Everyone Has a ‘Shidduch Crisis’


Anon613 defends the ‘pickiness’ of yeshivish woman who are more worldly than yeshivish men. Bas~Melech posted about how much more put-together orthodox women seem than their male counterparts. Which reminded me of a book I saw recently, which spurred this post…

In Thud! (a novel by Terry Pratchett) Sam Vimes come to after a particularly rough afternoon (he’s police chief in an unruly city) to find Death a few feet away, relaxing in a beach chair, reading a book, and sipping a pina colada.

“Am I dead?” asks Vimes.

“Not yet,” answers Death (a skeletal fellow in a black cloak with a scythe).

“So why are you here?” Vimes persists.

“Because you are having a near-Death experience,” Death explains patiently. “Therefore, unfortunately, I must have a near-Vimes experience.”

When a guy wants to get married, he has to meet many girls. When a girl want to marry, she has to meet lots of guys. Perforce, we must have near-each-other experiences. Unfortunately, there are many times when one wishes it wasn’t necessary. Times when you think, “Who is this creature, and what planet exiled him here?”

When you’ve spent most of your life segregated from men, they can seem like a different species. Today, perhaps more than ever before, they are.

In the chareidi/yeshiva world especially, many girls are put off by guys who lack polish, ambition, worldliness, and sophistication. (“I want a guy who’s with-it. Not ‘with-it’, but ‘with it’, you know what I mean?”) Mostly veneer qualities, but important nonetheless.

But you know what? Even if too many yeshiva guys slurp their soup or couldn’t book a flight ticket without step-by-step directions, well, at least they have a passable excuse. I mean, what do you expect from men raised in the cloisters by other men away from the civilizing influence of their mothers from the tender age of 13? And where they’re told that no ambition is the best ambition? And away from the great wide world and everything in it? So there’s hope for them. They may be clueless, but many are willing to learn.

Not so in the great wide world.

There’s a growing buzz of worry in the secular community about “what’s with our boys?” In other words: why are girls doing better in high school than boys? Why are more women than men pursuing degrees? Why are even more women than men graduating with degrees? Why are so many guys still living with their parents at the ripe old age of 30 and playing MMORPGs for 40 hours a week? Some have attributed the plummeting rate of marriage (50% drop since 1970) to the fact that women don’t like to marry down (pdf link), and there are fewer people for them to marry up to (non-pdf alt).

In other words: the entire world has a shidduch crisis on its hand.

All because those guys can’t get their act together.

So, is it about time the women learned to ‘settle’?


13 thoughts on “Everyone Has a ‘Shidduch Crisis’

  1. I hate the word “crisis” when used about shidduchim and I’m none too thrilled about the word “settle” either; the connotation is so negative: “I couldn’t get what I really wanted so I took something I didn’t want.” How about if we substitute “this is doable” instead? “This is doable” says that you are mostly getting what you wanted and there is some fine tuning yet to do. “This is doable” expresses optimism while “settle” expresses pessimism. I wonder how Bruriah would have fared had she looked at R’Akiva as “settling” instead of “this is doable”? By all accounts he was still raw material when she married him.

  2. Wow. A powerful, intrigueing, and thought provoking post.

    I don’t think settling is necessary- but there is a sort of idealism that has to be disquieted in all of us. It’s hard to find a “with it”, intelligent, motivated, caring young man. But why should we drop any of those qaulities because they are hard to find?

    ex-“Excuse me Mam, we are having a problem making four legged chairs. So just buy the three legged one and deal with it.”I think not. There will be a four-legged chair out there for us. It just may take some time for us to sift.

  3. I’m with ProfK about the wording. I prefer “prioritize.” Instead of “settling” for second best, I may just redefine my view of Best.

    That said, maybe it’s time to settle. And maybe it’s time this stopped being a man’s world, considering that women are better at nearly everything now. If that’s the way you’re looking at it, that we’re the ones “settling,” then why should we be made to feel that they’re doing us the favor by putting us on their lists?

  4. I definitely think what I’m looking for has changed somewhat over the years, although not necessarily in a bad way. If changing my priorities is “settling”, so be it.

    (By the way, Bruriah was married to R’ Meir; Rachel was married to R’ Akiva.)

  5. “I wonder how Bruriah would have fared had she looked at R’Akiva as “settling” instead of “this is doable”? By all accounts he was still raw material when she married him.”

    Of course, Buriah was married to Rav Meir, R’ Akivas wife was Rochel

  6. Pingback: My Explanations for the Shidduch Crisis « Bad for Shidduchim

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