Boy Vey offers sly guide for non-Jewish guy chasers

I spent the better part of my single adult life in hot pursuit of the quintessential nebbish. My friends couldn’t understand it. Why was I, a seemingly somewhat hip and not altogether bad looking woman with a wicked wit and sharp tongue, chasing a host of would-be Woody Allens? Skinny? Check. Unnaturally attached to mom? Check. Never lettered in sports? Receives regular manicures? Supports the Jewish National Fund? Check. Check. Check.

Imagine my surprise at discovering a woman who not only shared my penchant for men with facial hair and good manners, but who has actually made a career of attracting Hebrew school He-Men. Enter Kristina Grish. New Yorker. Non-Jew. Author of “Boy Vey: The Shiksa’s Guide to Dating Jewish Men.”

While touted as a guide for dating Jewish men, “Boy Vey” is chock full of good advice for any woman on the dating scene — especially when it comes to dealing with moms. In a nutshell, act like her, take care of her boy and eat her food. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

“Boy Vey” is a step-by-step manual for meeting and keeping Mr. Tall, Dark and Circumcised (Grish’s words, not mine), covering topics ranging from “Why Choose the Chosen One?” “You Probably Won’t Meet Him in Wyoming …” and “Because Neurosis and Guilt are Part of His DNA” to “Talk Yiddish to Me” and “The Jewish Mother.”

Grish insists today’s interfaith dater isn’t thinking sin or shiksa seductress. Instead, he’s more likely open-minded about mixing it up a bit. But navigating his world, for the average white shiksa, is something else entirely.

Through her own trial and error, and that of friends and former lovers, Grish demystifies the ways of the Jews. What we eat and read. Where we live. How we talk. What we talk about. The experiences that shape us. Jewish prayer, history and basic Hebrew are left for the experts — in a word, not Grish.

So, why choose the chosen one? (In case some Jewish readers aren’t certain.) Consider the following: “Jewish men feed your mind and appetite, and they are the ultimate caretakers without a hint of machismo. They’re also generous and thoughtful, thanks to a matriarchal culture that’s taught them to appreciate women’s strength, candor, humor, and intelligence.” And when considering intimacies, “Brace yourself for a passionate performance by a man whose heritage insists his primary goal is to please his lover.”

Where to find him? Grish offers up opportunities for finding one — state by state, and by interest. We’re doing well here in California, but you’d increase your odds in New York, Florida, Connecticut or Massachusetts. Don’t rule out the possibilities at the annual conference of the American Medical Association, the annual Mother’s Day Sale at Macy’s or even death. “If you’re a shrewd shiksa, a morose funeral in Great Neck could suddenly turn into a blessing from above.”

How to keep him? Chapters like “Summer Camp is Not a Cult” and “Why Antacids are the Fifth Food Group” seek to explain why his bar mitzvah celebration, summer camp and Israel trip were so pivotal in his life (girls) and provide time-tested recipes for chicken soup, latkes and apple sauce, strudel and chocolate bread pudding. Meanwhile “Talk Yiddish to Me” offers a glossary of key Yiddish terms and “Mishpochac and the Hanukkah Bush” is an overview of holidays, family dynamics, food choices and what not to wear.

Tongue-in-cheekily written, “Boy Vey” treads a fine line on complete embracement of every Jewish stereotype known. Perhaps it’s more East Coast than West Coast Jew. But isn’t it said that in every stereotype lies a kernel of truth?

So perhaps Grish is onto something when she writes of neurosis and guilt as a Jewish sort of S & M, except the whips and chains are mental, and reminds us that when it comes to sex “the first party ever thrown for him — the brit — celebrated his penis.”

And me? I gave up my quest eight years ago when I met and later married the kindest, sexiest shaygetz. A cyclist and a camper without a hint of neurosis. I bet there’s a book in it somewhere.

“Boy Vey: The Shiksa’s Guide to Dating Jewish Men” by Kristina Grish (176 pages, Simon & Schuster, $12.95).