Okay, so we’ve established that Thomas Day had, perhaps, slightly too detailed a criteria for his wife. Yes, as ridiculous as his demands sound, our culture is not too far behind. It’s normal to have too-detailed a list outlining your future spouse.
Quote from one shadchan:
The easiest shidduchim to make occur when people’s expectations match reality. Unfortunately, too often young men and women are not honest with who they are and therefore what kind of mate they might attract.
Simple example: a guy learning in a yeshiva at 26 with no higher education beyond high school and plans to stay in kollel for “a few years, fully supported” looks for a “with it, open minded, not farfrumt” young lady.
Now, why would a girl like that be interested in him? What does he have to offer her as a husband that she can’t get from someone who actually is open minded, with it, and not farfurmt, as she is, and has also demonstrated it by getting an education and planning to support a family?
In my experience, guys tend to think they’re “with-it” if they have a Samsung Galaxy SIII, dabble in stocks, and are vociferous about politics (generally lambasting Democrats for their entitlement programs while looking forward to a life of HUD, food stamps, and WIC). This is not really “with-it” for anyone with an outside frame of reference.
Girls make delusional demands as well. Many a bais yaakov maidel insists that she wants a long-term learner who is “fun, with-it, cool, serious about his learning, and interesting.” The fact that there may be an inherent contradiction in their criteria makes no impression.
And then there are young ladies who have a shopping list for their man, quiz questions he must answer, and character tests he must pass that rival anything Mr. Thomas Day could come up with.
Take the girl who solemnly asked her date, “How will I know that in five years you’ll still be interested in learning?” She was just looking after her olam haba, naturally.
Or the one who asked her date: “What if you had a small child who made a mess and didn’t want to clean up. How would you get him to clean up?”
She followed this humdinger up with a whizbanger, “What if you woke up one morning and didn’t feel like going to minyan?”
One wonders if she was working off a list of Good Dating Questions handed out by a teacher in seminary.
Then there are the items by which you are judged. Like the girl who asked her date what his placement in his family was, as she believed position made a huge difference in personality and approach to life.
Another had a powwow with her high school and seminary teachers after the first date. When the shadchan asked if she wanted to go out again, she delivered the group verdict: the boy only learned for attention. He was not worthy of hers.
And let’s not forget this exchange, previously posted:
Her: “Do you smoke?”
Him: (proudly) “No, of course not. I’ve never touched a cigarette in my life.”
Her: (disappointed) “Oh. So you’re not a serious learner then.”
Really, it’s a wonder any of us get married at all. That we do is a testament to lesson #5: Every pot, no matter how warped, has a lid. It may not fit well or fit comfortably, but somewhere, it’s out there.
For gals like me (and you?) who I believe do not have such ridiculous criteria, we are still pegged with these other individuals with laundry-lists since, if I am single, ergo I must have been insanely over-discriminating. But what is quite entertaining is that often, these who have such demands often end up with those who never reached those ineffable heights, being merely human, as are their spouses.
Case in point: “Oh, he definitely has to be good-looking.”
Her husband isn’t even remotely.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking situational questions like the one about the kid refusing to clean up. It’s treating the date as an interview, but I don’t see anything wrong with that (well, it shouldn’t be all interview, but a mixture of interview-type questions and chatting is how you get to know a person in a short amount of time, which is how shidduchim typically work.)
Could you define “farfurmt” for those of us not privileged to have an Ashkenazi yeshivishe background? Can’t find it on the Net.
I would tentatively suggest “farfrumt” describes someone whose frumness hits you full blast upon meeting them, sort of like someone wearing a too-strong cologne. It’s not something they say or do, it’s something they wear, almost like “nerdiness” or “insecure” are not tangible, and yet so very very apparent.
Re: the girls with the quiz questions, here’s an Israeli version for you. Friends of mine just spoke to a young man and woman (separately) whom they had set up on a date.
Him: “She asked me if I felt like I was doing a mitzva every time I went to the army [for reserve duty].”
Her: “He didn’t feel like he was doing a mitzva every time he went to the army!”
That girl’s questions (getting a young child to clean up, etc.) are so stupid, it’s shocking. Anyone who would ask questions like that doesn’t understand what she’s looking for in a marriage. Those are interview questions, not the start of a relationship.
I just saw JWed Gal’s comment: Sorry, Gal. I don’t know if you’re married or not, but you don’t begin a relationship with interview questions. You begin with genuine interest and curiosity about the other. Not by testing the person.
My 13th anniversary was this week. (Bad4, I assume your card is still in the mail.) We never would have gotten even this far if we were testing each other rather than trying to understand and get to know each other.
We hardly knew each other when we got married. Hardly. (Although we thought we did.) And we’re still getting to know each other – and ourselves – better every day.
The conversations can be difficult and painful. But at the end of the day, you end up closer.
Marriage is not about finding the right person so you can live happily ever after.
It’s not about receiving assurances that your spouse will have the exact same interests in five years as they have today.
It’s about finding someone you can grow with.
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