The thought of bathing in a mikvah freaks me out. I don’t feel it’s necessary to be judged from head to toe by a total stranger so that I can be allowed to fuck my husband after my monthly gift. I judge myself enough as it is. And if I ever feel the need to comb my pubic hair, I shall do it in the privacy of my own home.
Going to a mikvah was just one of the many religious requirements I would have had to adhere to in order to marry Alex. Others included keeping a kosher home and celebrating Shabbat.
Converting from a reform Jew to a modern orthodox Jew would have been a monumental decision and life change for me. So, to say I was concerned about going out on a date with a modern orthodox Russian Jew was an understatement.
But desperate times call for desperate measures so after 2 weeks of emails, texts and phone calls, I hopped in my car and drove to Astoria, where he worked, for our first date.
The drive from Long Island to Astoria took 42 minutes.
The date with Alex took 28 minutes.
We sat down in the coffee shop. He ordered a tea. I ordered a coffee. He drank his tea in 3 gulps forcing me to drink my coffee in 3 gulps. He told me he was starving and wanted to go home to eat dinner.
As I walked to my car my feelings were hurt, the roof of my mouth was gone and I was thoroughly pissed that it took me more time to drive to the date than the actual date itself.
You would think after winning the world record for “Shortest Date Ever” that I wouldn’t hear from Alex again. But then he called me while I was driving and we stayed on the phone until we both got home.
We ended the call so that he could eat his (Kosher) dinner and although totally confused by the entire encounter, I agreed to Skype with him later that night.
Alex: [watching TV] Hey.
Alex: [watching TV]
WinterInNYC: Whatcha doing?
Alex: [watching TV] Watching TV.
WinterInNYC: Can you look me?
Alex: [watching TV] Yeah
WinterInNYC: So what’s up?
Alex: [watching TV] Show me your tits.
WinterInNYC: Excuse me?
Alex: [watching TV] Take your shirt off. Show me your tits.
WinterInNYC: No! I’m not doing that.
Alex: [watching TV] OK, I’m gonna go watch TV.
I must have been sick the day they taught the commandments in Hebrew School.
Apparently #11 was:
December 27, 2014
I realized today that I’m a lucky girl.
After all of the hurt and disappointment I’m still willing to open my heart, get back out there and find you.
I still want you. I know you are amazing….so that helps.
Nights like tonight when all I want to do is hide under the covers and feel sorry for myself that another relationship has come and gone…what keeps me going is you.
You will see when we meet that all of my hurt has made me the woman I am today. A woman that can stand on her own two feet. Who doesn’t need a man…but who wants one. And you are the type of man who knows how different the two are.
You will see when we meet that all of my disappointment has allowed me to truly appreciate the small things in life. I will never take our love for granted.
When you walk into my home that took me 34 years to buy, you will look around and tell me how beautiful it is. My home will not overwhelm you. My home will not intimidate you. At some point you will notice that the blue jelly beans I keep in my living room for my niece and nephew to snack on, match my accent pillows…on purpose of course…and you will smile. You will smile because you have just realized that you met a woman who is capable of making a beautiful home for you one day.
Once we start dating you will see that I work a lot. There are many nights of working late where I don’t walk in the door until after 10pm. You may miss me some of those nights and wish we could grab dinner instead. But you will remember that my career is important to me. It has brought great friends into my life. It has afforded me the ability to buy my own home, travel the world and be as generous as I can to those I love. You won’t be worried about whether or not I will have the time to build a family because of course I will. We will figure it out…I have faith.
I hope you have the opportunity to meet Molly. She has been a part of my life for the past 12 years. She’s just like me. She needs a little bit of time to get to know someone. You can’t rush her. Forcing her to play scares her. But if you show her that you are sweet and kind and good she will eventually give you her love….which is unconditional. I know you will love her and be patient with her. She’s turning 12 next June…. so hurry.
I recently found out that I snore. Didn’t know that I did. No one ever told me that I had before. I know you won’t mind. I know that you won’t repeatedly wake me to tell me that I’m snoring and then tell me that it doesn’t bother you but then proceed to tell me that if I don’t stop you’re going to sleep on the couch. I’ll wear Breathe Right Strips for you and you will tell me how cute I look.
When I’m sick you will take care of me. When I’m sick you will ask me how I am and what you can do to help me feel better. You won’t ask for a back-rub when I’m lying in bed shivering. You won’t be a taker.
I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. But together we will be perfect.
I’m not settling. You are worth the wait…. and so am I!
I’m a beautiful, intelligent, independent, fun, kind-hearted woman who has a lot to offer and a lot of love to give.
Maybe I’ll find you….or maybe you’ll find me.
But don’t worry babe…..it will happen.
November 4, 2014
The less than enthusiastic birthday response put me on high alert, but I convinced myself not to make a big deal about it or let it ruin what I thought was the start of something great.
But things just never got great. We seemed to always be taking two steps forward three steps back, and as usual… this relationship was driving me crazy.
I had to initiate the planning of our 2nd date and then 4 hours before we were supposed to meet he cancelled, using the excuse his friend had an emergency. I was annoyed.
When we finally did have our 2nd date it was great! We had dinner and then snuggled in an empty bar making out.
Our 3rd date which took place on LI was amazing. I was happy that he made the effort to come to my home and when we took the train back into the city the following morning he held my hand the entire time.
Things seemed to moving in the right direction until he once again canceled hours before our 4th date. This time I wasn’t annoyed, I was pissed. We rescheduled for the next day and when I confronted him about blowing me off… again… and on such short notice…he apologized, but I just wasn’t believing his excuse that he hadn’t been feeling well the night before.
For the following two weeks I waited for him to find time to spend with me but he wouldn’t. Over text (because apparently I wasn’t worth the effort of a phone call after dating 6 weeks) he told me that he couldn’t do this right now.
About a week later I was stalking Instagram and noticed a few new pictures in his tagged photos.
This was my favorite:
I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
October 15, 2014
What does a girl buy a guy she’s only been dating for a few days? This was my dilemma immediately following our 36-hour 1st date.
I asked friends and family and after hearing ideas that ranged from “nothing” to “take him out to dinner” I settled on what I believed to be an appropriate gift for our situation and had a box of gourmet chocolates delivered to his office with a card that read, “Happy Birthday! Wishing you a great day!”
At 10:15am the morning of his birthday, I received the email notification that the gift had been successfully delivered.
I was excited and couldn’t wait for him to call me to let me know that he had received the present.
So I waited…..
And I waited….
And I waited some more.
By 1:00pm I still hadn’t heard from him.
Convinced that someone in his office had accepted the gift and placed it in a package room without him even knowing (because why else wouldn’t he have called me to thank me) I gave in and sent him a text:
Me: Happy Birthday!
Him: Thank you.
Me: R u at work? I sent you something – it was signed for by the mail room.
Him: I am at work and I did get something. Thank you so much. I’m thinking about you.
8 hours later….
The next morning…
Him: Hey good morning beautiful. Thank you very much for my gift.
Me: Hey – Ur welcome! Were they good?
Him: Yes. I would have loved to share them with you.
To be continued…..
October 12, 2014
After my disappointing cruise and failure to meet any normal guys online, I decided to take a break from dating. I deactivated all 3 of my online dating accounts and welcomed back a simpler time when checking my email was about receiving coupons and sale notices from my favorite department stores. I would stop holding my breath waiting for a notification that I had received a wink, a flirt, an email or an instant message.
So I stopped.
And I felt great! My confidence was coming back. I was spending time with my girlfriends on the weekends. I was shopping like a maniac decorating my newly purchased home. I was reading again. I was back to doing the things that made me happy. And it was working. I was happy.
And then one day I received a friend request from a guy from my past who I had reservations about for a plethora of reasons but who convinced me to go out on a date with him after two weeks of texting and getting to know each other.
So over sushi and sake one Friday night we had our first date. We had our first kiss. And instead of heading our separate ways at midnight, he decided to join me on a weekend get-away I had previously planned with my family.
He met my family. We held hands. We snuggled in bed with no expectations. He showered me with compliments. We had an amazing time together.
But driving home I knew I was in trouble. Our amazing first date had lasted 36 hours and a few minutes after dropping him off….
I missed him.
September 16, 2014
She asked me if I was single. Although surprised by this unexpected and personal question I answered her honestly and told her I was.
She asked me how old I was.
She proceeded to tell me that her uncle was single. Apparently he had recently broken up with his girlfriend because she was using him for his money.
I told her not to worry. I have my own money. I’m just looking for love.
She seemed satisfied with my response and we continued eating our lunch.
This was the conversation I had with an 8 year old.
I think I just found the world’s youngest matchmaker.
Hey, whatever works right?
July 13, 2014
As soon as the doors opened in St. Thomas I ran off of the ship hoping I’d have cell service so that I could call home. I didn’t, said, “Fuck it!” and turned my phone on roaming.
After 2 minutes on the phone with my mom she was offering to book a flight home for me. I was crying again. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if he was trying his best and his best just wasn’t good enough for me. Or, if he was blowing me off.
I told my mom not to book anything yet. I had to speak to him first. So I headed back to the ship to call him.
TurkishDelight: <unintelligible sleepy voice>
WinterInNYC: Hey, it’s me.
TurkishDelight: <unintelligible sleepy voice>
WinterInNYC: You sleeping?
Now, I was beginning to panic. I had a very short window to book a flight home, pack, get off of the ship and get to the airport. Flying out of St. Maarten the next day would have been pricey because it would have meant booking a flight through a different airline and then I’d be at sea for the final two days with no way to escape. It was now or never. I needed to talk to him!
I waited for TurkishDelight to return my call. He didn’t. So I headed up to his restaurant. He wasn’t there so I sat and waited. I called him again…no answer. I waited some more.
By 12:30pm I was back in my room replaying the past 3 days. Did the bad cancel out the good?
In my gut I knew that something had changed. If I stayed, I knew that I would be on my own for the remainder of the trip. I would have seen him at lunch and dinner, like all of the other 6,000 guests. Maybe he would have hung out in my room again if he felt like getting laid.
But we would not have been going to dinner together like he had planned a week prior. We would not have gone to the dance club or comedy club or bar together. We would not have gotten off of the boat to snorkel or shop or head to the beach.
He blew me off the night before and didn’t even have the decency to call me and let me know that he wasn’t going to come over.
And now I couldn’t reach him…when he was always reachable before.
I called my mom and told her to book the flight.
As tears ran down my face I re-packed my suitcase with dresses he never saw, shoes I never wore and lingerie that still had their price tags hanging from them.
I headed down to guest services and after getting approval to disembark the ship I called his phone again and this time he picked up.
I told him that I was leaving the ship. He seemed confused and asked me why? The phone connection was poor which made the conversation difficult but I did hear him say, “You knew that I would be working.” What I didn’t hear was an apology. I told him that I knew that he would be working when I booked and that I saw how hard he worked and how many hours he worked. I told him that I wasn’t mad, just disappointed, and that I just couldn’t be on my own for another 4 days. I told him I had to go and hung up the phone.
I had to wait till 4:00pm for the customs agent to escort me off of the ship. I was miserable. I felt as though I had a made a rash decision to leave. I was heartbroken that I didn’t have an opportunity to talk to him, before booking the flight. I wanted to tell him how I was feeling and find out if he could have made more time for me…if he even wanted to.
I called TurkishDelight back. I was sobbing on the phone and asked him to come down and see me before I left. I didn’t want it to end this way.
He told me he couldn’t because he was in a meeting and then hung up the phone.
I will never know if leaving was the right decision.
I will never know if he intended to spend more time with me but lost interest after seeing me.
I will never know if he truly was working all of those extra hours.
I will never know if he would have persuaded me to stay if I had reached him on the phone before booking the flight.
I will never know if he would have spent more time with me.
I will never know if my leaving upset him in the slightest.
What I do I know is that I’m tired of being disappointed, rejected and disregarded by men.
July 8, 2014
He tossed and turned all night. He stole the covers. And instead of waking up to room service or morning sex like I had hoped, TurkishDelight’s ringing phone woke us at 10:00am. It was his boss telling him he had to work.
TurkishDelight jumped out of bed and got dressed. He apologized about breakfast and said we would do it another day. On his way out he mentioned that my bed wasn’t as comfortable as his bed….at that moment I knew he wouldn’t be sleeping over again.
He kissed me on the forehead and left.
I won’t bore you with the hour-by-hour cruise itinerary on my 3rd day on the ship but that day we were at sea…and I was trapped. I ate, I read, I drank, I gambled, I layed out, I listened to music, I watched TV, I masturbated, I window shopped, I explored the ship.
And I did all of this alone.
By 4:00pm I was in my room fighting off an anxiety attack.
I was so incredibly lonely and bored and disappointed and confused. Except for a 1-minute chat in front of the lunch buffet, TurkishDelight and I didn’t talk or see each other the entire day. And we had no plans to see each other.
Why hadn’t TurkishDelight planned any activities like we had discussed? Why hadn’t he he asked me to go to dinner with him? Why hadn’t we grabbed a drink between his lunch and dinner shift? Why hadn’t he told me what day he had off yet? Why hadn’t we planned an excursion for St. Thomas or St. Maarten?
A little while later my stateroom phone rang. TurkishDelight was checking in. I asked him if we could go somewhere on the ship together after he got off of work that night. We could grab a drink? Check out the comedy club? Take a walk?
But instead he told me that since the ship was headed into St. Thomas tomorrow, a US port, they had to make sure the kitchens were clean for inspection. He wouldn’t be getting off of work until 1:00am again. It would be too late to do anything. He told me this shouldn’t stop me from doing all of these things on my own.
We ended the conversation with him telling me that he would call me when he got off of work.
What the fuck!?!? He had a piece of paper in his pocket that gave him full access to the ship for 7 straight days. It was day 3 and we hadn’t gone anywhere together.
It was really starting to dawn on me that either I booked this vacation based on misinterpreted text messages or he changed his mind.
I was leaning towards the latter.
TurkishDelight made it very clear to me before booking and even after I booked that we would have plenty of time together. He told me that whenever he wasn’t working we would be together.
This was clearly not the case.
Was I over-reacting? Was I expecting too much from him? Maybe…
That night I fell asleep and woke up at 12:45am anxiously waiting for his call. I brushed my teeth, combed my hair and waited…
He never called.
By 2:00am I found myself crying alone in my stateroom with memories of my last cruise flooding my mind.
Could I really handle this for another 4 days?
July 7, 2014
I woke up feeling optimistic. I replayed the entire day and night in my head and reminded myself that TurkishDelight did everything he could to welcome me aboard, make me feel special and he appeared genuinely happy to see me.
I just needed to ignore the fact that he chose to sleep in a windowless broom closet at the bottom of the ship…alone….when he could have slept in my room with an ocean front terrace and a king sized bed with a guaranteed wake-up blow job. Not a big deal at all!
The ship was docked in the Bahamas when I got out of bed. I had no intention of getting off of the ship since I had already been to the Bahamas twice, so I threw on my bathing suit and cover-up, ate a quick breakfast and headed to the top of the ship to lay out.
By 8:30am, I was swimming in my own sweat in the lounge chair and was already tired of the book I was reading on my Kindle. I thought to myself, “Fuck…this is going to be a long day!”
I decided to disembark and do what I do best…..go shopping!
I made my way back to the linen store that sold amazing bamboo sheets and purchased another set. Then I started popping in to jewelry stores and fell in love with a gorgeous Movado watch that I had no business buying, but I did.
I was back on the boat around noon and headed to the restaurant to see TurkishDelight. As I was walking up to TurkishDelight I saw him on the phone. He turned around, saw me and smiled and walked over holding up his phone. He showed me that he was calling my room at that very moment to see how I was doing.
I told him about my purchases and he told me that he couldn’t wait to see the watch later.
I sat down to eat lunch and tried to ignore the loneliness I was beginning to feel. This was the 3rd meal I was eating alone on the ship…I had 16 more to go.
Would he ever eat a meal with me?
I had three hours before my spa appointment so I headed to the Internet library to send a few emails. Afterwards, I headed back to the room to sit on my terrace and read.
My 4:30pm 75-minute bamboo massage was out of this world. After the massage I showered, threw on a long black knit dress with high-heeled sandals and headed to the casino before dinner.
At 8:30pm I called TurkishDelight to see if he was ready for me to come to dinner. He told me that he was swamped and asked me to call back in a few minutes.
I waited 20 minutes and tried him back again and he told me to come for dinner at 9:00pm. I was standing outside of the dining room waiting for my escort and the place was mobbed. By 9:20pm I was still waiting to be seated. I was starving, my feet were starting to hurt and I was beginning to feel like a nuisance.
By 9:30pm I was finally seated. TurkishDelight was so busy he barely had time to stop by my table to say hello. But I understood. I saw how hard he was working. We would have our time later.
By 10:30pm he walked me out and I asked him what time he was getting off of work. He told me that his shift ended at 11:00pm but that he had a staff meeting that would end around 1:00am. He said he would call me after the meeting.
I was bummed!! Do cruises really have staff meetings at night? I don’t know. I will never know.
I fell asleep and woke up to the phone ringing at 1:00am. He told me he was going to come over.
We got into bed and watched a World Cup game. We talked for a while, about our families, jobs, finding love and his dream of moving to NY in a few years. As we drifted off to sleep I asked him if we could order room service in the morning and eat on the terrace together. He said yes and told me what he would order.
We didn’t kiss.
But at least he was there…
July 6, 2014
How many times can you be disappointed before you stop expecting?
How many times can you be rejected before you stop trying?
How many times can you be disregarded before you stop caring?
As I sat in the St. Thomas airport waiting for my delayed flight to take off…I cried. For 16 hours that day I cried. My red rimmed puffy eyes concealed by the new Ray-Bans I treated myself to for my vacation. And as I cried, and as strangers stared at me wondering what was wrong with me, I whispered to myself, “I’m tired of hurting.”
I boarded the ship around 2pm. I headed to my stateroom, re-applied my make-up that was running down my face from the heat, straightened my hair for the 20th time that day because of the humidity and checked out my outfit in the full length mirror, again, to make sure that it was the perfect outfit to be seen in by the guy I hadn’t seen in 19 months. My nerves were out of control and after pacing the stateroom for about 15 minutes I finally built up enough courage to pick up the phone and dial his #.
TurkishDelight: WinterInNYC!!! Where have you been? I thought you changed your mind!
WinterInNYC: Of course not!! They told me to board at 1:30pm. I just got on the ship.
TurkishDelight: Welcome! Welcome! I’m working on deck 15 – come now! Come see me!
WinterInNYC: OK! I’ll be up in a few minutes.
TurkishDelight: Great! See you soon!
Before heading upstairs there was a knock on my door. I was greeted with a bottle of champagne, a fruit plate and cupcakes with a card that read, “Enjoy – from TurkishDelight.” So thoughtful!
At first all I could think about was how tall he was! I didn’t remember him being that tall. When I commented on how tall he was he laughed and then I smiled because his laugh I remembered.
He sat me at a table facing the water and had a waiter bring over a glass of white wine. I lied and told him I wasn’t hungry. The first hour of him seeing me would not include stuffing my face at the buffet. I read my kindle, texted my friends and family, sipped my wine and on occasion glanced over my shoulder to checkout this hot Turkish man I was going to spend the next 7 days with.
After about an hour, I started to get antsy, so I caught his attention and told him that I was going to head back to the room and unpack. He told me that he would call me later to sign the paperwork which would give him permission to go anywhere on the ship with me…including my stateroom.
Relief washed over me. He had seen me in person and he still wanted me to sign the all-access paperwork.
He called me around 4:00pm to sign the paperwork. He reviewed the form with me and pointed out that in order for him to have access to my stateroom he had to write that I was his spouse. I smiled to myself. Lies feel good sometimes.
I headed back to my stateroom to shower and get dressed. I chose a super short long-sleeved black cotton/lace dress with very sexy camel colored 3” stiletto ankle boots. Hair done, make-up on, legs tanned, shaved and oiled, I headed to the casino to kill some time before dinner.
At 8:30pm I headed to the dining room. A waiter came out to get me and escorted me to a table in TurkishDelight’s section. As I walked over to the table, TurkishDelight was standing nearby talking to guests, and he looked up just as I was walking by. Our eyes met and he smiled. I felt relief and excitement in that moment. I was looking at a man who was genuinely happy with what he was looking at…me.
The waiters were extremely attentive to me, TurkishDelight made sure of that. Two glasses of wine later I was happy and comfortable and looking forward to a fun night. TurkishDelight stopped by my table a handful of times to see how I was doing. Towards the end of dinner I asked him what time he would be getting off of work and he told me around 10:30pm. He said he would call me when he was done.
At 10:45pm I heard the knock on my door. Finally! After 19 months of regret. After 19 months of kicking myself in the ass for not getting dressed and throwing on some make-up to hang out with a ridiculously hot man at 8:00pm on a Thursday night, I was finally getting my 2nd date.
We talked for a long time. I was feeling confident and pretty and smart and proud of myself for taking such a big risk by going on this cruise by myself.
At one point he mentioned that his shift this week was lunch and dinner, he tried, but couldn’t switch. I was disappointed and a little worried. I knew what this meant. He would be working almost the entire day every day for the next 7 days. I tried to stay positive. We would make the best of it. I would make the best of it.
After what seemed like forever, he got up off the couch to pour some more champagne and on his return to the couch he kissed me. And in that instant I was transported back to that dark sidewalk on the upper west side of Manhattan on a cold winter day.
It had taken 19 months but it was worth the wait.
Midway through the evening we found ourselves standing on the terrace over looking the dark ocean. The stars were out, the air was heavy and all you could hear was the ship crawling through the waves. It was extremely romantic. When he came up from behind me, moved my hair away from my neck and started to nibble on my ear and then moved slowly down my neck, I melted.
I led him back to the bed for round two.
By 2:00am he told me that he had to get up early for staff room inspections and was going to go. I was definitely disappointed to hear that he wasn’t sleeping over. He sensed my disappointment and asked me if that was ok? I lied, and said of course it was. I told him I understood. He said he would stay over the next night.
He kissed me goodnight on my lips and then on my forehead.
My first day on the ship had gone remarkably well but as I drifted off to sleep I had this unsettling feeling….why didn’t he stay?