Thursday, October 20, 2005

My blog is a dance!

I just received an email from a Masters student in Dance at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in Manhattan.

He choreographed a dance based on this blog (or whatever inspiration he got from this blog) and it is showing at Tisch for the next three nights! Wow, how cool is that!

I myself am not in New York right now (whether that is because I do not live there or because I am on vacation for the chag is for you to guess) but if any of my readers attend this event please report back in the comments about how it was.

I am sure that this student, Benjamin, would love to have more people come and watch his show.

His show will be performed tonight, Friday, and Saturday at 8 pm (please, Jewish readers should not be mechalel Shabbat to see the show!).
Admittance is free. The Tisch School is at 111 Second Avenue, between 6th and 7th street.

Thank you, Benjamin, for this honor. I wish I could see your show myself.

Benjamin, you are welcome to post more information about the choreography and history of the show in the comments. I did not want to post more because I was not sure how much of the information is for the public.

Now Nice Jewish Girl is not only a person, I am also multi-media!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Many notes and an apology

I have read all the comments to my latest post. I thank all those who are supportive of me, each in his own way. I want to emphasize that most of the people who are expressing sadness that I have broken halacha do not offend me in any way. I agree with them. It is very sad that I have remained single and could no longer wait to feel some basic human tenderness. It is sad that my loneliness finally became stronger than my faith. It is sad that after all I could not live up to the ideal that I have had ever since I was an 18-year-old seminary girl of experiencing my first kiss in the yichud room. There are many things in life that do not always turn out the way we dreamed but we must deal with the circumstances as best we can when they arise. I never asked to be still single and lonely when I am 35. I have kept the halachos of S.N. as long as I possibly could and forever that will be something to be proud of, especially since it seems that there are very very few others my age who can say the same. It is true that in all the months of keeping this blog I have only received one or maybe two comments or emails as far as I remember from someone who was at least 35 and had never broken the laws of S.N. Everyone else is either married, or still single and S.N. but younger than I am. I have much to be proud of, but breaking halacha is never one of them. I am happy for myself that at last I have experienced something so basic to the human condition but pride would not be the right adjective for how I feel. Relieved and excited and hopeful for the future. But not proud.

I am aghast however at the vitriol from those few people who cannot seem to feel both compassion for me and faith in halacha at the same time. They seem to be experiencing some cognitive dissonance over the fact that on the one hand we are obligated to keep mitzvos and that as Orthodox people we do not feel there are any excuses for ever breaking a halacha, ever, except in cases of sickness or other danger to life . . . and yet all over the place are Orthodox people who break halachos all the time because keeping all the halachos all the time is very very challenging. Much too challenging for most people. Are there not any halachos that they, too, break in secret? Do not they, too, have something for which to repent this week? And is not our job to continue to do our best, though only angels are perfect in their service of Hashem?

And yet they have a point in the fact that I have not kept my failing a secret, I have posted it on the internet for all to see. And I have stated publicly that I do not feel guilty about this failing at this time because I know that I have reached the end of my own potential to keep this law anymore. I kept it and kept it and kept it . . . and honestly I am glad I kept it, especially when I was young and impressionable and less sure of myself, and there was the potential to be hurt and violated as so many of my non-S.N. readers tell me they were when they were younger.

And they also have a point that it is callous to break the law and write about it during the Aseres Yimei Teshuva. I will not attempt to justify or apologize for my having kissed for the first time, without being married, just before Yom Kippur. But I do agree that it was wrong of me to write a blog about it before Yom Kippur. My post obviously dredged up a lot of issues for a lot of people, perhaps about their own sins, their own sexual history, or their own guilt for whatever they are repenting this week, and by posting when I did I complicated their thoughts and made their own process a little more confusing, or depressing, or filled with anger.

So I apologize to my readers for not at least having the sensitivity to my audience to wait until after Yom Kippur to post what I did.

Also I want to say very clearly to all the S.N. people who are reading my blog: Keep it up as long as you can! It is a good and holy and pure and beautiful way to live even though it is very very very hard. Like some of my readers I do fear that there are people who read my blog and will use it as an excuse not to be S.N. anymore. Especially young people in their teenage years, when not being S.N. can really lead to things that people regret later. I have gotten so many emails and comments from people who said that their experiences of kissing (or sex, depending on how Orthodox they were or how dedicated to S.N. they were) when they were younger left them with many emotional scars because they did things before they were ready, or with people who were very bad choices for them. I pray that none of my readers will do anything as a result of reading my blog that will give them any regrets later in their lives. Please have faith in yourself and in the Torah as long as you can.

But a point of my blog is that “can” is not an easy term to define. It is impossible to live without food or air, but possible to live without kissing and hugging, and so some people seem to think that of course any single person “can” be Shomer Negiah if only their faith and self-control are strong enough. But I remind those people that there is a big problem in our society of people getting married later and later, and relationships that do not work out for one reason or another, and in particular it is a well-known problem that there are many more frum women looking seriously for marriage than men who are compatible for them. Therefore the task of remaining S.N. goes on for years and years for some people. And so I reiterate that unless you, too, are at least 35 and have never been married, you cannot possibly determine for me whether I “can” be Shomer Negiah anymore. And even if you are my age and still S.N., if you have never been inside my brain and my body and my life you also cannot know if I “can.” Only Hashem knows. Hashem will not judge me based on whether I am as pious as you, but rather on whether I am as pious as I, Nice Jewish Girl, have the potential to be. And I know, I KNOW, with my whole heart, that when it comes to S.N. I have reached my potential. Over-extended it, even. And that is why I do not feel guilty. Because I am completely, utterly shalem that in this area I did absolutely everything that is expected of me and more. My only regret like I said is in writing about it before Yom Kippur and any chillul Hashem I have committed, or any michshol I have placed before others who are similarly weak, by writing about it on this blog. For any sins committed by others as a result of my blog I am deeply ashamed and hope that both Hashem and the people involved will forgive me somehow.

A few more things before I disappear for a little while:

First, the man I have kissed is absolutely not pushing me to go any further. In fact he told me that the next few times we meet he wants to go back to being S.N. at least for a little while so that the physical pleasure does not “get ahead” of the emotional bond we are trying to build. He is a very intelligent and kind man.

Second, the people who are encouraging me to try to get a marriage proposal "out of him" in order to “test” whether he is really serious are not considering that perhaps I myself am not quite ready to get engaged to him. Yes it is true that my goal was never just to be kissed but to get married so that I will have companionship and a family. Yes it is true that I would not be dating him unless I thought that he has strong potential to be Mr. Nice Jewish Boy. And he also is taking a long view and only dates people who have the potential to be a lifelong partner for him. Neither of us considers this a game, or casual dating, or just for fun. We both have serious goals. However that does not mean that either of us has enough information to know whether getting married to each other is for sure a good idea. The point of dating is to get to know each other well enough to see if we would make good marriage partners. It has been only a month. It is a long-distance relationship. There are many situations in which I have not seen him. I have never seen him get angry for example. I have never met his family or seen how he is with them. And of course there are many differences between us because of differences in how we were raised that we need to talk about and make sure that we can work them out. There are many important things to consider before getting married and while in my circles people do get engaged faster than in general American society (usually after 3 or 4 months), I cannot be 100 percent sure that he is compatible for me until we know each other better. At this point I am maybe 80 percent sure that I could marry him but the other 20 percent will take a little longer to come. I am though 100 percent sure that he is a nice man with good values who is good to me, and if this all leads to marriage with him I will certainly not mind! I am 100 percent sure that this is the best relationship I have had for many many years. I am 100 percent sure that he is a good enough man, whom I know well enough, that kissing him does not make me feel cheap. I know him well enough to know that he is worth the risk of making myself vulnerable. There are decisions that one can make at 35 that one could not have made as intelligently when they were much younger. But one month is too fast for me to get engaged.

Third, I am definitely not blogging about my actions anymore until something major happens, like an engagement or a breakup (I hope very very much it is the former but know in my mind there is the possibility for the latter until there is a ring on my finger.) Relationships are confusing and emotional enough without 70 strangers leaving comments about their opinions on what I am doing! I am not blaming people for leaving comments since if I am writing a blog I have to expect comments, but I definitely will not do it anymore. Maybe I will write another post or two answering reader’s questions, but there will not be any updates about whether we are S.N. or not or any other details about my relationship. If something truly dramatic happens I will post it since I know that there are many people who have come to care about me and will be wondering how I am doing – thank you! But no details!

Finally, in the future please everyone make up some name for yourself in the comments section. If everyone calls themself “anonymous” then there is no way to distinguish between the commenters. It is also helpful but not required if you could write whether you are Orthodox or not so that we will better be able to understand where everyone else is coming from in their opinions. But only if you want to. But definitely make up a name for yourself. Thank you.

I hope everyone has a gmar v’chasimah tova, and to everyone who is feeling guilty about their wrongdoings in the past: Do not despair! Hashem gave us Yom Kippur specifically because He wants us to return to Him! He always takes us back with open arms. We are His children. Though we may sometimes forsake Him, he does not forsake us.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nice Jewish Girl has been kissed

Wow. Wow.

I wrote a long post describing how it was, how good he was to me and cuddled with me first and how nice that felt. I did not like kissing while we were standing up but sitting down it was much better, even though it still felt very strange.

And I wrote how in the middle of it I had to stop for a few minutes because I felt sick from all the excitement and fear coming up. I was afraid I might throw up.

And later I asked him to kiss me on the nape of my neck and he did, and how! He is a very generous man. And that was when I finally felt what this kissing stuff is really all about.


But I decided not to post all the details. I want to save some of it for myself. It is enough for you to know that I did it, and yes we kept all our clothes on don’t worry, and he was good to me and it felt nice, and I do not feel guilty at all.

Actually what I feel is that Hashem gave me a very precious gift. In my darkest hour he gave me exactly what I needed. Never in my life have I felt as beautiful as I do right now.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Taking The Chance

This is a very difficult post to write. It is hard for me to admit to myself some of the thoughts and rationalizations that have been going on through my mind for the last few days. Much less write about it for anyone to read on the internet. But as always this blog is an important outlet for me and so I hope that writing will help me to clarify things to myself as well as to whomever might read my words.

I cried in shul on Rosh Hashanah. The prayers were so beautiful and I felt so awed by Hashem and His power. And so scared and guilty. Because I am faced with an opportunity to do something that I believe is a sin and I know deep down that I am going to do it. I hardly feel like I have a choice about it. The thought of not kissing this man at the next opportunity is hardly crossing my mind. Yet also even when I feel the most scared and the most guilty I feel very deep down how much Hashem loves me and that everything from Him is a gift. Even this opportunity to sin is a gift. Hashem knows how starved I am and he has put a plate of non-kosher food in front of me. He is giving me an opportunity to nourish myself and I feel deep down that He is saying “do not worry about what is in the food. Just eat and take care of yourself.” I am about to disobey Him but I feel that He is a loving father.

I am worried that some people will read the last paragraph and mistake my thoughts for something else. Something that I am definitely not thinking is “God will understand.” Not the way people usually use that rationalization anyway. Usually when people (including me) say “God will understand” they just mean “There is something I want right now and I will not let my own guilt stand in the way of taking what I want.” They say “I do not feel like waiting another hour before I eat milk, even though I am still fleishik, God will understand,” or “I am really tired and do not feel like walking to shule right now, God will understand.” Sometimes I think that God must look at us and be thinking “Yes I understand that you are a bunch of lazy bums!”

Anyway I guess in a way I am saying “God will understand” but this is after many many days of deep reflection and crying and of course all the months of doing this blog and all the time before that that I was suffering from deep depression. I know that everyone who sins feels at the time that they are in a special situation somehow and that when they do this wrong thing, for them it is not wrong. Thinking that does not make it right of course. But since this is my blog I can only explain how I feel about it. I think that if I do not take the opportunity to kiss with my new boyfriend (do people use the word boyfriend when they are 35 years old???) then I will be like the proverbial person in the flood who refuses to get in a boat because “God will save him” and then refuses to get into a plane because “God will save him,” and when he drowns and goes to Heaven, he says “God, why didn’t you save me?” and God says “I sent you a boat and a plane and you didn’t take them!” For so long I have been saying that I would not be Shomer Negiah anymore if only a good man came along who I liked and was attracted to and who liked me and was attracted to me. I have cried to Hashem because I am so so lonely and physically starved. I have written here that I would give up food if only a nice, religious, intelligent man would put his arms around me and tell me he loves me. I do not think this boyfriend loves me (yet), but he does like me a lot. If I give up my opportunity when it comes then it means . . . well I do not know what it would mean because I simply cannot imagine letting this opportunity go by.

I know it is possible that this relationship will not end in marriage. You have read about my dating history. I know very well that things can suddenly change quickly. If I kiss him and then we break up I am sure I will feel very bad. But the idea of breaking up and not having kissed him, letting the chance go by, makes me feel even worse, because considering what the dating scene is like these days it may be many years before I find another man who I “click” with. It might never happen at all.

If in another 40 or 50 years I am on my deathbed and I am still single and still a virgin, I would rather have memories of kissing a boyfriend when I was 35 even if we later broke up, then to have no memories of kissing anyone at all and know that I could have done it once but I let the chance go by and now I will never know what it feels like.

I know I should wait a little bit before going ahead, maybe date him a little longer. The ironic part of this is that I do not want to wait because I am not sure enough about our relationship that I really believe we will definitely stay together long enough. I might not have the luxury of taking my time to make a decision. Men have a tendency to end relationships for little or no reason. I hope this one is different but who really knows. This is not an ideal situation. Once again I do not have good choices. I can kiss him now and maybe we will break up or I can wait and then maybe we will break up. There are no guarantees. But to me the lesser of two evils is, if we are going to break up, I want to know at least what it is like to kiss. I am tired of feeling pathetic about myself. The curiosity and emotional and physical brutalness of being Shomer Negiah are killing me from the inside. I wish I knew for sure that this was the right man. But in reality all I can say is that he is a good man at the right time. I will take what I can get. Yes that sounds desperate but you have read my blog, I have every reason to be desperate!

I know that some of you are thinking “do not waste your precious first kiss on someone when you are not sure how strongly he feels about you, after all the time you have waited. Do not let your efforts go to waste!”

I think in particular the commenter named ClooJew will be thinking this. I have appreciated his comments very much. He has articulated many things that I have been thinking myself and many things I believe or at least used to believe for myself. Ironically he himself (I think ClooJew is male but my apologies if that is wrong) gave me the way to articulate why I think that argument is wrong. He wrote “(the position of many commenters here), is that unhappiness is a good reason to abandon one's faith and system of observance. That position belittles all the effort and pain that NJG has gone through all these years. I'm here to support and admire NJG for her faith, her past, her toil, and her standing tall in the face of adversity.”

That comment meant so much to me that it brought tears to my eyes. To have a frum person recognize that I have worked so hard to uphold my values means a lot. And it means a lot to have someone acknowledge that I have done something hard, something so difficult that not so many other people manage to do it. I forget that myself often. It is easy for me to feel pathetic, like I am some kind of loser because I have never been kissed, and ClooJew reminded me that I am not a loser. I am a Jew. It is something to be proud of. And up until now I have managed to work very hard at being a Jew.

But the past that ClooJew admires is the past. I am not the same person I was even two or three years ago. I have been so depressed, so very very sad. My faith might be as strong as it was but my strength is not and my ability to toil at it is not. This is the part that I feel deep down Hashem “understands.” I feel like a little child in Hashem’s arms. I know that He understands my innermost heart and loves me and will continue to love me even though I am weak. I am not a teenager in rebellion, trying to “get away” with something. I am a little girl who has been through too much, and Hashem is rocking me and saying “it’s all right, it’s all right.”

If I give up an opportunity to be held and kissed and reminded that I am a woman, only so that I do not “waste” my efforts of the past, then I will be hurting my present for the sake of honoring my past. I cannot do that and stay whole anymore. I am different now and my needs are different. Each day we make choices based on who we are at that time.

And also, no matter what I do now my past will never be “wasted.” Most single people no matter how observant they are in Judaism do not make it to 35 while still being Shomer Negiah for all intents and purposes. The past that ClooJew is admiring will always be my past and will always be admirable from the point of view of halachik Judaism, no matter what I do in the future. Keeping halacha is never a waste.

But this is a halacha that I just do not have it in me to keep anymore. I simply cannot do it. I love halachic Judaism so very very much but this is one area where my strength is failing me and it is simply impossible for me to go on this way.

I wrote in the comments something I want to repeat here: “I think there are maybe people who read this blog and want me to represent the halachik lifestyle. They want me to wait until I get married before kissing because they want to believe that it can be done, by someone. They would like to believe that someone in the world is holy enough to keep this halacha even for years and years because knowing that would inspire them to try a little harder with their own halachik tests.

I cannot promise to be a poster child for Shomer Negiah. I do not think I am strong enough. I am sorry. Very sorry. I just do not have it in me anymore. For so long I have been valiant but now I think it is time for someone else to be the poster child because I am not strong enough right now.”

This is not the best reason to engage in my first kiss, I know that. I am disappointing many readers but more importantly I am disappointing myself a little bit. I really did want to wait until I was married or at least until I was more sure of the relationship. But this is the chance I have, and I will take it. This is a very special man who is very good to me. I am scared but also very excited. This must be the way a person feels when they go parachuting for the first time and they are about to jump out of the plane! I am not 100 percent sure that the parachute will open but I will enjoy the view while I have the chance.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Answers to readers questions

Even though I rarely respond to the comments on my blog I do read all the comments that are left here for me and appreciate them very much, especially the supportive ones.

Some people have left comments with questions that I think should be answered either because they are very good questions or because I want to emphasize the answers, or because the question is funny. So here are responses to some of the comments.

COMMENT: How do you all think your gay brothers and sisters feel, knowing that not only can they never be kissed, but that their very desires for intimacy are considered perverted and shameful, even evil? Even by the most conservative estimates a couple of percent of the population is gay, which means there are certainly thousands of closeted gay Jews in the most yeshivish communities. These people have no hope of ever being kissed, and have no outlet for sympathy or understanding. Why does no one in the frum world (besides the Exodus-type quacks) care about that singles crisis? –Anonymous

ANSWER: I cannot speak for anyone else but I can say that I personally feel a lot of sympathy for homosexual Orthodox Jews. I have thought about this question very much, because for all that my love life has felt barren and hopeless, at least I know that my fortunes could change someday (maybe even very soon. See my last post that I posted today!) I cannot change my empty, kiss-less past but my future could be different if I ever get married. But Orthodox people who are struggling to keep the Jewish laws against homosexual acts are in a truly hopeless situation. They must forever either be celibate or break the halacha. There is no way out for them.

You have perhaps read my blog and know how miserable it is for me (and other single people who are waiting for marriage before they do various things) not to have a way to express my sexuality. I have written about how trapped I feel. I can only imagine how much worse it is for someone to know that there will never be a way out of that trap, other than to do something that is explicitly prohibited in the Torah (for men at least).

I have written here that one of the lessons of my blog is not to judge a single person harshly when they fall and break halacha, even by having sex, before they are married. The alternative of being celibate for years and years and years is just too horrible as I can bear witness to. It is possible but it is a nightmare. Obviously I also believe that people should be thoughtful and careful about what they do and make wise choices that they will not regret later on. For most Orthodox people that means at the very least making their physical relationship being proportional to their emotional relationship, that is for example not to have sex with someone on the second date. I have a big problem with promiscuity whether it is heterosexual or homosexual.

Anyway since I know first hand how horrible it is not to be halachically permitted to have sex with people I am attracted to (because I am not married to any of them) I feel absolute sympathy for others who cannot halachically have sex with those they are attracted to even if it is for a different reason (because they are attracted to people of the same gender).

Even though I understand the severity of the laws against homosexual activity I personally cannot bring myself to condemn homosexual Jews who find relationships and engage in homosexual acts. I realize that like me they have choices and it is physically possible to refrain from sex but again I know better than almost anyone what the physical and emotional costs are of that choice. I would never tell someone that homosexual activity is OK according to God, but I would leave it up to the person and to God to figure out how to judge such a person. Personally if I had a friend or a relative who was homosexual, I would want them to try to keep the halacha as best they could but if they caved I would have utmost compassion for them, because perhaps for them the alternative is as it was for me: depression, suicidal thoughts, and the complete unraveling of their self-esteem and relationship with God.

I must write that I have heard about homosexual people who have managed to remain celibate all their lives and still love God and have a religious life and I have to say that I am in awe of those people. It is superhuman what they are doing.

COMMENT:Morty Kwestel said. . . I'm a little confused how a girl who wants to come off frummer than thou can be talking about her sexual fantasies to men.

ANSWER: If I am coming off as you say “frummer than thou” I am sorry. A point of my blog is that no matter how frum someone seems (and indeed according to my actions vis-a-vis sex indeed I am very very frum) you never know what is happening in a person’s mind. It says in Pirkei Avot that a strong person is “he who controls his evil inclinations.” In my actions I am very very frum (most of the time) but that does not mean that my inclinations are always pure. Even the most innocent girl has hormones. That is why I do this blog anonymously, I want to be able to write about how I really feel without my “real life” self being not-tznius.

COMMENT: Can I ask you a question? In your form of Judaism, do women marry out of love (movie type love)or do they marry b/c they think the guy would be an okay math ...a good provider, religious etc.? I assume both but just wondering your thoughts on that. –Bklyn

ANSWER: Of course I can only speak for my form of Judaism, that is the way I personally see things and I cannot speak for others, even people who are in my own synagogue. I cannot say what other women marry for only what I want to marry for. I want to marry someone that I love. I want to feel really happy about being with that person and feel lucky and excited that the person is in my life. But also I know that love does not conquer all. If I marry someone who does not share my basic religious beliefs and religious lifestyle then we will constantly have conflicts about how to live and how to raise our children. I suppose the answer to your question is that I plan to marry someday for love but I do not fall in love with men who are not “an okay math” for me as you said. If he is “an okay math” then I am willing to date him and see what happens but I would not marry him only because of the math I would need to love him also.

One thing I have been taught over and over by rabbis and teachers is that there is no such thing as "movie type" love as you call it. Any loving relationship will have some problems to be overcome.

COMMENT: Another thing I'd like to point out is your virginity.When a female uses a sex toy she can rupture her hymen.Men can notice this and tell in bed.I don't mean to put you on the defense but what will you tell your husband????? – DesperateGirl4MarriageToo

ANSWER: There is no question my hymen is long gone. From a medical standpoint I suppose this means that I am not a virgin but when it comes to my experience with men there is no one more virginal then me that is for sure, and I think that halacha is more concerned by what I have actually done than what my hymen looks like. I am sure also that if I ever get engaged I will have a long and intimate conversation with my fiance about our expectations for sex and when we have that converstation I will tell him that yes I am definitely unexperienced with men but I am quite experienced with, um, inanimate objects. I fully expect that the type of man I would marry would not be so immature or close-minded that it would bother him. If he does not trust me, if he thinks I might be lying and really may have slept with other men then I could not marry him anyway. If he is so immature that he would marry me only on condition that I could fulfill some sort of breaking-the-hymen fantasy for him, then he is not for me either. But I can truthfully assure him that I have never slept with another man and would hope that he would find that meaningful, and that he would trust that I am telling the truth about it whether I have an intact hymen or not. Any educated person knows that just because a woman does not have a hymen does not mean that she is not a virgin. There are women who are born without one, and women who break their’s while riding horses or doing other sports, for example.

I would like to share, since this may be an issue for other girls who are considering buying a vibrator and using it in a penatrative way, that the first few times I used it that way hurt a lot. It took several attempts over the course of a few days just to get it in. I knew that I was breaking my hymen and felt very sad that I was having that sensation with a battery operated toy and not with a man who loves me. I still feel sad about that sometimes. However I already was old enough that it was also making me feel bad that I had no inkling what it was like to, um, you know, have something inside there. Since it did not seem that marriage was coming any time soon I made a choice to break my hymen in order to experience a fuller range of experimentation by myself. I cannot say that I regret that decision because honestly it feels so good and if I had decided to keep my hymen it just would have resulted in a few more years of missing out on what little fun I am halachically allowed to have. I suppose also that it will be more comfortable someday for me and my husband that the first night will not be painful for me. But yes it does make me a little sad to miss out on doing that with a real live man who loves me and has just married me.

COMMENT: Anonymous said...Last night we stumbled on your Blog site. Some things you fail to mention is how did you end up on the West Side?

ANSWER: I never said that I live on the West Side of any city. Perhaps I do and perhaps I do not.

There were other good questions but I am getting tired from all this writing today. Perhaps I will answer the rest another time.

I wish everyone a happy Rosh Hashanah and good and sweet new year. May Hashem answer all our prayers.

Maybe soon

I have been seeing someone for almost a month! We do not get to see each other very much because it is a long-distance drive between us but we have met a few times and talk on the phone almost every day. He is so very good to me. I feel blessed to have found him.

A few days ago I told him that I have never been kissed. I had noticed that despite the fact that he is very religious otherwise we were engaging in quite a bit of accidentally (on purpose) touching. Nothing conscious really just light brushes against my hand or us bumping into each other a little when we walk next to each other. The type of thing that could be an accident but most of the frum men I have dated would immediately apologize and move further away from me so it would not happen again. He is otherwise very frum but when we accidentally touch he does not apologize and he does not move and that is OK with me! I guess this happens when there is really chemistry, right?

We had a long talk. I had never told any man about my history or non-history as the case is. So this was the first time I told a man I was dating that I have never even been kissed. I told him about how unlucky I have been in my dating life and how I used to be shomer negiah because I was very frum and then later I was shomer negiah by default, because I had no one I cared enough about to do anything with after being S.N. for so long.

At first he could not believe it. He has never dealt with a woman before who had never even been kissed. He kept asking me if I am OK with that and I told him no, I hate it, it is very hard, I have the same hormones as everyone else. But also I know that I have made my decisions and that I cannot change the past and that Hashem has reasons for making my life turn out the way it has. I have to believe it is for the best. I accept it because I have no choice.

I think he is bewildered by me. But why I am writing about it is that he keeps saying that the next time he sees me he is going to kiss me, that it is about time I had my first kiss.

I am excited but confused. First of all I do not know exactly what he means, you know? I think for a while he thought that I meant that I have never gotten any kind of kiss from anyone at all. I told him no, of course not, I have gotten kisses from my father, my uncles, my brothers, my nephews. I told him that I have sometimes gotten hugs at work though not often. But of course those are not the same thing. He said “oh, what you mean is that you have never gotten the kind of kiss that lasts for 15 minutes.” But he did not then say “well I will have to correct that.” I think he means to kiss me on the cheek or something.

That would be nice but it is not really what I am aiming for.

What I want is the 15 minute kiss! I want a kiss that makes me have to come up for air!

I wish I could say that the thought of doing this possibly on my very next date makes me feel guilty about breaking halacha. Especially because it is almost Rosh Hashanah and we are supposed to be atoning for our sins not planning to do new ones. But honestly I do not feel so guilty. I cannot explain why. I know I should say that no matter how old I am I should at least feel guilty about breaking halacha especially at this time of year.

But . . . well you have read my blog. You know what I have been through. You know how strong I have been for so long, and sometimes how weak. You know how I just cannot do it anymore.

I do not know for sure whether I will marry this man. I hope so. He is so very sweet to me. It would be nice to have found the right person. But even if not I do not think I will feel guilty retroactively about kissing him or more. (I told him emphaticly that there are certain things I will not do before I get married and he accepted that). I am 35 and my body has had enough of being alone. My soul too.

What I am though scared about is what if it is not what I dreamed it would be? I do after all have doubts about whether he wants to kiss me because he really wants to or because he feels sorry for me like I have a problem that needs correcting. It is not that I expect there to be fireworks. This is not the movies, I know that. What I mean is that when I kiss him I want to feel safe. I want to know that kissing me is important to him, not some kind of remedial project.

He is good to me. But a month ago I had never even met him.

I have not met him many times. Is it too soon?

On the other hand if not now, when?

I will have a lot to think about over Rosh Hashana that is for sure. How strong do I want to be? What does “being strong” mean now that I am 35 and have a chance at being kissed by a man who so far seems nice, and serious?