Age is in the Eye of the Beholder

Most women can tell when they are getting older by their reflections in the mirror – the grey hair or two (or twenty or two hundred), the wrinkles around the eyes, etc. My “rude awakening” came in another, very Israeli way.

When I first came to Israel I was a twenty-year old student. I spent most of my time in my studies, but I of course went away for Shabbat to many interesting places, and I went on my share of tiyulim, both organized and spontaneous. So I had plenty of opportunity to ride both the local Jerusalem and the inter-city buses. What do you see on buses and at the central bus station? IDF soldiers, of course. Now I come from a long line of women who think that a man is easier on the eyes in a uniform. The “problem” is, is that in America at least, nice Jewish boys and uniforms don’t usually mix (David Bogner notwithstanding). Not so in Israel. Not only are there tons of nice Jewish boys in uniforms here, but many are even religious, their uniforms complemented with kippot (skullcaps) and tzizit (ritual fringes). Although I was newly religious, and I didn’t purposely boywatch, my eyes still worked, and every once in a while a really good looking soldier would catch my eye. In short, being single, I saw most of the young soldiers as potential husbands.

After making aliyah and moving to our yishuv, the green uniform took on a slightly different significance. My neighbors were now the soldiers – either career officers going off to work or those doing their once-a-year reserve duty. There were one or two soldiers at our gate, but they were more often than not reserve soldiers too. (I guess they sent the young guys to more dangerous areas). So now the IDF soldier became the regular guy on my street.

I commute to work now, after years of being at home. So I drive through the local checkpoint a lot more often than I did before. Recently as I waved through the window to say good morning to the soldiers, I found myself saying outloud to the empty car, “gosh, they are such babies!”

A horrible feeling came over me at that exact instant. Here I was, thinking that I had been quietly but steadily climbing up, and this one statement catapulted me right over the hill.

You know you are old when the sexy soldiers you see remind you of your kids, and bring out the maternal instincts instead of …..uh, other ones.

I guess it happens to the best of us.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. RR
    May 09, 2007 @ 16:19:09

    Oh, yes. The same thing happens to me and it’s a very strange feeling- I still check out the cute soldiers, but now it’s like, “What a cute kid.” KID? KID? And I realize that I’m not 25 anymore.

  2. jerusalem joe
    May 09, 2007 @ 17:09:46

    Such a beautiful post.Time really does fly.

  3. Lena
    May 09, 2007 @ 19:50:05

    I notice soldiers when they’re wearing pilots’ wings on their chests. 🙂

  4. anonymous
    May 09, 2007 @ 21:13:30

    This might sound weird but I am 25 and still view them as kids. At the checkpoint by us they must be about 20 or so years old but their world and mine seem so different. I am married and have two kids and they are young soldiers protecting us. Whenever I see younger soldiers I think of my younger sister who is a little older than they. It’s weird to me that kids who are about five years younger than I are carrying these large guns and are the ones protecting us from harm. I am however very thankful that they are there and have no doubts that they are very capable of doing their job.

  5. SnoopyTheGoon
    May 24, 2007 @ 16:40:10

    I believe that at the next age level these youngsters start to inspire …..uh, other instincts again, although I am not an expert in ladies’ development. Anyway, do not despair, there is life after 20. At least as far as I remember…

  6. aliyah06
    Jun 03, 2007 @ 16:40:54

    You also know that you’re old when the kids on the bus get up and offer you their seat. I couldn’t figure out why Israeli kids were SO polite until I figured out that they think I’m SO old

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