Shadchanim and Suits

It was not so very long ago that I made fun of young women who visited shadchanim while ostensibly unwinding from the stresses of life. Thus, it is with deep embarrassment that I confess to… <Blush/>

To visiting… <Deep blush/>

On vaca… <Covers face/>

But I can justify it! I mean, I never go anywhere near that Town. It was a once-in-three-years opportunity! I know it’s against the rules of vacation, but it would have been foolish not to!

Methinks I doth protest too much.

Good4 says I must be getting desperate, but I would have phrased it differently. Perhaps that I have a heightened desire to close the single chapter of my life or an intensified awareness of the drawbacks of being unpaired at this stage of my life, or… Whatever.

To my own credit, I would like to point out that it was not part of the original vacation plans. I only thought of it while in the car driving away from NYC. Which spawned a problem of its own, immediately grasped by my ever-perspicacious mother, who asked, when I related the tale, “What did you wear?”

An excellent question – one that I pondered throughout the week of vacation. When you’ve packed a small carry-on full of t-shirts and long black skirts, what do you wear to visit a shadchan?

People make fun of women who pack fat suitcases full of clothes and shoes for every occasion, but it really isn’t a laughing matter. You simply don’t know what situation will arise, and invariably it will require clothing you didn’t pack.

A woman can never pack too many pairs of shoes.

I was contemplating that truism while surveying in dismay the three pairs I’d brought along. The hiking boots, the water shoes, and the sneakers.

Granted, the sneakers weren’t too bad. They were my LBS – Little Black Sneakers, the preferred footwear alternative for women who wear black socks. They would have to do. I hoped the shadchan wouldn’t notice.

The skirts – well, a long black skirt is respectable, isn’t it? It’s not like I even own any slinky skirts or pre-worn denim or anything. And as for shirts – well, thank goodness there was a sky-blue polo among the sweats-gray and orange t-shirts. Really all I needed was a quick stop in a pharmacy for some mousse (thank goodness I keep hair clips on my knapsack zipper pulls) and I’d be good to go.

Well, good enough to go.

At this point in my narrative my mother and Good4 are silent, positively riveted with – well, some strong emotion. The wonder in my mother’s expression is doubtless admiration for my resourcefulness. Or else uncertainty over whether I’d done myself more good or harm. But none of us had taken into account the view from the other side of the dining room table. That is to say: what does a shadchan wear when cramming a last-minute appointment into her busy evening? Hm… Never thought about that one.

When a nervous young lady, dressed to the nines, is arriving in your house, I guess you can’t really come out to interview her in your housecoat and plush bunny slippers. The pressure runs both ways.

“I’m so glad,” the shadchan confessed to me. “I felt bad about not changing into my sheitel and shoes, but then I see you…” her hand gesture takes in my sneakers and hemline. I murmur my excuses, but they seem unnecessary. She isn’t rudely pointing out my under-dressed state. She is contentedly pointing out the happy coincidence (Good4 would shout “Hashgacha pratis story!” at this point) of our being mutually dressed down on this occasion.

I wonder if, in the future, if  I ever visit another shadchan, I should call ahead and offer a sort of truce: I’ll dress down if you dress down?


9 thoughts on “Shadchanim and Suits

  1. Kudos for dressing nicely, albeit not what you might have thought a shadchan would consider perfect- that’s called being yourself.

    On a seperate note: “Perhaps that I have a heightened desire to close the single chapter of my life or an intensified awareness of the drawbacks of being unpaired at this stage of my life, or… Whatever.”

    What changed from then to now? Is this called: finally wanting to get married? Were you not interested before? What changed?

  2. Sounds like a brilliant plan. I think we should start a world wide start dressing more casually for these things. If people are more relaxed and chilled than maybe the idea of seeing a shadchan would not be so daunting and maybe the shadchanim may actually get to meet the real girl and see what she is really like..

  3. This is starting to sound more and more like the business world. YEARS ago, a professional recruiter agreed to meet me on a Sunday because I was going to be in her area. She informed me in advance that I should dress just as I would for any interview. So there I was, changing from casual clothes and a hat into a suit and sheitel in the bathroom of a pizza store somewhere on Long Island.

    The odd part was that the recruiter is frum and I’m frum and she knew I was frum – but I still had to wear the sheitel.

    Your post gives a good perspective on the shadchan-client relationship.

  4. While I too revile the shadchan pursuit, I have been known to succumb to a meeting or two whilst dolled up to the nines. Thankfully I can create an acceptable look in ten minutes.

    But I can claim that I was dragged unwillingly to the shachan – and my mother just as reluctant.

  5. Don’t beat yourself up about visiting a shadchan while on vacation – the opportunity presented itself, and you took it. And I don’t think any girl needs to get dressed up for a shadchan the way you would for an interview (although I hope I didn’t just sabotage anyone! Just blame me.) You are not interviewing for a law firm, you are meeting someone who will hopefully say, “Hey, she’d be a perfect wife for…” If you really want to impress us, leave the suit at home, and impress us with homemade baked goods!

  6. If you meet a shadchan, you should look nice – not denim-sneakery, but not fancy. Most important? Do your makeup and hair!

  7. I don’t understand dressing up to meet a shadchan. At all. You aren’t dating her/him, right? (Of course, I am opposed to mandatory suits on dates also…) Shouldn’t shadchanim, almost as much as an actual potential significant other, want to get to know you when you’re relaxed? It’s already nerve-wracking to go into the strange woman’s house and tell about yourself while getting nothing in return.

    I would have said like #8 – like nice, but not fancy. I would venture that for girls, since denim is considered a higher level than jeans for men (which is a double standard that doesn’t get complained about too much), a nice denim skirt is probably OK.

    Of course, I did my best to avoid that sort of thing.

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