The single life is exhausting. Dating in New York City with millions of people scattered among five boroughs can be daunting. Often, two people hit it off, but happen to come from very different backgrounds. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, but other times it can mean the demise of the relationship.
Since I’ve been married to a Jewish man for almost twelve years, I have a little bit of experience in interfaith partnerships. A young Gentile friend of mine is dating a young Jewish guy, and she asked for advice. I nearly shocked myself when I almost uttered the question, “Does he eat bacon?”
This may sound like a silly thing to ask, but I promise — it’s really not. Crazy as it sounds, if my husband was Orthodox or kept Kosher, we’d have an entire new set of challenges. This is not just because I love bacon and shrimp either, which I do. (Not necessarily together, however bacon is good on anything.)
My husband’s family welcomed me on all levels. As different as I was, they had a way of accepting me and making me feel at home no matter the differences. This isn’t always the case. Michael also didn’t think that it was a priority to marry within the faith, and even though I had a strict Catholic upbringing, I didn’t think so either.
Despite our childhoods, he is Jewish-Lite, and I am Semi-Catholic. Meeting somewhere in the middle, we swear that one day we’ll convert to Buddhism.
As for my friend’s situation, if the guy is already telling her the relationship can’t go anywhere since she isn’t Jewish, she has three options.
- She can ignore it and hope he changes his mind; if not just enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t get in too deep.
- She can think about converting if their relationship progresses to that point, (but she comes from an Italian Catholic family, so probably not happening in this lifetime).
- She can dump him now, move on to one of the millions of other eligible bachelors in Manhattan and eat a B.L.T. from Eisenberg’s for lunch, followed by Carmine’s Shrimp Scampi for dinner. (Might as well celebrate the freedom to indulge!)
It’s probably a good thing that I’m not single, or writing a column on dating advice. But personally, considering I love food, I’d go with the final option.