Sometimes a girl just needs a drink. And a friend.
It started with a Facebook status message I typed while listening to Little Homie go all Ike Turner on the toy xylophone:
“Mama needs a drink. Off the Kibbutz. Away from the kids.”
Several friends wrote back–problem was, almost all of them were in LA. And “I would if I could,” and “I hope you get your drink” only gets you so far. But not off the kibbutz. Or drunk.
But finally, a hit.
“I’ll come drinking with you.”
I had met N. a few days before at the Hadar Ochel–-the ubiquitous Kibbutz dining room–one Shabbat evening where we came for the tepid meat sauce, and stayed for the camaraderie. While the kids played outside amidst the shadows, the parents talked.
On a kibbutz, everyone knows everyone. It’s like shtetl living, only with falafel and hummus and (oh thank God!) cell phones and the internet. And since I’m new here, I’ve attracted a fair amount of curiosity: Fortunately, for the most part, people have been incredibly welcoming.
I liked N. immediately. She’s funny and warm, and her son and my daughter are in the same preschool class. And she speaks phenomenal English, which means I don’t have to stumble and fall on my ass in Hebrew.
So, after our initial conversation in front of the Hadar Ochel, I had stalked her and then added her on Facebook.
After she replied to my status message’s desperate plea, I wrote her back and we arranged a “Girls Night Out” for Tuesday evening.
For the next two days I glowed.
When Tuesday evening rolled along, I was first-date nervous. I grunted my way into my skinny jeans. I shimmied into a clean black tank top and gravity defying bra. I pulled on my knee-high hooker boots. (Remember, you can take the girl out of LA, but…) I applied on eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss. I put on deodorant. I brushed my teeth. I pulled my hair back into a half ponytail. I checked Facebook to make sure she hadn’t canceled. I went back to the bathroom and took my hair down. I went back to Facebook. I went back to the bathroom. I busted out the curling iron. I checked my cellphone.
“Do you have any gum?” I asked B. as I spritzed myself with my favorite perfume, L de Lolita Lempicka.
“Is there something you want to tell me?” He replied.
N. picked me up at exactly 9:01. We drove to a popular restaurant/bar 15 minutes away.
“Let’s go sit at the bar. Maybe someone will hit on us.” She joked.
(Imas Gone Wild! Woohoo!)
We bellied up to the bar, and I felt for the first time a sense of belonging: I was out in an actual city at an actual bar in my high-heeled hooker boots with someone I liked. Yay!
Dressed up and ready for my drink with a new friend, I felt happy and confident, and almost Israeli. But then before I even opened my mouth, the bartender handed me a menu in English. Boo.
But English menu or not, my sense of belonging didn’t fade because I had found a friend: For the next two hours, we bonded over challenging pregnancies and labor and delivery horror stories. We commiserated. We laughed.
And most importantly, we made plans to go out again.