Sexy at Last: Why Bill & Gary Chose Those Girls
Once, the stereotype was that Jewish girls were uninterested in sex. Now, the pendulum has swung.
Once upon a time, on my first trip to France, when I was living in a dormitory for American girls and feeling free as a bird, loose as a leaf and frail as a snowflake, I met an American boy who'd been on a Fulbright in Finland and had a notebook filled with poetry in his back pocket. One thing led to another and there I was, in the attic room above the rooftops of Paris, doing things that would have given my mother a heart attack. As the heavy, scented smoke from the Protestant boy's Gauloise floated about my head, he said, "Jewish girls are so sexy."
"Really?" I asked, pleased as I could be.
"Yes, really," he said.
"I don't think most Jewish boys would agree," I said.
This conversation came back to me the other day as I was looking at Chandra Levy's photo. Monica and Chandra had more in common than just being ambitious interns. They were both Jewish girls, not so uptight, not so frigid (at least as far as the camera could tell). So juicy Jewish girls exist, I thought. My Fulbright fellow was on to something. He was expressing the common belief in his neighborhood that Jewish girls lived in their bodies with more joy, more freedom, more pleasure than those who went to church with him.
But I was right, too. As the jokes prove, the Jewish men of a generation past did think that Jewish girls were frigid, materialistic and not so sexy, unlike the wonderful blondes, the idealized others--the Africans who promised exotic paradises, the warm Italians, the freckled Irish, the subservient Asians who knew sexual secrets that no Jewish girl could even imagine. Did my Fulbright fellow admire me because of my personal adorableness, or was he after a Jewish girl like a man might go fishing for striped bass in the sea? Was his admiration for my kind a compliment or a prejudice turned inside-out? Why am I worrying about this 45 years later?
Jewish women have all known Jewish men who wouldn't look at us twice because we carried the colors of the home folk. Our manner, appearance, gesture, body type--all spoke of outsiderness, of first-generation bottom-of-the-social-ladder-ness. And yes, they said we were frigid. Maybe, God forbid, after centuries of marriage in the same Eastern European gene pool, we also reminded some guy of his mother or sister, and the Oedipal whiff was enough to make him run in another direction, into the corn-fed, the white-bread, into the American dream, leaving behind a puzzled, rejected Jewish girl.