November 12, 2008 | Issue 29

The Hot Chanie Field Guide

UPSCALE, EVERYWHERE — [] Like real Barbies, Hot Chanies come in lots of models (never "versions," always "models"), and I've braved the streets of Brooklyn to catalog just a few of the latest Hot Chanies cruising the 13th Avenue catwalk. Keep sending in your Hot Chanie sightings, and don't worry about disturbing the Hot Chanie in her natural habitat—odds are she'll never notice you.

Hereditary Hot Chanies

These mother/grown daughter Hot Chanie pairs are often seen shopping together in Flatbush and upscale outlet malls in the outlying NY area. While the senior Chanies tend to favor fur coats, shorter sheitels, and slightly lower heels, there is no doubt that the daughters have learned their sense of style at home. Also in that home is a husband and father who would prefer they developed a gambling habit instead because it would be cheaper. A Hot Chanie daughter-in-law is the only thing more expensive than a kollel son-in-law.

Hot Chanies in Exile

We can't all live in Brooklyn, and some Hot Chanies are forced to move out to the burbs or (gasp!) even further. Away from NY, Hot Chanies stand out more than ever against a backdrop of polyester-wearing mid-westerners, Gap-shopping Jersey-ites, and California bohemians but will not change a hair on their custom sheitels to blend into their new surroundings. Hot Chanies in Exile gravitate toward one another and meet at Starbucks to complain about the lack of decent shopping and sheitel machers. They return to the mothership at least twice a year to restock their closets, visit with family, and to enjoy the macher and hocker capital of the world.

Tot Chanies

Sure, your two-month old is blissfully happy in a stretchy, but a Tot Chanie wouldn't be caught dead in anything less than designer baby duds. Tot Chanies are born, not made, getting their ears pierced before even the hospital ID bracelet goes on (the crying is because it's not a tennis bracelet). Tot Chanies become those frum preteen girls dressed in styles that make them look at best uncomfortable and at worst like jailbait. Non-HC mothers seem to think ten-year olds should run, not teeter on high heels, but they also think they shouldn't wear tops so tight you can see their training bras, so what do they know?

Not Chanies

Some Hot Chanie identifications are false positives, like a poppy seed bagel on a drug test. (Not that a Hot Chanie would eat a poppy seed bagel. That's 65 grams of carbs, and a seed could stick in her teeth!) The following scenario happens as often as a Hot Chanie checks a mirror: You're walking behind a stylishly dressed woman with long, straight, shiny hair. She's wearing high-heeled designer boots and a long coat, or maybe a striking skirt and a sweater. "Hot Chanie," you think to yourself. But when you come face to face with her you see she is wearing a cross, that her hair is certainly not a sheitel, or some other giveaway that she is most definitely not a Chanie. Hot, yes, Chanie, no.

Hot Mommies

Rare is the Hot Chanie who is so vain she would forgo childbearing to retain her figure, and--culinary skills being limited to reading French menus--the only time she'll ever have a bun in the oven. To Hot Chanies, pregnancy is just another accessory, and the added "boost" saves on miracle bras! Wearing non-maternity clothing until absolutely necessary, shopping for navel-hugging clothes at that maternity store (motto: "For when your period is fashionably late") that's so expensive you'd think the price includes the hospital stay, and keeping their front-loaded figures well-balanced on high heels, these women stay chic and stylish until they drop it like it's hot. A few weeks of Mommy and Me, yoga, and swimming, and they have their figures back long before the next stick turns blue.

Not-so-hot Chanies

There's nothing more tragic than the Not-so-hot Chanie. These women try so hard to be Hot Chanies but, like their two-sizes-too-small shoes, they can't pull it off. Unlike this description, they don't need some more fleshing out.

Please note: does not believe that (most) Hot Chanies are anything like the characters portrayed in the Hot Chanie Field Guide; any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


Pencil Mordy Ovits did standup once. They laughed at him. They all laughed at him. You can email your laughter to him at

Pencil Shifra is the most fabulous correspondent. Raised in specially-built awesomeness schools, she broke the world record for coolness by age 14. By 18 she had cornered the market on hipness, with hotness rising faster than her numerous suitors' ardor. Her current age is top secret for reasons of national security, understandable given China's well-known government-sponsored fabulousness industry. You can reach her at her undisclosed (but fabulous) location by emailing


comment Pretty Shani said...

You must have met my neighbor!

November 12, 2008 at 11:56 p.m.

comment (Hot) Chanie said...


November 13, 2008 at 2:11 a.m.

comment tot chanies... said...

I've heard them referred to as "prosti-tots".

January 6, 2009 at 10:36 a.m.

comment Martin Bodek said...

Hyuk hyuk! :-) (my version of "LOL")

January 6, 2009 at 7:11 p.m.

comment Prag said...

Well written I gotta say.

February 20, 2009 at 3 p.m.

comment american born said...

OH boy. This is basically why all those ashki rabbi's didn't want to give a heter to wear a shietl. Sephardim didn't give in. I am often the only person wearing a tichel. and an inordinate amount of people ask me "are you Israeli?" *sigh saaaad

April 7, 2009 at 11:33 p.m.

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