NYC Taxi Driver Tells It Straight

Why do aidel maidels need to be so tznius? The mashal is often given to a precious diamond, which is kept hidden away in a safe, not exposed where anyone can see or steal it.

In the opening anecdote of Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt’s latest article, a NYC taxi driver explains the problem with this comparison:

 

We usually don’t take a car,” the yeshiva boy says to the driver, an older Irish man with a hearty laugh and a dapper straw hat. “But the lady was inappropriately attired (he winks at his date), in her heels I mean, so we had to — “

The yeshiva boy’s date cuts him off and leans forward to the driver, deciding to turn her frustrations into a joke: “Sir, he doesn’t really care about the heels. It’s my actual choice of attire that he finds inappropriate. My skirts are too short, it makes him nervous, he won’t even call me by my name, you know how religious boys are…”

The driver turns the corner. “That’s the problem with religion, it’s sexist,” he says, looking at her in his mirror. “I know because my parents were religious Catholics. It’s all a bunch of sexist garbage.”

The boy and girl laugh nervously over the profanity, and the girl says slowly, “Well, I don’t think religion itself is sexist, it’s just that chauvinists still exist…” She casts the boy a look.

The boy turns back to the driver: “But don’t you agree, sir, that if you have the most precious diamond in the world, you keep it wrapped up? You don’t take it to the streets to show the entire world?”

The girl gasps silently — she is taken backwards in time, back to the apologetics they taught in 7th grade, again and again, bas melech, kol kvoda pnima, a princess’s honor is all inside, a divine jewel to be kept hidden…

But before she can respond, the driver presses the brakes. He turns around and faces the yeshiva boy, and says slowly, his voice shaking with rage: “Listen to me, boy. This is not an object you’re talking about. This is a living, breathing human being.”

 

What he is saying is: when you lock someone away like a diamond, you are treating them like property, not a person.

This is how objectification works:  By preventing other humans from meeting your “diamond,” you prevent other humans from acknowledging their humanity. The other humans only know about them from descriptions. This, essentially, turns them into objects defined by their description.

Not making sense? I’ll be less abstract:

If men learn about women strictly from a photo proffered by a shadchan, then they will accept and reject women based on the simplest algorithm: appearances. Which objectifies women. So, by keeping women hidden from men, you objectify them. You do not protect them.

I can’t believe I blogged about shidduchim for seven years and never realized this.

But there you go: that is the root problem. The reason why shidduch dating is so offensive.

There’s another, similar, point to be made about sexualization. Arguably, there is nothing overtly (or possibly even covertly) sexual about a woman’s knees. However, if a gentleman glances at your knees, blushes, looks away, and refuses to look at you anymore, then your knees have just been sexualized. And you have just been turned into an object. A sexual object. Something that can’t be looked at without creating sexual thoughts, because everything about you — and especially your knobbly knees — are sexual.

In the opening story, the boy (and yes, he’s a boy not a man or even a guy) decided that Avital’s skirt was too short to be seen in public. He begins making decisions for her about how she ought to appear in public, on the theory that she’s not a person, she’s a diamond. Bam! Objectified! Sexualized!

So you see why Avital was a little upset.

By the way, I’m awed by her presence of mind and her guts in telling that smug bochur how it is. She’s my new rebbe. I’m a total fan. Go read her article.

Also, thank you NYC for having awesome taxicab drivers.

 

 

It’s Not Just Me

I bought a friend a copy of Lori Gottlieb’s book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Not because I believe in settling, but because I knew that she wanted to. She kept going out with all these guys who were perfect except… for one fatal flaw. And she’d wonder if she should stop caring about these things because she’s twenty-seven and is three children behind her classmates, and all she wants is to be married.

So yes, she’s definitely the target audience. I bought her the book.

“Guess what,” Gottlieb says. “There is no perfect man. Kind of how you’re not a perfect woman, so ditch that mile-long shopping list of pointless minutiae and find someone good enough. Then deal with it. Because at least you’ll be married.”

Well, Friend loved it. She kept reading passages aloud about how picky women are, their ridiculous demands, and how few things are really important in a marriage.

“You should read this when I’m done!” she enthused.

“Not a chance,” I replied. “You know I don’t want to settle.” You see, the premise of Lori’s book is that most of all, every woman wants to get married. It’s only a false sense of entitlement that prevents us from picking out the first non-psychotic y-x chromosome pair that strolls past.

And there are certainly many women, like Friend, who feel this way. Their goal is to Get Married. They just need to find someone suitable to do it with. Then they can relax into marital bliss and babies with an easy sigh, knowing they have secured the most important accessory of the rest of the their life.

There are even married people who agree with this. “I’m so glad I married young,” they smile blissfully. “I could not have handled being single this long.”

I usually gape at them in astonishment. Is this the well-adjusted, multi-interested, adventurous person I knew in high school who never had a bored moment in her life? Saying she couldn’t have handled being single? Then I decide that it must be like me saying I couldn’t have handled being married that young. We’re all happy with what life has handed us because we have no idea what the alternative is really like. That’s not a bad thing.

Still, it bugs me.

Because I’ve never felt that way.

I can see the appeal of a committed relationship and the joys of offspring (at least between years 1 and 12), but the tug of the institution of marriage itself has never been a desperate need that overrides my desire for independence or self-sufficiency. I’ve always felt rather alone in this way.

But the nice thing about Gottlieb’s book is the overwhelming negative reaction it’s gotten from lots of women. Some just don’t like being told that they’re picky. But some don’t like the idea of settling. Like me, they do not fear a future in which kindly relatives give them cats for their birthdays. At least, they don’t fear it more than they fear being institutionalize with someone they discover they have trouble respecting.

Now, I happen to agree with Gottlieb that disrespecting someone because they haven’t read Kafka or “aren’t romantic enough” is kind of dumb. But I would also like to point out that there are many happy marriages based on equally dumb points of attraction. A teacher in seminary bragged to us about a match she made between a rich, trophy-wife hunting man and a beautiful, gold-digging woman. “Maybe it seems shallow,” she laughed at her horrified, idealistic, not-yet-dating class. “But it works for them. So what does it matter?”

To which I say, exactly. And if you’d rather stay single than spend the rest of your life with someone who is ugly, or poor, unromantic, or disinterested in existential literature, well, that’s a deeply personal thing, and certainly your priority to make.

Just make sure that you are okay with that. Because otherwise you should probably settle.

Not me, though. I don’t believe in settling.

Are We Dating Yet?

A while ago I wrote about not-quite dates, and how much of a turnoff I consider them. Well, this article is by a guy, and he also decries the “not-yet-a-date.” He says that it kills the romance by placing you immediately in the friend zone. Instead of getting flirted at, you’re held at arm’s distance, because the woman has no clue what’s up and whether she should consider you differently.

Sincerely Sparkling

You know all those guys who say they want a girl with a “sparkling personality”? I’ve always wondered what that meant. Okay, maybe I haven’t.  While I can’t define it exactly, I know it when I see it. For example, I know I don’t sparkle, twinkle, or coruscate in any way. Whereas the classmate who got engaged twice within six months of high school graduation kind of did. And I’m nothing like her. (Heck, I haven’t gotten engaged once in seven years!)  So my SOP has always been to chuck those “sparkling personality” profiles as non-starters.

Shadchan: Why don’t you want to go out with him?

Me: He’s looking for a sparkler. I’m more a roman candle.

Well, I was at the Shabbos table of a couple, and The Wife was explaining how she knew that her Husband was The One for her. “I wanted a guy with fire in his eyes!” she gushed. “That enthusiasm! And he had it.”

“She just sparkled,” Husband gazed back adoringly. “She was what I was always looking for.”

My friend and companion leaned over the chulent and whispered in my ear, “Aren’t they such a cute couple?”

“Yes,” I whispered back. “But should it change it any that they’re grandparents?!”

“No!” she hissed. “They’re still an adorable couple.”

I suppose they were both still sparkling and flaming together. Whatever.

So I’m moving on to another word. In my old age, I’ve seen a large number of shidduch profiles. And do you know what every single guy puts on his “looking for” list? “Kind” or “caring” and “sincere.” Always sincere. What the heck does that mean? Sincere about what? Who isn’t sincere, aside from a sociopath? Even those disgustingly kind people who are nice to you only because they think you’re desperately lonely are, at least, sincere in their intentions. (Which are based on ameliorating their feelings more than yours, but hey, they really and sincerely mean well.) So can someone please describe to me an insincere woman? Or sincere one. Either will do.

Now I Get It

One dull evening, my flatmates and I decided to sign up for ZivugZone. Separately, we sat at our laptops uploading photos and writing descriptive paragraphs. Then we microwaved some popcorn and waited.

It didn’t take too long. The messages started arriving. For one of my flatmates, about three a night. For me — every couple of days. Not that it mattered. The guys who messaged us had depressingly boring profiles. Not one bothered to upload a photo. Their messages were invariably “Hi. Wanna talk?” And their description went “I’m a nice guy looking for a pretty girl.”

This was pretty standard for the site, we discovered, scrolling through the options.  I wondered: are the women this bad too?

So I created a male profile. I wanted to see if the female profiles were as bad as the male. And yeah: I wanted to scope the competition.

And boy was there competition. Everyone had a photo. And some of those photos were gorgeous. I despaired as I scrolled through a smorgasbord of pictures clearly taken at weddings, their subjects posing in perfectly ironed hair and impeccable makeup. I didn’t even bother to read their names or descriptive paragraphs.  I just went “Pretty — really pretty — gorgeous — whoa! — Shnasty — Ooh, look at her I should give up now…” I felt like such a guy.

Then a photo caught my eye. It was different. The clothes and hair weren’t elaborate – -she was wearing a zip-up sweatshirt and denim skirt. She was standing in the midground, facing a log cabin, peering flirtatiously over her shoulder at the camera. She wasn’t just pretty — she was cute.   I stopped and read her description. She said she was a fun girl who enjoyed traveling and playing in the sunshine. Okay, it wasn’t quite like that, but that’s the impression it gave. She sounded like every man’s dream. I practically asked her out. Then I remembered that I’m not really a man — just posing as one.

Then I realized something even more embarrassing:  the girl in the picture was my flatmate.

I double-checked the name. “Goldy S.” Yep. That was my flatmate.

Amy Webb says your descriptive paragraph should be less than 99 words and include “sunshine,” “smile,” and “girl” in it. And Goldy’s sure as heck did. So I decided to do an experiment. I copy-pasted her paragraph wholesale into my profile and waited for the messages to roll in.

They didn’t.

“Can I use a photo of you too?” I asked next. I thought a good next step would be to pair her photo with a humdrum, non-sunshiny paragraph and see what happened.

No,” she replied, possibly not wanting to go into competition with herself.

So I left it at that. I never completed the experiment.

Well, someone went and took the experiment all the way!

“[Comedian Alli Reed] created the fake OKCupid profile, ‘aaroncarterfan,’ using a picture of her best friend who is a model, ‘hoping to prove that there exists an online dating profile so loathsome that no man would message it,’ despite how attractive the picture is.”

Full Article Here

She wrote that she’s very good at convincing people that she’s pregnant, and that she enjoys knocking the coffee cups out of the hands of homeless people because “it is sooooooo funny.”

She got 150 messages in 24 hours.

So there you go, ladies. It’s all about the picture.

Well, maybe not all. You should probably still have a 99-word sunshiny paragraph, rather than a list of your vices. But if you want anyone to even glance at that paragraph, you’re going to need a pretty darn good photo.

So get snapping.

Amy Webb on TED

I posted about Amy’s book about how to date before. Here’s her TED talk below. (Thanks, Doc.) It’s fun.

Amy believes that you should make a list and stick to it. It worked for her: she found a guy who checked her list and married him.
I made a list like hers once. I used it once to eliminate a guy who really was a bad idea (in retrospect). I forget where I put that list, though. And obviously, it hasn’t done more than eliminate men yet.

Conversely, we have Goldy Krantz saying that you should chuck your list, because the guy she married didn’t check hers at all, and the only reason she went out with him was because he sort of drifted into her life slowly, via the “friend” route.  This one sounds easy: Just date everyone. Well, I do that too. Still single. This method doesn’t eliminate men, which is to say it sure does waste a lot of Sundays. Hasn’t panned out for me either.

I suspect the real truth is actually both of them, which is to say, whatever works for you. Or maybe a third way, which I don’t know about yet, because I’m still single.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of Amy’s, so watch her TED talk. It’s only 20 minutes.

So Many Options! Just Choose One.

beak up with five technologies]

 

Don’t get me wrong. Breaking up via text message is a little bit cowardly. But it’s better than breaking up via absenteeism.

Gentlemen, I’m curious: has a woman ever broken up with you simply by not returning you calls? That seems like the closest equivalent to break-up via non-calling, but I somehow can’t imagine it actually happening. Am I wrong?

I was recently charmed to be witness to the following: Girl went out with Guy. Guy never called back. After a week of waiting, Girl decides he’s not calling. Spends a month being peeved at him, gets over it.

Girl and Guy wind up at a Shabbos table together. Girl is charming (as usual). Guy shoots her a text after Shabbos trying to get back together again.

Girl: “Why now?”

Guy: “I guess you were just more pretty and fun than you were on the date.”

Girl: “Well the way you ‘broke up’ with me told me something about you, and I’m no longer interested.”

Burn.

No, not her comment. I mean the bridge. There is a reason why human beings strive to retain harmonious relationships with the people around them. It just makes life so much more pleasant. Also, you never know when you might decide to ask one of them out. Again.

The Unenhanced Date

behind the scenes feature

 

HT SA for the ‘toon.

 

NEF#8 showed up to her surprise shower wearing a terry-cloth zip-up hoodie, denim skirt, and flats.

When she found out that her groom-to-be was in the kitchen, she quickly changed that to zip-up hoodie, denim skirt, and 3-inch heels.

“He’s never seen me not in heels!” she explained.

“Didn’t you go mini-golfing?”

“I wore stilettos!”

“You know he’s not going to call off the wedding just because he sees you in flats.”

“No, but–you’ll understand when you’re engaged.”

Well, maybe.

“Oh please,” scoffed NMF#20. “I wore makeup maybe twice when we were dating.”

“She doesn’t need it,” her husband offered from the couch.

“Oh gosh no,” disagreed another friend. “I don’t even take out the garbage until I’ve checked my makeup.”

Murmurs of agreement.

“You know,” I commented, “The story of Yaakov and Leah is actually an allegory for what every man feels when he sees his wife unenhanced for the first time.”

“Um, what?” called the one in the heels.

“So what are you supposed to do, be ugly on a date?” asked the friend in the makeup.

“No, but if he’s gone out with you a whole bunch of times, you can probably risk going natural,” pointed out she who doesn’t need makeup.

“Yeah, probably,” I agreed. I haven’t gone on a date without makeup in years. But hey. I agree. In theory.

Why They Need to Can Salsa

You’d really think, with all the single women floating around, they’d come up with some way to seal jars that we could actually open.

over-68000-single-women-starve-to-death-every-year

This meme reminded me of one ironic conversation I had with my flatmate. We were setting up for a Game Night, putting out chips and salsa. She handled the chips. I got the salsa. While we worked, we were discussing how a third friend had asked us to do a Tough Mudder with her.

For those who don’t know, a Tough Mudder is a muddy obstacles course race for insanely fit people. People who are not insanely fit get carted off the course on stretchers. A few weeks ago someone died. But we didn’t know that. Or didn’t care to. Hey – it’s a cool race! Why shouldn’t we do it?

I flipped open my laptop and brought up YouTube so we could watch inspirational Tough Mudder videos. We stood there — she, shaking chips into the bowl, me clutching the salsa jar, and watched waves of shirtless men pour over the 8-foot-wall obstacle, like a sea of muddy crew cuts.

“Where are all the women?” I wondered.

the video went on for what seemed like forever before finally, a lone woman was boosted over the wall by one of the muddy crew cut guys.

“Oh c’mon,” I complained. “Really? Boosted? We’re not going to need to be boosted.”

“No way,” my flatmate agreed. “We are strong, independent women, and we will conquer that course on our own.” (Also, we won’t have men on our team.)

“That’s right,” I continued, “We don’t need men to do our muscle work for us. We can take care of ourselves.”

“Yup. We move our own boxes and and our own furniture — well not the couch, but that was really mostly because of the door — why are you still hugging the salsa?”

“I can’t get the lid off. Can you help me?”

Needless to say, we did not run a Tough Mudder.

In the Valley of the Shadow of Date

There’s a class of emails I occasionally get that can be summarized like this:

“Hey Bad4, I read your blog and you sound interesting. Tell me more about yourself so I can decide if I want to date you or not.”

My kneejerk response is always, “You have a blogsworth of material to work with. Why don’t you tell me something about you so I can decide if I want to tell you more about myself so you can decide if you want to date me?”

A forthright approach deserves a forthright response, don’t you think?

I have nothing against casual interaction as a prelude to dating. (Yeshivish friends cover your ears.) A first date means going from zero to sixty with someone in an evening; yesterday you didn’t know their name, today you’re sharing your entire life history. It’s frequently awkward. And when someone sounded so so promising on paper, it’s a dasher of expectations. Knowing someone somewhat beforehand means you have a pretty decent idea of what you’re getting into, and you’re okay with that, and still want to get deeper.

That said, there are casual encounters and there are casual encounters. There are casual encounters like a Shabbos table, a book club, and a fund-raising event. And there are staged casual encounters, like “Let’s carry on an extensive email conversation so I can figure out if I want to go out with you.” Or “Let’s meet at the library so you can recommend some books to me.”

It’s like the uncanny valley of dating. The uncanny valley is a location in aesthetic design where obviously not-human blends into obviously human, with results that are just a little bit creepy. You stare at it wondering, “Is it real? Is it fake? Probably fake…” And all the while your skin is crawling. That’s exactly how the staged casual encounter feels.

Is it? Isn't it?  It is -- a creepy humanoid Japanese robot.

Is it? Isn’t it?
It is — a creepy humanoid Japanese robot.

“Is it a date? Is it not a date? Is it an overture of friendship? Or is he going to disappear after deciding I’m not datable? What is going on here?” And the longer you think about it, the more the hairs on the back of your neck tingle.

A staged casual encounter is worse than a first date. It’s like try-outs for a first date. As well-meaning as the stager of an encounter may be (and I get the reason for it), it comes across as arrogant. It’s like saying (read in a peering-down-the-nose voice) “I would like to audition you to decide if you are worth spending my time and money on.”

Guess what guys: a girl who takes you up on that is either sorely lacking in dignity or has you so firmly in the Friend Zone that she doesn’t realize what you’re up to.

In fact, a friend of mine had exactly that experience. She thought she was studying with a guy who happened to be a friend. Her mystification turned to indignation when he disappeared after a couple of study sessions, having decided that she wasn’t a romantic possibility.

What a creep.

There are women who will take you up on a staged casual encounter. I did that once for an emailer. But that was because our email correspondence had been so amusingly tortuous that I was sure I would get a good story out of our meet-up. (I did.) I never thought for a second that my Encounterer might get a date.

I suppose it’s possible for a She to also want to prescreen a guy. I’ve done that too, for the less blatant emailers. And if you’re actually interested in a guy, well, some girls consider this an opportunity to woo.

But a majority of the aidel maidels (and less aidel maidels) that I know consider this sort of subterfuge crude, unthinkable, and yes, a little bit creepy.

And you don’t want to appear creepy, do you?

How Can Women End Dates Politely?

I got the vibe that he wasn’t really excited about our date.

To be fair, I wasn’t all that thrilled about it either. Maybe I was projecting. But the feeling I was having, based on his foot-dragging approach to setting up a date (“Well, email me when you’re next in the area”, “Queens? Hm. That’s far. Will you be in Staten Island maybe?”) was that he wasn’t exactly thrilled to be seeing me. Which is why I told my parents to expect me back in no more than two hours max.

And which is why I was really surprised to find myself still talking to him three hours later.

Conversation had slowed, although it had been good enough. I was game for a second date. But I also wanted to end the first. It was feeling dragged out. And I had work the next day.

I thought about how my dates ended dates. Usually they straighten up, look me in the eye, and say in a firm tone, “Well, shall we go?”

I tried to imagine how my current date would take it if I tried that now. Somehow, all I could come up with was “startled” with a tinge of “affronted.”

So with an inward sigh, I went about all the indirect (and inefficient) feminine ways of ending a date.

I shifted restlessly. I stifled a yawn and apologized, saying I’d been up early that morning—to get to work, you know. I let silences drag. I observed how empty the place was getting—everyone was going home. And slowly… oh so slowly… it took about fifteen minutes, but he asked, “Would you like me to take you home?”

Was I being too obvious?

When he declined a second date, I felt guilty. Was it because he really wasn’t interested, or was it because he’d taken my heavy-handed hinting to mean that I wasn’t interested?

Then I laughed at myself for feeling guilty. I’d been so sure it would be a 1nD from the start. Stupid girly guilt over everything. He probably hadn’t read into it at all.

Someone please tell me:

When the guy says “Well, shall we go?” after three hours, it’s not necessarily a sign of disinterest. When a girl desires to be taken home at 10:30pm on a workday, does the guy take it personally?

Speedy Shadchaning

Has anyone else felt a little pressured by their shadchan to make contact with the other party immediately regardless of the expedience for seeing the person any time soon?

I have recently had three shadchanim insist on putting me in immediate contact with the Gentleman, even though I pointed out that I could see him in person in two or three weeks when I was visiting New York.

“So? You’ll talk on the phone.”

Twice? Three times? Before we even meet? It seems a bit unfair to make two people with 2D impressions of each other carry on a conversation-only courtship for two weeks, when, simply by introducing them a week or two later, you could obviate the need.

And then he’s going to suggest a Skype call. I know he will. Guys love webcamming, for some reason. I don’t know why, since they’re generally pretty awful at it.  I’ll put a nice sweater over my pajamas, sweep on some makeup, and spend 15 minutes putzing about with the camera position and lighting. will look okay. (Nobody actually looks good on a webcam.)  But I know the guy will do none of the above.

I once Google Hung Out with a guy who appeared to use his iPad for the calls. He’d position it on the table below him, providing a foreshortened view of his chest and underchin. The overall impression was that I was communicating with a large sofa cushion topped with a small head. It wasn’t thrilling. But the  turnoff was the way his eyes kept straying off the tablet screen,  above to his desktop screen. I’d never have known he was keeping tabs on his Facebook feed while chatting if we’d just done a phone call.

But webcam tips are for another post. My point is that we didn’t know about each other for the past 27 years of our lives. Will it really hurt so much if we don’t know each other for another two weeks?

While I appreciate a shadchan’s enthusiasm for throwing a promising couple together, I do wish they could rein it in for just long enough to let our calendars swing into sync. So we could avoid multiple cold calls and those horrifying webcam dates. Trust me: this is good for the relationship.

Cause for Celebration?

I recently marked my 42nd gentleman caller — although that’s a bit of a misnomer as I had to go to him. (Driving 2 hours to date someone in NYC is normal. Driving two hours to date someone outside is to much to ask.)
The rate of gentlemen over the years has not been constant; there’s been a bit of an increase. Indeed, if this trend continues I think I may soon see my 50th “caller.”

Dates per Year

That calls for a party, methinks. A Confirmed Bachelorette party, celebrating Half a Century of Men and Boys. Gifts not required, but welcome if they purr.

Does this signify anything? I doubt it. After all, my math shows that there must be hundreds if not thousands of bachelors in my range around. So this is more of an excuse to throw a party, and maybe get a cat, than anything else. But the big Five-Oh… surely that’s a number worth marking?

Not a Good Wingwoman

I was at the mixed-orthodox shul with a friend who we shall call Morah. We were standing around, nibbling on our chulent, when Morah said, “There’s a guy eyeing us from across the room. Here he comes…”

“Hi!” Guy introduced himself brightly. “I’m new to the neighborhood and trying to meet people. I’m Guy, who are you?”

We surreptitiously checked his fingers for a ring, and, finding none, introduced ourselves in turn.

“I’m Morah and I’m a preschool teacher.”

Guy smiled at her and turned to me.

“I’m Bad4 and I’m a neurochemist.”

Guy made a 45-degree body turn back to Morah and smiled. “I also work with small children!”

They chatted about small children and classrooms for another 15 minutes while I finished my chulent and wandered off to get something to drink. Neither noticed me going.

“Well what was he supposed to say?” Morah defended Guy later. “He probably had no idea what a neurochemist does.”

“Most people don’t. That doesn’t stop them from saying ‘I guess you look at brains a lot, huh?’ or ‘so you blow up neurons?’ He didn’t even try.”

“Well it’s just that you intimidated him,” Morah soothed me, like I was a small child having a melt down. She’s good at that. Only that’s really not what I needed to hear.

A medically inclined friend of mine went to a singles event a few weeks ago, where she sat next to a lawyer and a preschool teacher at the speed dating section.

“It was set up that two guys would come sit down at a table with three girls and you’d do introductions,” she said. “So every time two guys would come sit down and we’d do the intros, who are you, what do you do, who are you, what do you. And we go ‘doctor, lawyer, preschool teacher.’ And they nod and smile and say that’s nice, and proceed to physically turn and talk to the preschool teacher.”

The lesson is, preschool teachers make rotten wingwomen.

There is clearly something about women who spend their entire day chasing small children that men just simply cannot resist. Why this is I couldn’t say, but women be warned: stay away from those preschool teachers when you’re trawling for men.

Or better yet—tell them you teach preschool too! Then you can snag the guy, go on a date, and get to know him. If things go well, you can tell him you’re applying for jobs as a scapula surgeon, to break him into the idea. If he can get over your alleged career change, you’re good to go. If he can’t… well, time to start applying for preschool jobs.

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

I was over at an MF, and we got to talking about guys who are “bad at dating.”

“It’s usually the little things, like as small as just telling you where they plan to take you on a first date. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a lounge, but if you’re not, it really does! I can’t count how many times I walked around Central Park in 3-inch heels. And I went bowling in heels, too.”

“They let you bowl in heels?”

“I don’t remember if they let, exactly. But I wasn’t going to put my feet in those bowling shoes without socks! That’s disgusting! If I’d have known I’d have brought a pair. And I would have gone ice skating in my heels too if it was possible. I mean, seriously. Why am I handing in a pair of 4-inch stilettos at the skate rental? That’s just weird! There’s something wrong with that situation. And then me trying to skate in a fit-and-flair dress that I bought for sitting in a lounge looking pretty. If you’re going to do something unusual, you tell the girl.”

This rant, mind you, from someone who’s been married four years. I guess her bunions still remember.

 

To Know or Not to Care?

I have received a correction on the matter of the non-identifying caller  from another reference of mine. Apparently, he wasn’t trying to hide his name from me so I wouldn’t know who had done the asking. He intended to hide the fact that he had called at all, so I wouldn’t be disappointed when nothing came of it. There must have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding, and it got passed along to me as “someone called, can’t tell you who.”

In other words, he wasn’t being creepy and evasive, he was being nice.

So I guess I owe him an apology for suspecting him wrong. While I do usually operate on the assumption that most people aren’t trying to be jerks, I have had enough experience with no-name callers to be predisposed to suspicion.

If we were back in summer camp, we’d say I owed him a brocha. So my wish for him is that he should waste less time looking into people who aren’t right for him.

But really, did he have to do that?

To be honest, I don’t care if I never find out that someone has looked into me. I assume it happens every now and then. But the idea of someone deliberately hiding the fact from me in order to preserve my tender feeling strikes me as, well, a tad condescending. I mean, I’m not a little kid any more. If I can’t handle rejection by the ripe old age of 27, I’m in trouble.

But that could just be me. I have objected to being treated like a child ever since I was a child. In fact, my very first memory, from when I was two and shouldn’t have any memories, was of getting upset at my parents for not taking me seriously. I then spent the proceeding six years resenting relatives who called me cute and pinched my cheek because that’s not the sort of thing you say and do to someone you respect. Clearly, I have taken myself a little too seriously for about as long as I have had a sense of self.

So I decided to find out via proper research methods: is this subterfuge necessary? Or does it just complicate people’s lives unnecessarily?

Study on the Dating Sensitivities of Orthodox Jewish Women between the Ages of 22 and 31 with Regard to Men They Have Never Met But Who Have Already Rejected Them

Methodology: Text messages were sent to all the singles in my Contacts list. In order to avert pool bias toward a Bad4-Friend-Type, I also contacted Good4’s friends. Singles were also asked to pass the questions along to their friends and return the results.

Singles were asked two questions, sequentially. The second question was only asked after the first had been answered.

The question were: “If a guy looked into you and said no, would you want to know, or would you rather not know?”

This was followed up by the question: “Would you be hurt to find out about it?”

Sample Size: 11 singles, 5 under the age of 24, and 6 over the age of 24.

Results: I’ve divided the respondents into “Below 24” and “Above 24” to see if there are age-related differences.

Results for the question “Would you want to know or would you rather not know?”

Below 24:

“Prefer not to know at all. Except for the occasional times that he said no cuz you’re too frum or something because then it’s flattering instead of insulting.”

“I don’t care. It probably depends on the person because some people want to know that people are suggesting things even if nothing comes from it. And some would be hurt to hear people said no. There’s no better way, in my opinion.”

“Rock and hard place. Probably to know he said no.”

“Yes I’d like to know if you aren’t asking this hypothetically. If I had no idea I wouldn’t care.”

“Don’t really care either way. If he said no, it’s not gonna go anywhere.”

Above 24:

“[I would want to] Know.”

“I’d like to know that someone tried to do something on my behalf. But given the above options [know or don’t know], I’d rather not know.”

“To me it makes no difference. Unless I personally know the family/boy, I don’t care if he said no; he’s a stranger.”

“Nothing about it at all. Obv. You know about my low self esteem.”

“Probably know nothing.”

“Honestly I would not care.. I would assume looks, height or something superficial. Honestly if people are saying bad things and the idiot is listening, then forget that dude anyhow…”

Since everything looks prettier in a graph:

Slide1

Results for the question: Would you be hurt to find out?

Below 24:

“Nope. Family policy is “one closer.”

“Depends if I knew him or was desperate to go out with him. But I will get over it.”

“That would depend on how I felt about the guy.”

“Depends if I would have wanted to go out with him. Not so hurt, but a lot of rejection over time is hurtful, yes.”

Above 24:

“More annoyed than hurt. But I’d also rather know the guy said no as closure. How often does someone suggest a possibility and then leave it hanging – did he say no? Did the shadchan just drop the ball?”

““Can’t be uber-offended if he says no without meeting me. I am not that fragile. And then I know not to pursue him in the future. And I know my friends were thinking of me.”

“It would bruise my ego a little but if I don’t know the guy that’s not the worst rejection in the world. Def not the same as being interested and then they say no.”

“Yes, I’d wonder what was wrong with me.”

“No, I am currently going out with someone. Even if I wasn’t, I have the philosophy that if someone doesn’t think I am right for them, it is nothing against me (it just means we wouldn’t be right for each other). One more down. 😉

“No.”

“No, I don’t recall that [ever] happening.”

“No, why should I care if someone I don’t know said no?”

In beautified form:

Slide4

Discussion:

It appears that most women are not quite as delicate as supposed. Only one woman said she’d be upset to be “rejected.” The ones who said “It depends” specified that they’d have had to have previously agreed and truly wanted to date the gentlemen. Notably, these were almost all under the age of 24. A towering majority of the singles over 24 simply said “No.”

Conclusion: 

It appears that when dating a woman who has no prior knowledge that you are investigating her, you need not worry that she will be saddened by your “rejection” of her. If she has previously agreed to go out with you, and is of young and tender age, you may want to tread delicately. If she is old and hard boiled, forget it. She doesn’t care about you.

I Scrubbed My Brain, But the Stain is Still There

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that a guy called a friend to ask about me, but insisted on remaining anonymous.

He wasn’t completely anonymous, though. Based on his questions, I pegged him as dead-on yeshivish. And based on his area code, he was apparently from Monsey.

And I have a problem with yeshivish guys from Monsey.

Someone who self-described as “yeshivish” solicited a friend on a (admittedly skeezy) Jewish dating website.

Now, whenever I hear about a possible match with a yeshivish guy from Monsey, I wonder: could that be him?

I know this soliciting sleazebag is about 31 years old. I know he still lives with his parents. While that’s not enough to identify a secret skank beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s enough to cast a shadow on a very small population subset.

Is that good enough reason to refuse to go out with 31-year-old yeshivish men from Monsey who live with their parents?

Skulking Suitors

“Hey, got some questions for you,” a friend said. “A guy called last night and asked these, and I said I’d get back to him.”

“No problem,” I said, and provided the answers.

“By the way, who was he?”

“I promised not to tell.”

“What?”

“He told me who he was, but at the end of the conversation he made me promise not to tell you.”

“Why? What nosy, obnoxious questions could he have possibly asked that he doesn’t want me to know who he is?”

“Really nothing. He asked what your siblings do, why you live OOT—mostly things he’d know if he actually read your profile. And then the ones about whether you go to shiurim or have a rebbetzin or would be willing to Skype date.”

Then why won’t he tell me his name?

I am unable to come up with a good reason why someone would withhold their name in connection to their actions. Usually it means you’re embarrassed or afraid, or don’t want to take responsibility for it.

When a guy won’t put his name where his mouth is, I automatically assume he also writes anonymous letters to the Yated condemning everyone who doesn’t think the way he does. It’s not a promising start to our relationship.

Or wouldn’t be, if I knew who he was. That’s the point, right? I can’t hold it against him if I don’t know who he is.

In theory, at least.

This isn’t the first guy to try to hide his name from a potential date. Another friend of mine was playing reference for another friend of hers, when she got a call at 11pm from a guy who refused to identify himself.

“I could lie and give you a fake name, but I’m being honest and telling you that I won’t tell,” he explained proudly.

“Why won’t you tell?”

“Well, I don’t necessarily want it getting back to her, the kinds of things I’m asking about her.”

“Does that strike you as fair? That you show up on a date knowing highly personal information about her that she doesn’t know you know?”

“Well—“

“And do you really think she has so many guys looking into her at the same time that she won’t be able to figure out who you are?”

“Well—“

“And I will also mention that you called at 11pm, and the only reason I took your call was because I thought it was an emergency because who calls a stranger and a mother at 11pm on a work night?!”

“Well if you’re not going to tell her anything nice about me, I guess there’s no point in this call.”

That was actually what I told my friend, regarding my own non-identifying would-be suitor.

“You don’t need to bother calling back with answers to any of his questions. I’m not interested in a guy who won’t stand by his actions. You can tell him he’s officially nixed, whoever he is.”

Does Age Matter?

I happen to agree with the message of the video. People who get hung up on slight differences in age are, quite frankly (imho) stupid. (Sorry, friend who won’t date someone even a few months younger.) But then again, is it different than getting hung up on hair color or something like that? Dunno.

Anyway, the fact that it needs saying is kind of embarassing.

Oh, and the rest of it. (Is it assur for Orthodox Jewish men to powder their noses for the camera?)

Thursday Link Early: Marry Young, My Son, Marry Young

Not going to have a post ready by Monday, so here’s this to keep you busy:

Living OOT and not getting too many Jewish publications, you miss some of the more entertaining  notions people come up with. So I was unaware that men going to Israel at 21 is depriving poor spinster girls sitting back in the USA trying to get married. (What is wrong with marrying a 23-year-old boy, I’m not sure yet. Does anyone have an article detailing this particular solution to the “crisis”?)

At any rate, someone is calling them on it.  Controversy ensues. Arm waving, yelling, someone throws a tallis bag… Whattaya think?

In case the link becomes defunct, here’s a page with the full text of the letter (but none of the comments).