More Classmate Statistics

A while ago I posted a breakdown of my high school class’s engagement record, complete with histogram. (Go on, click through. You know you want to see it again.)

In response, a reader sent me the statistics from her class. Talk about depressing. I don’t know how she gets out of bed in the morning (if there’s no date to prepare for).

Oh wait, she probably has school or a job or some other fulfilling aspect of her life. I forget that can exist.

Anyway, here are her numbers:

Graduation year – 2008

Stats taken  – 2013

Number in class – 76

Number taken – 53

Percent married – 70%

Not bad. The stats for my class were 74% gone by year five. I wonder if this is a standard for the Ultra-Orthodox community?

Does anyone else have statistics to contribute.

Marry Younger, My Son, Marry Younger

This isn’t new, but I was hoping I’d feel capable of providing a comment other than “oy” when I posted it. After sitting on it for a few weeks, I’m just going to go with “oy.” (It’s such a perfect, general purpose word of despair.)

A kol korei signed by a whole bunch of big names calls for boys to marry by the age of 22.5 (yes, highly specific it is). Boys being the right word, given their age. The actual words in the text are “bochurim” and “girls.” (In the Hebrew it’s “bochurim” and “banot.” Why did I title this post “my son”? It should be “my bochur.” Am I being an angry feminist for thinking that the females should be given the honor of being referred to as “bachurot” or something equivalent?)

I suppose, from some perspectives, it makes little difference whether you’re in yeshiva at 23 or in kollel. Certainly, there are plenty of people who marry at 22 and manage pretty well. It might even get some young men ahead of things; instead of discovering they have three starving children and need a job at 30, they can do it at 25. And, most obviously, looking for a wife at the age of 20 doesn’t mean you’ll find one. Honestly, I don’t know why this bothers me at all.

…Oh wait. Could it be maybe that this is a rather crazy controlling reaction to an alleged shidduch crisis? (I mean, must we control our children down to the 0.5 year they marry? Really?)

 

HT to the Overland Parker

Why I Don’t Speak to Shadchanim

…because, these days, sometimes I can’t help but sound like the crazy old lady I’m doomed to become.

I have not willingly sought out a shadchan in years, but for some reason they’ve been calling me these days. The following conversation was transcribed about 10 minutes ago. I admit, I was cranky. I was overtired, had half a cupcake for supper and I was trying, unsuccessfully, to make sense of the fees on my 401k. Not really the best time to get a phone call that goes like this:

Me: Hello?

Him: Hi, I’m a shadchan. Can you hold on?

Me: Sure, I guess.

Him: Thanks. [disappears for a few minutes] Hello, thanks for holding.

Me: Yeah, no problem.

Him: So I got your information from another shadchan and I have a few questions. Are you still 26?

Me: No, I’m 27 these days.

Him: And what do you do?

Me: My Job.

Him: I see. So are you looking for a more modern guy?

Me: I don’t know what that means.

Him: I mean do you want someone who is more modern.

Me: I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced. Can you please explain this to me? Like, what’s your name?

Him: My name is My Name.  I’m trying to complete your profile so I can set you up.

Me: [In my head] I really don’t think that is going to happen, if you divide your guys into “more modern” and “less modern.” [out loud] I guess I’m looking for a YU type. Halachic Man, not yeshivish.

Him: Left wing YU or right wing?

Me: [sigh] I don’t know.

Him: Moderate, then.

Me: Sounds good. I’m all for moderate.

Him: And your parents? Are they the same as you?

Me: I… [to myself] Is this question objectively objectionable, or is it just me?

Him: I mean, are they to the left or to the right of you?

Me: [to myself] In family pictures, it’s one on either side. [aloud] I guess to the right?

Him: Hm. Okay. And you live OOT?

Me: Yes, I do.

Him: And your parents are there too?

Me: No, they’re IT.

Him: Oh, where IT?

Me: In Their Neighborhood.

Him: Is that Flatbush or Boro Park?

Me: Neither. Or either, if you prefer.

Him: I’ll put down Flatbush. And why aren’t you there?

Me: Because my job is here.

Him: Oh I see. And do you have relatives out in OOT?

Me: No.

Him: You board? Have an apartment?

Me: An apartment.

Him: And are you willing to relocate?

Me: No, not really. I like it here.

Him: [doubtfully] So I need to find a guy who is willing to relocate. Or maybe somebody local… Hm. I don’t know.

Me: [ticked off by the implication that no such people can be found] Tell you what, if he’s got a better job than me, I’ll consider moving.

Him: What’s your salary?

Me: Decent.

Him: Decent for a woman is not very much.

Me: Excuse me?

Him: Well you know, women get paid less out there.

Me: [snappishly] On average, when both the man and woman have the same job. But seeing as most of the last dozen guys I went out with were all unemployed or underemployed or employed in low-paying fields, it really seems unfair that they all expected me to relocate.  Seriously. Even the 35-year-old living with his parents because he can’t afford his own rent. I think he planned to house us both in their basement or something.

Him: Well, okay. I’m glad I have your information. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

Me: No fear. Thank you. Good night.

Him: Good night.

Sometimes, I think, you can gauge how likely you are to get a good match from a shadchan based on the sorts of questions they ask. I once had a conversation that went like this:

Him: [To wife] What do you think of NerdyGuy? I taught him in middle school. He’s single now, in Touro, studying accounting. Brilliant boy. So many ideas. He once brought in a kiddie pool for a carnival game and carried it all the way home on his head! Can you believe it?

Me: What’s wrong with that?

Him: Exactly!

Me: [sigh] Sounds like a great idea.

Friday Repost: Why Are You Telling Me That?

I kind of laughed when I reread this exchange.

…She began listing all my sterling virtues, and, running short a bit earlier than she’d intended, fell back on plain ol’ information about me. “…and she had a blog,” she enthused to the mother.

“A blog…?” asked the mother uncertainly. “Um, isn’t that bad for shidduchim?”

As in, “are you bragging about that? Shouldn’t that be a turnoff? Hang on while I consult my manual for the appropriate reaction…”

Trust Your (Young) Adults

I graduated bais yaakov high school with a head full of ideas about marriage that I trusted but didn’t believe. That is: I trusted the teachers who’d taught them to me. They were older and wiser and presumably had my best interest in mind. But many of the things they said didn’t pass the critical thinking test, so I struggled to believe them.

One day I found myself on an eighth date.  I liked the guy. Respected him. Enjoyed spending time with him. But I also knew that eight dates meant we were Serious and that freaked me out. I had no reason to break up with him, and no desire to marry him.

Luckily, the guy didn’t go to a bais yaakov. He pointed out that something big was missing in our relationship. We were, to put it mildly, stuck in the Friend Zone, and going nowhere fast. He broke us up. He was absolutely right and I was secretly relieved, but it took me a couple of years to come round to agreeing with him.

Trusting without believing gets us girls in trouble. We try to do what we’re told because it must be right, and yet, something inside is crying that it can’t be. But, ever trusting, we sometimes allow our elders and wisers to drive us into places we really shouldn’t be.

Back when I was 21, I had friends who were lucky enough to have breakdowns and wind up in therapy before they could be pushed into an inauspicious marriage. Now that I’m 27, I have friends who are divorced, because they didn’t manage it until after. 

I’m sure by now everyone has read Gital’s story in the Post about how she let the people trusted nudge her into a marriage she didn’t believe in with a sociopath simply because he came from the Feinstein family.

I told the matchmaker I wanted to stop seeing him, that we weren’t a fit…

My parents asked me to think about it because his parents were so insistent I had the wrong impression of him.

In Orthodox dating, you rely a lot on what other people tell you — what their impression is. So I gave him another chance.

I don’t want to sing any Disney-style “follow your heart” tunes here. But at some point, the yeshivish community has to believe they’ve instilled their children with the right values and a pinch of common sense, and trust them to navigate the world themselves. Until they do, girls will struggle to trust themselves. Bad decisions ensue.

For a while I thought I was the only girl naive enough to treat feeling of reluctance for a guy with repetitions of the mantra “love comes after marriage” — something oft repeated in high school, but without the sort of elaboration necessary for girls who have been segregated from boys their entire lives. But now I know the unhappily married and the happily divorced — sometimes with children in tow — who weren’t as lucky as I was.

The parents and teachers advising these girls into their relationships mean well. They want the best for them. None of them dream of creating a future divorcee, let alone an agunah. But they still view them as children, girls, unable to trust the inner compass they’ve been cultivating through years of schooling and upbringing. And the “girls” share this view, because it’s held by the people they trust the most.

This makes me sad.

And long term, it makes a lot of other people sad too.

How Segulos Work

A few weeks ago, someone forwarded me an email about how eating seven meals erev Yom Kippur is a segula for… I forget. It might have been absolutely everything, but it definitely included getting married.

“Are you serious?” was my e-reply. I mean, all you have to do is click the “segulos” tag in the cloud on the right to see what, exactly, I think of segulos.

“I don’t even get how people can believe this stuff,” Good4 rolled her eyes. “I mean, what exactly do they think is happening here? Hashem is sitting up there going ‘Good4 isn’t ready to get married yet, I’m going to send her bashert back to Israel for another year. Oh wait! Look! She’s eating seven meals erev Yom Kippur. Well that changes everything. She’s ready to get married right now. Cancel that ticket! Put the change toward the band.”

When I mentioned it to an MF on Sukkos, describing my opinion of it in rather stark terms, she said, as someone was bound to, “Well it can’t hurt.”

“Sure it can,” I argued. “Last I checked, being svelte was an actual tried and true segula for getting married.”

“Hasn’t worked for you.”

“No segulos work on me. I’m lima’ala min hasegula.

“We’ve tried every segula to marry Bad4 off,” Mrs. Shidduchim agrees. “And she’s still on the ‘Not Ready’ list.”

“Yes, but you haven’t tried this one,” the MF pointed out, playing devil’s advocate. “You could be engaged in six months!”

“I could be engaged in six months anyway. That will prove only one thing: that dating is a segula for getting married.”

Are Weddings for Kids?

Why I want to elope (or at least have a backyard barbecue wedding).

Is it just me, or do older singles look more bored at their weddings? It’s like they’ve realized that the wedding is empty pageantry, paying homage to social norms, and they want to finish this minor step and move on to the important business of being married.

Or maybe they just have boring weddings because all their friends are sitting on the side, highly pregnant, or have already left because their babysitters were waiting and their husbands were bored, and the only people dancing are the uninvited 19-year-old girls who came because they heard it was a chesed wedding for nebach an older single who didn’t have anyone to dance with her.

Sigh. It is just a tad nebach

Myself: I never liked dancing. And I don’t like crowds. And being stared at. In fact, I can’t think of any particular aspect of the traditional Jewish wedding that sounds appealing.

Here’s my idea of a great wedding:

Buy a kesuba. Walk into a random OOT shul after Mincha one day and perform a quick ceremony. Then call home to let your parents know. (Or you could let them know before you elope. It’s kind of antithetical to the idea of eloping, but your parents would probably appreciate it. They can be in cahoots, and feign dismay at not having a wedding to plan. Nobody has to know.)

Then you can organize sheva brochos with all the people you want to celebrate with: the friends, the family, the parents’ friends, whatever.  It’s just supper, so nobody has to dash out early, and there’s no dancing to get pathetic, and no do-gooders waving pagan symbols of fertility at you. (Seriously. What’s up with that?!)  You get to spend time with the people you like, instead of just 30 seconds swapping brochos at the reception and another 30 seconds dancing.  Plus, even if you sponsor every sheva brochos meal yourself, you still can put a healthy remainder toward your mortgage.

NMF#19 said she always wanted a block party wedding. Some hot dogs in the back yard, everyone milling around licking mustard off their fingers. The mesader kedushin with sauerkraut in his beard. Bride in a white shirtwaist dress. A happy, relaxed event to the sound of laughter and the clang of barbecue tongs on grill. I was really looking forward to it. But then her mother-in-law happened.

It’s always the mother-in-law, isn’t it?

That is the thing about marriage. It involves other people. Getting along with them and compromising and so on. And somehow, everyone winds up compromising in favor of the jello-mold wedding, not the barbecue. Go figger.

Does anyone want to elope with me? Or, better yet, does anyone have a mother who wants them to elope with me?

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?

Thursday Link: Things Not to Say to a Single Woman

I enjoy it whenever someone reminds the world that being single and female is honestly not the worst thing that can happen, because it’s really not.

Of course you don’t have to say things to insinuate it. I was recently at a classmate’s wedding. You know, the one who officially makes me the 10-percent forever single. I met a truckload of long-lost classmates, all wearing black, all busy working in some sort of therapy (occupation, speech, physical, mental). Somehow a few of us wound up in conversation with an even older (married) woman in black who spoke about her single days, crammed in an attic with other singles, living on leftovers from their dates.

“We had such good food every night, and we didn’t appreciate it,” she sighed. “When you’re single you just don’t appreciate these things.”

I was immediately jealous that her dates were so generous with the food. Mine, although usually employed, rarely spring for dinner. (And I, with the unfeminine ability to devour an entire entree and then peek at the dessert menu, rarely have leftovers to bring home.)

“I appreciate it!” I protested. “Sometimes the food is the best part of the date!

I immediately felt an uncomfortable shift, and when I glanced at my classmates they were gaping, rather. Had I taken the conversation into awkward territory? Had I done the  equivalent of declaring that “I love chemo! You lose so much weight!”?

The conversation broke up after that, although I suppose it would have broken up faster if I’d just nodded and smiled: “Yes, singles don’t appreciate the goodness they have.” 

For the record: We do! At least, I do. I appreciate everything about being single – my parents would say too much. And when a fellow takes me out to eat, I definitely appreciate that too.

It’s always nice to hear someone make singlehood sound like the good old days. It sure beat when they make it sound like a terminal illness. Which brings me to the link: Things you really shouldn’t say to single women. (Link goes to Huffington Post.)

 

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?)

Just Go With It

This week I found myself far from home for Shabbos after a Megabus failed to arrive. Don’t weep for me: instead of Washington Heights, I wound up on the Delaware shore in a beach house. My major crisis was that I’d packed NYC clothes, and had to choose between wearing sneakers or 3-inch-heels to the beach. Seuda Shlishis was to the sound of a bunch of middle-aged men in Hawaiian t-shirts plinking away at 70s rock with various string instruments.

Havdala, though, was an issue. Short a candle and anything that smelled particularly nice, we walked out to the nearest shul to listen in. There was some curious  peering over the mechitza during ma’ariv (tsk tsk, gentlemen. Haven’t you ever seen women before?), and then everyone retired to the back for the ceremony.

It was a sonorous one. The rabbi had a pechant for chazanus. But finally he finished. “Ah gutteh vuch, ah freilichen voch, a mazaldikeh voch,” he wished his audience. “Ah shidduchdikeh voch,” he nodded at us.

We nodded, smiled, and headed out.

“I’m affronted,” I murmured to my friend.

She rolled her eyes.

“Oh stop it. He saw three pretty young women and singled us out for attention. When he doesn’t identify you as matchable, then you should start to be offended.”

Okay. Point taken.

Wednesday Controversy: Must We Have Offspring to be Fulfilled?

This is excerpted from How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. It is in no way an endorsement of the book or its ideas (many of which I disagree with), nor a recommendation that you go out and read it (it’s sort of PG-13). I didn’t know it was some kind of feminist manifesto when I picked it up; I thought it was the manual nobody gave me at high school graduation. It wasn’t (and I still haven’t got my copy), but it was still a good read.

I found this excerpt interesting, coming from a mother. It states aloud some things I’ve suspected for years, watching many of my friends become mothers. Since it’s been quite a while since someone overtly told me that I don’t know anything about anything, I think it’s time to stir up some mud:

[Having children] is the easy option for women.

Because if you have children, at least people won’t keep asking you when you’re going to have children.  For some reason, the world really wants to know when women are having children. It is oddly panicked by women who are being a bit relaxed about it: “But your body clock!” it is apt to shout.

And if a woman should say she doesn’t want to have children at all, the world is apt to go a bit peculiar:

“Oooh, don’t speak too soon,” it will say—as if knowing whether you’re the kind of person who desires to make a whole other human being in your guts and then base the rest of your life around its welfare is a breezy “Hey—whatever” decision.

…It’s not simply that a baby puts a whole personful of problems into the world. It takes a useful person out of the world as well. Minimum. Often two. Before I had my kids I was politically informed, signing petitions, recycling everything down to watch batteries. It was compost heap here, dinner from scratch there, public transport everywhere. I rang my mother regularly. I was smugly, bustingly, low-level good.

Six week into being poleaxed by a newborn colicky baby, and I would have happily shot the world’s last panda in the face if it made the baby cry for 60 seconds less. Nothing got recycled; the kitchen was a mess. My mother could have died and I would have neither known nor cared.

Every day I gave thanks that both my husband and I were just essentially useless art critics.

“Imagine if you and I had been hot-shot geneticists, working on a cure for cancer,” I used to say gloomily.

“And we were so exhausted that we had to simply give up the project. Lizzie’s colic would be responsible for the death of billions.”

…We think of non-mothers as rangy lone wolves—rattling around, as dangerous as teenage boys. We make women feel that their narrative has ground to a halt in their thirties if they don’t “finish things” properly and have children.

Men and women alike have convinced themselves of a dragging belief: that somehow, women are incomplete without children. As if a woman somehow remains a child herself until she has own children. That there are lessons motherhood can teach you that simply can’t be replicated elsewhere—and every other attempt at this wisdom and self-realization is a poor and shoddy second. Like mothers graduate from Harvard, but the best the childless [woman] can manage is a high school equivalency diploma…

…No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence and were the poorer and crippled by it…

…It’s worth remembering it’s not of vital use to you as woman. Yes you could learn thousands of interesting things about love, strength, faith, fear, human relationships, genetic loyalty, and the effects of apricots on an immature digestive system.

But I don’t think there’s a single lesson that motherhood has to offer that couldn’t be learned elsewhere.

While motherhood is an incredible vocation, [a mother] has no more inherent worth than a childless woman simply being who she is, to the utmost of her capabilities. To think otherwise betrays the belief that being a thinking, creative, productive, and fulfilled woman is, somehow, not enough. That no action will ever be the equal of giving birth.

Let me tell you, however momentous being a mother has been for me, I’ve walked around exhibitions of Coco Chanel’s life work, and it looked a lot more impressive, to be honest. I think it’s important to confess this. If you’re insanely talented and not at all broody, why not just go and have more fun?

Besides, she concludes, single aunts make great short-order babysitters.

Yeshiva in the Marriott

I recall once sitting in the women’s section of a bais-midrash-and-shul and watching the boys learn below. They bent over their books, they consulted with each other, they consulted with even more others, they flipped through books to point things out, but for the most part it was a quiet operation. Still, I’ve heard it can get pretty heated, with arms waving, more books being opened, and crowds gathering, taking sides, and putting money on the winner.

Okay, maybe not that.

But anyway, I’ve always believed this scene of heated Talmudic debate, because it basically describes Also4 when he and I are home at the same time. And I’ve always wondered: is this some magical affect that I have on yeshiva boys? Or is it yeshiva guys in general who have a proclivity to boisterous debate?

I have not dated too many serious learners. In general, friends and family assume I’m slightly off the bais yaakov derech, so they set me up with the “weak” boys — the ones with the jobs and the hobbies and sometimes [lowered voice] the college degrees.

But I’ve been out with a few. And they all went like Shabbos lunch with Also4. We disagreed on everything, even when we agreed. We argued just for the sake of arguing. We wrinkled our noses at each other, insisted the other misunderstood, and were positive that the person sitting opposite each of us was clueless.

Yes, I’ve had superlatively heated debates on dates.

I remember the first time this happened. I came home from the Marriott utterly distraught. “He said YU is wrong. How could he say that? Then he said modern science is right. Then he sneered at me for being religious.” Apparently, it’s okay to try to make your date look dumb by playing devil’s advocate and seeing what happens. I had been under the impression that exchanging dissonant ideas wasn’t a bad way to spend a first date, but after that date I changed my mind.

Civilized debate, to my mind, goes like this:

Gentleman: I think A. [sips tea with pinkie sticking out]

Gentlewoman: Oh really? I happen to think B, myself. [helps self to a crumpet]

Gentleman: Oh dear. You do know that A is supported by fact X, don’t you? [nibbles on a biscuit]

Gentlewoman: No, I didn’t, but I do know fact Y.

Gentleman: Hm. But are you aware of fact Z? [deep, satisfied draught of tea]

Gentlewoman: Yes, and it is countered, to my mind, by fact C. [dabs mouth with lace-edged handkerchief]

Gentleman: Interesting. Well, I suppose I can see you might choose to believe B. What do you think of the weather?

Gentlewoman: Oh! Unseasonably warm, don’t you think?

[Conversation turns to meteorologics]

I mean, let’s face it: how many arguments have you seen where one party actually convinces the other? On a point of law, perhaps. But as soon as you leave black-n-white territory, you leave most of your chances of making a conversion.  Disrespecting your debating partner, however, is a fantastic way to ensure that he or she pays no attention to you whatsoever.

Debate with my Yeshiva Guy went like this:

Yeshiva Guy: A is fact.

Me: Actually, I’ve got reason to believe B.

Yeshiva Guy: [snort] Seriously? B? You do know fact Z, right?

Me: No, but, what about Y?

Yeshiva Guy: [waving hand] Y! Please. Everyone knows what Y really is. And how about Z?

Me: But I think that’s countered by C. [sits back and crosses arms]

Yeshiva Guy: Oh, I see. You’re one of those people.

[Subtext: How did I get set up with you? My mother didn’t do enough research! Boy am I going to complain loudly when I get home.]

For the record, yeshiva guys: this is not how a good date goes.

This has happened to me with no less than three oreos; four if you count the Chofetz Chaim boy who showed up in a regimental blue shirt and spoke earnestly about going forth and doing good rabbinical missionary work in foreign nations like Indiana.

However, I am willing to assume a little bit of the responsibility here. Maybe Talmudic Lawyers aren’t schooled in tea-table debate, but I’m the one disagreeing in the first place. I have discovered that many women never disagree with their dates at all! They nod, smile, and at their most contentious, gently question. “Oh! You really think X is the best explanation for G? Well, I don’t know about these things, but I always thought sort of Yish. But what do I know.” Then they go home and tell the shadchan that they’re not interested, while the bewildered boy asks for a second date.

Possibly, this is an important tool missing from my toolchest, when it comes to getting second dates with men who have bi-chromatic wardrobes.

But then again, honestly, who wants to go out again with a guy who thinks X? That’s crazy when you know Y!

Friday Repost: Okay, THIS is Pressure

Last week’s repost was about family exerting “pressure” on you to get married. Following that post, someone sent in a real live example of pressure from her dear old grandmother.

…Well, no surprise there. Grandmothers are the main source of marriage-directed pressure in my life. Possibly the only one. I don’t understand why. They already have grandchildren. Do they also need great-grandchildren? Isn’t that just a little bit greedy?

Or is it something different? Maybe it’s like the difference between how you treat children and grandchildren. Grandparents can tell you the stuff your parents really want to say, because they’re not your parents.

If that’s the case, I don’t want to know about it…

Friday Repost: Snark in the House

From the archives: someone asked me if I’m feeling the pressure to get married now that my sister is wedded off.  My response was a tad… laden with verbal irony.

The truth is, I’m just thick when it comes to social cues. It’s very possible that people have been exerting truckloads of pressure, and I forgot to notice it. I didn’t feel friendless in 9th grade until the teacher kept harping on how normal it was to feel friendless and we all had to try to be friendlier. Then I started wondering, “Am I friendless?” Until then I was doing fine.

Asking me if I’m feeling pressure has the same effect. I dunno… am I feeling pressure? Let me check. Oh whoa! Is that pressure?

And then the whole can of worms opens up.

So please don’t ask me stuff like that.

They Start So Young!

Why worry now when you can worry a decade ago?

This story from A Contributor:

Ten-year-old lad successfully negotiates pet as a Chanukah present. But type of pet is up for debate.

The dog gets a double parental veto.

the python gets a single-parent veto.

Vetoer is the Mother. Mother unconditionally refuses to drop live mice into a tank, so son unconditionally promises that he will do all the feeding all the time always no matter what really I promise promise promise pleeeeaaaase?

He gets an okay.

The chatty salesman then recommends that the kid pick out a handsome one, cuz pythons can live 30 years, so he’s gonna be sharing his room with it for a very long time.

At which boy furrows his brown and says, I quote:

“What will this mean when I start dating? I’m going to have to find a girl who isn’t scared of snakes because the snake will still be alive. She will have to be willing to live with a snake. Will there be girls who want to date me if I have a snake?”

Jewish Matching Now on Broadway

Sort of. Fill the Void is playing at

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (1886 Broadway at 63rd Street, [212] 757-2280) and Landmark Sunshine Cinema
(143 E. Houston St. [212] 260-7289.

I have found a peculiarly deep divide between the Jewish and secular movie reviews (the former being breathless the latter being “meh”), but seeing as we’re mostly the former, it’s probably worth a look-see.

Thanks, BA.

Why Good4 Must Get Married aSAP

Although the NYTimes wrote about this ages ago, I just recently found out that I belong to a coveted marketing niche known as the PANK.

Professional Aunt, No Kids.

Earning oodles of spare cash and determined to be cooler than our aunts were, us PANKs are willing to spend between $200 and $500 a kinfauna every year, taking them to museums, feeding them pizza, and buying them expensive Lego kits so they can reproduce the Forbidden City in the comfort of their own playroom.

Honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be than a PANK. It sounds like so much fun! You rent cute kids at a rate of what, $30/hr? Then return them in time for bathtime. No late-night vomit sessions, no fights over homework. You won’t find a better deal anywhere.

Sadly, my kinfauna live too far away to be conveniently PANKed. That’s why I’ve decided Good4 must step up t0 the plate and provide some local options.

So, does anyone know of a nice yeshivish boy for my sister?

Oh wait.

Oy.

I just realized something.

I have officially entered the ranks with the grandparents, demanding that their offspring get married so they can have some “nachas” (read, grandkids, great-grandkids) already.

What does that make me?

We Heart Shidduch Questions

 

“Is she spiritual?”

The MF who fielded this one brought it up with me one Shabbos afternoon. “Are you spiritual?”

“No,” I replied immediately. “Spiritual” means colorful scarves, Carlebach minyanim, and Chabakuk reading lists. It means having an “amazing, inspiring experience” whenever there’s a critical mass of people singing. It means Tzefat, Bat Ayin, and Meron.

“Oh,” said the MF, who had found the question puzzling. “I said you learn regularly and stuff, but that wasn’t what they meant.” No indeed.

Not an absurd question, considering. Apparently the caller was asking on behalf of a happy chossid. Of course it would have been simpler to just ask if I’m the happy chossid type, but I’m not going to nit-pick.

What the confused MF had answered was the “What does she do for spirituality” question. Similar words, but a world of difference in meaning. I don’t really like this one. Yes, granted, there are people who go to shiurim with their friends a couple of times a week. But not with their MFs. (Try getting an MF out of her house after 7pm. Good luck.) And there are also plenty of people who go to shiurim without their friends. Or who get their shiur in their inboxes. Or who do it over the phone or via podcast. Or any number of other acceptable options that MFs (or SFs) wouldn’t know about. (Then there are people who don’t bother with this stuff and don’t seem to need it either. Is “she has an impeccable moral compass” a good answer to that question?)

I’ve also never understood why people ask my friends about my siblings. “Can you send me a roster of your siblings, where they live, and what they do?” one Friend asked. “People always ask and I never know what to answer.” Honestly, folks. This is why I gave you the aunt’s phone number and the neighbor’s number. My friends are my friends. They don’t know what seminaries my sisters went to. If they did, I’d be a little creeped out. Maybe even jealous.