I’m Not Dating

I’m not dating.

But I’d love to sit and drink coffee with you and hide intense emotions behind my shell and long skirt.
I’m not dating, but I can’t give up the scandal of masculine energy mixed with cologne and that vanity that comes from walking around town with… a guy…

And I remember the last time I wasn’t dating and neither was he because we were both too new at this baal teshuva thing but we couldn’t get past this… freedom that comes from thinking you can get away with a secret that isn’t so secret because it’s too delicious giggling about it with girls who are having more than a little trouble dating the right way. Not that I’m so cruel, I don’t rub it in, I’m just … lost…

I’m nineteen in a world of post- sorority grad students and I don’t know how to fit into their image of a successful adult. So we relieved stress when we weren’t dating by spending evenings in the park, days at the beach, each moment distracted from what brought us here.

Distracted by eyes gazing, fingers running,
Holding our hands two centimeters apart to keep from breaking shomer nagia
but wanting to even more.
And everyone in America who knows my past is asking if I’ve overstayed my time in Israel because I met someone..

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Of course the answer is no.

I’m waiting to date the right way with a mentor and wedding dresses on my mind. But we’re meeting under the coffee-laden table and I’ve found half a shekel for this half-baked attempt at being everything I want:

Modest and humble with the delicious secret of motorcycles-and-a-killer-smile who thinks I’m pretty and pays for my salmon while my friend asks me which guy I’m talking about this time.

Officially I don’t know how it got to this, I enjoy getting to know people and sharing energies, keeping the flow going. I really just stumbled upon this half-shekel moment shining in a puddle and put it in my pocket. But I think back to the first time I wasn’t dating and let myself question whether my torah comes from his expressions and hands moving while he tells his latest gomorrah battle or if it comes from classes I sit through and barely glean knowledge from because I’m still dreaming about the night before.

I can be independant and strong, but when the next pair of perfect peyas comes along… I’ll answer the phone and confirm that, yes, we’re just friends and I can’t wait to see you next Tuesday.