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February 08, 1985 - Image 88

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-02-08

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Friday, February 8, 1985




et rocks are out. Pasta
salads are out. Cab-
bage Patch dolls — let
us pray — are nearly out.
Shiksas are in. Who are we
kidding? Shiksas are always
Please don't tell me
"shiksa" is a derogatory
term. It . packs about the
same perjorative wallop as
"millionaire" on Wall Street.
I have known men of a cer-
tain age, marital status and
religious persuasion to ac-
tually salivate while uttering
it. 'Shiksas, ahhh," they
breathe reverently, "they're
different from Jewish women.
They're so..."
So what?
I decided to find out. I con-
ducted a small survey. Very
unscientific. At dinner par-
ties, oneg shabats and busi-
ness lunches; on dates, air-
plane trips and once on the
beach in Ocho Rios, I asked
Jewish men between the ages
of 35 and 60 to talk to me
about the differences between
Christian and Jewish women.
I got an earful.
W e began where most men
begin, with appearance. There
is a common belief in a
"shiksa look." It translates
best as Candace Bergen and
Meredith Baxter Birney and
has most to do with the con-
figuration of noses and the
gloss and color of hair. Ac-
cording to my sources, it is
chromosomally established
and inimitable.
I decided to test that
theory one Saturday after-
noon in neutral territory —
the sportswear department
at Hudson's. Along with
me to insure the veracity of
the sampling and the ob-
jectivity of the research
was a male friend wild
is a noted connoisseur of
fine shiksas. We observed the
subjects, women of all ages
and sizes from 4 to 16, for
one hour. At the end, my
companion was forced to
agree: credit the diaspora, the
infiltration of the gene pool or
the wonders of modern plas-
tic surgery, but we could not
tell the O'Briens from the
But looks, one interviewee
protested, are not entirely a
matter of physiognomic
feature; they also have to do
with presentation. Point two:
dress. Shiksas dress down.
Jewish women dress up and
well... over.
"Too much jewelry."
"Heavy eye me-up
lipstick with a line around the
mouth — Jewish women love
their make-up, it's a put off."
"Shiksas wear a lot of plaid
and ruffles around the neck.
They look softer." "Lower
heels on shiksas." "Shiksas
dress more simply. Jewish
women dress ungapotched."
This last from a man in a but-

ter colored suede jacket with
designer initials on both
aybe it used to be true,
the bit about overdressing.
The first generation of Jewish
Americans who struck it rich,
or even comfortable, might
have draped its female
members in the evidence — a
little more gold here, an extra
sequin there. It's a common
custom among many tribes
— not only ours — to show
the world that you made it.
After a while, the money gets
put into good solid utility
stocks instead of Gucci
chains and it's chic not to let
on how much you have.
That's where we are now, I
think. Stage two. For ex-
ample, I went to a Jewish
anniversary shindig last
week — a big one — and
everybody looked smashing
to me. There was lots of style.
Good color sense. A dollop of
creativity. And not a bracelet
jangler in the lot. I take that
back. One jangler who also
wore too much eye make-up
and a Chai around her neck
made of diamonds the size of
petits pois. The exception.
Note: the month before I
attended a wedding at an
Episcopal church, reception
following at a posh WASP
country club. Everyone looked
splendid, except the woman
at my left at the table had
three, count em,' three charm
bracelets rattling on her arm.
Her dress was beaded. Badly.
Her hair was tortured into a
terrible tower of curls. And
around her neck swung a
cross encrusted with
diamonds the size of lima
beans. The exception. Case
closed. Almost.
To double check I, re-
cently hauled the shiksa
maven who is also, a
woman-in-general maven
to Sunday brunch at the
Wild Flower. There must
have been thirty pairs of
Bass Weejuns in the place,
enough tartan slacks to
clothe an entire
Scottish clan and a
rainbow of mono-
grammed cashmere
sweaters draping
the lox and bagel
diners. The world of
couture has become
homogenized. Case really
So we dig deeper. Into
behavior. Christian women,
so the story goes, act dif-
ferently from Jewish women.
According to my survey,
Jewish women are:
• Acquisitive, self centered,
lazy. ("What does a Jewish
woman make best for din-
ner?" "Reservations.")
• Superficial, hard driving,

The Shiksa

The corollary legend has it that Jewish
women are acquisitive, self centered,
lazy, superficial, hard driving, pushy,
unsatisfied, frigid, rigid, unappreciative,
deceptive and deprecating.


special To The Jewish News

Continued on Page 60


There is a common belief in a "shiksa - look." But the truth is that Christian and Jewish women are sisters
under the skin.


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