Israel Stories

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Ideal Husband

Kraftwerk got it spot on, she’s a model and she looking good, I’d like to take her home that’s understood. Deep, almost Shakespearian lyrics and complicated in their simplicity. A million words unspoken in two lines expressing life, art, hope and little slice of lust.

You can look but don’t touch. Scan the menu but don’t eat anything. You can browse but don’t try anything on. In fact don’t even look. And that’s the way a mans world is, and we’re not talking about food or clothes, if you get my meaning. Living in Israel doesn’t make it easier. At least the majority of women in England aren’t much to look at; most of them are Viking rejects, Saxon leftovers, Norman throw-aways and the significant remnants of a lost empire. But the Holy Land is certainly blessed in many ways and there are more proportionally perfect women here per capita than in many parts of the world. That’s not to say we don’t have our fair share of ‘her mother will always think she’s beautiful’ women. After all beauty is all about symmetry and proportion, oh, and the eye of the beholder. So when Bar Refaeli walks passed you on a Tel Aviv street and you turn your head should you be punished, after all, as in life, art. You are simply admiring lines and curves, contrast and color.

Nachalat Binyamin is one of the most unlikely places you would find an ornithologist. I mean a busy urban market, crowded and polluted with nearby traffic, cigarettes and caffeine fumes, seem the last place on Earth that a society dedicated to bird watching would set up camp. Unless, of course you understand that the word bird has a double meaning, and bird in English can be a winged creature that lays eggs or something with green eyes and a great smile.

Now I’m not a feminist, although I do like women, and I am definitely no more an ‘ornithologist’ than the next red blooded male, but I have to draw the line at an organization dedicated to ‘bird’ watching. If anything its quite stomach churning to think that there are men (and a couple of women) who were there pointing, making notes and discussing the merits of various women as they traversed the crowded market stalls.

Then she walked by, Bar Rafaeli and entourage , Israel’s leading super model, the girl that women like to call ordinary and men would just like to call. As if in tune with all the males in a 100 yard radius, as if there was some spiritual connection, a guiding force governing our actions, in complete and perfect synchronization, we all (me included) simultaneously turned our heads. Some smiled, some commented, some even dared to call her name.

“What are you looking at?” she snapped.

“That’s a nice picture dear,” I answered nervously. Was it so obvious?

“I nearly got whiplash from the way you turned your head, anyway she’s quite ordinary”.

“Who are you talking about?” I was going to ride this out and hopefully avoid a backlash.

“Do you like pictures of trains; do you think it would look nice hung in our salon?”


“What other pictures were you looking at them?” Trapped, I needed to think quickly, the hole was getting deeper. I looked around, and then I saw a pretty picture hanging in the window of a shop.

“Not the train picture dear, the one in the shop window, the village scene, very English, very nostalgic.”

I didn’t hear the thunder, but it was there. I also didn’t see the lighting or hear the storm warnings.

“You like that picture in the window, are you trying to be funny, are you so insensitive that you have to use unsubtle hints to tell me what you’re thinking?”

Now I was confused, scarred and very nervous.

“What do you mean d……?” Oh boy, I thought, as I saw the rest of the picture and the words Pharmacy above the shop window.

Life is full of missed opportunities. Action never taken, words never uttered, dreams never chased. There is a time to talk and time to keep quiet, a time to lie (or be economical with the truth) and a time just to say ‘yes I was looking at her, she’s famous, that’s all, but you’re the only one for me, she’s really quite ordinary’.

Missed it.


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