An Insensitive Question

Note: for people who care, this happened motzai Shobbos.  Note for people using RSS feed readers: this was removed, revised, and reposted.

My little sister had a nightmare. Or anyway, she hopes it was a nightmare. Last night I took her out to practice driving whereupon she recalled her “nightmare” and started freaking out at me. “Did I ask you a really mean question a few days ago?” she asked. “I mean like really personal? Like about engagements? I hope so—I mean, I don’t hope so, but if I asked anyone I hope it was you. Ohmigosh, I hope I didn’t ask Devorah. I really, really hope I didn’t ask her. I can’t believe—what was I thinking—“

While she’s letting off steam through her mouth I’m drumming my fingers impatiently on the armrest and interrupting whenever she pauses for a breath with, “So what was the question?!”

Sooo insensitive, I can’t imagine what possessed me—“

I hate sensitive people,” I snapped at her. “We’re not dying, we’re just temporarily non-spoused. So stop hyperventilating and tell me the question already.”

She did. The question was, “When someone gets engaged are you happy for them or do you think ‘I wish it was me’?”

Well, the immediate reaction to that is “No way” of course. But I figured after all that fuss she deserved a serious answer, so I mulled it over a bit more. On the one hand, there’s a bit of a twinge when a friend gets paired off first and you wonder why you’re less matchable than they are. At the same time, I can’t say I’ve ever felt “left behind.” I imagine “left behind” requires the majority of people to be moved ahead, but there are so many singles to hang out with that I really don’t feel that way. If anything, I wonder if my poor married friends feel “left ahead.”

Then there’s the fact that most of my friends take the shidduch parsha much more to heart than I do. So I’m honestly glad it’s me being “left behind” and not they. I can take another few years of this shidduch dating before I start mumbling to myself on street corners and prophesizing that the end is nigh (hm. Maybe that’s what happened to Al Gore?). But people who take every disappointment as a crushing blow would be flat as paper dolls before their second “parsha” anniversary.

And then there’s the bittersweet knowledge that it’s never going to be quite the same again, once they move to some town with cheaper rent and can’t go anywhere without lugging their husband along, or at least his presence.

“When someone gets engaged it kind of reminds you that you’re trying to do that too,” I mused, while my sister did some exemplary driving. “And it makes you wonder ‘so when is it my turn?’ But it’s not jealousy. It’s just pure desire.”

And then she cut off a guy in the next lane and the discussion ended abruptly.

Women drivers.

8 thoughts on “An Insensitive Question

  1. Hah. Well, I do not think it is a sensitive question, but who needs those anyway? I really agree with your explanation. Wow. So coherent, and you put the scrambling thoughts in my head into actual sentences. Brilliant.

    When my friends become engaged, I am more in shock at the notion of them married. I imagine it and it just seems fake. And it also re-awakens my want to get married. It’s like, I am fine being single and doing my day-to-day life and such, and when Maidel 3 calls me up that shes about to get engaged, or is, it is like: Hey, yeah. I should do that too.

  2. Of course it’s not jealousy. The world has not changed that much since I was a girl, and we would see a newly engaged couple, wish them both mazel tov, and after we left we would talk to each other and ask “What does she possibly see in him? Sure wouldn’t be what I want.” Hashem has given each of us specific prescription vision so that we don’t stare at our friend’s husbands and say “I want that too!” Sure we all want marriage, but “our” marriage, not someone else’s. When the time is right you will see what you are supposed to see. Then it will truly be b’sha’ah tova u’mitzlachas.

    And it’s a lot easier on the stomache acid to let someone else take a learning-to-drive sibling out on the road.

  3. Pingback: Things Have Changed « Bad for Shidduchim

  4. Pingback: Friday Repost: Engagements « Bad for Shidduchim

  5. Pingback: Friday Repost: The Question That Didn’t Make Me Cry | Bad for Shidduchim

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