I am still reeling from the disorientation of learning the differences between a gigantic sexual market and a tiny one. In the U.S. I was considered very cool and easygoing. Here, I’m clingy, obsessive, and paranoid. Sometimes I freeze someone out or say something incredibly ill timed and stupid just because I don’t know what the hell to do.
When a guy doesn’t call you within 48 hours after sex in the U.S. it means that he either thinks you sucked, or that for some reason (probably your looks) you are worthless. It’s his passive aggressive “fuck off”. So that’s how I interpreted such behavior here. I didn’t know that guys here simply aren’t generally taught that they need to reassure a woman that she didn’t make a terrible mistake, and prevent possible regretted sex drama. It’s not malice, just stupidity. They’re clueless.
Add that to the pressure to marry someone of the proper ethnicity and religion, and people are just kind of boxed in. Options people have in a bigger country simply don’t exist here, so they take for granted that you’ll be available when they get around to you. Talking to you is going to be at the end of a long list of not necessarily better, but other things to do.
Basically, once you have sex with an Israeli guy who is assimilated, he assumes you’re available to him (or on a list of women who are available to him) and no longer feels the need to make any effort to keep you interested. What confuses people is that there are guys here at varying levels of assimilation, and from a variety of cultures. So you never know what you’re getting or what a guy is going to do, or how to interpret what he’s doing.
So even though there are a few generalizations that can be made, the only way to have a civil thing with an Israeli guy is to tell him what you want and what to do. Then reward him for good behavior, and punish him for bad behavior. Strangely, despite everything I’ve been taught about men before coming here, cursing a guy out doesn’t make him run away. It’s just that you have to know when to curse him out, when to withdraw, and when to just break it off. That’s where it gets tricky.
When I would dismiss a guy for lack of feedback, which I interpreted as neglect or passive aggressive dumping, he interpreted this as withdrawal and not actual dismissal. This is why they came back. In their mind, they did nothing wrong, and were just too busy to call me or answer my message…and I am just the coolest, most understanding woman they’ve ever met because I left them alone, or I am a crazy bitch for burning the bridge for reasons that only exist in my imagination.
So, I am trying to be more clear about things, go with the flow, and not take dudes’ stupidity personally. Diva also advises that I set specific situation appropriate hurdles and goals so that a guy can know when he’s being naughty or nice. To me, it seems a bit like pricing myself, but I can see the method in the madness in a modernized but middle eastern culture.
I’ve made some mistakes in the past, so some are just lost cases. I’ll let those die of starvation since there is no way to undo what has been done. I messed up and took things the wrong way, said some things that weren’t worth saying because they either didn’t make a difference, or just made things worse. The thing to do now is strengthen the things that remain, and as Diva said, learn to maintain instead of discarding people for not knowing things that nobody taught them.
Still, there is this nagging feeling that being too cool about stupid, and becoming more Klingon to cope with the stupidity is somehow bad…pitying in some way. Part of what fuels this is that there are a few guys who don’t seem to need pitying, coaching, goading, and being treated like cattle. This is the other breed of Israeli guy who hits the ground running. They know what they’re looking for, or at least what they hope for, and when they find it, they don’t mess around. They don’t have time for someone who’s not really interested in them, nor do they have time to bother about women they’re not truly interested in. They like you or they don’t.
This kind of guy makes a forgivable mistake of assuming more intimacy than is actually there, because in this small market, that isn’t usually a bad thing to assume. People here have fewer options, so the thing this type takes for granted is that you want to be deeply involved with them, or do things that, for an American, would usually take a lot more time and trust to get to.
Even though it’s kind of weird to me, I like this better than the sleepers. I would rather a guy be too territorial or too excited about doing things together than too distant or lazy. If I have to pick my poison in this, I’ll take the overzealous.
2 thoughts on “Cultural Differences, Malice, and Stupidity”
Scratching my head, I wish to speak on behalf of the local males, as one. I think you got something basically wrong about Israeli men, because of two parameters:
1) your personal status.
2) the tools you use to date.
1) It is not very common in Israel for women who date to live with their ex. A result is that most men would assume you are seeking sex and not a real relationship. I think it might be easier for you, had you tried dating people in similar situation. The problem about this suggestion, is that most persons in this situation are still married, and having read only some of your posts, I don’t know but get the feeling that you don’t like dating married men, regardless the state of their marriage. Bringing us back to square one: as long as you live with your ex, you are a sui generis, and in all societies, the different are interpreted according to known patters. If you seek to be interpreted differently, all you need to do is be clearer about what you seek.
2) which brings us to the second aspect of your dating – using atraf (which is where I got from to your blog). Atraf is a sex-dating site. Every single person on this website is there mainly for sex. And this assumption has haunted many of my friends when they discovered they like someone they met on Atraf more than they expected, because, after all, if you meet on atraf, you can’t really expect anything serious.
I believe that if you tried dating using a “serious” dating site, and presented your intentions clearly, you would discover a whole different class of Israeli guys, known as the normal ones…
I appreciate the constructive criticism. Under normal circumstances with a Jewish and European woman, you would be somewhat right, but I am neither, so there are special problems.
I am very clear about what it is that I am looking for. In fact, I make a clear distinction between what I would like ideally, and what I will settle for if this is unavailable for the moment. I am also very selective and open about how I filter even mainly sexual prospects.
The problem is that it doesn’t matter what I say or how I behave. They have their beliefs, and those remain in spite of the reality of the situation. I am talking and doing things or not doing things, and they have this script in their heads that they are following anyway.
As far as where I hunt, Atraf is not the only site, and online is not my only hunting ground. There is the same set of problems with assimilated Israeli guys whether I meet them on Atraf or in a pub or through friends. The good thing about Atraf is that it is an efficient way of filtering out the completely stupid or crazy before they get to me. People are generally more honest in Atraf because there is no reason not to be. It is the dirtiest hole on the Israeli internet next to The Cage.
Just because guys are sexual, it doesn’t mean this is all there is to them. Most of them would like more than this. It’s just that most of them have hangups that do not allow them to see a woman who is not of their same ethnicity and/or religion as suitable for more than this. But rather than avoid us, like people in most countries would do, they are happy to exploit us sexually. It’s a sort of scratch on the middle eastern brain that I like to call the “donkey fucker”. They will have sex with someone they view as an animal because they were brought up to believe that we exist to be harmed by them, and that sex is a way of harming people.
I believe it was the author Gabi Nitzan who explained that in Israeli sexuality, the women are viewed as holding a treasure, and men are viewed as thieves stealing from them. Israeli women who fit within the established structures are difficult to get sex from without cost or accountability. So women outside the established structures are expected and then even if they don’t fit those expectations, demanded to be the easier alternative.
My problems were pretty much solved when I understood this, and stopped following the American sexual script and therefore being the easier alternative. I don’t completely conform to the Israeli women’s “sexual trade union”, but a guy will need to show a certain level of enthusiasm and manhood to get in. I don’t take it personally when they are unwilling to do this. I just move on.
I have found though, somewhat to my dismay since aesthetically I like dark men as much as the Santas, that eastern European guys are the ones holding the line. Those who haven’t completely assimilated have no problems whatsoever proving their manhood because it’s not a matter of proof but normal behavior. Once they understand who they’re talking to, the rest is a matter of individual compatibility. This is probably because they don’t usually have the script running in their heads, and there is, in most of their cultures, a context for the “sassy old broad”.