Arts & Culture

My One-Night Stand-Off With Frumster

Hey guys.  I know, I know, I’ve been a little bit lax for the past three or so months.  Don’t worry, soon enough you WILL be able to find the rest of the "Real Talk Parsha: Shemot" series at a … Read More

By / April 15, 2010

Hey guys.  I know, I know, I’ve been a little bit lax for the past three or so months.  Don’t worry, soon enough you WILL be able to find the rest of the "Real Talk Parsha: Shemot" series at a soon to be disclosed place.  But I’ve got a good excuse why I’ve fallen off the wagon.  See, after an eight-year relationship I recently found myself very un-engaged.

[Audience: Awww.....]

Yeah, yeah, relax guys, I’m alright.  But in my newfound singleness I decided-mostly for kicks-hey, why not join one of them there Jewish dating sites I hear so much about?  I’m really curious what kinda freaks [physically, not sexually] they’d hook me up with.  So over to Frumster.com I go.

Firstly, I’m annoyed before I even get out the gate.  Why?  Well, apparently, according to Frumster, there’s only two kinds of "ethnicities": Ashkenazi and Sefaradi.  If you’re not one of those two, your only other options are "Mixed Ethnic" and "Convert". 

Zuh??

**grumble grumble**

Alright, so just to keep the ball rolling, I check "Sefaradi", but when it gets to the "About you" section, I give Frumster a lil piece of my mind:

"About me? Well, firstly I’m known ocassionally as the blogger MaNishtana. Look me up. Also, im a lil annoyed that the only categories under ethnicity are ashkenaz, sfardi, mixed ethnic and convert. Im none of those. However, there’s no African-American tab, so here I am. Beyond that, I’m pretty much the same collection of cliches every other guy throws out there. "Fun-loving" "likes to have a good time" "down to earth" "easygoing". Except in my case you should prolly add "seethingly sarcastic" and "awesome". Or just talk to me and find out "about" me."

Anyhoo, I finish my profile, upload my pic, keep it moving and sign out.

Fast forward to 10:37 the next morning, and I find an email in my inbox.  It’s from Frumster:

"Can you tell me a little bit about your Jewish background as part of a basic screening process?"

At first, I’m inclined to comply.  Then I think, waitaminute, I already answered "Modern Orthodox" when they asked my religious observance.  I clicked "Orthodox religious" when they asked the household I was raised in.  What exactly can they POSSIBLY be asking for at this point?  I have to admit, I’m slightly heated at this point.  But I decide to give it the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe this IS just a "basic screening process" kinda deal.  So, [because I'm not a naïve idiot] just to test this, I quickly whip up a fake profile, complete with pic of some white Facebook friend of mine, and click "Ashkenaz".

Anyhoo, back to replying to Frumster:

"what are you interested in knowing?"

Frumster:

"You specified in your profile that we did not have your correct ethnicity, can you please explain?"

Me:

"I’m an ffb African-American Orthodox Jew, therefore I don’t ethnically fall into any of the ethnicity categories you provide."

Frumster:

"I apologize if this comes off blunt, but is your mother Jewish by birth or orthodox conversion?"

Now, I’m really not sure WHAT that has to do with the issue of my ethnicity not being present, but I’m guessing they think they have some kinda troublemaker on their hands now.  Not yet they don’t.

Me:

"Birth."

Frumster:

"I am interested in your background as we do not encounter many ffb African American Jews. We have listed options according to where the Jewish population comes from. Can you tell me about where your family is from and how they came to be Jewish?"

So this is where I get heated again and have to call bullshit.  Before I was kinda empathetic.  Maybe you’re seeing if I’m the real deal or one of the Power Ranger Hebrew Israelites you see screaming at you in Times Square.  [Aside from the fact that if you are able to find just ONE who would identify themselves as "ffb" or "Modern Orthodox", I'll give you a million dollars]. But now?  No.  It’s time to go in.  Of course, I keep it classy as always.

Me:

"My family on my mother’s side has been African American and Jewish for a couple of centuries. And as for listing options according to "where the Jewish population comes from", not to be snippy, but that seems to be slightly off-kilter to me. Aside from the fact that Jews can literally be found everywhere, what option would there be for someone born of two "non-standard" ethnic converts to check? Someone whose parents are both Korean converts, for example, or something of a similar nature."

And just as I’m about to rev up Email 2 and really go in about how there are *gasp* non-convert Jews of Color in the world, BAM!  Profile approved.

The entire ordeal took over six hours for my profile to be approved.  My Ashkenazi alias?  Less than two and a half.  And by the way, it’s not "basic screening process" to ask about background.

MaNishtana: 1, Frumster: 0.