Boy vey the shiksa s guide to dating jewish men
An early anti-Semitic myth of medieval Europe was that Jewish men menstruated, perhaps as a result of their womanly excesses or dealings with the devil. In the 1890s, the Austrian-Jewish therapist put forth the idea of homosexuality as mental illness.At the time, homosexuals were identified by their feminine traits—and who better fit that description than the Jewish man?In her bestselling novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., author Adelle Waldman paints a darker, more complex portrait of the modern Jewish male.Her protagonist, Nathaniel Piven, is “in some sense an NJB,” she says—but it depends how you define “nice.” “The niceness can coexist with smugness, self-satisfaction and a host of other traits.” Outwardly, Nathaniel P.’” For Jewish men, this well-meaning wish had unintended consequences: The NJB was yet another stereotype to overcome on their way to becoming truly American.“Philip Roth was one of the most important authors to blow this out of the water: that this was a debilitating thing to the Jewish male, rather than a wonderful thing,” says Neil Davison, associate professor of modern Jewish culture at Oregon State University.For parents, it became imperative to find their children partners who would a) produce more Jews, and b) afford them a “pleasant, secure, respectable, class-appropriate domesticity,” says Daniel Boyarin’s brother Jonathan, a professor of modern Jewish culture at Cornell University.“To me this phrase’s natural home is in a parent’s mouth, saying to a daughter, ‘Why don’t you find a nice Jewish boy?
By the 16th century, this Jewish archetype had a name: edelkayt.“Because the Yid is ugly, sickly, and lacks decorum, we shall endow the ideal image of the Hebrew with masculine beauty.The Yid has accepted submission and, therefore, the Hebrew ought to learn how to command…“At the core of it, you just have to be respectful,” he says.
Not all agree that respect is really the nice Jewish boy’s core virtue.In Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, Alexander Portnoy rails against his overbearing Jewish mother by becoming a deviant obsessed with shiksas and sex. ” Norman Mailer, too, struggled to throw off the curse of the Jewish weakling.