Thursday Link: Queer Marital Harmony for the Straight Couple

I don’t think the Atlantic means its articles to be taken as factual. They’re more like talking points, something to think about, ideas to toss around.

With that prologue, I’m linking to The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss,” an article about what homosexual family structures can teach hetero couples about division of labor.

Plus, it offers some tantalizing statistics. Like, did you know that having a woman in a relationship correlates to it breaking up? Turns out more women than men request divorce in hetero unions, and more lesbian than gay couples split up. So if you want your marriage to last, marry a man.

The research cited can also suggest what each gender values. Lesbian couples are called out for creating a perfect equality in their relationship, down to the last penny spent, and who carries the next baby. What this tells me is that women see a power structure in everything, and they strive to mitigate any effect it could have on their relationship.

Gay couples are more chilled. They also split the housework — admitting that they do more now than they did in prior hetero marriages. But there’s also a higher likelihood of one man becoming a house-husband (even though there are apparently more power tensions related to income in gay unions). So, although men hang a lot of self-esteem on their bacon-bringing abilities, they still value house-spousing enough to sacrifice for it.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Anyway, go ahead and take a read, then drop a comment below — in that order, please.

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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).

Crushing

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.

So It’s Not Just Me…

This is your Monday morning controversy post. Keep it interesting for longer by waiting an hour or so before posting your comment. Oh, and behave.

It’s not really a creative idea. There have been communes of spinster women before. But I really thought there were only a few of us frum women with that idea floating around…

It’s like this: you’re single, you’re not in any danger of getting engaged. You want a family, a cute little kid or two to call your own,  and someone you like to help you raise them, but you can’t find a guy to join up with you.

On the other hand, you know plenty of girls who want families too, a kid or two and a partner in life.

Of course you know the difficulties of being a single mother. It’s pretty crazy to try to raise a kid on your own while keeping house and paying bills. A person really needs a little help with that.

So, the world is full of floating halves. All these women, just like you, who just want to settle down. Why not pair up with one of them? Or two?

Granted, it’s not romantic, but you’re not doing so well in the romance department as it is. You’ll be good friends, you’ll look out for each other, you’ll raise a few kids together in a dual-(or triple)-parent household. You can argue IVF versus adoption after you’ve found a house with enough bedrooms in a community far enough out of town that they’ll be willing to overlook the weirdness of your domestic situation.

Why this now? Well, it’s an idea that floats across my mind every now and then and that I occasionally pitch to parties who are in Despair Mode. I would say I get an 80% You-Are-Crazy response rate even from the I’m-going-to-be-single-forever types. For a while I wavered and thought that perhaps I was crazy. (Could it be?)

Then one Shabbos someone pitched the same exact idea to me. Talk about the happiest moment of the week! If I was crazy, at least I was in good company. But the anecdotal evidence in the comments of FnF’s post about skipping to motherhood suggest that there are a number of people who think this way all the time. They’re just too jealous of their reputation as non-crazy to admit it.

So come out of the woodwork, folks. Maybe we can buy out a residential complex. The more of us there are, the less weird it becomes.