From the Against-All-Odds Case Files


Case Study of the Correlation of “Approved” Behavior Patterns to Marriage Success in the Ultra Orthodox Community

Abstract: An Orthodox Jewish female was followed from when she became “of marriageable age” to see if her behavior patterns influenced the age at which she became engaged.



Females of marriageable age in the orthodox community feel themselves subject to many behavioral constraints (behavior including both deportment in public and patterns of dress). Behaving according to approved patterns (eg: “doing” hair before stepping outdoors, wearing dressy clothing daily, and not participating in activities considered unladylike) is believed to increase their “marryability” and therefore their chances of attaining a married state.


To ascertain the veracity of this widespread belief, we followed a subject randomly selected from the Flatbush community. Subject was an ultra orthodox female born, raised, and bred in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Subject attended [xxx], an ordinary, local bais yaakov high school. Subject was 18 when study began and 22 when it concluded. Subject was followed unnoticed by “shadows” in white lab coats with turned up collars, white-framed sunglasses, and a wire in their ears insulated with white rubber. Said shadows surreptitiously followed the subject around the clock with minor exceptions (eg: showering, f’breezing socks, 3-hour telephone conversations, etc.), taking note of all her activities. Each activity was then classified into one of three categories: Good for Shidduchim, Bad for Shidduchim, and Neutral. When subject became engaged, the numbers were tallied and subjected to all sorts of painful statistical analysises (??) (eg: t tests, chi squares, controlling for a variables like weather, luck, persistent shadchan relatives, etc.) which are discussed further in the conclusion. Below are sample notes from the subjects file.

2004: Subject graduates high school but does not attend seminary in Israel. Is verified to be attending a local seminary with the intention of continuing into college the follow years.

Subject spotted racing a friend up the front stairs of the Museum of Natural History. Both collapse giggling on the top step.

2005: Due to monetary constraints, Subject attends a non-Jewish, mixed, college, where she has been seen exchanging the time of day with members of the other gender. Subject dresses daily in long skirts and polo shirts, as well as socks.

Subject spotted racing around and around in a revolving door in front of a Manhattan chain store until building personnel dismiss her. A relative stands at a distance pretending to be unrelated. Subject fails to care.

2006: Subject joins the Student Council at aforementioned college, where she occasionally has reason to fraternize with the enemy – er, correction, other elements. Subject is seen wearing ponytail daily.

Subject seen racing shopping carts in the aisle of Target in downtown Brooklyn. Several observers pretend not to notice, some of them Ultra Orthodox.

2007: Subject attempts to skateboard in the sporting goods section of the Wal Mart that services Lakewood. Subject crashed into display and must put it back together. Eight ultra-orthodox women passed by while she does so.

Subject spotted whizzing around Palisades Mall in one of the scooters made available for the handicapped – during chol hamoed.

2008: Subject seen playing catch in a toy store in Kings Plaza Mall, not knowing that a shadchan was browsing the Rubikโ€™s cube selection in the next aisle.

Subject unaccountably engaged to young man from Flatbush.

Below see a sample table of the subjects behaviors classified.


Good for Shidduchim Bad for Shidduchim Neutral
Dressed up and attended bar mitzvah in shul Missed a family vort to study anatomy Wore a powder blue suit to a wedding
Wore a black suit to a friend’s wedding Tried to mail a pineapple from the Avenue J post office Became pen pals with a child in India.
Visited a number of shadchanim Didn’t wear makeup to a l’chaim Did exceedingly well in her coursework
Wore a short skirt and tights every time she ventured into commercial Flatbush Wore a college sweatshirt while taking out the garbage Owns crocs


While the subject became engaged somewhat after the generally considered optimal age of 21, statistical analysis finds the gap to be non-significant even when controlled for all possible variables, and several impossible ones. It does not seem like the subject’s behavior significantly inhibited her marriage prospects, however, further study on a larger cohort will be necessary to draw any serious conclusions.


35 thoughts on “From the Against-All-Odds Case Files

  1. What, no jousting with the lightsabers and shopping carts in Walmart? Or is that a really redneck 1:00 AM activity? and Mazel Tov to Subject

  2. Mazal tov–is this #10? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m not surprised at the results–any number of people get engaged and married despite “unacceptable” (or should I just say pas nisht?) behavior, while many people do everything “right” and remain unaccountably single.

  3. Other things not mentioned:

    1. Going through Manhattan taking pictures of reflections in CEO’s shoes.

    2. Skipping across streets, only stepping on the white lines.

    3.Walking through Manhattan with a picnic basket.

    4. Driving through NY with a skeleton in the passenger seat.


  4. Sorry, not guilty ๐Ÿ˜›

    And I’m a big talker… I don’t really have the guts to do most of that stuff. At least not since high school, except during camp season.

  5. thinking about big talker, I’m wondering how many BFSC points a girl would get for putting on tefilin in shul durring weekday shacheris (other than perhaps noone would even see her…)

    I’m just mildly curious.

  6. Bas-Melech -you should really try the Walmart Joust – Pillows, helmets, carts, lightsabers, etc are all readily available, and employees tend to be too tired to care at 1:00 AM. And yes, I’m very, very immature and also weird.

  7. Not me. A friend. And B4Warned completed the list. Apologies for missing some stuff – I’m sure there was more. She went rollerblading with me in a local park three times – that’s bad.

  8. she wore car slippers and monkey slippers when others were around.

    Stopped random people to ask what a Belgian waffle is.

    the list goes on.

  9. better a Belgian waffle than a Grecian Urn – that one will get you hit. Maybe I’m just clueless, but why are funny slippers and rollerblades considered bad? Are athletics and humor supposed to be frowned on?

  10. I can think of far worse things to stop some random person to ask them what they are…

    especialy if you’re a sheltered bais yaakov girl.

  11. I was most partial to the pink monster feet slippers.

    There’s nothing wrong with owning fun slippers. But wearing them to visit, or even when you’ve got guests over, is somehow considered too human. And rollerblading is a “pas nisht” activity. There is divided opinion over whether it’s a modesty issue or just not done.

  12. You’re behind the times. It is no longer black suit- it is officially black dress. I would think for a first date too but if not then definately for weddings. I took the liberty of asking those who I thought would know…
    Powder blue dress- just as neutral.

  13. Bad4 and be4, would I be mistaken in saying that you were also the ones to walk around Manhattan with a towel on International Towel Day??? ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I wonder if one would do an analysis of those who only do “good” for shidduchim items if their average age would be younger or higher (or if one is better or not). It’d be interesting, no? ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Very. Too bad nobody would agree to it… it’s badforshidduchim to have men in white coats following you.

    G – where did I lose you?

  16. How many points do I get for walking around at a wedding without shoes? It was only for about 5-10 minutes, because then the dancing started and I needed protection.

    Ezzie: The only G4S behavior for which I have found a pretty significant correlation to early marriage is having rich parents. The other stuff I view as more of an indication of eagerness to marry, which often leads to marriage, as opposed to an actual accelerant.

    And thanks for all the good ideas, B4S, B4W, and Ben. See y’all in Walmart!

  17. B4S – Eh, it worked out okay for this one! ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, how cool would *that* be!

    B~M – Hehe. Guess we bucked the trend on that one… but I hear ya.

  18. G – where did I lose you?
    I think the chart went over my head.::whoooooosh::

    Was that supposed to flow from the first part of the post or just be a stand alone thing? I get the joke of the chart just not it’s connection to everythiing else.

  19. by the way, your year count leaves the subject at 21. Secondly, subject graduated high school in 2002 at the age of 17.

  20. btw. There is no post office on Avenue J. at least not the B11 route Avenue J. There is one on Nostrand between Avenue I and J and another on Coney between I & J, not on J proper.

  21. Pingback: A Farewell to Black? « Bad for Shidduchim

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