There is a certain kind of girl (Jewish) who gets a certain kind of look (lovelorn) when you mention the name Adam Sandler. "He has been a part of my life for so long," my friend murmurs, her face awash with emotion. "I would watch him on Saturday Night Live, and my heart would ache. Nobody knows how much it would ache."
People tend to think of Sandler as a dirt-mouthed camp counselor, popular with little boys impressed by his penchant for filth and slapstick -- South Park kids. But they don't know the other Adam Sandler. For a small but passionate army of young women, he is a Jewish love god.
Sandler is not what you'd call a beautiful man. As he recently told David Letterman, "My body has changed. It used to be, when I was with a girl, 'Pretty funny -- and look at the abs.' Now I'm like, 'At least I'm nice.' "
It really doesn't matter how fat he gets, though. Jewish males have long been left with wit as their best weapon against rugged Wasp hotness in the epic struggle for babes. How many times have you heard people marvel over stubby Woody Allen scoring Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow? It sometimes works on the shiksas, but there is an added advantage with Jewish girls: Attraction has a lot to do with "connection" for some women, and while they may never have met Adam Sandler, they recognize his goofy, self-deprecating humor from years of bar mitzvah antics. This actually makes Sandler more appealing than Leo, if familiarity is your bag. (I mean, Brad Pitt singing "The Hanukkah Song"? I think not.)
Laughing is fun, but so is sex, and Sandler expresses an aggressive if adolescent virility that his comic Jewish forefathers rarely displayed. I doubt Woody could get away with singing the "stroke my dick at a medium pace" song, or carry off Sandler's bit about a Jewish mother obsessed with her son's "cock 'n' balls." With the exception of Lenny Bruce, who was too punk to be a fair comparison, Sandler is unprecedented in his equal fluency in Borscht Belt shtick and unabashed horniness. Woody talks about masturbating; Adam talks about getting laid.
Then there's the added allure of his post-hippie anti-slickness in an age where that distinctive celebrity-stylist glow is as de rigueur in Hollywood as white gloves at a cotillion. "I see you dressed up for the occasion," cracked Jay Leno like some hearty uncle when Sandler showed up on The Tonight Show flopping around in a T-shirt and sneakers. "Everybody wants me to dress up, and I can't do it," Sandler responded, smiling sweetly -- a hulking male version of Sharon Stone in a Gap turtleneck at the Oscars. This refusal to be anything but his schlocky, unfabulous self only makes Sandler more appealing to girls looking for an updated version of their slightly burnt-out dads who never looked quite right in the suits they put on when they got too old for dashikis.
So it wasn't altogether easy watching him grow up and get married (to someone else) in Big Daddy. And you can't blame us for feeling a little proprietary now that everyone else in the country is seeing in Adam Sandler what we always have: a dream guy.