“Yaffa, are you in love?”
On Wednesday, while walking with my film class to a presentation on queer Asian sexuality in the cinema, my film professor stopped me and asked if I had given my heart to someone else. Clearly he is not an avid reader of my blog.
Stunned, perplexed, and discomforted by the question, I opted to keep it simple. “No, I’m not.” And yet despite my firm negation of his suspicion, he didn’t seem to believe me. I was either glowing, a sign of a little too much bronzer that morning, or, I was particularly spacey, often an indication of a new love interest.
Regardless, I persisted in my negation. “Professor, I am certainly not in love. Why do you ask?” He didn’t respond. In fact, he ran ahead to the lecture, avoiding all possible eye contact.
The absurdity of this short exchange was blog worthy enough, but yesterday on route to New York for a job interview, I was once again asked about my non-existent romantic liaisons. A woman seated next to me on the train– somewhere between Providence and New Haven– turned towards me and asked, “Are you engaged?”
Stunned, perplexed, and discomforted by the question, I did what any good Jew would do: I responded with a question. “As in to be married?”
“Well, of course, what other kind is there?”
Given the lack of engagement ring on my finger, I thought it was a reasonable question on my part. Perhaps she was simply asking if I was engaged in another activity and could not be disturbed. Indeed, I was– a thesis chapter on South Africa– but despite my over consumption of subpar Amtrak cafe coffee, she didn’t seem to grasp this.
“I mean, you just look like a girl who recently met the man of her dreams.” Seriously, I need to cut down on the bronzer and blush. And perhaps appear to be more engrossed in the material at hand. Of course, being polite, I responded I hadn’t, but I’d know when I did because his last name would begin with F.
Now she returned the quizzical look. Briefly I explained that my mother had given me my name– Yaffa– because she thought it completed my last name, Fredrick. The same letter repeated in my first and last names provided a certain grace to its pronouncement, or so my mother claims.
And over the years I have learned to never question my mother’s wisdom. If she says it sounds “smooth,” then she must be right. And in not wanting to lose this aforementioned smoothness, I must marry a man whose last name complements my first name.
The lady burst into laughter. I had meant this all in jest. And I concluded by stating that if the CEO of Starbucks, whose last name does not begin with F, decides that I am the woman of his dreams, I will most certainly wed him. Yaffa Starbucks has a pleasant enough ring to it. And even if some argue it doesn’t, I’d never have to worry about where my next cup of coffee would come from. That, ladies and gents, is true love.