I Apologize

by Norman Horowitz

Growing up in the Bronx in the thirties and forties as the second son of a middle-class Jewish family, I was shielded from many realities of the world by my caring parents. They were up to their elbows in rules. They instilled in me the dangers of dating or (God forbid!) marrying Christian women.

I was in a relationship with a very pretty, very nice, and extremely smart Jewish girl from the time I was thirteen until I was eighteen. The girl went off to college and, sadly for me, ended our relationship.

I quickly came across a very pretty, worldly, older woman — my first Shiksa. She was so very different from other women I had known until that time.

But then the Korean War became part of my life, and this relationship ended.

There I was in the United States Air Force and surrounded by total non-Jewish stuff: people, places, and things.

After basic training, I was stationed at Scott Air Force Base just outside of St. Louis and in school six days a week. On Sunday, my friends and I went to St. Louis to the YMHA and a Jewish brunch where I met and asked out a very pretty Jewish woman who had moved to St. Louis from Lubbock, Texas, a few months before.

The following Saturday night, I arrived at her home for our date and was warmly greeted by her mother. We sat in her living room awaiting her daughter’s arrival from upstairs. The mother interrogated me in a manner worthy of the FBI.

Being, if anything, more of a smart ass at the time than I am today, I stood up after about ten minutes of questioning and said something like, “I am leaving to give you time to figure out what to tell your daughter as to why I left. Many of your questions were acceptable, but asking about my family’s financial situation and what I planned for my life was a bit much in front of a first date.”

I went on to tell her that it was my father’s position that, if you wanted to know about what a woman would be like after awhile, spend time with her mother, and I had just unhappily done that.

Out the door I went, vowing to give up Jewish women forever.

I spent the next four years dating non-Jewish women from the towns surrounding my base. These women were different in many ways. I annoy most Jewish women when I explain that of course they were different: They were not raised by Jewish mothers.

I ended up marrying and, after 28 years together, divorcing a Jewish woman.

Following my divorce, I met and fell in love with a wonderful Shiksa: Carol, the daughter of a Fundamentalist Church of Christ Minister.

This is an apology to Carol. For all of these years, I have told her that the word Shiksa was not a pejorative.

I have been wrong for all these years. I apologize.

Over these years, I also learned that my father was right.

What he didn’t tell me, however, was that neurotic women only get more neurotic with the passage of time and that intense sexual attraction diminishes with the passing of time as well. As a neurotic man who has become more neurotic over time, I should know.

I wonder what ever happened to the Jewish woman in St. Louis.