Wednesday night, November 30, 2004, I interview Ari of the blog Ari Goes Down. She's a never-married 32-year old New Yorker from a yeshiva background (though she and her family were never Torah observant) who now dishes sex tips over the Web.
Luke: "When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?"
Ari: "An architect. I used to sit in my house and draw floor plans."
Luke: "What did your family want you to be?"
Ari: "Whatever I wanted. Something professional."
Ari says she was the class clown in yeshiva. "I don't think [the rabbis] had a clue where I was going to end up. I got into trouble a lot for wearing shorter skirts than you are supposed to, being a little too friendly with boys, being late to class."
Luke: "What about drugs?"
Ari: "Not in high school."
Luke: "Starting at what age did you start stealing guys' clothes?"
Ari: "Eighth grade."
Luke: "Your first proper kiss?"
Ari: "I know exactly where it was and I know who it was too. Eighth grade. This boy chased me around the class and kissed me. It was gross."
Ari majored in criminal law at college. She says she did not go on to law school "because I had two younger brothers who were still in college. It wasn't financially doable and I didn't feel committed enough to really push it.
"Are you British?"
Luke: "I'm Australian."
Ari: "I would never have guessed that."
Luke: "How did you choose the name Ari Goes Down?"
Ari: "Because it's provocative."
Ari began blogging in January 2002. "A girl I worked with had one. She was telling me about it. I thought it'd be cool.
"Most of my friends know about it. Most of my parents and relatives and people I work with don't know about it.
"Nobody has commented on my site that they knew me before..."
Ari dated a couple of guys she met through her blog.
Luke: "What inspires you to post?"
Ari: "When I have something in my head that I can't get rid of."
Luke: "What's your relationship with Judaism today?"
Ari: "We see each other occasionally. We stopped sleeping together a while ago. I go to shul on the holidays and other occasions and I speak Hebrew and we still have a kosher house."
Luke: "What would it take for you to be shomer Shabbat [Sabbath observant]?"
Ari: "Somebody amazing."
Luke: "Or God coming down and speaking to you?"
Ari: "That would just freak me out."
Luke: "Do you ever worry about your eternal salvation?"
Ari: "For the briefest of moments."
Ari has lived almost all her life in New York. She only dates Jewish guys (though she's made some exceptions in the past). She wouldn't date a black guy. "No. You can leave the emphasis out of that remark. Never, ever, ever.
"New York is a terrible place to be single. If you are single, the city seems to reinforce it. If you're single and lonely and you walk down the street, you don't see other single and lonely people. You only see nauseatingly happy twosomes. In California, you can drive around and see no one and feel great.
"In New York, everyone thinks something better is just around the corner, so it retards relationships."
Ari has never dated an Orthodox guy.
Luke: "Have you ever dated a guy that when you were undressing him, he was still wearing tzitzit?"
Luke: "Have you ever had a tefillin date?"
Luke: "What are your favorite Jewish texts?"
Ari: "I'm not a fan of strident Judaism."
Luke: "Have you gotten into many feuds online?"
Ari: "No. Steven Weiss is probably not a big fan of mine."
Luke: "What's the history there?"
Ari: "He linked me and I got 75 comments from people explaining to me all the 75 different reasons why my soul is damned and what a sucky Jew I was. I found it obnoxious. So I asked him to remove my link so that maybe some of the crazy right-wingers wouldn't find me. He didn't take too kindly to that request."
Luke: "You responded, I know Sam Norich, the Forward publisher."
Ari: "[Steven] explained to me that it was his right. I finally learned the art of blocking people [from commenting on her blog]."
Luke: "Did you go to the Forward publisher?"
Ari: "No. The timing was fortuituous [Steven got fired soon after]."
Ari's favorite Jewish singles columnists include Esther of MyUrbanKvetch and Amy Sohn.
Luke: "What are things in common that men you fall in love with have?"
Ari: "They're all smart and funny."
Luke: "What are the common things that go wrong?"
Ari: "Being in the city retards relationships. Maybe it retards people too. I don't think I would be the same 32-year old if I was living in Wyoming. It's a lot easier to be 30 and single in New York. Not that that's good. There's less of a stigma. You don't feel as awkward about it. To elongate it a little, to not settle with this person, and to just look a little bit more, seems normal here.
"I get commitment itchy."
She coughs. "I've gotten bored. There is so long you can date somebody before some other stuff is supposed to be involved and I'm often not ready for that step. But that could be a reflection of who I'm dating.
"I have great relations with my family. We all live near each other. My parents are still happily married."
Luke: "How long have you dated someone before telling him about your blog?"
Ari: "I've never told anyone. Either he already knows or he never knows."
Luke: "What are your ambitions for your writing?"
Ari: "To decide whether I am any good at it and attempt to proceed or discover that I suck at it and abandonment."
Luke: "After more than two years of blogging, what have you concluded?"
Ari: "There are definitely people who will read it, but if you leave a cereal box on the table long enough, people will read that too. I guess I keep waiting for a comment of validation from somebody interesting. A part of me does it because I'm a loud mouth and I'm arrogant enough to think that people care."
Luke: "What are your loftiest ambitions?"
Ari: "To host a talk show."
Ari got her first vibrator a year ago. Her friend was amazed she didn't have one and so Ari got her first as a Chanukkah present. She loves it.
Ari lost her virginity and had her first orgasm at age 17 around the end of high school.