Dating in Los Angeles is hard, especially when you're a non-observant Jew who is an even five feet tall. A singles mixer called the Ball hoped to put young Jewish singles together on Christmas Eve. Let's just say it didn't quite work out for everyone.
While perusing the hellish online dating site that is OkCupid, I found on their homepage an invite for an event called the Ball. The Ball describes itself as “LA's leading Jewish singles event,” which is weird because I always considered the leading Jewish singles event to be going alone to a matinee showing of a Woody Allen film. Regardless, this “ball” is a big party for horny Jews that happens annually on Christmas Eve. I figured, Hey I'm Jewish and horny. Maybe I should go. I signed up for the event, which cost $25 (already a bad sign), and got a confirmation email giving me more details.
The moment I received the confirmation I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. My decision was far too hasty. I saw that this party was at a nightclub called Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood, a place I had never heard of. When I asked a friend of mine if she knew about it, she told me that it's a club owned by David Arquette, and he performs puppet shows there sometimes. I was also told that Hollywood d-list celebs like to hang out there, including everyone's favorite bad boy, Corey Feldman.
However, the ticket was already purchased, and rather than demand a refund, I decided that I should go, drag a Jewish friend with me, and try to have fun. I had not been in a room with a bunch of Jews since my Bat Mitzvah, and my mom always complains that I don't socialize with my people enough. Maybe I’d even meet a handsome young doctor who could explain this rash I’ve had under my left boob for six months now. Maybe David Arquette would be there with some puppets who would wonderfully reenact Moses parting the Red Sea, or Jerry Seinfeld going on a rant about what the hell does an “everything bagel” even mean? How can everything be on a bagel?
I arrived at Bootsy Bellows around 10:15. There was a small line outside the door, and a bunch of scenes from various movies where people attempt to go clubbing came to mind. Are we going to have to go through a bouncer who will tell us we can't get in, because we don't look hot enough? Or do only men get that sort of treatment? No wait, I'm on a list. I can't be told no. I paid to be here. Oh god, I paid to be here. What the hell is wrong with me? Who Am I? Am I human, or am I a dancer?
The line moved quickly and before I could sink further into existential dread, I was let inside Bootsy Bellows where the stench of man-sweat and liquor hit me quickly. Luckily, those are two scents I can get behind. However, the further I ventured inside, the stronger the place smelled of cologne and more cologne. I headed straight to the bar and offered to buy my friend a drink. The total for two whiskey drinks was $28, which made me cry a little. I quickly realized that I could only afford one more drink for myself the whole night and proceeded to cry some more.
Looking around me, I noticed that nearly every woman in the room was short like me. This really made me feel like I belonged. I am an even five feet tall, and to be in a room full of fellow vertically-challenged Jewish women made me want to start a girl gang. Then again, everything makes me want to start a girl gang. I really just want an excuse to wear a leather jacket and have the nickname “Crusher.”
Almost every man was wearing a button-up shirt, had curly hair, and looked like his name could be Joshua, Benjamin, or Jacob (except for the chill black DJ), but Bootsy Bellows still had the audacity to leave their Christmas trees around the place. That really put a damper on the whole “Jewish singles night” thing.
The night started off feeling like a middle school dance. Everyone was standing around talking and trying to flirt. The DJ looked like he hated his life as he played top 40 jams from three years ago. Fast forward to around 11:30 PM, and the dance floor was jam-packed with horny, sweaty men and women. The highlight of the dance floor was seeing a group of five young guys convulsing in a circle, handing each other a fedora every time one of them went into the center of the circle to dance. Some sort of “you're the king now, wear your prohibition-chic crown, and dance your kingly dance.”
What's both beautiful and horrifying about nightclubs is the men there are on the prowl. They make it clear that they're on the prowl and will make sure you have been spoken to by someone of their gender at least once throughout the night. A guy named Ben (surprise, surprise) came up to me and immediately complimented my glasses. He acted as if I was being extremely brave for wearing glasses and later assured me that I hit a “sweet spot” for certain kinds of Jewish guys. I let Ben know that none of the men at this place were hitting my sweet spot, so I could care less if I hit any of their sweet spots. I then admitted that I'm not entirely sure what a sweet spot even is.
Ben (who is married) was genuinely inquisitive as to why I didn't find any of the men there attractive. I explained that my preferred brand of Jew is more the “self-loathing atheist” kind of Jew and not so much the “make my parents proud and wisely invest money in business things” type of Jew. I wanted a Coen brother in a room full of Ari Golds. Ben understood and left my friend and me, because he promised to help get his recently divorced friend laid. I envy such beautiful friendships.
Around 20 minutes later, I had gotten myself another drink and was kind of tipsy. (Those drinks were expensive, but strong.) Another guy sat next to us. He was extremely drunk, but actually sweet. I can't remember for the life of me what his name was. I decided to pretend his name was Josh. Josh was trying to get us to dance, which is something I don't do unless I am legit drunk. I made it my mission to become more inebriated, and as luck would have it, managed to score a free drink.
Cut to around 1:00 AM. Nearly everyone is dancing. Some are shaking their tuchus (is there a plural to tuchus? Tuchuses? Tuchusi?) on tables and chairs. At this point, I am also pretty drunk but could only muster up enough fake enthusiasm to dance to two songs. It was nearing the end of the night, so people were pairing up on the dance floor desperately trying to find their Mr. or Mrs. Right. In every direction I looked, someone was making out with someone. Sadly, my libido checked out for the night after a middle-aged man grabbed me and twirled me in several circles while calling me “doll."
I was amazed at how much kissing and groping was going on all around me, which really shouldn't have been so shocking considering I was at a party for young, single people who have been drinking copious amounts of overpriced liquor. Not only that, but these weren't just a bunch of single 20-somethings. These were a bunch of single, Jewish 20-somethings. That means there was an added pressure from their unseen but ever-present guilt-inducing mothers to make babies before grandma Ruth dies. She isn't getting any younger. Oh, but don't worry too much she still has a lot of life in her (knock on wood). Then again, you never know!
In other words, Jewish years work a lot like dog years. For instance, a woman who is 26 years old is actually 36 years old in Jewish years. That means she only has four years left to get married and give birth before she is branded a spinster and only seen by the rest of the family on holidays drinking all the wine and talking about her extensive candle collection.
With no man to desperately cling to 30 minutes before closing time, I gave up and left. Did I have an amazing time? No. Did I have a great time? Not at all. Did I have a decent time? Close but no cigar. Would I do it again? Probably not. Let's leave it at that. I will say, for the record, that it was not the worst Christmas Eve I've ever had.