A long while back aidel knaidel blogged about how she’s just back from seminary, literally just off the plane, and not even dating yet, but she can already feel the eyes evaluating her and the pressure building to get married. Poor girl—she was astounded.
And I? I felt like throwing an arm around her shoulder and, with the world-weariness of someone with two year’s more experience saying, “Welcome to our world.”
If life was a musical, that would be my cue to burst into song and dance, passing on my accumulated shidduch wisdom to the incoming generation in an Oscar-winning performance.
If life was a musical, I would also have my lines pre-written and choreographed for me. But it isn’t, so Aidel Knaidel had to wait while I sat down to write a song about shidduchim.
And a long wait it was. Let’s just say that my admiration for songwriters has grown over the past few weeks.
I initially decided to set it to the tune of a drinking song by the playwright Sheridan.
“Drinking song?” you ask, wrinkling your nose. Perhaps you forget that the American national anthem is also set to the tune of a drinking song. Astonishing, really. Here we have a national anthem so difficult to sing that most people can’t manage it while sober, yet in the 18th century they sang it while drunk.
Must be yeridas hadoros.
But anyway, the charm of Sheridan’s song is it’s incongruity to the shidduch process—the singers are just so open and unpicky.
I got about as far as the chorus, and then what poetic skills I have proved less than a match for the task. So there’s no song; there’s just a poem. If anyone wants to set it to music and send me the sound clip, I’ll upload it. And if anyone wants to try their hand at a gentlemen’s version, I’d welcome that too. But otherwise… here it is:
Welcome to Shidduchim, Ladies
They call you ‘available’ with a knowing smile
You’re ‘on the market’ (this lingo’s not tricky)
You may rot if you stay on the shelves for a while,
So if you’re smart, you won’t be too picky.
Come meet Aunt Sadie and third cousin Dan
Smile at the woman in black
Tell her what you want, your life and your plan
If you’re lucky she might call you back.
You step off the plane
The world’s gone insane
“My daughter in the ‘parsha’” – that’s your new name.
Look in that mirror for more than a flash
Take the time: primp and preen!
Even if you’re going to take out the trash
They’re looking, and you might be seen.
You try every fad diet and hope one won’t fail
For your waistline must certainly shrink
Your wardrobe’s expanding with each Macys sale
The bills drive your father to drink.
You can’t know who
Will reference for you
So impress all your neighbors and their dogs too.
You now know your “type,” can fill out forms like a pro
And check off your prefs with efficiency
And his type, appearance, background—all this you know
For you must know exactly how he should be.
Write down your info in a resume
Keep a copy at all times in your purse
You never know who will be the one to know him—
A banker, street sweeper, or nurse.
In the shidduch game
You must spread your name
“Available maidel” is your claim to fame.
Don’t write a novel, don’t win the Nobel Peace Prize
Don’t end war, crime, hate—anything
Be a good girl and don’t catch any eyes
Don’t stand out ‘til you’ve got that ring.
Officially you were not toilet trained at four
Officially your parents are wealthy
Officially your grandfather was the gadol hador
Officially your family is healthy.
The things you must do
To get a date or two
Not sure your sanity will all make it through.
“So when’s it your turn?” ask the ladies in black.
“How are things going?” they wink.
“Your wedding should be what next brings us back,”
“In the right time—and faster than you think.”
The shadchan knows more about you than your own kin
Strangers gawp at your mug shot
There’s only one way out of this mess that you’re in—
Get yourself tied up with that wedding knot.
Don’t you just miss
That pre-shidduch bliss?
But if it’s this or be single—you’d rather this!
So welcome to shidduchim, post-seminary girl,
Like us, you’re a catch—a real prize.
You’re a wonderful gem, a diamond, a pearl
Just find the one guy who’ll realize.