Elyu went on a first date with a decent guy. There were no apparent hashkafic issues. He wasn’t slovenly or rude. She saw no reason not to go out again.
But, the shadchan informed her, the Guy didn’t quite see things that way.
Elyu had not either been slovenly or rude or hashkafically off. But Guy had not felt any “sparks.” And so, he was off to strike his flint against a woman of another mettle.
“Sparks?” Elyu asked indignantly. “We sat across a table from each other for two hours. What was he expecting?”
Not being male, I couldn’t say. Presumably not the same thing he feels when he sees an ad for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
There is a concept of “love at first sight,” also known as the “crush,” a phenomenon that can occur before even making a person’s acquaintance. The best illustration of this can be seen in photos from a Twilight premier, with weeping girls trying to touch an actor they don’t know at all, and who probably has character flaws they would never tolerate in an ordinary boyfriend.
The Crush is a powerful motivational force – just look at Romeo and Juliet. It’s also a really bad way of gauging long-term compatibility.
But maybe, with all the checking out that we Orthodox Jews do before the first date, it doesn’t matter. You already know that you are basically compatible with the person. It’s just a matter of seeing whether you want to be.
Except I do know of at least one person who gazed soulfully into her future-husband’s blue eyes on the first date and made her decision immediately. I don’t know if she completed shanah rishonah before the mental disorder stopped being an endearing quirk and became a form of borderline abuse. Would she have noticed this issue if she’d gone on her seven dates without “crush goggles” on? It seems more likely. She might even have gone on more than seven dates.
Yes, we all want to be attracted to our spouses. But please please! Not on the first date. That’s just asking for trouble.
The chances of crushing on a first date are kind of slim anyway, wouldn’t you say? Our society goes through a great deal to keep crush goggles from fogging our judgement. There is no touching, no dancing, no tiny black dress. You’re not supposed to be head over heels on the first date. It’s actively discouraged.
What Guy highlights is a weakness of our hybrid dating method. We have secular expectations, but traditional behaviors. Crushes are inevitable in high-contact, low-lighting situations. Less so over sushi in a crowded kosher restaurant. Crushes are fine if you’re going to be in perpetual company for the next year or two, sharing an apartment. You’re bound to find out all the turnoffs sooner or later. Not so much if you’re going on 7 to 14 stand-alone dates before exchanging vows.
Having a first-date crush, then, seems both over-demanding and ill-advised, from my perspective. But I could be pontificating from an ivory tower. What do you think? (Please ID as male/female.)
Other BadforShidduchim posts about love:
What Is This Thing Called Chemistry? – an exploration of this vague reason to discontinue dating.
I Knew Right Away – I’ve known right away that I would be great friends with someone. Is that how you ‘know right away’ that you’ll be great spouses with someone?
Does Marriage Need Love? A Non-Jewish Perspective – Who needs love anyway? It can come later.
Marrying Someone Second Best – The point is to settle down – key word being “settle.”
Rescuing to Create Love – Love is just oxytocin. How to create some with the right ambiance.