At first skeptical, Liz Stevens
enjoys a singles fest.
as bad as
SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
mi ye always had an aver-
sion to Jewish singles
events. Not Jewish events
(e.g. Purim parties) and not
even singles events so much
(e.g. mingling at Borders).
But the words "Jewish"
and "singles" in the same sen-
tence tend to make my face
warp, like I've been forced to
eat herring, listen to Rush Lim-
baugh or watch "America's Fun-
niest Home Videos."
The reaction, I think, is the
product of two things: my in-
creasingly cynical nature and,
like many 20-somethings, a well-
honed distaste for activities that
suggest, however subtly, a con-
certed effort to nab that special
Jewish singles events, by
virtue of their inherently selec-
tive guest lists, have always
seemed especially orchestrated
for maximum mate-locating po-
tential. If you're looking for a
Jewish spouse, the presumption
goes, this is basically the crop you
have to choose from.
But I had to put this small-
minded attitude behind me. Sort
Last month, I went to a party
for Jewish singles — a Saturday
night throw-down that was actu-
ally part of a four-day singles
weekend sponsored by the Dal-
las Jewish Community Center. It
was apparently the kind of na-
tional get-together that JCCs
throughout the 50 states organize
all the time. And, according to the
people I talked to, the Dallas
hosts put on a mighty fine show.
Buses left from the Dallas
Sheraton, headed for the South-
fork Ranch (Yes! The very same!).
The invitation called for casual
Western attire. There would be
a non-kosher buffet barbecue and
dancing — even a Havdalah ser-
vice under the stars (and next to
Now, I know what you're
thinking: What bravery! What
chutzpah! She went to a 500-per-
son singles party all by herself.
To which I can only respond:
Not in this lifetime.
Acutely aware that I might
back out at the last minute, I
dragged along the one Jewish
friend I'd made since moving to
Texas last month. She, too, had
her doubts, but we paid our non-
refundable $55 and, as the
evening approached, discussed
what we'd wear. The verdict —
fringe, hats, bandannas: out;
jeans, T-shirts, trendy black
mules: in (Hey, cut us some
On the way to Dallas that
evening, we talked about what to
expect. Would the crowd be old
or young? Religious or secular?
Geeks or snobs? The one thing
we were pretty sure about was
that everyone would be on the
prowl for a mate. An unfair gen-
eralization, yes. But a popular
"If you're taking two days off
work, finding someone to watch
your pet and flying halfway
across the country," my friend
theorized, "you're probably pret-
ty serious about this."
The mood in her car took a pre-
cipitous dive. After all, the two of
us weren't looking for marrying
material that night, just some
nice, interesting people to hang
out with on occasion. Really.
By the time we arrived at the
Sheraton, my attitude had sunk
to the emotional equivalent of
curdled milk. And when I
stepped onto the bus, only to be
confronted with a cadre of buff,
blond, loquacious California
brethren (more "Baywatch" than
"Seinfeld"), my social compass
was thrown completely out of
whack. I had no reference points
for these genetic anomalies. I
My friend, on the other hand,
made the most of the ride by im-
mediately befriending the guy in
the seat next to her, a gregarious
Israeli living in Austin, Texas.
He quickly pointed out that the
convention crowd was older than
he expected — late 30s and 40s
(he was 32) — but that he had
bonded with the youthful West
Coast contingent and was hav-
ing a fab time. The guy in the
A Southern style swingin' singles scene.
seat in front of us, a Harry Con-
nick Jr.-looking type, was origi-
nally from Boston, now selling
golf supplies in Iowa, and already
planning a trip to visit his new
I asked the former why he'd
come. "We want to meet hot
babes," he bellowed with a
Cheshire grin. "That's why."
This revelation, strangely
enough, was a tremendous relief.
Here was someone simply out to
have fun, no strings attached.
And, throughout the evening —
doing the Texas version of the
Electric Slide (not to Stevie Won-
der, as you might have guessed),
singing "Henei Ma Tov" with a
spur-wearing rabbi, watching in-
terstate amor sprout on the
dance floor, my aversion to Jew-
ish singles events mellowed to
a kind of accepting Zen peace-
Yes, I was cornered on sever-
al occasions during the evening
by over-eager suitors who in-
vaded my space, unabashedly de-
termined to "get to know me."
Yes, there were cliques of people
my age who remained aloof, as if
they hadn't wanted to come but
BATTLEFRONT page 42
,Sunday, July 14
Hillel of Metro Detroit is sponsor-
AsAcance trip from 11:30 am.-
1:4160.M. Meet at Skip's Huron
Canoe Livery, 3780 Delhi Ct., in
Ann Arbor. The cost is $5 a per-
son. RSVP by July 8. (313) 577-
Monday, July 15
Hillel of Metro Detroit is hosting a
coffeehouse night at 9 p.m. in the
back room of Birmingham's Lon-
estar Coffee Co.'
Sunday, July 28
The Unai B'rith Young Leadership
Network is hosting its installations
at 11:30 a.m. at the Kingsley Inn
on Woodward Ave. Tommy Baer,
anal arith international president,
will speak There is a $22 charge.
Tuesday, July 30
The Young Adult Division of the
Jewish Federation of Metro De-
troit is hosting its monthly Bar Nite.
8:30 p.m. at the Old Woodward
Grill in Birmingham.