“Older” Girls at 22

So, by now you’ve probably all seen the widely excoriated article in which an old Flatbush rabbi states that girls expire at age 20.

“If we didn’t tell these boys that girls expire at 20, they wouldn’t be so reluctant to date 21-year-olds,” someone complained to me. “You think these guys know what a size 4 dress means? Or a size 6? They don’t. They just absorb what they’re told by people like this.”

Then she told me this great story about “older” girls.

This guy was redt a shidduch to a great girl. He was warned that she was an “older” single, already 22, but really wonderful in every way and he should at least give it a try.

With great trepidation, he drives up to her house. He’s really nervous, because, well, she’s old, and he doesn’t want to be shallow but…

He rings the doorbell and she opens the door, and his heart sinks. She’s just… so old looking. Not that maturity doesn’t have its benefits but…

Bravely, he wishes her a good evening.

“Oh, Chani will be right down,” the older woman said. And as she spoke, a young, beautiful woman floated down the stairs in a haze of chiffon.

He was smitten at first sight. Two months later, he proposed to her. Three children later, they still laugh about the time he thought he was going to take her mother out for coke at the Marriott.

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.



You Nevah Know!

“You nevah know from where a shidduch can come!” That was the reasoning that was supposed to compel me to attend the weddings of strangers, and various other events, in the hope that a Woman in Black would take pity on me and set me up with my future husband.

Well, it’s true. You nevah know. Your Woman in Black might actually be a Man in Brown, like this UPS truck driver, who delivers more than just packages. (HT to the Overland Park fan.)

The Spinster Colony Exists!

Once upon a time there were such a thing as a housing development just for women. Like Begijnhof in Amsterdam. Or several similar types of places in New York City, the names of which escape me at the moment.

Anyway, I have suggested several times that strong, independent female types get together and rent a building or a town and create an official spinster colony, where women can be women without worrying about men, and maybe even raise their own kids together in one big happy matriarchy.

It never happened, partially because even strong, independent female types are convinced they are missing something without a man, and will hold out as long as necessary. Also, each candidate lived in a different city and was particularly attached to her job. That’s the problem with those strong, independent female types.

Anyway, turns out the all-women colony still exists! Down in Brazil. Except they’re not spinsters and they made the news because they’re looking for men. Oh well.