There is a phenomenon that has swept Israeli beaches. I can not tell you historically how long this phenomenon has been around for, but I can say, it doesn’t look like it’s leaving any time soon. It’s called “matkot”, and at first, it seems like the Israeli national sport. But I think there’s more to this game than meets the eye.
Matkot is essentially ping-pong without the table. The paddles and ball are a bit larger, and the game is often more intense. There is no way to avoid matkot on the beach. Usually men play it at the very edge of the shore so that you have to dodge matkot balls in order to get into the waves. (In fact, I’ve been hit quite a few times, leaving glorious bruises on my arms. If only they weren’t so rough...) You can’t fall asleep in the sun without the sounds of the balls hitting the wooden paddles. And of course, it is impossible to not watch the men at play. Why? You know the answer. If there’s anything Israeli men do better than flashing you a smile and delivering a hopeless pickup line, it’s playing matkot.
|"Matkot" injuries. : )|
Their sweaty bodies drip with each smack of the matkot ball. They grunt as they reach for a hit. And then when the ball drops... well they have to bend down to get it, naturally. (And since most of them are wearing underwear as bathing suits, it’s usually a good show.)
But I think there is more to matkot than some athletic sport. In fact, I think matkot is a plumage demonstration, a peacock show if you will. It gives the men an opportunity to show off, not only their skills, but their bodies. And it works! Because how do we respond, ladies? We sit and we watch! (And we drool, and we breathe hard, and we stutter when our friends try to elicit responses from us.)
We whisper to our friends, “Oh, he is CUTE!” And after each ball drops we stick out our chest, flip our hair, and pray, “look at me, look at me, please look at me”, as they run over to get the ball, without giving us the smallest glance. Another missed opportunity.
To the ladies who sit and watch matkot all day, with the prayer that one of these studs will put down the paddle and sweep you off your feet... you’ve been sitting in the sun too long. This won’t happen; stop waiting for him to come to you. The days of lying on your towels and waiting for your hunk of Middle Eastern glory to notice you are no more. There are hundreds of girls just like us on the beach, nothing differentiating us from the beautiful Israeli girl lying next to us. (Except for the fact that she is a beautiful Israeli girl. And since she will steal the show... get up and do something!)
So here is it, my solution to your daydreaming woes: volleyball. I realize that not everyone has the “bump-set-spike” down pat. Don’t worry about it, this is not about your skills. It’s about... your feathers. You’re going to want to make sure that you do NOT play this game in your t-shirt. Remember, this is about sticking out... so stick them out! Take your hair down, head into the shallow water, and with a friend, commence the game.
Since you are in the shallow water, you will be awfully close to those matkot men. The ball will roll away, and they will have to stop to get it for you. Furthermore, now that there is actually something to watch other than matkot, many eyes will be on you. Put on a smile. Let the ball fall in the water as you crash into the waves. Say “todah” when your knight in shining armor rescues the rogue ball for you. And when you are done, walk back to your towel, lie down... and wait. They’ll be there in a few minutes.
Gentlemen, the beach is the world’s largest catwalk. And I’ll be damned if I let you steal this show. So, ladies, when you have to compete with delicious Israeli men, grab the bigger balls (the volleyball that is) and assume the position. You'll get the attention you want. Don’t forget to dodge the matkot balls on the way into the shore. They will be there; that’s how you know you’re in Israel.