Way back in my heyday I wrote a series on the halachos of yeshivish dating. I’ve long since abandoned most of them. The first one is about kavanah in dating. Or, actually, who knows about what when.
Rereading it, my favorite line is the following:
“…But for the rest of us, it’s a surprise, like a second birthday.
OK, maybe not quite like a second birthday. At this point, we’re trying to keep our age down, so extraneous birthdays are not all that wonderful.”
I mean, seriously. I was 21. Four years later, I begin to wish I’d skipped even my annual birthday.
The second post was about hachanah, or preparing for a date. Boy did this one drive me up the wall the first few times. There are two types of people in society: the type who make the rules about what is normal. They never think or worry about it – they just do, and this creates standards. Then there are the types who accept the standards created by the first type, and anxiously strive to fit them. I’m in the second type for sure. So not having a handbook on what to wear for a first date left me wringing my hands.
“The Flatbush friend said any nice Shobbos outfit would do, as long as it was a suit. The Monsey friend claimed it had to be a black suit. Miss Dater from Queens said a suit was overkill—this was a date, not yet the wedding. The Far Rockaway contact said a nice sweater set would be optimal. The Lakewood advisor told me the outfit doesn’t matter, it’s the heels that make a difference. I I finally threw down the phone and thought, Help me God— Oh wait, don’t. The last time God took care of the clothing for a date, both parties were naked.”
The first is about keeping things from the neighbors – those pesky people with binoculars who sigh and reach for their Tehillims whenever you walk past with a bare head. The second is about not being seen on a date.
“Yep, within two hours, while he was on a bathroom break, I was smiling at an elementary school teacher of mine—and not one I’d gotten along with either. …I sincerely believe that dating is a natural process and therefore not something to be embarrassed about. The embarrassing part was her sweet, sympathetic, hopeful, and well-wishing smile. It’s difficult to pack so much unwelcome friendliness into a smile, but she did it.”
That was the most exposed I got on a date (including eating in the same restaurant as my boss once) until that ice cream date mentioned in the Extreme Dating post.