Girls and Gifts: It Starts Early

By Estelle Sobel Erasmus

IMG_1898 Girls and gifts
The Gift of a Rare Doodle Bear


I know, it’s been a while. To be fair, I’ve had a difficult time transitioning out of the carefree, vacation-mind of the summer. We had two family trips in short order in August and early September; one of which was a trip to Disney World. During both those trips I had a much-needed break from social media and got a little more focused on what I really want. More on that to come.

Suffice to say that it has been very, very, hard getting back into a blogging routine, or any kind of routine at all after all that  (I know…I know.. first world problems). And of course, as you are aware for a while I’ve been Searching for My Creativity.

But let me take a moment to tell you what’s been on my mind lately…

It’s the allure of the women in my family and their ability to elicit the attention of men. Let’s start with my mother. When she was a teenager and living in Israel, a Sheik (Sheik) offered my grandmother a huge wad of cash in exchange for her. That’s right, cash, which wasn’t chump change even back in the day. He saw my mother at the airport; and proceeded to try to win her over with talk of all his riches. When that didn’t work, he turned his attention to my grandmother. I  believe he first offered horses and cattle and sheep; and then moved to cash. My grandmother had gone through a war and been to hell and back for her family, but to her credit, turned him down flat (not sure if Honey Boo Boo’s mom would have done the same).

The Sheik’s loss was my father’s gain.

Which brings me back to well, me. Back in the day, I was known as the “Dating Diva”, and spoke regularly on talk shows about how to get a man’s attention and interest, and keep it. I also was quite the dating expert and knew how turn a get together for coffee into a five- course-meal (more on that later, too).  I had an opportunity to publish a book about dating (just ask book agent Katharine Sands), but had met my husband and decided that I wanted to be married, and didn’t want to be the “Dating Diva” anymore. So I passed on the book project. I’ve known my husband for ten years, so this all truly went down more than a decade ago, and um, I guess I’ve kept my husband’s interest, so maybe I should have written that book:)

That’s me, back in the day.. of the Dating Diva.

At any rate, my daughter has exhibited an uncanny ability to elicit interest from grandfatherly type figures (as well as toddler boys). When she was a baby, we were traveling in Toronto and an older man came right up to our table at dinner and gave us a tiny key chain with two dangling dutch shoes, to give to my “adorable little one.” I accepted the homage to my daughter graciously, but to my husband’s amusement  refused to give it to her to handle, convinced that a tiny camera was concealed in one of the shoes. Bottom line:  I  managed to throw it in the garbage lose it once we got home.

Flash forward to this month. We were coming home from Yom Kippur services, and went to the mailroom to get our mail. My husband was wearing my daughter’s piggy neck rest around his neck while carrying her (the Princess must be toted when her feet hurts much like a mini-Cleopatra). An older, distinguished looking gentleman looked at the piggy neck rest and asked my husband, “what is that? Where did you get it.?” My husband said, “it’s for the airport, but she likes to carry it around. Not sure where we got it.” I volunteered, “Maybe at Target.” “Can I see it?” the man said. “My name is Ed Kaplan and I’m a toy inventor.”

“Wow,” I exclaimed. “What toys did you invent?”

“I just came from a meeting with Fisher Price,” Ed said. ” I have a lot of licenses, but did you ever hear of Doodle Bear?”

“Doodle Bear? We love Doodle Bear,” I exclaimed, thinking of the Doodle Bear we had upstairs who was festooned in ink all over his Doodle Bear body.

My daughter smiled brightly at him. “I have a Doodle Bear,” she said. He’s in my home.”

“I happen to have a special Doodle Bear with me, and I’d love to give it to this young lady, if that’s ok with you,” he said to me, smiling back at her. Look, here’s my name on the back of this package. And sure, enough there was his name-Ed Kaplan– as it was also on the card he handed me.

“This is a special Doodle Bear,” he repeated. You won’t find another one like it. They don’t make these anymore.”


Yup, Ed is for real!
Yup, Ed is for real!

My daughter’s starting early at working her charms, but as long as there are no Sheiks around (or men bearing gifts like creepy key chains), I think we’re good.

What “gifts” have you or your children elicited, and what do you think about it?






34 thoughts on “Girls and Gifts: It Starts Early”

    1. Hahaha Elissa. I never talked about appliances though on any of the talk shows. I should have also specified this was a side thing from my day job as a magazine editor.

  1. The females in your family are truly lovely, all of you! That Dating Diva pic is fantastic. I would have never, ever guessed that was your former title. Too funny!

    What a very cool gift from a stranger. Quite impressive the charms of your darling diva daughter.

    1. Thanks Lisa. The Dating Diva moniker was actually an off-shoot of my magazine editor work; it was kind of a side thing I did; but lots of fun.

  2. OK, we need to do lunch so I can hear more about this fascinating life of yours. And by the way, your mother was movie star gorgeous. Wow. And clearly you and your daughter inherited the gorgeous genes.

  3. Wow, Estelle, who knew?! I love this, you Dating Diva, you! Gorgeous pictures. Can’t believe you didn’t share any of this during our Chicago travels!! I knew there were lots of guys staring at you! xo

    1. Lois,
      There are a lot more stories where those came from… Like the time I met Fabio, or had dinner with Ivana Trump, or when I had a photo shoot at my magazine with an apparently strung-out-on-cocaine Yasmin Bleeth (remember Baywatch) shortly before she went to rehab. Good times!

    1. Thanks so much Cheryl; my mom is still beautiful, but she was certainly Sheik-worthy when she was younger:)

  4. Estelle: Wow. I am just floored. I feel like I just met your alter ego — dating diva? daughter of an Israeli who was almost wooed away by a Sheik? One of the rare people who actually meets someone interesting on a place? Who ARE you?

    Loved this post. Have a wonderful birthday.

    1. Hi Jen,
      I am multi-layered, like an onion, but a sweet one:) Hopefully, we can meet one of these days-I might be in Israel next year.

    1. Caitlin,
      She is definitely comfortable accepting gifts–maybe cause I get so many for her from my blogging connections:)

  5. Love the dating diva pic! My son got a ton of christmas gifts from family members so I still have a very expensive gift unopened that we will give him this year. My husband and I don’t want the children to ask about getting gifts all the time…we would rather spend the money on family trips etc..

    1. Trina,
      That’s a good policy to put in place. Unfortunately, due to my blogger status, it seems that my daughter is always getting gifts.

  6. Look at YOU, Dating Diva! Hot mama! Anyways, I’ve totally heard of Ed Kaplan. What a crazy story. Sounds like the women in your family do indeed charm men, young and old!

    1. Carrie, Thanks. Glad you heard about old, sweet Ed Kaplan, too. He actually asked if my daughter was married and said he was available, but that’s for another story:)

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