I haven’t yet been to a shadchan. I’ve heard too much about them from friends. About calling and calling back, leaving messages, leaving more messages, scheduling appointments, and having them cancelled. Repeatedly. About showing up to an interview and after a long talk hearing, “I don’t know anyone in your age range” or “I have too many girls and not enough boys” or simply, “Well I’ll put you down, but I doubt I can help you.” About having to call back again and again to remind them that you exist, that you’re still single, that you’re hoping they’ve found someone who might match you.

It is beyond me why any self-respecting would put herself through that. Hashem created us too, even if we’re “girls” and a dime a dozen. We deserve to be treated with dignity. Shadchanim: if you can’t respect your customers, get out of the business.

But no—they can’t get out of the business! We need them. Isn’t the “Shidduch crisis” caused by a dearth of people willing to set up other people? Who cares if they treat us like dirt? If it gets us married in the end, we’ll take it.

That’s the earnest answer I’ve heard from so many friends. It makes me sick. Are we that desperate?

“…I told my boss I wasn’t coming in to work that day. I canceled a doctor’s appointment. I was in my car, about to make the hour-and-a-half drive to the shadchan when she called and rescheduled for next week. I had to show up to work and reschedule my appointment. I was annoyed, let me tell you. And she did that more than once. But she found me my husband! There are some things you just have to do, you know? Dealing with shadchanim is one of them. It’s a pain, but that’s life.”

I know, I know. Intellectually, I know. But emotionally, I just can’t handle it. I had one run-in with a shadchan that I remember. My parents had spoken to her over the phone several times, and she was very vague and non-committal. She didn’t even ask for any information—they had to shove it at her. Finally they suggested a face-to-face appointment, to which she agreed. We discussed timing, and she said how about Sunday morning, at 9:15 am? I agreed and hung up. Then I noticed that Sunday was erev Yom Kippur. Who on earth would make an appointment for 9:15 the morning before Yom Kippur?

Her “shadchan” hours were between 8 am and 10:30 am, so I decided to call the morning of the appointment before going, to ascertain that all was in order.Well, I called and called, and she didn’t pick up. Duh—it was erev Yom Kippur. She was probably busy preparing two seudos and shlagging kaparos. No time for shidduch hours. I had done my hair, dressed up, even put on a dab of makeup, and I sat there on my bed, ringing phone in hand, frustrated, shamed, and angry. She’d chosen the time—hadn’t she realized it was erev Yom Kippur? Couldn’t she have called to reschedule it when she did realize? Did she even make a note of the appointment at all, or was she expecting to be reminded when I showed up on her doorstep, all dressed up?

I could imagine the scene if I would. Her daughter would open the door and ask who I was. I’d give my name and she’d look at me blankly. I’d explain my purpose and her eyes would go wide. She’d tell me to wait here and go running into the house, “Mooommy! Someone’s here for you for a shidduch!” The shadchan would come out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel, looking annoyed. “What’s your name? Oh yes… I didn’t realize the date when I gave you the time. Let me just get your information down really quickly so you didn’t come out here for nothing.” Then she’d ask a few sketchy and unhelpful questions, and I’d be out on her doorstep.

I left a cold message thanking her for confirming her appointment for erev Yom Kippur and asking that she please call me back about a rain check. She never did. And despite my parents’ urging, I refused to call her either. I didn’t see how or why I could trust someone like that to ret me a shidduch.

“What’s traumatized you so much?” my father marvels at me when I refuse to visit a shadchan over vacation.

“It must have been the shadchan who insisted on meeting her at a distant family friend’s vort, and when she showed up, the woman just said ‘Hello, so nice to meet you,’ and refused to even take her ‘shidduch resume’,” my mother suggests.

I hadn’t even remembered that horrible incident. Suppression defense mechanism, doubtless.

“Oh, I thought it was the woman I made her go talk to, who after a half hour of grilling said that she didn’t actually know any boys, and recommended visiting a different shadchan,” my father says.

I’d forgotten that one too, but never underestimate unconscious motivation.

My parents claim I’m being too vulnerable. If I had a healthy sense of self, I wouldn’t mind being treated like a lower order of life, because I’d know that I wasn’t one. Other girls manage it, right?

Not really. Other girls shut down their feelings in the name of a higher goal—getting married. Maybe I can’t shut down my feelings. Or maybe I’m just not desperate enough to get married.

I have an excellent sense of self: I think I’m wonderful. And I think a wonderful person like me deserves to be treated like a wonderful person. Not like a doormat. Not like a second-class citizen. And not like a beggar.


11 thoughts on “Shadchanim

  1. I gave up on shadchanim long ago. Maybe you need to be burnt by a few more before you come to the same conclusion I did that it is a glorious waste of time! I have met more shadchanim than I can count (you know the kibud av vaim thingie) and have yet to hear back for them. I believe that Hashem will send my shidduch and He has no shortage of messengers.

  2. You go girl! Your attitude is fantastic.

    As for the comments long after the posting date…am slowly but surely making my way through all of your posts. You are a phenomenal writer.


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  6. Not gonna lie…this is kinda creepy. I’m going to see my first shadchan tommorow! This repost came just in time because I feel the same way as you. I absolutely ABHORE the idea of going to see a shadchan for the various reasons you discussed and then some. But I’m going anyway. Wanna know why? So that when I get to shamayim, Iy’H, I can tell Hashem that I did my hishtadlut in shidduchim. Thank G-d, my friends have set me up until now, and they still continue to, but still, I feel like I should probably do something. I hear that the shadchan I’m visiting is pretty scary though. Oh well, wish me luck! 😉

  7. Great post! 5 stars!
    That experience sounds very frustrating. I think most people have their fair share, but the way I see it:
    just means another opportunity to say “HaShem, this is my hishtadlut. Please see this as proof of how much I care about building a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael.” 🙂

    FeistyFrummy – don’t be scared! It’s JUST an interview. Daven that if she knows your zivug or someone who can lead you to your zivug, then she’ll suggest him. If not – then you don’t want another unsuccessful date, anyway! B’hatzlacha 🙂

  8. Thanks sefardi gal! Funnily enough, she happened to be very sweet! It was a total of 10 minuties…not really sure how anyone can get to know me in 10 minutes…but hey…I did my part! 😉

  9. It’s a crapshoot. I have received more from matchmakers who have never met me but know my mother, than from matchmakers who I have met and talked to for over an hour and a half! You’d think that after talking to me for that amount of time, they’d be more “on-target” than people who have never seen me.

    Go figure.

  10. Shadchanim can kill your insides like one did today. I asked for a specific type of girl its about preference. She then starts telling me about women that i am not even wanting or looking for. I let her know i am not interested in working with her at all. She keeps going on a guy plans G-d laughs all this crap just pisses me off even more. I said if you do not have what I am looking for then why did you say you would help. They are so full of themselves. Please stay away from these people they are horrible inside and out.

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