The Sound Of Many Yentas Flapping

Just so you know what you’re missing at the Jewish Family Services senior lunch, here’s an excerpt of yesterday’s conversation:

Beezy, who deserves the title “Head Yenta” far more than I: “Oy, dahlink, where are your sleeves?”

Me, looking down at my H&M tank top and realizing I should have worn something more modest to a religious old persons’ gathering instead of worrying about pit stains: “Eeep, do you think I’ll offend anyone?”

Beezy, motioning towards the men’s table across the room: “Ach, they can’t see you anyway. I meant I could never wear such a thing anymore. Y’know, this.” She reaches under one arm and gives herself a pinch.

Dorothy, who we’ll crown Lieutenant Yenta: “That’s nothing. Look at this!” She holds up her 89-year-old arms and swings them to and fro, the jigging flesh visible beneath her blouse resembling nothing so much as wet laundry swaying in the breeze.

Beezy: “Oh, yeah? When my grandkids come over, they all ask ‘Bubbie, who let the air out of your arms?'”

Cackles all around.

Anne, of the fabulously manicured hands, waves them dismissively: “Pshhh! You ladies have obviously never seen my Hootchie Kootchie Man dance.”

Mickey, 90 years old with a tiny little girls’ voice, claps her hands like a tiny little girl: “Yes, Annie, show them the Hootchie Kootchie Man!”

Anne, turns to me and nods, raises up one arm clad in turquoise polyester and grabs a handful of skin, forming an ersatz face. “Hootchie, hootchie, kootchie, kootchie!” As she shimmies in her chair, her arm does in fact resemble a dancing man. The entire table explodes into hysterical laughter, then dissolves into coughing fits. “My grandkids just love that one. Every time they visit I have to do it four or five times!”

At this point I have surrendered to the surreality of this situation and I say: “It’s a shame you don’t have a tattoo; you could charge for that. Or at least get a spot on Jay Leno.”

More cackling, more coughing.

Larry, the JFS coordinator comes over to see what a bunch of old women could possibly find so funny. “What’s going on here?”

Mickey, who has a high-pitched giggle that matches her sweet, tiny voice: “Show him, Annie!”

Anne: “Hootchie kootchie, hootchie kootchie!”

Larry, who moonlights as a jazz radio DJ and has probably never seen such ribaldry on his day job: “That’s…that’s very entertaining, Anne. But y’all need to calm down before the men’s table starts in with their tricks. I promise you don’t want to Morty Solomon to start with his ‘pull my finger’ routine.”

Beezy: “Hey Morty! Get over here!”

Who knew arm flap could provide such joy to people? Screw tricep curls, yo.

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