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Luke and Tali

Let’s face it: the truly great moments in life are all too rare and precious.  So when such a moment comes along, as it did via the surreal medium of reality TV, it is that much sweeter. September 15, 2009 saw the end of Luke’s search for the perfect wife on More to Love.  So surprised and pleased was I with Luke’s choice that, for days after the finale, I found the image of those two young people so much in love burned into my brain like a vivid, cherished photograph.  Therefore, for those who may have missed the finale, I am going to tell you right up front which woman the bachelor selected as his life-partner.  He chose quiet, dark-haired, improbable Tali over the more obvious choice of Malissa.  And I am so glad that he did!


In the program’s premier episode, it was patently clear that, although a consummate gentleman to all twenty hopefuls, Luke had his favorites, and Malissa was at the top of that list.  He and the pretty, happy go lucky Malissa had locked lips, and perhaps more, early on.  Their sexual tension was almost palpable through the TV screen.  Tali, on the other hand, almost faded into the woodwork; indeed, viewers saw little of her until the program had begun to draw to its conclusion.  Malissa was the quintessential all-American; in fact, she was a Californian, like Luke.  This statuesque, blonde, buxom waitress was also Christian, as was Luke.  By comparison, dark horse Tali was beautiful in her own right, slightly exotic, and most assuredly Jewish.  Born and raised in Israel, she had relocated all on her own to New York City on what some would have termed a fool’s errand and what Tali thought of as a calling.


As the number of contestants dwindled, Luke met with their families.  Malissa’s two sisters did little to strengthen his notion that he had chosen wisely.  They divulged to the 330-pound Luke that their big sis had only recently gained the weight that enabled her to compete on the show, and Malissa made it evident that she viewed the show as a competition.  Worse, her siblings divulged that Malissa really did not like children. Although she tried to dance her way out of that one, Luke saw the handwriting on the wall; wanting a family of his own, was torn by these revelations.  But when he met with Tali’s aunt and uncle who were living Stateside, things looked even dimmer.


Tali’s uncle was a relative by marriage, a Gentile who had confronted friction and self-doubt by way of a family steeped very strongly in Judaism.  When Luke literally kissed the third contender, Mandy, goodbye, I shook my head, wondering what the heck he was thinking and what he was thinking with, to have narrowed the choices down to Malissa and Tali!


But Tali emerged quickly as my choice.  Luke absolutely loved the water; Tali feared it, despite having done her requisite turn in Israel’s Navy.  Knowing how much Luke enjoyed swimming and boating, she agreed to place herself in Luke’s hands as the couple snorkeled on their last date.  Wearing “water wings,” the lady conquered her fears and won my vote.  But things really heated up when both ladies were introduced, on separate occasions, to Luke’s divorced parents.


The would-be groom’s dad, brother, and grandmother were very cordial to Tali, who was a tad shy and very sweet, and who participated in saying grace over the barbeque.  The meal must have included pork, verboten in the Jewish religion. Tali was extremely gracious, even when Luke’s dad questioned her repeatedly about the religious differences.  But the family simply adored the beer-swigging Malissa, saying that she was like “one of the family.”  Push came to shove, however, when Luke’s mother showed up unannounced one morning, surprising the girls in their PJ’s.


During a one-on-one with Tali, Luke’s mom learned that Tali had set out, all on her own from a foreign land, to secure modeling jobs in New York City.  Her motive was and is to serve as a role model for young teens and indeed, anyone who may suffer from a poor self-image due to their weight.  More importantly, she also learned that Tali is more spiritual than religious, and that is what true faith is based upon.   Finally, Tali seemed to care genuinely and deeply about Luke and wished also for a family.  Tali had emerged as a strong, quietly confident, focused woman who would complement Luke perfectly.


But given the chance to tell Luke and his mother how she felt about him, Malissa never once spoke of her feelings.  All she said was, “I’m in it to win it” and boasted that she had made it thus far, into the final two.


When Luke finally went down on bended knee to ask Tali to be his bride, I feared she had changed her mind because the final interactions with the families had only heightened the issue of religion.  For a very long moment, Tali was speechless.  But when she finally found her voice and smiled a radiant “Yes!”, I cheered them on and have not quite stopped cheering.


All’s well that ends well!

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