Three handsome, successful NJBs (nice Jewish boys) stand before a beautiful, talented young woman, vying for her hand. How will she ever decide?
Good thing she won’t have to. No, this is not some old Jewish fairytale you’ve never heard of, and there are no evil stepmothers or wicked witches to interfere; rather, it’s reality TV, and three wise bubbies will determine the fate of this menschy maiden, a gorgeous actress and server with flowing wavy blonde hair named Sionne. Who will the bubbies select to take Sionne on a date (that will be recorded for our viewing and commenting pleasure?!): Will it be bartender and biker boy Eli, a judío latino; hopeless romantic Daniel, a personal trainer; or bearded blondie Bradley, a musically talented stand-up comic?
It’s just another day’s work on the set of Bubbies Know Best in Los Angeles, and I’m still pinching my own punim that I’m actually here right now, hosting this incredible new matchmaking reality show for JLTV (Jewish Life Television). Bubbies features three amazing real-life Jewish grandmothers playing yenta to a different lucky single on each episode. Whether it’s a twenty-something California girl, like today’s episode, or a senior, a shiksa, or a lesbian, the bubbies are hard at work setting up a plethora of amazing people in Season 1, and I couldn’t be happier to be hosting a show with such a wonderful premise!
My own bubbie, or Nana Roza, as I’ve always called her, has always believed she is THE bubbie who knows best when it comes to everything and everyone. She won’t hesitate to tell a Michelin-starred chef she can cook herself better salmon from Costco; or offer diet tips to the lady working the register at TJ Maxx; or suggest a different hairstyle to an unsuspecting waitress at Red Lobster.
Growing up, I let my Nana’s words of wisdom often fall upon my deaf ears. While my 10-year-old self probably should have ignored her comments about my bulging belly ruining my chances for marriage, I realized there really is so much my grandma does know about life and love. She’s been on this earth for almost 95 years, survived the Holocaust, and worked her tuches off to provide for her three incredible daughters. When I was 28, eager for her approval, I introduced Nana to my first serious boyfriend at my cousin’s wedding. Without any further explanation, she dismissed him with a wave of her hand, declaring, “Oy, no! That one has the evil eye!” He and I broke up a month later (and no, not because she said that!), and I started wearing a little chamsa charm to ward off any other evil eye guys (EEGs). Since then, I’ve realized that Jewish grandmothers really do want the best for us, even if they let us know in interesting ways!
The three lovely ladies who were cast as themselves to be the bubbies on Bubbies Know Best aren’t just castmates to me — they’ve become like family to me, too. Often donning sequins and animal print, S.J., the sassy bubbie of the group, was born and bred in Brooklyn and has experience as a business owner, actress, voiceover artist, and schoolteacher. Whether she’s sharing stories about her cats or showing me her implants (TOOTH implants, that is), she’s always making me smile. Bubbie Linda, a sweet, gifted actress and longtime cantor, inspires me with her knowledge of Judaism and the loving dynamic she has with her husband of thirty years, an Englishman we call “Prince Phillip”. Bubbie Bunny, a talented actress who danced on American Bandstand as a teen, never ceases to captivate my attention with tales of being raised Catholic by her adopted family before recently taking a DNA test and learning she’s 50% Jewish. Though much younger and hipper than my Nana, Bubbie Bunny is perhaps the most like my own grandmother: the other day, she surprised me with a dress she bought straight off the rack at Ross that was made for me!
While working alongside these incredible three women on set in L.A., I felt inspired by their wisdom as well as that of my own Nana Roza, who I will see next month at her 95th birthday bash in Charleston, SC. I decided to compile a list of love tips straight from the mouths of bubbies, and I hope you find it as enlightening and useful as I do! Here it is:
Bubbies Know Best: A Love List to Live By
1. You can be right all the time, and you can be alone! Compromise!
2. Have “Play Dates” — the child inside you loves them! After all, we’re all kids — just with bigger, wrinklier bodies.
3. STOP before you SHTUP! Don’t hop in bed the moment you meet – Give it some time to get to know each other.
4. Love is respect. If you respect each other, you’ll last.
5. A relationship is like a plant. Water it everyday, or it will dry out.
6. It’s okay to lose a battle. If you get married, you’ve won the war!
8. You already know how you think; listen to your partner to find out how he/she thinks.
9. If you floss your teeth in front of your date, you might not lose your teeth, but you’ll lose your date! Keep some mystery.
10. When you are angry, just hold your partner’s hand. Remember why you fell in love with them.
11. Don’t cheat. If you can’t trust yourself, you’ll never trust anyone.
12. Treat a first date like a job interview… and go on lots of coffee dates.
13. Remember, the bottom line is we’re all looking to love and be loved. Stop the games and B.S.!
14. Make a deposit into the “Bank of Love” everyday. Show your partner you love them with your words and/or actions — compliments go a long way.
15. First, we eat. No one wants a hangry date! (Thanks to the bubbie of one of the show’s suitors, Catherine, for this one!)
16. Think of your relationship like one big party. Keep having adventures, and have fun!
17. Looks fade. Marry for love — but there is truth to the whole “doctor or lawyer” thing!
18. They say opposites attract, but the more you have in common, the better.
19. Make a list by hand — not on a computer — of the type of person you are looking for.
Keep adding to the list everyday.