Jani Allan celebrates gay and Jewish identities in this satirical piece. Allan has long been considered a gay icon for her style and witty Sunday Times columns. She has been well versed in Jewish life having spent most of her life in Sandton and for her marriage to Gordon Schachat.
The tragedy of my life – well one of them – is that I wasn’t born gay or Jewish.
Both are clubs with desirable benefits.
Ever seen a Jewish person down-and-out? My point precisely. Being Jewish means that you are part of a global family that takes care of their own. If you find yourself in a foreign country (assuming you are Jewish) there will be someone’s darling Auntie Bertha who will ask you over for Shabbas.
“Are you messhuga? We won’t hear of you staying in your hotel room!”
Are you the marrying kind? Mrs Levy will arrange a social introduction and the next thing you are married to a plastic surgeon, driving an SLK and ordering your chef to making matzo balls for Friday night.
Any old Tom, Dick or Harriet can join Match.com to find a partner. The only qualifier is that you should have a pulse.
Jewish people have a far more rigorous quality control process. Try and join J-Dating and you will see what I mean.
Jewish people are achievers. They always know someone who can ‘hook you up’ whether it’s with a part for your BMW, tickets for the Rolling Stones or a timeshare apartment in the Bahamas.
Gay people have a similar support system. If you have the slightest talent (assuming you are gay), you will be ‘hooked up’ with a dance teacher, modelling agent or interior designer. By next Tuesday Nate Berkus will give you a make-over on his show. You will get free facials forever (or as long as you live) you will be asked to co-host ‘The View’ with Barbara Wawa.
I rest my Louis Vuitton.
I live in a area gayer than Fire Island and from what I witness in the resto, being gay is the pink passport to a life of glamour and devotion.
(Actually, It remains a deep mystery to me why gay people are so keen to get married. Courtship is to marriage what a witty introduction is to a dull volume. But that’s another topic for another Mcblog.)
I can’t say that I have investigated this with the thoroughness of a burglar twisting the dial of a safe, listening for the locks to click and reveal the combination, but it seems to me that when gay people commit themselves to a relationship they Commit.
I have seen gay couples grow together and stay together. I could give you the names of five gay couples who are joined at the hip. And, at least from my ringside seat, appear to be happily so.
The Friends of Dorothy who come into the restaurant bring expensive champagne and tip generously.
They are meticulously groomed. They wax, exfoliate, pluck and moisturize far more than I do. Their faces are clean as china plates.
They appear interested in each other. Either that or they are listening to accounts of the misfortunes of others at which the hearer is permitted to laugh. (Nothing shortens a dinner date like the aforementioned.) Gay men text internationally in the middle of the night to discuss Kim Kardashian’s flowered frock and whether Tisci was too outre…or not outre enough.
Gay people have a sense of occasion. Every anniversary is marked by some show of devotion. Both partners invariably wear matching Tiffany rings and/or bangles. They have a Shi Tzu (or three) and speak to them on the telephone when they’re away from home. (Haven’t you seen ‘Best in Show?’)
To be a lesbian is even more desirable. It is having all the benefits of being a gay man, without the stress of having to maintain a ripped body and a beach to cancer tan.
I have seen lesbians who are heavy as boarding house dumplings gaze with adoration at each other, proving that if not blind, love is at least slightly myopic.
I know gay couples who have nursed each other through lazik surgery and chemotherapy. I know a gay couple who have remodelled a marvellous historic farmhouse, restoring it to its authentic beauty.
See what happens when a straight couple just has the builder in to pave the pool area…one partner invariably leaves to take up residence at a hotel for the duration.
In the restaurant you can tell who is heterosexual: the straights are always consulting their iPhones or looking at the door as if Katy Perry were expected to walk through any minute. (Or as they like, ungrammatically, to say here ‘momentarily.’)
Of course she has had the mandatory (in the Yooessay) boob enhancement and so much botox that her eyebrows are like those of a startled Kabuki dancer. But she is a nurtured woman. She is the embodiment of her husband’s success. Who cares if the relationship is more or less – more more than less – platonic. She is, as Germaine Greer wrote all that time ago, the dead heart of the family, spending her husband’s earnings on consumer goods to enhance the environment in which he eats, sleeps and watches the television.
Then there is the issue of creativity. More often than not, the gay gene is twinned with the artistic one. If Michaelangelo were straight the Sistine Chapel ceiling would have been painted a serviceable grey and done with a Renaissance roller.
If Karl Lagerfeld were straight…well lets not go there.
Gay people have their own language (cf Friends of Dorothy)….Jewish people lapse into Yiddish. Straight people just have “amazing.”
Perhaps, as Dotty Parker said ‘Heterosexuality is not normal it’s just common.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this piece are not necessarily those of the management.
You’ve convinced me to maintain both Jewish and Gay persuasions in our household.
Mazel tov! Yes, Yes and Yes. Sharp, thoughtful and witty.
David Otley said:
I adore your perspective!
You have brought this Jewish gay man laughter.
You are a mitzvah as my first husband Mr Schachat would say. Chag Hannukah Sameach to you and your nearest.
Jani and the Poms
This is precious. DOET SO VOORT
As one would expect from you Jani super witty ( amazing!!)
jani allan said:
Oh how I have missed your writing. You taught me to never take myself or life too seriously. What with my being one of those “lesbians as heavy as a boarding house dumpling” it helps to have that kind of attitude. I’m so happy I found you on twitter. 🙂
Thanks Deborah, means so much to me that you remember my writing and that you are continuing this journey with me.
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