Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCLXXX. The Opposite Sex (3 of 5)

The next agency I visited was located in an upscale building in the heart of Tel Aviv.  It had a large reception area with plush chairs, a sofa, and some small tables.  I was received by an attractive receptionist who informed that Mar Abravanel was busy with a client, and would be with me as soon as possible.  She then asked me if I wanted tea or coffee.  When I requested a gazoz (soft drink), she called the cafeteria and placed the order.

She then asked me a few questions and noted my replies on my application.  She was delighted to hear that I was Egyptian, and informed me that the owner was also Egyptian.  His first name was Hud; and I was to use that name.  I thanked her for her tip and started reading a newspaper that was lying on one of the tables.

While looking at my surroundings, I noticed a long corridor with many small offices; the offices were unoccupied.  I found that unusual, and I used the excuse that I needed to use the sheroutim (washroom); she pointed me (as I was hoping) to the end of the corridor.

The offices were sparsely furnished; indeed they only had two chairs and one small table.  This was really intriguing, I thought.

Eventually, Hud came out of his office and apologized for keeping me waiting.  His office was large and tastefully furnished.

He made some small talk, and then moved on to the business at hand.  Since he was Egyptian, we had a choice of three languages:  French, Arabic, and Hebrew.  We settled for a Hebrew mixed with French and Arabic.

I spend over one hour with him, for he had many questions.  At the end, I looked over my application, and signed it.

Hud informed that no payment was due now; but that there would be a substantial fee to pay when I got married.  I blanched when I heard the amount.  He quickly reassured me by saying that I could repay him by instalments over a long period of time.

Hud added that it was worth it “for a lifetime of happiness!”  (I was too young back then to realize that no matter how well suited two people are, a marriage certainly isn’t a sure fire formula for a lifetime of happiness!)

I have no doubt in my mind that Hud Abravanel is the original inventor of Speed Dating!

At the end of the interview, I expected Hud to give me the name of a potential date, or to contact me later on.  But that is not how it worked.  He had a unique system, and it had worked wonder.  He believed that there is either chemistry between two people or there isn`t; and that that becomes clear within minutes after they meet.  Dating if there is no instant chemistry is simply a waste of time.

[I believe that the principle behind speed-dating as practiced today is based on that theory.  I only partially concur with it.  The attractive girl and the gorgeous guy will have “instant chemistry;” but that is purely hormonal; it doesn’t mean that they’ll get along, or if they marry will have a sound marriage.]

But how did Hud`s technique worked?

The easiest way to explain it is to describe the evening when I was “invited” to meet potential dates.

I put on my suit and went to the agency.  In the reception area, there quite a few men and women milling around.

Once in a while, Hud came out and called a name.  Next, that person was invited to sit in an office to wait for his or her potential date, or to meet that person.

There was no chemistry with the first lady I met; and so we simply wished each other good luck.

Next, when Hud called me, he knocked on a door, and introduced me to my next prospect.

In no time at all, magic reigned in the room!  She was very young, probably still in her teens; she had a round and innocent-looking face.  She informed that she had just finished high-school and was looking for a job.  She was also Egyptian.

She had that look on her face that said, “I really hope you like me.”  And I subtly indicated that I did.

I went on to talk about my own self, and time flew.

There was a knock on the door; it was Hud.  He took me outside, closed the door, and asked me if I liked her.  I indicated that I did but wanted to talk with her more.  Hud response was that he had to keep things moving, I couldn’t occupy the office forever.  His conclusion was that she wasn’t the right match.  He told me to go in and tell her:  “haya na’im li meod lehakir otakh.”  (It was nice meeting you.)  And I did just that!  The look of disappointment on her face is something I will never forget.

Today I have questions, but no answers.  Why did I listen to Hud?  Why didn’t I walk in and asked for a date?  Would it have worked out between us?  If so, I probably would have stayed in Israel and my life would have been totally different.

Then again, we all have a major “WHAT IF?” in our life.  And we can only speculate on what might have been.

I never went back to that agency.

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