1. Whenever you try to pay someone a compliment, it comes out as backhanded.
Rare are the times a Jewish grandma is able to compliment you without burning you simultaneously. They’re terminally economical, and so they try to milk every opportunity for all its worth. A moment telling your friend (or your granddaughter) she merely looks beautiful is, in your opinion, a moment wasted. Instead, you’ll say, “You look gorgeous! Especially in light of those 10lbs you gained! **knudge knudge**”
2. You unwittingly collect things.
Jewish grandmas have a predilection for collecting tangible items, if for no other reason than to always have gifts for the Jewish holidays ready at a moment’s notice. Except it must be said that the simple act of starting a collection does not a Jewish grandmother make, for the vital ingredient to a Jewish grandma’s collection is that it began not consciously, but rather unthinkingly—more as a result of hoarding tendencies than anything else. This is the only way to determine if your collection is characteristically Jewish and grandma in nature—that is to say, weird, dusty, kind of smelly, generally useless and regarded by many as trash.
3. You really like cooking.
Whereas some people simply enjoy cooking, you, Jewish grandma-in-training, are aroused by it. The more people you have to cook for, the better. You’ve even suggested bringing some matzah balls to bed with you and your boyfriend, just to spice things up a smidgen. No matter how many people you’re cooking for, you’ll always make more than necessary. “Because, really, why not?” you think, “If they can’t finish it, fine! I’ll just put it in some tupperware and voila! Lunch and supper for the rest of the week.”
4. You’re overly judgmental with friends and family’s significant others.
As someone who’s headed, Route 80, full-speed towards Jewish grandma-ville, you’re inevitably hard to please when it comes to the men your friends and family date. Your friends have stopped telling you about their random hook-ups because they’re scared you’ll freak out again if the guy isn’t Jewish. And honestly, you’re better off not knowing—it was too hard on your lower back anyway.
5. You love Tiki-themed stuff.
At this juncture you’re just counting down the minutes until you’re officially a Jewish grandma, and so it makes sense that you’re innately and unavoidably drawn to the “Tiki” theme. You think a party is never really a party unless it’s besotted with tiki torches; you’ve found that it looks charing on any and all houses, and, if you haven’t already, then you certainly will be pushing for the Tiki theme at your kids’ bar mitzvahs.
6. You smell like gefilte fish.
It’s a widely known fact that the makeup of all Jewish grandmas is 60% gefilte fish. Accordingly, you’ll emit a distinct, gefilte-like odor as a Jewish grandma and a faint tuna scent in the years leading up.
7. You sleep on a bed of tuna salad.
Tuna makes up like 80% of your overall happiness. When it comes to this dish, you’re a dogmatic supporter and advocate. You think all this talk about “mercury level” pure bologna. Everything you do in life, every decision you make, is tuna-centered. Even your mattress, which you chose because of its lumpy, tuna consistency.
8. There’s an unrelenting magnetic force pulling you to the nearest JCC.
You find yourself referencing the JCC at least six times a day, every day—forever startled as you are by its versatility. Whenever you visit an unfamiliar city, you always find yourself at their neighborhood JCC—whether running errands or just on an aimless walk, nothing can impede this magnetic pull. According to your boyfriend, you’ve even begun mumbling the JCC’s general rules and restrictions in your sleep. “No entry without card…zzzzz…Yes, free pool access…zzzzz…all cooking classes can be found online…zzzzz…”
9. Your sympathy and pity for homeless people can be overwhelming.
Laced within your body’s makeup is the need to coddle and care for. Seeing a homeless person on the street—especially ones with dogs—tugs profusely at your heartstrings. Every time you can’t help but turn to the pedestrian next to you and say, “He just looks so hungry! Ugh, the boy! He must be starving! For pete’s sake, all he needs is a good meal…”
10. You have a preference for food that looks pre-chewed.
As it happens, your love for tuna is so all-encompassing that it’s bled into other facets of your life. For instance now you can only eat things that have a tuna-like consistency. Your fridge is nothing more than stacks (on stacks) of tupperware filled with a purée- and pre-chewed-looking dish.
11. You’re really critical about your friends’ tattoos.
Your friends love you—how could they not? You’re the only one who still remembers to buy them a birthday present every year—but on the whole, you’re kind of a buzzkill. You’re tragically antiquated—you still swear by traveler’s checks for fuck’s sake—and so a handful of your friends’ decisions don’t exactly sit well with you. Countless are the times you’ve shook your head in disapproval at a friend’s new tattoo, trying in vain to make them feel guilty. “Fine!” you’ll say, “It’s not my body that’s been permanently vandalized. Just don’t come running back to me when you need money to get it removed because no employers want to hire an irresponsible tattooed young lady!”
12. You are cripplingly passive.
You’re a firm believer that you shouldn’t have to tell your friends and family the right way to react—they should just know! You’re stubborn too, but don’t like making a fuss of things. So when your friend says she was going to pick you up from the airport, but figured you could catch a cab instead, you’re all, “Oh, suuuuuure! Don’t worry about me. Just shove me in a cab and I’ll be fine! Not like I could use the friendly company after a 4-hour plane ride with complete strangers or anything…”
13. You have drawers filled with toiletry samples.
Shampoos, lotions, conditioners, hand soap, body wash—you name it, a rising Jewish grandma has a sample of it. Again, they’re economical. And what else are hotel shampoos and conditioners for? To stare at? “So sue me,” she might say.
14. You think Jewish boys are the most dateable boys.
— lydia emmanouilidou (@lydiaemman) September 25, 2013