THE JEWISH LADIES OF LONG BRANCH
Chutzpah (/ˈhʊtspə, ˈxʊt-/) is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word ḥutspâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning "insolence"-- "cheek"---or--- "audacity".
As a teenager in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I made my spending--money by babysitting. Back then, I think the going rate was 50 cents an hour---certainly not get-rich-quick money. My babysitting services were most-popular among Pine Bluff’s local Jewish Families with such familiar names as Baim, Sherman, Gershner, and Blau.
Young and impressionable, I observed that Jewish women were more confident, more out-spoken, than other women in Pine Bluff. Jewish women appeared to “say what they thought and get what they wanted.” From that time on, every Jewish woman I knew---from Arkansas to New Jersey, from California to New York—wore the fanciest jewelry, the most elegant furs, drove the finest cars---and had the most adoring husbands.
In the eighties, when I lived in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, I became friends with a young doctor named Bob, from Long Branch, New Jersey. I never tired of hearing how Bob launched his "first" career to pay for his "second" career in medicine:
Growing up in a poor Italian family, Bob was determined to earn money for Medical School and soon, he took the advice of a few of his more-seasoned, male friends. Barely eighteen, he signed up to be a House Boy at one of Long Branch’s Fanciest High-Rise Hotels. The Hotel catered to wealthy Jewish Widows from New York City who paid large sums to live there, year-round.
Basically, being a House Boy meant doing anything and everything requested by “The House”….meaning the occupants therein. When Bob wasn’t attending college, taking tests, and studying, he was driving some Jewish Lady (in her car) to the hair dresser, bridge parties, shopping, and doctor’s appointments; he served as a Jewish Woman’s “date” for dinner, movies, plays, and sight-seeing and, it seems, Bob was a popular choice among these much-older women, to be their dance partner for parties and celebrations. Most intriguing to me---Bob was sought-after by almost every Jewish Lady in the building, to be her over-night bed partner.
Fascinated by his most-unusual job description, I asked Bob endless questions, including what the job paid. Of course it was difficult to break-it-all down to each “assignment” but… he said that working approximately 48 hours for an “average” week…he earned more than 6 thousand dollars. He explained that Jewish Ladies like to “tip” rather than pay an hourly wage. The more these wealthy women liked your looks, your actions, and your ability “to please”….. the bigger the tip.
He admitted there were some major “challenges” and described one Jewish Lady in particular. The Lady was more than eighty, in a wheelchair, completely incontinent, had loose dentures, and--- despite endless cosmetic surgeries and hair implants-- resembled a grotesque old man. Even worse, because of her “plumbing problems”, she smelled like an outhouse. Bob said it was widely-rumored that she was the wealthiest woman in the building and, she tipped well to the young boys she liked best. He admitted to spending several nights with her, although he refused to divulge the intimate details….only that he received five thousand for each night.
I’ve always said that money can’t make you happy but….it gives you choices. Jewish Ladies from Long Branch, New Jersey, seemed to enjoy spending their money in entertaining ways. When you need a dancing partner, you just pay for the youngest and best-looking House Boy with the best moves. When you feel lonely, choose the House Boy you like best, for the length of time you need attention. And, when you want someone as a bed partner, select the best-looking and best-equipped House Boy around and pay him for a “job well done.”
Oh, but, on second thought….. doesn’t all this sound a little-bit like prostitution?!?!?