All posts for the month October, 2007


Published October 30, 2007 by jean cohen

It was a dateless week.  I actually thought about Moshe.  Maybe I shouldn’t have dumped him, at least until Replacement Guy was lined up.  Oh well.  I guess that’s why there are 163 channels on Verizon FIOS.  And there’s always Scrabble with Scary Fairy.


I did go home to Philly this week, to visit the Italians.  While speaking to a local acquaintance from the JCC on the Palisades, I mentioned this fact.  “You went to Philadelphia?  Alone?” she asked awed.  She made it sound like I had trekked through Tibet sans sherpa and lived to tell the tale.  “Yeah” I told her.  “I have a special Philly passport that gets me into Center City.  And then I speak Philadelphian while I’m there.  I say “Yo!” a lot, and ‘I seriously scieve her’.  You know, that kind of addytude while I’m snarfing a cheese steak wit on the payment*.”  Silence on the other end.  “Aren’t you afraid?” Ilana asked.  “Of what?” I replied genuinely perplexed.  “Of the people” she answered.  I sighed.  “Only of women with really big hair and lots of black eyeliner who went to St. Maria Goretti.  Former Goretti girls are really scievy; they’re all sluts.”  ‘Scieve’ can be a verb or an adjective.   And everyone knows Little Flower alumnae are the standard by which Catholic womanhood is measured.  I guess it didn’t work in my case.


It is a fact that the University of Pennsylvania has an entire department devoted to studying ‘Philly-speak’.   *Translation:  I have ‘attitude’, a great deal of it, in fact.  One does not ‘eat’ a cheese steak; one ‘snarfs’ and lets the ooey grease drip on one’s chin.  ‘Wit’ refers to having huge quantities of fried onions on one’s cheese steak; ordering ‘a cheese steak, buddy’ will get ya one wit no onions.  And one stands on the ‘pavement’ to eat it.  In most places, it’s the sidewalk.  ‘Scieve’ is one of my favorite words.  It means abhor, detest, hate, loathe.  Scary insists scieve is not a real word and will not let me use it in Scrabble.   I show her some addytude by using Yiddish words that have crossed over into the popular lexicon.


The warm and friendly Italians were delighted to see me again.  I took my number from the box with the instructions written in Italian.  Interesting.  I’m #4 on line; there isn’t a bloody soul there besides me.  After only about two hours of watching the staff stand around and drink coffee while gossiping,  the clerk calls my number – in Italian.  I almost missed it; I was thinking about something else.  I went to the window and carefully expended all my Italian saying ‘Good morning’, ‘how are you’ and ‘I am here about my citizenship’, which I had practiced for the occasion.  He let loose with a volley of Italian, and I had to confess “Sorry.  I don’t actually speak Italian.”  What a coincidence!  He didn’t seem to speak English.  He told me to wait.  I understood that; gee, those Italian CDs or hearing my mother yell ‘will you wait a minute’ in Italian frequently in my childhood kicked in. 


Eventually, after the staff had a two-hour lunch and a siesta (tiny exaggeration) the Big Ricotta herself came out and spoke to me.  Maddone!  It’s all good.  My paperwork is going to Rome … soon.  Like in two weeks.  I wanted to ask what determined that arbitrary time frame, but didn’t.  I contented myself with licking her shoes (really, really nice Italian leather).  We discussed where my application will sightsee whilst vacationing in Rome (will it have an audience with His Popiness? And throw some lira in the Trevi Fountain?) before heading south to Colli Al Volturno, my town, to be registered in the Really Large Book of Famous Italians?  Signora did assure me that everything is going forward (too bad it’s in ‘Italian Time’) and my target of the end of the year is going to happen.  One really great thing is that I now have an application number.  I felt really good being officially registered by a government that doesn’t want huge amounts of income tax from me or to lock me up with seventeen Arabs in a holding cell at Heathrow for hours and hours.  I vowed then and there to try and not piss the Italians off.  I told Aurora that I would check back in a couple weeks, mumbling under my breath that if she answered the fucking phone, or her emails, I wouldn’t actually have to come to the Consulate in person. 


I am very fortunate.  A new friend, Gregory, with whom I have been corresponding, is having real problems filing his application.  No, I didn’t meet him on JDate.  But speaking of JDate, my latest suitor is an Elvis Presley impersonator.  I am totally serious.  He sent me some pictures.  “Sorry, Scary darling.  I can’t play Scrabble tonight.  I have a date with Elvis Guy.  It’s now or never!”  I couldn’t help wondering if the pompadour and sideburns were real.  Of course, there’s no way in hell I’m going out with someone wearing a sequined jumpsuit and a cape.  Another suave Jersey guy (I swear it’s the water – or the tomatoes) wrote “You know what would look great on you?  Me!”  Sorry, Sweetie.  These Cache jeans cost $250.  Do you think I’d let you slobber on them?


Back to Gregory, Italiamerica, the company who helped me with my paperwork, asked if they could list me as a reference.  They were fantastic and, of course, I said sure.  Gregory emailed me for a reference, and we exchanged stories.  He could file in either Miami or New York.  Miami isn’t accepting applications ‘until further notice’ and New York is accepting appointments for June 2008.  Just for information, San Francisco has a two year turn around time.  Viva Philadelphia!  So Gregory and I keep in touch with progress reports on our respective citizenship applications.   Mine is looking pretty good at the moment.


I have a date this week.  South Jersey Guy assures me he never eats tomatoes, is not married to his first cousin, and doesn’t even know any of the exits on the Garden State by heart.  In fact, when he asked me where Clifton is, yeah, I’m afraid it popped right out.  “Exit 154 on the Garden State.”  I am worried now that I am saying ‘chaw-co-late’ and ‘caw-fee’ and not even noticing.  I mentioned Joe Torre and the Yankees in a conversation the other day.  I have been here too fucking long.




Published October 25, 2007 by jean cohen

Scary Fairy was appalled with me.  She kept shaking her head and mumbling “I can’t believe you slept with Moshe!  You broke up with him!”  I was perplexed.  Yes, I dumped him; what does that have to do with anything?   “And your point would be…?” I asked.  “You slept with him!” she said very disapprovingly.   I don’t know why.   “How could you do that?” 


I pondered a) “I had on that divine red underwear from FleurT in London under my McNabb jersey and those jeans with all the holes; it seemed a shame to waste it”;  b) “it was pretty much a no-brainer—actually my brain cells weren’t involved at all”;  or c) “two words: very, very horny.” 


Seriously, I should sleep with a stranger?  That’s so difficult.  Moshe is almost completely trained.  He understands about the ‘Encroachment’ Rule if he crosses the fifty yard line to my side of the bed afterwards.  We’ve clarified the ‘hands are kept to oneself’ and never, ever touch unless I happen to want to be touched at a particular moment in time.  We have made progress with curtailing the running commentary during.  Orgasms are nicer when one is in her particular comfort Zone.


Of course, Israeli Guy can’t stop himself from asking The Question.  “What are you thinking?” he murmured, feeling all masculinely self-satisfied post coital.  “Hmm” I replied.  “I was thinking that Andy Reid should definitely bench McNabb, or trade him.”  (When we got to mine, I had quickly gone on Fox Sports to check on the scores and recaps of the games.)  I’m not sure, but I think that was the wrong answer.  But if he doesn’t want to know what I’m thinking, he probably shouldn’t ask.  “Do you want to know what I’m thinking?” he asked.  I hate trick questions.  “No” I said finally.  “Not especially.”


Well, a Serious Grown-up Conversation ensued anyway.  At least, I think it did; I wasn’t really paying attention.  I was thinking about that stunning sweater coat I saw at Bloomies and didn’t buy.  It was green, sort of heather colored; totally brilliant with my hair.  It sort of had a sweep, and had one big button.   I should definitely get Moshe to take me back to Bloomies.  I got up and went to the kitchen and cut Moshe a large slab of birthday cake to shut him up.  Food distracts him from listing my shortcomings.  I never realized that I had any.


“Whose birthday?” he asked, pausing in his monologue ‘Jeano is Cold and Selfish and Self-Centered’.   “Nobody’s” I told him, shoveling a large forkful into his big mouth.  “I was jonesing for gooey rich proper birthday cake and a Wawa cappuchino.”  Note to readers:  Unbelievably, there are no Wawas in North Jersey; there’s a diner every ten feet, but not one fucking Wawa.  After I bought this huge birthday cake, I lost interest; poor Scary’s been eating it up before it gets stale.


“Besides” I said to Scary Fairy when I was recounting an abridged version of my evening.  “I have to be nice to Moshe.  I had the most awesome idea.”  She looked at me scathingly.  “I can’t wait to hear it.”  “Well” I told her anyway, “Israeli Guy is a videographer, right?  If I don’t get home to Weybridge by Christmas, Moshe can do a video … of me.  I can send a copy to absolutely everybody.   Music….graphics…and me …  just being … me. What a Christmas present!  What do you think I should wear?  Should we go shopping?”


Strangely, Scary was not chuffed.  “Well, I would recommend that you’re  wearing more than only Moshe’s shirt this time” she huffed.  Honestly, those damned pictures have caused such chozzerai.  I sent a few of the tamer ones to Cheese Boy in Ashford; after all, we’re engaged.  He reacted like a total big girl’s blouse and broke the engagement.  At least he did say I looked terrific before he hung up on me.  I thought he might want to blow them up and have Dan put them on display at the Grotto.  I guess not.  And relatives … well  I thought the snaps were totally artistic.  Maybe I should post some on my blog.  Yeah, I think I will.


Moshe always brings at least one camera with him.  Sunday night, he had three.  He had this bizarre idea involving me and the Jacuzzi.  “But, Sweetie, we’re not even dating any more” I told him as he was pulling off my clothes.  He simply adores me in that FleurT lingerie.









Published October 22, 2007 by jean cohen

Thanks for all the emails (and pictures) from hot lesbians.  Sorry, I’m holding out for Ellen, if she ever dumps that skinny blond chick, Portia Whatsherface.  Oh God.  That was a joke.  I’m not into women, no matter how many genuine Louis they own or offer to buy me.    


Note to the Lesbian in Danbury, Connecticut:  I have a black Alma.  A white Ursula would be nice, but I’m holding out for a blue Nimbus GM; it would look really cool with jeans.  Of course, anyone else who wants to buy it for me can just go on to my wish list on the Louis V site, page four, item seven.


I’m not really into men right now either, although Winston (from Hedonism II) rang to chat and asked me to go back again with him in February.  We talked about him coming to New York for a weekend in November.  “You can show me around” he said.   “Oh, sure!  Absolutely” I said blithely.  Little does he know New York terrifies me.  I have been on the subway in New York once, with Israeli Guy, and I hung on to him like he was manna in the wilderness.  Kind of odd, really, when I remember how I went all over London on the underground without a qualm.  Sotheby’s has an exhibit running of Grace Kelly’s stuff (clothes, shoes, jewels) and I am pondering going.   After all, we had so much in common; we were both Princesses from Philadelphia.  I’m just not sure I can manage a day in the Big Apple by myself and live to talk about it.


Anyway, I mentioned to BooBoo Blondie about Win’s phone calls and she got the right hump.  “Jeano, you’ll be home in Weybridge by February.  Don’t make plans with blokes.”  I can only hope that happens.  Soon.


I actually dragged Scary Fairy out on Saturday night; to the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly.  Can you believe it?  She was chuffed.  It was a Comedy Night, with a Dessert Bar afterwards.   She was a little nervous being in a room full of Jews.  As we sat down, she looked up at the ceiling and asked, “What do those symbols mean?”  I was confused.  I looked up and asked “What symbols?”  “The oddly shaped ones.”  Oh.  “I believe they represent ‘light’.  They’re called light fixtures”  I explained kindly. 


The show was really great.  There were three comedians and even though, as the third guy kept pointing out, they had to tone down their material for the conservatives in the audience, it was very funny.  The dessert bar was incredible; they had a chocolate fountain.  Scary didn’t want to go to the special Singles party afterwards.  I had plans to go the Schmooze on Sunday night with Steve so I didn’t argue; we just got on the Yellow Brick Road and headed back to Mallville.


Let’s not even mention the Eagles game on Sunday.  J – E – T – S!  Hey, I live off Exit 154 on the Garden State.


On Sunday afternoon Moshe rang while I was nattering to BooBoo Blondie.  He has been emailing.  “I think about you every day” he wrote.  “Yeah” I wrote back, “Everybody thinks about me all the time.  I would think about me all the time except I am me so I don’t have to.”    Israeli Guy emails back “Was that sarcasm again?”  God, he’s dense.  “No.  That’s the Fifth Tenet of Zen Buddhism and I’m the Dali Lama” I fired back. 


Anyway, I said “Sweetie, I’m talking to BooBoo in England.  I’ll ring you back.”   “Okay” he whined in that irritating, precise, accented,  English- wasn’t-his-first-language, insulted male voice that drives me up the bloody wall.  I rang him back, and he goes, “You really called back.”  “Moshe” I said a tad impatiently (okay, I was really annoyed) “I said I would call you back.  What do you want?”  Well, he wanted to know if I wanted a ride to the Schmooze.    Evil Jeano got an inordinate amount of pleasure saying “I’m going with Steve.  We’re going for a meal before the Schmooze.”    Silence.  Then he said “Can we talk at the Schmooze?”  “Sweetie” I told him even though I knew he wasn’t going to get it, “That’s why they call it a ‘schmooze’.  Because people talk.”  “That was sarcasm” Moshe said.  Wow, he’s actually getting smarter. 


This next part is all absolutely true.  Steve was supposed to pick me up at 5:30.  At 5:10 he called to say he had hit a big traffic jam, tried to take an alternate route and had gotten lost.  He asked me how to get to Clifton.  “You are kidding, aren’t you?” I asked.  “How the hell do I know?”   Well, he drove around for quite a while.  How do I know?  Because he kept calling me with progress reports.  “I just passed a sign for Route 46 West.  I think I’m close.  I passed Exit 147 on the Garden State.”  Mazel Tov.    He finally turned up around 6:30.  The Schmooze starts at 7:00.  “We’ll eat afterwards” he suggested, “We won’t hang around and schmooze.”  Then taking a shortcut to Tenafly, he got us lost again, in illegal Arab alien land.  It was fun stopping every four blocks to ask some guy with an AK-47 where Tenafly is.  “Pardon me.  We’re looking for the Jewish Community Center on the Palisades.  Any suggestions?”  Yeah.  They had a few.


We finally made it, alive and unharmed, at 7:30.  We walk into the room and the first thing I see is Moshe, sitting there glaring at me.  Oh, how cute!  He has not shaved.  Hmm.  I really, really like it when he doesn’t shave.  And he knows where the fuck Clifton is.  And he’s got a really nice …   Never mind.  He makes little Moshe faces at me for the rest of the Schmooze; the ones that make me want to take off one of my divine new boots and hit him over the head with it, repeatedly.  I don’t, of course, because I might damage it  (the drop dead gorgeous boot).


A whole bunch of people went out to eat afterwards, at Palisades Cliffs Diner.  We could have gone to Palisade Ridge, Palisade Summit, Palisade Park or  Palisades Real Close to the George Washington Bridge or Telly Savalas (all the Palisade names were already taken).   I end up between Moshe and Steve.  A new guy (new to the Schmooze) has come too.  His name is Yuri and he is from Slovenia.  He’s pretty cute.  I amuse myself by flirting with him.  His English is not bad, but I picture myself saying “That was sarcasm, Eastern European Guy” a lot.


I think I forgot to mention that Scary Fairy was away overnight.  I had the house to myself.  I dawdled over my coffee.  What to do?  Do I let Steve drive me home, and that’s all.  Really.  Do I take Moshe home and shamelessly  and selfishly use him as a sex toy?  Too bloody right.  Israeli Guy left around 5:00 this morning.




Published October 18, 2007 by jean cohen

Greetings from the Planet Bizarre-O.


I figure it must be something in the water.  Or some sort of noxious gas escapes out the potholes on the Garden State Parkway into the little tents.  I have ‘not met’ some very strange guys.


I guess I forgot to mention that I sort of dumped Moshe.  He ceased to entertain me.  That’s not true; he started getting on my last nerve.  Men are so…needy.  He didn’t take it very well.  The poor sweetie.  I felt really bad.  (Yeah.  Right.)


My personal favorite was the guy who said he was sixty-one, looking to get married and have kids.  Supposedly, he’s the director of a large Jewish non-profit agency.  I emailed back, saying I wasn’t interested in marriage, or kids.  I also tactfully questioned his statement that he was 61.  He wrote back, saying he still wanted to meet me…oh, and yeah…he’s a bit older than 61.  Like 86.  It was a tough decision.  Should I channel Anna Nicole Smith?  Is he rich?  Is he important; does he know anybody at the British Embassy?  Will he fall asleep over the starter course?  That would probably be more fun that having him make a move on me with his Zimmer Chair.


Next was Bob.  Bob sounded nice in his emails; looked okay in the pictures.  We agreed to meet up at a restaurant.  He was supposed to ring me to confirm the arrangements.  We set a time to call.  He didn’t call.  I was willing to give the guy a window, maybe a half-hour.  He called three hours later (I let voice mail get it), not especially apologetic.  He also emailed, and that did me in.  He said something like ‘rest up for this evening; you’ll get tired’.  I wondered if we were going to run the Boston Marathon.  If so, I didn’t have the right trainers.  Should I dash to one of the 76,456 malls in North Jersey and get some?  As far as I knew, we were meeting for a drink.  How tiring is it to pick up a glass of Zinfy?  I emailed Bob and said that I’d changed my mind.  He sent me the most awful email back.  “Being over 50, I’m sure guys are knocking down your door.  Good luck with that attitude.  You wasted my valuable time.”  Gee, I must be a bitch.  I guess I misinterpreted Mr. Bob’s intentions and hurt his delicate man feelings.  Bad, bad Jeano.


Then there was Chuck.  Chuck was right here in Mallville.  I accepted an instant message.  Everything was going okay.  General chit chat.  Blah Blah Blah.  Chuckie, spawn of Satan, out of the blue goes “I really like to kiss.”  I typed back “I really like to shop”.   I thought maybe we were doing “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.”  Well, it went downhill from there.  Chuck proceeded to tell me what else he’d like to do – to me.  “Does your mother know you’re on her computer, pretending to be a grown-up?” I IM’d him.  “What are you?  Twelve?”  I think it’s past your bedtime, Chuck.


This one is true.  I got a really explicit email from a loser guy.  He actually said that he’d gone to Montclair State.  The spelling and grammar were so poor, I graded and corrected his sex note and sent it back.  “’Pussy’ is not spelt ‘Pussie’, even by Ian Fleming.”  He got a D-.  I would have given him an F, but he probably would have thought I was accepting his offer.


There was the guy who was actively married and cheated; he thought he was pretty slick.  The one who wasn’t even really Jewish; is he …you know… circumcised?  Don’t they check these details at JDate?   And the one from Philly.  He had me there, for about a minute.  He teased, “Just talk.  About anything.  I want to hear a real Philly accent.”


Apparently, while I was preoccupied being married, there was a sexual revolution and nobody told me.  Women are expected to have sex with guys they don’t even know, and be grateful for the two minutes of attention.  I’m not naïve enough to believe that you have to be ‘in love’ with someone to have sex with them.  But shouldn’t you know more than their name and which exit they live off?  Personally, I think you have to know someone at least a couple hours before you hop into bed. 


Before you all start emailing that this was pretty much what I did at Hedonism, that was a brief respite from real life.  And it was a decision that I made; not something that some jerk from Exit 153 assumed he was entitled to.  Or maybe I just can’t be coerced into doing anything that isn’t what I want.  I certainly am not here to please other people (especially men).  After all, it’s all about me.   In my real life, I’m smart and funny and damned interesting; too valuable to waste on jerks from the Garden State.


I considered, briefly, becoming a lesbian.  I thought this was pretty clever; if I played my cards right, I could double my wardrobe instantly.   Of course, there’s that preoccupation with  – you know.


Me (at the Lesbian bar):  “Hi.  Are you a size ten, eight in shoes, and do you own any genuine Louis Vuittons?  Can I just measure the circumference of  your thighs?  I brought a tape measure.”







Published October 16, 2007 by jean cohen

Sorry it’s been awhile again.  I’ve been distracted.


I didn’t blog about Pinkie’s visit; seeing her made me so homesick for Weybridge I didn’t feel very amusing.  It was fantastic being together again, and Pat was an indefatigable hostess.  As any togetherness with Sister Pink demands, there was a lot of outlet shopping and Zindandel.  Between the three of us, we managed to totally fill the boot of Pat’s new car; we had to throw some of the bags in the back seat.


Pinkie arrived proudly sporting her Donovan McNabb jersey; I explained that because Andy Reid is a Mormon, of course they would flog Eagles merchandise in Salt Lake City.  I was wearing my new Number Five and Mike had sent Pat’s G-men shirt for our evening at the sports bar.  Pat had to get really violent to deter me from burning all three outside the bar.  That bloke wearing the Phillies shirt kept encouraging me.   I think I’ll stop there.


Well, except that Mike, who was in Geneva, left me a message on their answering machine.  He was awfully brave since he knows I can’t get to Cobham to shove a cheese steak up his nose.  He said, at least fourteen times, in his message  “Too bad about those Eagles; how many times did McNabb get sacked?  Wasn’t it a record?”  I did retaliate and take the piss by leaving a ten minute message on their machine.  I downloaded the big goose-egg Notre Dame’s fight song and mixed it with the Beatles ‘I’m a Loser’.    It was a really awesome mix, if I must say so myself.  Pat said she peed laughing when she heard it.


Back off Exit 154 of the Garden State in Mallville, I’m just killing time ‘til the Italians get off the schneid.   I’m sending inquiry letters to publishers and agents, working out (for a change, this is actually true), trying to write a second novel, and dating. 


I think I mentioned a guy I met at the Schmooze at the JCC?  The one who went to Temple and loves Philly soul music?  He rang me.  Oddly, he did not ask me out.  My fault, I think.  We were just nattering kind of generally, and he said he had just been in Clifton.  I asked where he lived.  THIS IS TRUE:  “Exit 141 off the Garden State.”  Oh.  Exit 141?  Is that comparable to boasting the “Gulph Mills” exit of the Schuylkill (rich)?  Or maybe it’s more like “Packer Avenue  (Yo!  South Philly)?  How am I supposed to interpret this factoid?   Unfortunately, I started to laugh.   “What?” he asked.  “What’s so funny?”  I guess I could have tried to explain; but I didn’t.  Evil Jeano automatically deadpanned “Really?  Gee that’s too bad.  I’ve heard that guys who live below Exit 150 are not good husband material.”  Dead silence.  Honestly, I don’t know what gets into me sometimes.  Anyway, if he was gonna ask me out, he changed his mind.  We did sort of arrange to meet at the Schmooze this coming weekend.  Maybe I can undo the damage.  I don’t know; New Jerseyites have some sort of inferiority complex.  I guess you can’t blame them.  But, hey, they chose to live in New Jersey, for Christ’s sake.  There are 49 other states they could have picked.  Well, maybe six or seven states are okay, if you’re not fussy.


At the last Schmooze, Exit 141 Guy suggested that I get on this dating site called JDate.  That sounded like it would be interesting.  I could meet even more peculiar Jewish guys who live on the Garden State Parkway.  I picture them all living in little succahs on the shoulder, next to a Pep Boys or TGI Friday.  Moshe had taken pictures – about 200 of them – at his one night.  Okay.  Let me just say it.  I had a lot of Zinfandel.  That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.  In some of them, I am wearing Moshe’s shirt; in some of them, I’m not.  (I sent a few to Cheese Boy just to take the piss.)  Obviously, the snaps where my thighs are visible wouldn’t work.


Sample instant message – 


Third pup tent from the stop sign at Exit 129 Garden State:  Nice pictures, TerroristBabe.


Me:  Thanks.


Third so on etc:  Are they your thighs?  They look just like Osi Umenyiora’s, only white.  Did you do your terrorism training in Pakistan?


Me:  Drop dead!  I hate the G-men, and they’re not really that big.  It was the angle of the camera…  No, I trained at Nordstrom Rack, during the designer shoe sale.


Anyway, I signed up, posted a few snaps, and made up some big whoppers for my biography.  Like they care I’m not really an anthropologist from Montreal.  Wow.  Talk about visiting the Planet Bizarre-O. 










Published October 5, 2007 by jean cohen

Moshe rang on Thursday to confirm our date for Friday night.  As we chatted, he said, “You know tonight is Simchat Torah?”


“Of course” I answered craftily.  “I was just taking down our Succah.”  (Another big whopper; I hope Adonai is not keeping score in Heaven.)


Dead silence.  “Did you build a succah?” he asked finally.  “No, Sweetie.  Of course I didn’t” I said patiently.   “I ordered it already assembled from JewsRUs.  I’m a JAP.   It had to have wall-to-wall and window treatments.”  More silence while he processed this information.  I don’t think Moshe gets me.


“Are you taking the …whatever you call it?” he asked.  “Piss” I told him.  It’s called ‘taking the piss’, and yes, I was.”  (I’m speaking British this week; Pinkie was here and we were with Pat, so naturally I fell right back into old habits.)


I worry about myself.  I get so bloody confused.  I am assiduously studying Italian, whilst trying not to forget my Yiddish (so I understand Jerry during those 3:00 AM visits).  Moshe uses Hebrew expressions, and I slip into British-speak without even thinking.  BooBoo Blondie asked me the ‘American’ expression for something when we were on the phone, and I didn’t remember what it was.  I picture myself wandering the streets with my shopping trolley filled with my possessions (I’m, of course, an extremely well-dressed street person and it’s a very large trolley) havering, “Bloody hell!  Madonne!  Che cozza! Hok mir nisht en chainik!  Ma Nishtanah?  Got a spare fag, mate?”  Wouldn’t the British Embassy, not to mention the Queen, be amused? 


Sorry.  I got distracted for a second.


“So tonight is Simchat Torah and you want to celebrate and have sex?” I teased Moshe.   “It’s also Shemini Atzeret” I add, just to show how smart I am.  Aren’t Google calendars brilliant?


More silence.  “No.  I wondered if you wanted to come into the City and go to the festival at the synagogue” Moshe answered.  He sounded a little miffed.  (The ‘city’ referred to is New York City; this fairy tale about the beautiful and thin Princess takes place at Exit 154 on the Garden State.)


I am like, totally, khidenshn zikh, sorpreso, gobsmacked and surprised.   Etonne, too.  (I had French at school.)  “Nuq q daq o’ puchpae’?” I replied.  This was a trick question.  Moshe rose to the occasion admirably.  “They have very nice bathrooms.”   He had mentioned early on, when we were just ‘seeing’ each other, that he learned English watching Star Trek, over and over.  Maybe that’s why he says ‘Bones’ a lot during sex.  And ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’  (I made that up.  I swear!)


Go figure he speaks Klingon, too.  Obviously, for someone as well traveled as me, knowing how to ask where the bathroom is in a variety of languages is a necessity.  “Good return” I told him.  “But I used the Klingon word for ‘loo’; that’s what it’s called.”  Note to Americans who are still reading this:  This is called ‘winding Moshe up’.


I am seriously freaked; hence the sarcasm.  When did my life spiral so out of control?  Why can’t I just be addicted to alcohol and drugs like other people?  It would be so much easier than trying to figure out what a man is thinking.  And especially about me.  I thought I was ‘seeing’ someone, someone who thinks he is ‘dating’ me, and now he wants to take me to Simchat Torah at the synagogue?   Is this meaningful?  I don’t do meaningful.


The alternative is a night in front of the telly with Scary Fairy, so I say yes.  It couldn’t hurt, could it?   I asked, not expecting any help, “What should I wear?”  Moshe took this seriously.  “A dress, or a skirt.  No jeans.”


Moshe picked me up, and he was dressed up, too.  He looked cute.  We drove into the city, to the West Side.  It was amazing.  Literally thousands of people wandered the streets, the men in tallis and yarmulkes,  celebrating Simchat Torah, munching on apples and honey.  


We played the New York game; drive around for an hour looking for a parking space.  Although I try not to compare them, it reminded me vividly of Jerry.  He would cheerfully pay $200 for dinner without a qualm, but he wouldn’t pay to park in a lot when we went out.  I got bored, quickly, and even offered to pay for the fucking parking.  Moshe said no.  Apparently, it’s not sporting to give up looking and only sissies park in lots.  Success finally, and we walked to the synagogue.  Well, he walked and I ran to keep up.  I’m not used to tall men.  We passed a posh shopping area, and he wouldn’t let me go in the Coach Store, not even for a New York minute.   He actually said, “You have enough purses.”  “Have you been channeling Jerry for insider information” I snapped sulkily.


The Simchat Torah was amazing.  I am not sure if that was bad or good; it was just amazing.  Picture a sanctuary meant to hold about 500 people.  Now picture 4000 of them, and they’re all dancing and singing in Hebrew, as the Torahs were carried around so people could reverently touch them.  An awful lot of them touched me; we all  know my feelings on that subject.  I said kidding to Moshe, “I always meet someone I know when I travel, even in Istanbul and Moscow.  I must know someone here.  After all, they’re all Jews.”


Oddly, I didn’t, but I take back an earlier comment about looking Jewish.  I saw about 3000 people who looked just like somebody I know at home.  “Excuse me, aren’t you my dentist’s brother-in-law, Diego, the Sephardim from Toledo?  No…the one in Spain.  Never mind.” 


Yes, I danced the hora for hours with perfect strangers and sang the hymns (in Hebrew).  I’ve been to the synagogue a few times before and I know the drill.   During a break from the partying, as I drank a glass of wine, I thought ‘even I can’t make shit this good up.  My life really is a fucking soap opera’. 


“But I’m not even strictly Jewish…only sometimes” I told Moshe.  “Dayenu” he answered.








Published October 3, 2007 by jean cohen

I know I’m meant to be reporting on Pinkie’s visit, but … Wow.  I got an email from somebody famous.  Famous and obviously lacking a sense of humor.  No, I can’t say who it was.  But you’ve seen him… in a lot of movies.  How was I supposed to know he lives at Exit 172 on the Garden State?


I have no idea how he came across ‘Oh to Be in England’.  Did he google ‘Tenafly’ because he was bored?  Maybe he had to go to Bordentown and tried to MapQuest it. 


Like the goddamned Queen and her atrocious hats, he was not amused.


So, in penance, this blog is Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Tenafly and North Jersey.  With almost no sarcasm.


British readers:  Pay attention.  There will be a test … at the Grotto.


North Jersey’ is the nickname for the northern part of the State of New Jersey.  Coincidentally, the southern part of the state (the good part) is nicknamed ‘South Jersey’.  When people from the ‘north’ refer to ‘The City’, they mean New York.  When people without horrible accents, or South Jerseyites, refer to ‘The City’, they, of course, mean Philadelphia.   Benjamin Franklin (who lived in Philadelphia; I think that says it all) called New Jersey ‘a barrel tapped at both ends’.  When Ben wasn’t in France causing trouble, he spent a lot of time at the Two Street Tavern.  Hence the beer analogy.


Note to foreigners:  Two Street is always called ‘Two Street’; never, ever Second Street.


What Ben meant is that Philadelphians needed a way to get to New England, so they made New Jersey.


North Jersey comprises the counties of Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Hudson, Union, Warren and Sussex.  Sadly, (Thanks, British Embassy) I currently reside at Exit 154 on the Garden State, which is in Passaic County.  The official North Jersey flower is the Tomato; the official bird is the Mosquito.  The official song is “North Jersey?  I Thought You Knew How to Read a Fucking Map”.


South Jersey got all the cool counties in the divorce:  Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem.  People in South Jersey hardly ever marry their first cousins.  While it is an actual fact that the Devil lives in Windsor, New Jersey, which is in the Pine Barrens, I have only seen Him once.  He was sitting in the 700 Level at the Vet for an Eagles Game.  Do I have to explain everything?  South Jersey:  Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, Sixers.  North Jersey:  Giants, Jets, Mets, Yankees, Knicks, Devils, Islanders.  How ‘bout those choking Mets???


In order to live in North Jersey and vote in presidential elections, you must know how to cook and own a diner.  It helps if you’re Greek.  In order to live in South Jersey, you must make fun of people from North Jersey.  Hint:  Ex-governor McGreevy is always good for a few one-liners.



Tenafly, or Scenic Exit 172, is in Bergen County, located at 40 55’20N, 73 57’50W, if you want to check your maps.  The first settlers were the Dutch, which is probably why the first name  (the Garden State wasn’t built yet) ‘Tiene Vly’ is Dutch.  “Tiene Vly’ means Ten Swamps.  I did not make that up.  I am also not going to make any comments about New Jersey and swamps.  The facts speak for themselves.


The ‘Palisades’ are a line of steep cliffs along the Hudson River.  From the top of the Palisades, Tenaflyers have a dramatic view of the New York City skyline.  The Lenape Indians called these cliffs “We-awk-en”, or ‘rocks that look like trees”.  The Lenape called North JerseyNorth Jersey’, which means ‘There sure are a lot of fucking mosquitos in these swamps’.


If you need to visit any of the 13,806 people who reside in Tenafly, there’s a bus (Route 166), Route 501, Route 9W, the Palisades Parkway or, obviously, the Yellow Brick Road.


Many famous people live in Tenafly.  Really.  Hiroaki Aoki lives in Tenafly.  Jesus Wept!  Behihana?  Gregg Berhalter lives there, too.  Did anybody else know that the US actually has a soccer team?  What do they do?  And Lesley Gore ‘cries at her own goddamned parties’ right there in Tenafly.  And if you saw ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ or ‘Running on Empty’ or ‘Street Trash’, yeah, you were seeing Tenafly.  If you saw ‘Garden State’ that was South Jersey.  You didn’t hear any dueling banjos or strange accents, did you?