "Martha Stewart Wedding" every month; spent hours scouring the web for wedding dresses and party favors; and even made Dream Man take swing dance lessons. I agonized over the guest list, wording and design of the invitation, the web page, the location, menu, music, flowers, accommodations, seating chart, water pitchers. For six months, wedding planning was practically a full-time job, and we bickered and stressed over every detail.
Well, Im happy to report the result: a wonderful weekend wedding at the Minnewaska Lodge, just outside of New Paltz, NY. Friends and family from overseas and around the U.S. came to help us celebrate. My brother Gabriel, an airline pilot, gave me away, and then slipped Dream Man a set of keys and a "warranty" for his new wife ("due to high mileage, no returns, exchanges, replacements
Living together was really fun. Getting married was hard workbut thrilling. Being married after 40 years of singlehoodwell, thats something altogether different. It still seems strange enough to me that at least once a week, I grab Dream Mans hand, my eyes wide with alarm and say: "Were MARRIED!!!"
At first, Dream Man just laughed indulgently and said "Yes, and so
?" Then he began to get annoyed. Now he just says "Oh, shut up." And maybe someday, I will.
In the meantime, in the interest of accuracyand following in the footsteps of pop-culture icon Puff DaddyIm changing my "nom de plume" to DeBachelor Girl (DeBG, for short).
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