Columns - 2010

    Lox, stock, and barrel

    by Doug Brook
    Southern Jewish Life columnist

    A significant issue regarding women's health, one that is often overlooked as such, is dating. Yes, it can affect the single Jewish woman's happiness, psyche, and ring finger circulation. But it also impacts married Jewish women's conversations.

    Who's dating whom is a common subject among married Jewish women. Living vicariously? Maybe. Neglecting to use "whom" when appropriate? Definitely. But, to be fair, it's not gossip just to talk about it. After all, there's a fine line between gossiping and just talking. That fine line being whether you're the one saying it.

    But have no fear, ladies, because help is in a second-day package from Carin Davis's new book, "Life, Love, Lox," humorously yet informatively helps you on your journey to finding a nice Jewish boy.

    I'd recommend that you buy the book, but your mother already got you a copy. Though it'll be several days, not two, because she got the free shipping. You know her.

    Davis, singles columnist for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, combines dating anecdotes, humor, useful information, and humor into an entertaining tome on landing a guy that might stand a chance of making both you and your mother proud.

    While geared toward single Jewish women, and favored by the mothers who worry for them, this book, subtitled, "Real-World Advice for the Modern Jewish Girl," can also appeal to non-singles and several other genders. Each of its thirteen chapters provides a bit more than the basics about their respective aspects of Jewish life, such as lifecycle events, food, denominations, and food.

    The information is more than a survey course, and infused with a wit that flirts with, but never quite crosses, the fine line between legitimately funny and merely trying to sound Jewish to get a superficial laugh.

    Why should guys not have stopped reading two paragraphs ago? Because this book is funny and informative, even for us. Most of the information is relevant to us, and it gives us a good image of our not entirely good image in the eyes of the hip Jewish women we all want to break down our door so we don't have to actually find something to wear, go to a club, and make Elaine's office party dance look like Fosse.

    The clever guys, all three of us, can also reverse-engineer a lot of the book's advice to women to figure out what they'll be looking for and where. Never before has a self-performed extreme makeover been so easy to find.

    Some of the information is geared more toward larger Jewish communities, such as New York, Los Angeles, and New York. (New York has enough for two communities.) Certain organizations, and the size and diversity of what they offer, are described more in the way they exist only in larger places. But there's enough for everyone to identify with.

    The perspective of the book is from someone who will probably seem relatively "religious" (tm) to you, depending on your definition. But the point of the book is that it's relatable even if you're not religious at all, even if you don't know your shikses from your kishkes, or that only a shagis should eat haggis.

    With its mix of information and humor, it can provide a refreshing refresher course, or even your very first fresher course. You're not preached to about becoming more religious, but Davis makes many practices sound more appealing than you might expect if you're not used to them. Or if you are.

    She also does a good job of implicitly indicating to guys that there might just be some women out there who find a bit more religion a turn-on rather than a turn-me-the-hell-out-of-here.

    So if you're a nice, or even naughty, Jewish girl looking for a nice, or even naughty, Jewish guy who eats lox, owns stock, and has a barrel-chested baritone voice suitable for Torah reading, or if you're just looking for some good laughs or some good information about modern Jewish life, this book is for you.

    And while it's easy to understand how dating help could help the health of single Jewish women, there actually is a way that it can help the health of some others. If the book is successful for you, it'll add years to the lives of your mothers.

    Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who wrote most of this on his bench in Central Park. For more information, past columns, other writings, and more, visit For exclusive online content, become a fan at


    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.