Columns - 2006

    Is your mom a JMom?

    JDate, the number one online Jewish dating website mentioned in this entire column, is running a contest in honor of the ancient holiday, Yom Imah (Mother's Day).

    They have asked members for 200 word essays describing the "funniest, most endearing, most heartwarming, most horrific," or combination thereof story about "your mother's meddling."

    They even request specifics regarding how a mother's meddling "dramatically helped or dramatically hindered a date or relationship." Of course, if the former occurred you would be submitting the story to the Times and Guinness (the record book as well as the beer maker), not JDate.

    Of course, rather than waste precious column space or extra seconds of your time on anything endearing or heartwarming, we'll skip to the good stuff.

    JDate provides three main Ways To Tell, upon each of which I shall humbly extemporize.

    These are entirely hypothetical anecdotes. If they weren't, it would imply I'm on JDate. Even if I were on JDate periodically, I assure you it would just be for the articles.

    Does She Often Ask About Your Love Life?
    Not if she expects to get an answer.

    A well-known JGrandmom tradition is to cleverly, subtly determine without our knowledge whether we're dating a Nice Jewish Girl (NJG). How? They ask what the girl's last name is.

    My grandmother knew that code wasn't quite a WWII Enigma machine. She'd ask for the first name. I never did find a Nice Jewish Blonde named Christine Goldman. Know one?

    My mother was aware of all this. Nevertheless, after years of negotiations with me, she has finally given up asking. These negotiations included prolonged episodes of "you're incapable of carrying on a civilized conversation," and "why do I even ask."

    All that remains in her arsenal is the entirely frequent "just mentioning current events" of relaying the latest engagements, weddings, and births involving people I grew up with and their (apparently worth pointing out, often much) younger siblings.

    Does She Ever Meddle?
    If there was an Olympics for Jewish mothers, I can give odds on who would win the Gold Meddle.

    No, she doesn't actually meddle. There's a safe, minimal, two thousand mile buffer preventing accidental, coincidental appearances. Not that she'd do that. That's too direct.

    I feel at this time it would be appropriate to exonerate my mother from any suspicion that she might be the one who, in my delicate, formative years, wandered in the room whenever I was on the phone, asking loud enough to be heard without the phone by the other party if I was talking to my "little friend." And those delicate, formative years did not last through my mid-20s. I don't know who it was, but it wasn't her.

    Of course, there's instances of hypothetical meddling. Small conversational asides of, "I'm not going to say a word. I'm not even going to ask who you're going there with. You're not going alone, I'm sure, and you'll tell me when you want me to know."

    There's also reverse psychology, applied not regarding specific events or people, but about dating in general. "I'm not asking anymore. I've given up on you. The way you avoid answering a simple question, no woman would have you anyway."

    Then there's the method of last resort. Feigned acceptance of defeat, manifested in requests such as, "Will you please at least consider letting me know when the wedding is?"

    Has She Ever Found You Matches on JDate?
    The real question is, has she ever been allowed onto JDate? Has someone mysteriously snuck in and rendered every computer she is known to use incapable of accessing

    In truth, I don't know if she ever found me matches on JDate. If she has, she knows better than to ever let me know about it. If she hasn't figured out how to put up with me, she sure can't identify someone else who could.

    The Prize
    The winning entry gets a dinner for three ("you, your JDate, and your JMom") and a free one year JDate membership. Of course, the Talmud provides an interesting debate on how much of a prize that is.

    And the truest prize is that, even if you do believe any of this is true about my mother, it only served to make her sound much more endearing than me. Happy Mother's Day.

    Doug Brook will soon be disowned by his mother, who insists on publishing that none of the anecdotes herein are about her. Even if they actually are. For more information, past columns, and other writings, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.