You all know I’m a bit of a yenta who likes to give sometimes unsolicited dating advice to my friends and Oy!sters and I like to set people up. So from time to time, dating/self-help books like Avi Roseman’s come across my desk. This one wasn’t exactly my favorite. While I get that some of the advice is meant to be tongue-in-check, after a while lines like…
“…We’re women (natural gold diggers) and we care way more about what he gives us than he cares about what we give him…”
“…Play the dumb blonde card…”
“…Let him think he’s smarter than you…”
“…A successful woman is not a plus in a man’s eyes…”
Became a bit much for this feminist.
But my biggest complaint with the book is that Ms. Avi (as the author likes to refer to herself throughout the book) advises the reader to play the dating game. The section on online dating is titled, “Let’s Write a bunch of Lies Shall We?” I don’t believe that “playing games” yield successful relationships, so that’s where I had to draw the line. But if it’s your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy the read— it’s entertaining, funny and cringe worthy all at the same time. I’m just not so sure I’d recommend it with any seriousness to a self-conscious single girlfriend looking for love.
To Avi’s credit, she couldn’t have been nicer during my interview and she admitted from the beginning that she knew her book would be controversial. With the title, “Secrets of Shiksa Appeal: 8 Steps to Attract Your Shul-Mate,” she knew what she was doing. See below for my interview and if you’re interested in learning more about the book, check out her Facebook page: Secrets of Shiksa Appeal.
Is Avi Roseman a pseudonym? Is this because you are expecting backlash?
Yes. I chose Roseman as a pen name so that readers would know that the author was Jewish. My real name is not Jewish-sounding at all. Also, I have a family friend who wrote a book about getting a guy to marry you and that was her one regret, because professionally it hurt her.
I know this your first book, what is your professional background?
I have an engineering background. I was in IT consulting and this is just something that I looked at as a creative outlet. I started it about three years ago, but just didn’t have any time to really commit to it and I was actually kind of afraid of…afraid to work on it, to finish it, just cause I wasn’t sure what people would think. I think it was fear that made it take so long and then I got over it and now it’s being published.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
I’ve always loved self-help books and I know that a lot of the books written especially for Jewish women aren’t really about what men want. And this book is really about what men want and not what Jewish women like. A lot of the books for Jewish women are, “Rah, Rah go for it and do what feels right” and this book is about men and [what] they want and what we should do to attract them.
Why do you think Jewish women are such bad daters?
That’s a loaded question. I don’t think that they are all bad daters— I just think that some are. But there are a lot of very beautiful, talented, smart, accomplished Jewish women, but not all of that transfers over to the dating world. For instance, a woman can be very accomplished but to a man looking to date her, that doesn’t always mean a lot. It’s not necessarily a plus. Here you have a successful man and that’s always a plus. He’s going to get more women because he is successful. A successful woman is not necessarily going to help her. She might be too powerful, have too much money. She might intimidate men.
Why are Shiksas such better daters?
The book had nothing to do with shiksas at first. And then my boyfriend at the time, who was helping me out with the book, he just said you should call the book, “The Shiksa Appeal.” And I kind of thought about it and I was pissed off at first …this is terrible, but I was pissed off and intrigued at the same time. So I changed the direction of the book to fit the title. I know it sounds bad, but I just thought it was such a catchy title and I thought the theme was really interesting that I thought it was kind of a good direction to move the book into.
How did you come up with your eight steps?
I feel they are pretty logical— the eight steps. I don’t think there is anything there that isn’t normal. Like what you wear and how you act and how you date and how you do online and stuff. It’s all kind of logical…
What do you think is the most important step?
Obviously, the looks are important because that is what is going to spark interest. But holding interest is really the challenge. The chapter about challenge is a lot about attitude and respecting yourself and kind of maybe changing your attitude, so that it’s what is going to attract men. So your looks will attract him, but you have to have that confidence and self respect, too.
What do you think of Jewish dating websites?
Overall, I think online is great cause you meet people you normally wouldn’t in everyday life. People can expand social circles and it can be hard to break out and meet new people. If you live in a location without a lot of Jewish people you can look for them in a nearby place.
What do you think are the best and worst things a person can do on a date?
Best thing a girl can do on a date: Besides putting effort into her appearance, she should be positive, laugh, and accept compliments.
Worst thing a girl can do on a date: Ask him at the end of the date if you're going to go out again. If you like him, be sure to tell him you had a great time, but let him take the lead on the issue. Asking if you're going out again puts too much pressure on him, and he may feel uncomfortable.
What's the worst mistake you've ever made on a date?
I once told a guy on a first date I was writing a dating book for Jewish women. He freaked out. Lesson learned!
Is there anything else you want to tell the Oy!Chicago readers about your new book?
I would like Oy!Chicago readers to know that there are so many great Jewish potential dates out there, especially in an educated city like Chicago. Don't be lazy and say, "I can't seem to meet any nice Jewish guys/girls." Make that effort to go to Jewish events to find them. You may not meet your match at your first or second event, but keep trying. All you need is one.