“Life, Love, Lox.” No matter how much I stare at the title of L.A. Jewish Journal freelance writer and singles columnist Carin Davis’ new book, one of those “L-words” jumps out at me. Can you guess which one?
So, I’m a 27-year-old Jewish woman living in the fabulous city of San Francisco. I’ve got great friends and supportive family, a professional writing gig and my own studio apartment— well, more like a walk-in closet that happens to have a bed. But you get the idea.
The last thing I thought I would need is a more fulfilling life. Then, I picked up Davis’ book. A Jewish guide for the JDate generation, “Life, Love, Lox” (208 pages, Running Press, $13.95) combines practical advice, holiday history and humor. She covers all the bases: dating, cooking, community participation and how to host a Shabbat shindig on the cheap.
“Life, Love, Lox” also celebrates the single gal in a sassy way. If you’re picturing the book version of Beyoncé’s anthem, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” then I’ve done my job.
“Who’s applauding the triumphant bachelorette?” Davis, a 30-something vice president of an animation company, asks. “I am. That’s who. And you should, too. Yes, you, in the Juicy sweatsuit. We single girls need to stick together.”
She had me at Juicy.
It should be noted that Davis isn’t single. She’s happily dating Todd, a fellow Chicago Bulls fan whom she met while volunteering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. She details their first encounter in the “Too Cool for Shul” section.
Now, I’m not here to dish about my own love life. It’s top secret — don’t even try. But Davis’ humorous handbook is tailored to every modern Jewish woman, whether she’s unattached and on the prowl for a NJB (nice Jewish boy), or she’s hosting her in-laws for the first time at a second-night seder.
Davis shares everything, from Jewish history and family recipes to fashion pointers and dating advice. She chronicles her own experiences with diving into JDate and turning dreidel-spinning into a drinking game.
For every ancient observance, she finds a way to add a modern twist without departing from the Jewish ritual and tradition. It’s a refreshing, kitschy and quick read — think “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw meets Charlotte York-Rosenblatt.
“It’s practical, but playful. Entertaining, but educational,” Davis explains to me by phone from Los Angeles. “I want Jewish women to realize that Jewish life can be fun, and you don’t have to wait until you’ve got a son studying for his bar mitzvah to get involved.”
If there’s one aspect of “Life, Love, Lox” that Davis emphasizes, it’s involvement. Forget joining the average gym when there are Jewish guys flexing their biceps and breaking a sweat at the nearby JCC. Go to that midweek mixer. Yes, that one, and the 14 others you’ve been invited to. See that Facebook invite for Torah and tacos? Davis advises clicking “yes” and, get this, actually showing up.
Don’t think she forgot about appearance. Sure, Davis tackles the “who, what, when and how” of Jewish dating and (kosher) plating. But when it comes to the “wear,” there’s plenty of advice to go around.
Take, for instance, how to wear your hair … more specifically, how to mold the mound of thick ringlets atop your shayna punim. That’s Yiddish for “pretty face,” one of the many phrases you’ll find in the book’s Heebonics glossary in the last few pages.
Now, I’m lucky enough to be blessed with hair that’s tameable even in the midst of San Francisco mist. But for the modern Jewish girl with a head full of curls, Davis offers one piece of advice: Embrace it. Then, buy a flat iron.
“Success is not based on hair alone,” Davis writes. “So if your Jewfro is out of control, no worries. Just be your witty, sexy self and your date should go well. But just in case, maybe give a quick shout-out to God on your way to the restaurant.”
“I had a reader tell me she loved the Jewfro chapter,” Davis says. “It’s satisfying to see that women are enjoying my book, laughing at it and finding ways to use it. It brings a fresh, fun taste to Jewish life.”
Amanda Pazornik can be reached at email@example.com.