I was doing some winter shopping and spotted a nice hat. I tried it on and modeled it in front of the store's full length mirror. A pretty lady passed by and said "cute hat! Looks great on you." I smiled and thanked her. It's pretty neat how a friendly comment can boost someone's mood.
I continued browsing around, and the same lady stopped me again. She asked me for some clothing advice. We started chatting, and then the question came...
"are you Jewish?"
I was taken aback. In a good way. I mean, usually non-Jews can't tell that I'm Jewish. Due to my dark features, they assume I'm Arab. True. I'm a Jewish Arab. But most people are unaware that there are Jewish Arabs (sefardim/mizrachim.) So, to them, I suppose I'm either Middle Eastern Muslim/Christian or Hispanic looking.
Sometimes it works to my advantage -- like when the Muslim dude at a boutique gave me a discount because he assumed I was Muslim.
"Yes, I am."
"Ohhh, I love youz Jewish girls! I can tell by the way y'all dress. Y'all look so put together and nice."
We started chatting more...like how she knows about frum Jews and stuff. And then IT happened. The dreaded, yet beloved, topic came up: SHIDDUCHIM.
Yes, SHE initiated it.
"I saw a movie...about a religious girl who got matchmade by -- oh man, what's the name of that lady? The one who makes the matches...?"
"Yes! Sha-haan. Anyway, it was so sad because she was forced in da marriage and then falls in love wit someone else! Oh, I just love watching these kind of movies. There's absolutely nothing as amazing in this world as finding your one true soulmate. Your true love." She said it with so much emotion that I knew she was talking from experience.
I nodded. I'm sure it is amazing. *sigh*
Can I really not escape this topic? I looked up. HaShem, You have an AWESOME sense of humor. No matter where I am --- the topic of shidduchim, dating, marriage, etc. simply HAS to come up. At shiurim, with family, with friends, at school, work, home, restaurants, the doctor's office, supermarkets, Shul on the subway, on the plane, when I'm getting a haircut, etc.
But at department stores? Really?
Know what? I'm not even going to ask why.
I continued roaming around the store, newly aware that some people actually know that I'm Jewish. And frum! Woo-hoo! :)
In case anyone is wondering, I bought the hat and some other nice stuffado0o too. It was a shopping success. Now bring on the winter!