There are some people I feel related to even though I’m not. For example, the young woman around my age who shares my last name and grew up in Queens. I never met her. But I’ve heard all about her from everyone who has ever tried to play Jewish geography with me. If we ever got together, we’d have a gazillion mutual acquaintances to hash over. Sometimes I wonder if she ever gets asked about me. I’d be jealous if she didn’t.
So naturally, I heard about it when she got engaged from a local OnlySimchas junkie.
“Ooh! Look who’s engaged! A relative of yours?”
It’s weird, but I really am quite happy for her. I don’t know her and I can’t even say that I feel like I know her. It’s more like I feel like I should know her. And now she’s engaged! Mazal tov to my NENYF (Newly Engaged Not Yet a Friend)! May you have many simchos in the future – and may I hear all about them.
Onlysimchas is fodder for many a post. It is a phenomenon in the Jewish community, creating many new problems for people to grapple with.
For example, there’s the No That’s Not Me issue that people with semi-common names have to deal with. A friend of mine recently spent a week fielding calls from happy friends and acquaintances, whom she had to inform that ‘no, she was not engaged. That was a different Shoshana Fried from Lakewood.’
Then there’s the I’ve Been Posted Wrong problem, where the first friend you call to tell that you’re engaged goes and posts you on onlysimchas, invariably spelling your chosson’s name wrong. Onlysimchas has also created a new sort of stress upon friends. After all, how will it look if your friend gets engaged and you haven’t posted a “MAZAL TOV!!!!!! Ohmigosh I’m sooo happy all the best & may u build a bayis neeman biyisroel!!! ”? Even if you’ve done all the shrieking in appropriately loud decibels over the phone to her—nobody else knows that.
And then there are people who just don’t want their name on the net, for privacy reasons. Maybe they don’t feel like sharing the simcha (gasp), or maybe they don’t want their name to be googlable alongside “Boruch Hashem! My crazy roommate has found someone who can handle her! May you have only brocha and hatzlocha.”
And don’t forget all the relatives and onlysimchas-junkie friends who will be insulted to find out that you’re engaged via onlysimchas instead of by personal phone call; never mind that you were posted within minutes of engagement and didn’t have time to call your own parents yet.
Ah, onlysimchas. What was life like before you?
I received a call from an onlysimchas.com junkie. She was… perturbed? Unsettled? by their new look. She felt it was a better setup and was enjoying the new organization, but it was kind of like coming home and finding her living room rearranged.
Yes, her living room. The site is that much a part of her life.
I’m waiting for someone to classify onlysimchas addiction as a pathology in the Jewish community. There are always those people—you know at least one—who simply can’t get enough of the site. They spend hours at a time scrolling and clicking, living vicariously through all the happy smiling faces getting engaged, married, moving to Israel, having children, etc. Name someone who recently became engaged and they go, “Oh yeah, last Thursday. Cute couple,” even though they’d never heard of the person before he or she popped up on the website. (Talk about everyone getting their 15 minutes of fame!)
Is it a coincidence that these people are almost invariably single? They’re living vicariously through others, like old men watching little boys play. Or little boys watching a minor league sports game, to get the direction right. The smiling faces on onlysimchas are enjoying the parts of life these singles haven’t yet reached, despite their best efforts. Reading the names and looking at the faces of those who have obtained the happiness they believe lies just beyond engagement (yeah right) is as close as they can currently get. Browsing through the site is a self-flagellation of sorts, doubtless providing a masochistic pleasure.
Me, I just stay away.