“His face looks like Shakshuka” a friend said to me, “ditch him.”
I did not agree. His face did not look like a Mediterranean dish made of poached eggs, tomatoes, peppers and other spices.
I thought he was beautiful. He was Turkish; he was active in the recent protests and was a moderate Muslim, which I found to be incredibly attractive for the sole reason that it would horrify my father.
My dad, for the record, has given up on setting me up with kids my own age, and has moved to giving my information to older doctors in the hope that they will adopt me and take on the burden of an unmarried daughter.
But back to my Turkish friend. Who, after the Shakshuka comment, I immediately ditched.
We were on the streets of Tel Aviv for Lila Lavan, White Night. For those of you who don’t know what White Night is, it is a citywide festival celebrating the culture of Tel Aviv, everything from the art to the music to a mime, who I was told would be at the festival.
For those who do know what White Night is, I don’t have to tell you that it’s disgusting. No one sleeps and everyone wanders around drunk like lost college freshmen. Worst of all I’m beginning to believe that the mime thing was just a rumor.
However, the grossest thing at White Night was the men, who once I was rid of my Turkish friend, did not stop hitting on me.
Now it’s not just me, in my experience Israelis hit on all Americans, I even saw one hitting on a Ford at one point. However, there is something about my blonde hair that seems to attract them. I can tell because they only look at my hair when they talk to me and not my chest, and they always ask me if it is real, which I always answer with a subtle change of subject “so are you a soccer fan?”
I was warned before coming to Israel that the men are aggressive, so I had physically prepared for the testosterone ambush (I brought my rape whistle combination harmonica) but I was completely unprepared for just how awful some of them could be.
To put it in a term I haven’t heard since seventh grade, “they have no game”.
One man invited me to his apartment. I say “one man” because he did not introduce himself, ask my name or check to see if I snore before inviting me to spend the night. I do not.
So instead of agreeing to his impromptu sleepover and reenacting the first five minutes of Taken, I gave him a short lesson about hitting on girls.
“Introduce yourself first” I lectured, “then compliment her, or buy her a drink, and make some useless small talk and pretend to care where exactly in California she is from so that you can figure out if she knows your one friend in the 100 mile radius. Which she will not.”
Note: the name game is the best way to a girl’s heart; a scalpel is the second best.
“Then you can invite her to her apartment.” I said, “but she should probably say no.”
So he tried again, this time asking to take a picture with my hair before inviting us all to his friend’s apartment.
To be fair it was an improvement. But we sent him off to try his new skills on a different group of girls or on a yellow Jeep parked in an ally.
For us, the rest of the night followed a similar pattern; boys would flock to my hair like wasps to a piece of meat left out at a BBQ, leave when I insisted that I would be getting my money’s worth at my hostel, and then briefly return to make sure that I had not changed my mind. Which, considering the fact that breakfast was included, did not happen.
Many of them were cute, many of them would be out of my league in the United States (especially my baseball league) and none of them had faces that looked anything like a Middle Eastern dish (not even humus!). And they all clearly had generous personalities as they are willing to host a stranger, and apparently did not still live with their parents. Yet they all still disgusted me.
So I ditched all of them.
This time I did not need prompting from my friends.
I went back to my hostel, ate my free bread and jam and thanked God that my roots were beginning to grow out.