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It was the day I’d long hoped for, marrying a nice Jewish girl. In fact, by the time we’d started dating, I’d given up on Jewish women, and my dream of a perfect Jewish wedding, altogether. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them.

This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.

When she arrived at my friend’s house, her hair was dyed red and she was dressed in a black suit: very Agent Scully. We went out for Thai food with my friend and his wife.

It felt very much like a double date between two married couples, even though the meeting was hardly planned that way.

Jewish girls often were interested in Jewish guys—many of these girls ended up dating and even marrying Jews; they just weren’t interested in dating high-pressure, community-survival minded, intense, and awkward me. While I was at school, I joined an online discussion forum where I began to chat with a non-Jewish girl named Alicia.By the time I graduated, I’d still never been in anything approaching a serious relationship. She lived in New Hampshire, shared all of my nerdy hobbies, had a great sense of humor, and looked like a younger blonde version of geek icon Gillian Anderson from .She had a great sense of humor, a wonderful smile, and an honesty that I found refreshing.I felt the pressure: The future of my people was at stake! The school was arty, musical, nerdy, and had a substantial Jewish population. Even though I no longer felt outside the norm, I still had trouble getting dates … Every Jewish woman I asked out on a date rejected me.I resolved that I would only go out with Jewish girls. I attributed this to the fact that I was kind of nerdy: My extra-curricular activities included musical theater, video games, and Dungeons & Dragons, not exactly the types of things that made a guy popular with the ladies. I had numerous opportunities, on the other hand, to date non-Jewish women. Unlike me, she hadn’t dreamed of meeting someone Jewish and having a Jewish wedding. I was only able to relax around non-Jewish women, because I didn’t feel the same pressure; that’s how I met, and fell in love with, my wife.She was also unbendingly ethical, deeply scholarly, and emotionally supportive—virtues I’d always believed essential in a prospective girlfriend or wife.Since she wasn’t Jewish, though, a relationship with her didn’t seem possible; I thought of her as simply a good friend. I created an online dating profile on e Harmony, hoping that its mystical personality matching system would somehow do the job that I had proven unable to accomplish on my own.This was my ulterior motive when I planned a trip up to New England.I was planning to stay with a friend from college for a few days, but I also arranged to meet Alicia, whom I’d known online for five years by that point but had never met in person.

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