I love Washington Heights. It’s where the urban grid of Manhattan hits reality, where streets are smacked into cliffs and valleys, with stepped streets, sharp curves, and a mix of Russians, Dominicans, and an endless supply of young MO singles. Some are transplants from Midwestern states, who arrived in New York for college and stayed. Others found their first apartments in The Heights after moving out from their parents’ home. The Heights symbolizes all the optimism of starting anew. It represents my type of Orthodoxy. But there is one thing I cannot stand about The Heights.
Over the past year, I’ve had 6 matches from The Heights. Beautiful, educated, well-read women, who play basketball, volunteer in New Orleans, dance professional ballet, while earning their law degrees, studying for their CPA, MBA, MD, or the more usual OT and PT exams. A mix of modern-minded BTs, FFBs, divorcees, and converts, all sharing the same apartments. It is a pleasure to speak wit them over the phone. Our conversations last up to an hour, as we discuss religion, history, sports, and so much more. Like them, I also have a Masters degree, a good job, volunteer, read books, and watch obscure indie documentaries.
We finally meet and our dates are like fireworks. Again, beautiful women, open-minded, endless conversations, good background, numerous friends in common, seemingly identical hashkafas, good restaurant, gallery, or museum, and a good ending to our dates as I drop them back to their Bennett Avenue. I actually imagine myself living with her, The Heights girl, as we entertain our friends with discussions on current events and controversies. I look eager to Mt. Sinai, the YU book sale, the Sunday kollel, the Purim costume parties, and other Heights amenities.
But within two days, either the girl or the shadhan gives me the same lame cliche. “I don’t see it going anywhere. We are too different.” How is it possible that after lengthy phone conversations and a spectacular date, my past 6 matches do not “see it going anywhere?” How can it be going anywhere if it barely left the starting line?
There must be a true reason. Perhaps I am not earning enough. Perhaps I am not handsome enough for them to feel the attraction. Perhaps they fear becoming a divorcee down the line. But why not give it a second date? At this point, I feel burned out. I love The Heights. I love its women, but they just don’t seem to “see myself married to you.” Another cliche. And even after endless hours of conversation, where the match feels like a long-lost sister, I get the “our hashkafas are too different.” Again, a cliche.
This week, I have yet another match living in The Heights. I want it to work, but my confidence is eroding. She is beautiful, but what can I do? “You’re not the right one for me,” she will probably say.
The Heights is full of beautiful, educated women. Can’t they at least be more creative with their breakup lines? I’ll take “I find you unattractive” over “I don’t see this going anywhere.” While I can’t do anything about the second line, at least the first line will mechazek me to buy better clothes and shave.