(Wikipedia) The Nice Jewish boy is a stereotype of Jewish masculinity which circulates within the American Jewish community, as well as in mainstream American culture which has been influenced by the Jewish minority. In Israel and the parts of the Diaspora which have received heavy exposure to the American media that deploy the representation, the stereotype has gained popular recognition to a lesser extent.
The qualities ascribed to the nice Jewish boy are derived from the Ashkenazic ideal of edelkeit (lit., “nobility” in Yiddish). According to Daniel Boyarin’s Unheroic Conduct (University of California Press, 1997), edelkeit embraces the studiousness, gentleness and sensitivity said to distinguish the Talmudic scholar and make him an attractive marriage partner.
Place in Jewish and American culture
The resistance that a Jewish male may launch against this emasculating image in his quest to become a regular guy occupies an almost mythical place in Jewish American literature. Norman Podhoretz, the former editor of Commentary, made the following comment about Norman Mailer’s literary and “extracurricular” activities:
“He spent his entire life trying to extirpate what he himself called the ‘nice Jewish boy’ from his soul, which is one of the reasons he has done so many outrageous things and gotten into trouble, including with the police. It’s part of trying to overcome that life-long terror of being a sissy.”
The nice Jewish boy or NJB can metamorphose into my-son-the-doctor or similar roles; all of them usually being synonymous with monetary success. The NJB wants to be recognised by his peers and ultimately joins the country club and the local Temple.
The Beverly Hill Billies and Ellie May or how an NJB was created.
If you ever watched the Beverly Hill Billies you would understand that Jed Clampett was no Nice Jewish Boy although he had many fine qualities. At the age of 10 and until the age of 19 I would watch the BHB’s and sometimes fall asleep watching the worst of American TV imported by the English Commercial Channels owned by Lew Grade (a NJB). Ellie May was a SchicksaChick and although I didn’t know it, she was probably my first SC.
She still looks cute.
There are two indispensable qualities that an Ellie May or a ‘Caroline’ must have. They should be non-Jewish and they should be cute. There are no other qualifications.
Profile of David, the Archetypal NJB.
Brought up in a major city suburb such as Long Island, Stamford, CT., Beverly Hills, Bel Air, L.A., / North London, New York Upper West or Upper East Side. Went to local Jewish school or private day school, occasional State. No boarders (i.e.no buggery) then off to college or Dad’s business or on his own. A NJB always runs his own business or is a partner. He is usually a Lawyer, Banker, Doctor, Businessman or Academic. Either way a NJB has plenty of smarts and is usually off-the charts when it comes to being at the top of his game. He only dates non-Sloane (most Sloane’s are anti-Semitic anyway) non-Jewish girls. They have to be drop dead gorgeous (which rules out 75% of Sloanes) and have not a trace of an upper class accent. A NJB does not know and could not care which is the front or the back end of a horse but can tell you the 0-60 mph acceleration time of a Ferrari F430 (3.5 sec). His idea of a good weekend is a trip to South Beach or the Hamptons or sliding a Ferrari around Goodwood or a Maserati around Palma. He would never become an Army, Navy or an Air Force man, but if he did, he would want to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He stays away from dangerous activities such as solo expeditions to the North Pole. He plays golf, tennis and squash. He either owns a gym or belongs to one. He likes good food but not more than good attractive company. He tries never to wear a tie or links. He is international and may speak several languages such as French and Russian. He has no interest in ‘u’ and ‘non-u’ and doesn’t care how you pronounce ‘Beauchamp Place, Fenwick or Norman St John-Stevas, as in Baron St John of Fawsley. An NJB wants to know who you are, what you know, what you’ve done. Not interested in school, family, home, estate, friends etc.
He is good in bed and expects you to be too and he wants you to enjoy sex as well. He drinks a glass of wine with dinner, never gets drunk and expects his SC’s not to end a good night puking all over the place or lying unconscious on the sidewalk in Regent Street at 1.30 am with her legs wide apart and her knickers showing. He never drinks cappuccino after 11:00 am and always drinks an Americano after dinner. He has read a lot but he does not read. He likes picture books, and ideas. That’s all for now.
NJB looking for SC
I am a NJB, 5’ 10”. Mid-thirties, blue eyes, black hair, no beard, good shape but not muscular, Banker.
I like women blonde with blue eyes. But I am not into one ‘type’. I have dated Asians, Africans, Russians and yes blue-eyed blondes from Texas. I drink moderately and never enough to end up the next dawn ‘blotto’ with my trousers rolled-up standing in Sloane Square with a glass of Champagne in my hand. This would imply that the previous night’s date had long gone home out of boredom or frustration.
I have not been to a Temple (Synagogue) since I was Barmitzvah’d and I went to Israel once when I was 15 to pick melons on a Kibbutz where I got to know a few nice Israeli girls. I am a great fan of the ‘Church’ from an architectural viewpoint. I am also grateful to Catholicism for keeping Art and Literature alive during the Dark Ages and for financing the start of the Renaissance. A good afternoon could be described as a visit to Chartres or Canterbury. I attended a private day school in Manhattan and then the London School of Economics before switching to Columbia Business School. My two favourite towns are New York City and London. My favourite view is the Hudson and the GW Bridge as you drive down the Henry Hudson Parkway at dusk. The Thames seems a poor comparison. I hate anything Sloaney (which also seems to have an undercurrent of anti-Semitism) or Preppy (Brooks Brothers), all so predictable, but I have mastered my English education enough to sound English whilst thinking Yiddish.
As you can guess, Public School (UK) and Preppy (US) types bore me. I don’t like shooting or fishing and as far as Annabelle’s goes, I prefer to have fun above ground. I like my invitations by phone or in person and never on an embossed card. And unless you are Daniel Craig, I think ‘black-tie’ usually signifies an activity in which I am forced to share a table with people I don’t like and have never met for almost as long as it takes to fly from London to New York. Paradoxically, I think gambling is also boring. I walked into the Casino at Monte Carlo and thought that it was drab. I like Las Vegas, because you can eat or drink or dance at any time of night. What you do there stays there (attributed to Barbara Bush wife of George Bush Snr.) and it seems to encapsulate the American zeitgeist. You can also see a show without sitting in the back of a yellow cab for 30 minutes whilst trying to get across town during the pre-theatre rush.
The ‘Palace’ is the place where I turn right on the way home after dinner in the City or a great hotel on Madison. Gentleman’s Clubs are an anachronism and poor value for money unless you play squash on a regular basis. I don’t belong to any. I read the Wall Street Journal in New York and the European Edition in London. Alternatives are USA Today, Hello, and lastly, the Mail because I want to know what everyone else is reading and it’s entertaining. I have no political affiliations. Don’t believe in military service e.g. Queen’s Royal Lancers or in the USA, the Marines. However, for a good cause I would volunteer.
My idea of a good night out is a one-on-one dinner with somebody who I find sexy, stylish and intelligent and with whom conversation is effortless. A night together afterwards is a perfect dessert or ‘pudding’ as the English call it. Anything food or wine that tastes good is usually not from England. There is no point ordering a burger in London. The meat just doesn’t taste right. (I have revised that opinion since eating at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (www.gbk.co.uk). I always have to get a burger fix when I get back to New York. I also miss Coffee Shops and Diners when I am out of the States.
My favourite Coffee Shop is on the corner of Madison and 61st Street and is about as wide as railroad car and as busy as Grand Central. My favourite station is Grand Central. My least favourite is Euston. Weekends would be in a romantic hotel somewhere west of Terminal 5 such Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons or Cliveden an Italianate stately-home / hotel at Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England. I currently live in Knightsbridge Village and New York. I don’t own or drive a car. I am all in favour of global warming if it improves the English climate and their temperament. I hope this gives you some impression of my general likes and dislikes. If you see anything in the above which amuses you or strikes a chord, write back. If not, don’t.