Minor-League Pinch Hitter (2)

Continued from P1

Recently, a former classmate (FW) called to ask me if I’d be interested in a guy who is a good yeshiva guy, but because of his background, knows Things, and has trouble finding bais yaakov maidels he can converse with.

At this point, I know exactly what’s going to happen, so my response is not exactly enthusiastic.

“What kind of Things?” I ask

“Um… like…” FW begins, but Things are apparently so foreign to her that she can’t  think of any likely topics. “Current events?” she finally says, doubtfully.

I take down the info, let the parents do cursory research, and go put on some makeup. I’m ready to be pleasant, cheerful, and open-minded, but I know that if he’s a minor-league BT then he does not want a bais yaakov maidel who knows Things – or at least, not this particular one. My only question is, will it take him one date or two to figure it out?

Let’s consider the nature of knowing Things for a moment. For simplicity’s sake, let’s take the topic of current events. It helped, at one point, to know a bit about Haiti. There are a couple of ways one could know about Haiti. The high school method of learning is the reading route – newspapers, books, etc. Grown ups, on the other hand, may have the opportunity to, say, meet Haitians, or get involved with NGOs in the region or relief efforts.

But the average minor-league BT finds the nature of this latter method to be somewhat alarming. It is a Rule that one cannot be in personal contact with the Outside World and remain frum (or become frumer) – the mlBT being the sole exception to this rule, of course.

Additionally, even reading-based knowledge acquisition can be suspect. Theology (and mythology [avodas zara]), biographies of notorious figures, or even East of Eden (let alone Swearing: A Social History), can set off alarm bells in the cautious YM’s mind.

So, very slowly it will dawn on YM why his dates don’t know Things. Because aidelness can only be stretched so far beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community before it snaps.

In fact, I suspect that if YM would examine his own store of knowledge, he would find that the bulk of Things were added before he went to Israel, and it’s only been lightly padded since, mostly by NYTimes.com.

The kind of girl YM needs is very similar. She can still speak knowledgably about old Spielberg films, Monet’s brushstroke technique, and the headhunter culture in Papua New Guinea, but it’s mostly out of her pre-Israel, non-bais yaakov past. Now she studies occupational therapy in Maalot and socks her earnings away in her kollel fund.

Alternatively, there are those who still learn solely by the reading method (select material, of course), and maybe a few who pull off a circus-worthy balancing act, but I don’t know too many (any?) of those.

I am 98% sure that YM does not want a Things-knowing bais yaakov maidel, but he doesn’t know it yet. I tell myself that I’m not wasting my time; I’m helping a confused young man reexamine his priorities.

I go on the date; I try not to scandalize. I tell FW that I had a pleasant time (it’s always true); that I’d be willing to go out again (also true – I have no objection to him). But, to FW’s surprise (not my own), YM is on the fence. He needs “to think about it.” For a full 24 hours. Or more. And in the end he says “No.” Reason? G’wan. Guess.

Another job well done.

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35 thoughts on “Minor-League Pinch Hitter (2)

  1. Great Attitude- Just because the guy may not be THE one for you it is still a learning opportunity.
    I hate to admit it at times but, I have learned some enormously powerful lessons from ex daters.
    Hey, I believe G-d happily agrees with this notion.
    Life is not about Results It’s about our Efforts put forth in the Process. R’ Akiva could not have done it otherwise, and neither can we!

  2. Maybe that is why many marriages happen within the same background. if you come from the same perspective its easier to figure out what you have in common. why doesn’t MLBT look for the similar genre of girl?

  3. Bz – no. I’m talking about people who know Things and are still aidel maidels. I’m not. Never was, really, even in bais yaakov, though I did try. Now I’m just a non-aidel bais yaakov maidel.

  4. Bad4, I think when most guys say they want a girl that knows Things, they mean a girl that has some idea of the secular world. They (the guys) probably can’t hold a conversation about Van Gogh, Monet or the Brandenburg Concertos. Maybe it’s just me but I think I know Things and Things and I couldn’t even pretend to know anything about those topics.

    Also, what make a girl aidel?

  5. Leibel – “aidel” and “bais yaakov maidel” are not synonyms. This is why one can state “aidel bais yaakov maidel” without fear of being redundantly reiterative.

    To paraphrase a supreme court justice, I can’t define aidel, but I know it when I see it. And it ain’t in my mirror. I think, for starters, you have to follow bais yaakov “sensitivities” which, to translate, is off-the-charts frumkeit-shtick. I am immediately disqualified because my skirts reach my ankles.

    BJG – if they wanted someone with an idea of the secular world, they wouldn’t be scared off by demonstration of contact with it. No – they really do want to be able to talk about the random things they know, and I’ve had lovely conversations with some of them. At least, I thought so.

  6. You left out the worldly Yeshiva guy who spends his free afternoon time listening to Sean Hannity. These are the yeshiva guys that know THINGs i’ve actually heard identical direct quotes from multiple young men who I suspect resided in the same dorm building and I’m not even sure they actually heard this brilliant commentator directly but may have been repeating second, third and fourth hand brilliance.

    I’m a former aidel BY maidel who pulled/pulls off the balancing act. but as you can see I had a hard time with the equally aidel men but then I found one who knew/knows things.

  7. “… you have to follow bais yaakov “sensitivities” which, to translate, is off-the-charts frumkeit-shtick. I am immediately disqualified because my skirts reach my ankles. ”

    woah! where did THAT come from?!?!?!

  8. Things are so different in Israel. In America, people are allowed to read things and still be Ultra-Orthodox.

    I like your very respectful towards the young man.

  9. Er… aren’t bais yaakovs the school system for yeshivish people? Granted, unyeshivish people go there, but their doctrine is yeshivish.

    I knew I shouldn’t have tried defining aidel. Would you like to take a stab at it?

    alarbean – I’m Ultra-Orthodox. Just not the darkest shade.

  10. bad4: So the guys are getting scared off b/c you have contact with the secular world, not b/c they’re intimidated by your knowledge? I guess I would be the opposite, I want a girl that knows things and has some contact with the secular world. However if a girl started talking about Monet or Van Gogh, I would probably say something like “Yeah, that’s nice, what did you think of last weeks episode of Gossip Girl?” (only slightly joking).

    From what I’ve seen everyone has different opinions of what it means to be aidel, sort of like yeshivish, but everyone likes to say aidel maidel.

    What I should have asked is are the “Things” we’re talking about secular cultured things, like art and politics? Or more like secular pop culture (i.e. TV, Movies and Music)?

  11. Bad4, I’ll help.

    Aidel means fitting the Bais Yaakov mold without being an inch outside of the box. Whereas, someone with a Bais Yaakov hashkafa knows the ideal and has her own interpretations of it, within a halachically acceptable realm.

    For example: BY says talking to boys is assur. So an aidel maidel would never ever ever talk to a boy. Whereas, a BY type girl would know that it’s ok to speak with a guy in her class in grad school in an appropriate way. An aidel girl would never go to a coed school to begin with.

    That’s how I see it.

  12. I think you all have “aidel” and “BY” mixed up. To me, the difference between “aidel” and “BY” is the same as between “ehrlich” and “frum.” “Aidel” is a character trait that comes from the inside, whereas “BY” is picked up from the outside or is expressed only to conform with the outside.

  13. In my world, aidel always meant those quiet, pleasant, girls who always do everything right. You’ll never see them running for a bus- either they’re on time or early (usually), because planning makes life simple, or they miss it and calmly explain, if asked, that all things come from Hashem. Ever met Mrs. Aidel Teller? (As in Hanoch Teller). Textbook. Basically, it’s temimus.

  14. OK, if you think that bais yaakov is for the “yeshivish” then you haven’t been fortunate enough to date the real thing. An example: a guy who when asked if his parents allow newspapers into the house he responds “Of course, we get The Hamodia.” Now this was before Hamodia even had a daily and probably before the first big orthodox NY Times boycott. No, Bais Yaakov isn’t MEANT for people like that! Of course lots of yeshivishe people attend bais yaakov but at least that many probably get the wall street journal or some other “clean” secular paper.

  15. chan and staying afloat both have good descriptions, neither of which covers me.

    Anonymous – I don’t agree with. You seem to be saying that if one isn’t aidel then one isn’t sincere. Which means that either aidel applies to a whole lot more people than anyone would it on, or you’re calling a whole lot of people fakers.

    PB – one extreme doth not a definition make. There are plenty of yeshivish types who read newspapers. Between sedarim, of course.

  16. agree with staying afloat- I always thought aidel-ness (aidelkeit?) was more of a personality than a hashkafa thing. I have met Mrs. Teller and she is definitely her name in the sense of really sweet and also very organized.

    bad4’s ankle-length skirts arguably relate to this categorizing of aidel, if what you wear reflects your personality, but there’s more to it really. I mean, probably anybody reading blogs would not be aidel, in chan’s “fitting the mold” sense of the word.

    Are there really no yeshivish types who actually are looking for a BY girl who knows cultural things? (van gogh or otherwise?) I find that hard to believe.

  17. Tehila: It depends what you mean by “yeshivish types”, guys who want a girl who knows cultural things like politics and current events are also likely to watch TV, Movies and listen to goyish music. IMO, that doesn’t mean they can’t be yeshivish, I think the term is “Yeshivish Modern”. Even those guys are not likely to know much about Van Gogh, physics or some of the other things bad4 occasionally brings up in her posts. An intellectual, culturally refined yeshivish guy is at least as hard to find as an intellectual, culturally refined BY girl.

  18. I echo an earlier poster, in that I admire your attitude towards the YM.
    Although- I believe that most of the YM who know Things, do in essence, want a wife who knows Things. But it does scare them when she knows too much Things, ie- either they don’t know enough Things to really be on her level, or that she is not in their hashkafic bracket anymore because she knows Things.
    I married a Things knowing guy, although you wouldn’t know it from the outside.

  19. Well, as Alarbean says, it’s sure different in Israel, where at least when a guy looks for a girl that knows Things he is not likely to complain that she knows TOO MUCH. The problem is usually that the guy and the gal define ‘things’ differently. But then of course the Israeli system is much stricter. I have been disqualified from Aidlness by my devotion to the NYTimes.com, not to mention Tennis.com….Which is why people are forever setting me up with guys from abroad (both US and Europe)only for me to find out that while they are OK with me knowing whatever kind of Things I like, they either don’t know much themslves or would rather go on broadening their horizons in someplace where the sun hardly ever shine…:-)

  20. Pingback: The Thing About Things | Life of Yeshiva Guy

  21. This conversation is funny on so many levels.

    Brava, Bad4, for another great post:)

    Also, I cannot seem to find my last post in which I was wondering whether or not you meet people for coffee….

  22. Please. I take worse on a weekly basis when I get help with my homework. One quote out of context and he doesn’t even have the courtesy to give me a link for it.

    Perusing the rest of the blog – clearly someone who gets a kick out of mocking other people. I guess he ran out of other people to make fun of. Truth is, that’s not even a write-up about shidduch blogs. It’s a write-up about my blog. (The average shidduch blog doesn’t really fit his description.) Which, actually, kinda makes me feel special.

    I’m going to let numbers do the arguing instead of words. In this case, blog stats. I don’t have a daily counter on him, but I can count comments. And we’re not even in the margin of error on that one.

  23. I say embrace him. You ARE special. Not just special in the “I’m a unique person… just like everyone else is uniqe” way. But you are a unique person that has A LOT to offer, both to your spouse and to the world at large. Frankly, there are too many NON-special people out there. I’ve dated quite a few. And knowing how to eloquently bash others on a blog does not count as special *clears throat*.

  24. Pingback: Minor League Pinch Hitter (1) | Bad for Shidduchim

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