Why Shidduch Dating is Awesome

C’mon, admit it. It’s your number one untouchable excuse for everything.

Like a little get-together I threw one motzai Shabbos. One of my invitees said she couldn’t make it: she had pre-existing obligations. “What could be more important than seeing me?” I protested. She delicately burked the question and ended the conversation. So I knew she was going on a date.

Or maybe not.

Way back when I was new to the dating thing, before I realized how scrupulously people keep an eye on the young maidel’s dating life, I accidentally pulled the same shtick. I wanted to avoid a boring social situation and pleaded a pre-existing obligation. Yeah, I had one, alright: using up the popcorn kernels in the cabinet with my father. Well, we’d planned on doing it, okay? And he’d be terribly disappointed if I didn’t show. And so would I be. But it doesn’t make an awesome-sounding excuse, so naturally, when pressed for details, I demurred. My presser got this knowing expression in her eyes, winked, and wished me the very best of luck. At first, I was taken aback at her implied knowledge of my personal life. But then I realized that she’d just given me an ironclad excuse. I blushed and thanked her. And you know what? Her wish must have been worth something because the popcorn was excellent.

Relarela recounted a dilemma her friend faced when dealing with a very poorly spelled shidduch profile. “How do I turn this down for lacking any attention to grammar without sounding like an intellectual snob?” Friend wondered.

“Why? Will the fact that he can’t even spell his high school correctly really make a difference to your marriage?” Relarela joked. After some debate, they decided that this was the purpose of the Plastic Tablecloth Question. It’s not that anyone really cares if you stack or scrape, but it makes a convenient and painless excuse for turning a person down. Instead of saying “No, I don’t want to go out with him he’s bald/dumb/weird,” you just say “He wears a baseball cap; I don’t go out with that kind of guy.” Now you are the weird one, he doesn’t want to go out either, and all is good.

And then there’s the excuse “It’s bad for shidduchim.” Yes, yes. It has prevented many a young person from taking part of legitimate enjoyment. But it’s also the numero uno excuse for not doing something you don’t want to do. Trust me on this one – I get it all the time. Like the time I invited a friend skinny dipping. She said no, as it was bad for shidduchim. (Apparently, the Women in Black have satellite and night vision.) Now she’s married and still won’t even consider it, but now she says her husband doesn’t let.

And then there’s Yada, the yeshiva guy who attended a Friday night dinner at his local campus Hillel. The campus rabbi was making his way around crowded room, greeting everyone with a brief exchange. When he came to Yada, sitting on the couch, he noted that the couch pulled out into a bed and that there were a number of co-eds in attendance. “Maybe you’ll get lucky,” he winked. Yada didn’t miss a beat. “No, I don’t think that would be a good idea,” he said, adjusting his black hat. “It would be bad for shidduchim.”

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21 thoughts on “Why Shidduch Dating is Awesome

  1. “Like the time I invited a friend skinny dipping.” Is inviting someone to skinny dipping bad for shidduchim? How often is the allowable allotted frequency before its considered excessive skinny dipping and bad for shidduchim? I’m assuming that you do it just often enough to stay above the allotted frequency and keep with the theme of doing things bad for shidduchim… 🙂

  2. Man! This is so true! I’ve let my friends think I was going out a ridiculous amount of times. Not only with dating, I let them imagine a whole bunch of adventurous things I could be doing when all I’m really doing is reading a book at home in my pajamas. I think what’s so great about friends is that they all believe you have this mysterious and wild life that you’re not telling them about so you just go along with it and let them believe what they will. Ahhh, the wonders of smiling and nodding. 😉

  3. I’ve also turned down suggestions because of grammatical mistakes and misspellings in a resume, but I think the answer to the question of whether this will make a difference in a marriage is yes. I believe that this reflects on important character traits in a potential spouse. At best it shows a lack of attention to detail and a disregard for how one presents oneself. And yes…I know I am now inviting every wise-guy out there to pick through my post and blog and try to identify grammatical issues. 😛

    Primum Non Nocere: Revamp the Shidduch System #2

  4. My policy on misspellings is to ignore it (yes, including a high school name misspelled), but after we are no longer going out, I mention it to the shadchan so the girl can give a better impression in the future. Let’s just say most shadchanim have not been receptive and some accuse me of being bitter. I’ve pretty much stopped after that.

  5. The best was when i was teaching at my local high school, the kind of small community school where everyone knows everybody and ost of the staff had watched me grow up. I wanted to go to Israel for Chanuka vacation and felt like extended my break a little more than the school’s calendar advised.
    I walked into the office and told the principal i was not going to be there next week as i was going to israel.

    mrs princial(gets this knowing look on her face): “Sure don’t worry about it, we’ll cover your classes. (smiling while trying not to look too eager) when will you be back?”
    I: “Well i’m not really sure.” (truth is i haven’t yet booked my ticket, but if she’s jumped to her own conclusion i may aswell play along)
    MP: “Ok. No problem, just let us know” (again that knowing smile)

    So i took full advantage 🙂 There’s got to be some perks to being an “older single.” The only downside is everyone’s pitying looks when you come back still single. Even the gentile janitor asked me why i had been away.

  6. Oops can i edit that post. If the comments on here are to be believed, my grammar is really bad for shidduchim!

  7. Good thinking, AJ. First find out, then go over there and wait. I don’t think she’s in the Polar Bear Skinny Dipping Club, though.

  8. Yeesh. Speaking of bad grammar, I just fainted when I logged in and saw “you’re” in place of “your” in the very first sentence. My sincerest apologies! This blog attempts to maintain standards in punctuation and grammar, often in spite of its writer.

  9. QED – take a scrub brush to your mind! AJ was merely curious, hypothetically speaking, about where in the tristate area one might be assured of privacy. I would suggest three hypothetical spots for anyone who might want to hypothetically do some hypothetical skinny dipping:
    1 – a public area, but at a time of day when nobody is around (eg: Manhattan Beach at 3:30 am)
    2 – a private swimming pool
    3 – outside the tristate area

    Brucha – before the invention of bathing suits, all bathing was done in separate company, completely starkers. (And why not?) Just sayin’. Inviting bais yaakov friends skinny dipping is pretty safe, as risky behavior goes.

    inverse – not sure whether to laugh or cry at your story… I think I’ll laugh.

  10. might just be a girl thing. isn’t it awkward to invite your friend to go skinny dipping? i mean guys go to the mikvah at the same time and it’s fine and all, but to INVITE your friend skinny dipping is kinda weird. i can just imagine the conversation.

    A: hey b you wanna go swimming tomorrow?
    B: sure. what time?
    A: 5:00. o, and don’t bring your bathing suit.
    B: o k?
    A: yeah it’ll totally be fun!
    B: why can’t i just wear a bathing suit?
    A: just cuz. it’s gonna be awesome!
    B: (this is kinda strange, is this a practical joke?) um.. i think i have an appointment tomorrow, maybe next time.

  11. Cripes. Totally not the point of the post, but the invitation goes something like this:
    A: I’m bored.
    B: Let’s do something fun.
    A: Let’s do something wild and fun!
    B: Yeah! Let’s go skinny dipping in the Sound!
    A: Er, I just remembered I promised to bake a cake for Shabbos.

    As for women vs men: a woman’s going to go to the mikvah eventually. Might as well get used to it.

    chaim j: certainly fits the bill of both campus rabbis I’ve met.

  12. Sorry, I just don’t believe any Jewish girl with modesty will invite anyone to go skinny dipping with her. The mikva is not like skinny dipping at all, and I am a little disturbed that you think it is.

  13. I honestly thought the whole skinny dipping thing was a joke. No one I know would dare go skinny dipping due to modesty and just plain uncomfortableness. Even bikinis is too skimpy for my taste- parading around in the nude is way out of the question.

  14. Joke or not, who cares- to each their own!

    Bad4, if you find a place let me know i’d love to go (separate times obviously)

  15. MCP, no one is around the Harriman State Park lakes when it is below freezing. Well, maybe you’ll see a cyclist riding by headed to Perkins. That’s me enjoying the sub-freezing temps so give me a wave. Or just hold your breath underwater until I pass.

  16. 😀 MCP – lsd is right. Your best bet is a mountain lake somewheres, preferably a backpacking trip away from civilization. Harriman does have a few leantos in its wilderness areas, but I don’t know what the lake access is like from there. I know there are a few trails with potential in the Adirondacks. Of course, if you leave the more civilized areas of the east coast, you don’t have to put in as much effort. Isolation can be a bike ride away.

    Brucha – there was a certain of amount of irony intended, but I can see where it would be missed if you react similarly to “let’s go skinny dipping” and “let’s slobber in each other’s soup.” Apologies if it ruined the post for you.

    inverse: That’s a funny story! 😉

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