I interviewed some MFs and asked them to give me advice on how to get married, based on their own experience. The results are at the other end of the link.
Best Date Ever
Bad dates get all the fame. They’re the most fun to retell, and hamming them up is the best way to compensate for having experienced them. But good dates happen too. Even amazing dates. So today I’m going to focus on really good dates.
Obviously, the best dates are the ones where the company is joy. However, since “He was just an amazing guy” is not much to talk about (especially when he’s the one who got away), I’m going to focus on the more shallow features of a date.
In Search of
Urban scavenger hunt – fun! Also something I’d always wanted to try. The experience was somewhat marred by the fact that I had to call it quits early for fear of losing my toes (it was cold out) and the fact that I kept finding the landmarks before him. (In one case: “Do you think it refers to the mosaic map that you’re standing on?” “Oh. Cool! How’d you see that?”) To his credit, he wasn’t the faintest bit perturbed by my scavenging skills (I shall forever respect him for that), and nor did he hesitate to head indoors when I conveyed the distress signal from my furthest digits.
This might have qualified as a bad date if it had happened a few years earlier. But I got such a kick out of it that it makes the bottom of this list.
A very nice OOT gentleman, unfamiliar with local mating rituals, took me out to a Boro Park ice-cream store that shall remain nameless. The very friendly man behind the counter saw two single people of opposite gender visible, together, in public, and jumped to the logical conclusion.
“Mazal tov! When did you become engaged?”
“Um… We’re not…”
“Well, maybe soon anyway. Do you want to sample something?”
Meanwhile, in the front of the store, Good4’s friends watched, snickered, and texted her.
“I hear you had a good time on your date,” she greeted me when I got home.
I’ve only been on two dates to high-end restaurants. The company was fine in one and offensive in another, but the presentation was always fantastic. When your food looks like a piece of elegant sculpture, and eating it becomes an exercise in artistic deconstruction, you can forget that the guy opposite you just corrected your grammar or checked his watch. You’re too busy trying to figure out if the green stick thingy is garnish or food or both, and if it’s not edible, how can you move it out of your way without using your fingers?
When I came home from one of these dates, my father met me in the kitchen. “So, how was it?” he asked. “So beautifully turned out,” I gushed. “Elegant but thoughtful, well arranged, and delicious too!”
“Delicious?” his eyebrows quizzled. “Are we talking about the same thing here?”
“Oh, you want to know about the guy? I’m thrilled that I’ll never have to see him again. But the food! Wow!”
On a small boat plowing its way through the waves. Wind in my hair. Dolphins leaping alongside us. Everything is wonderful when you have wind in your hair and dolphins nearby. Well, everything except your hair. I was truly horrified when I caught a glance in a mirror afterwards.
Sea Meets Sand
My favorite habitat is in bed under a down blanket surrounded by books and a laptop. But after that, I’d be happy in anything sufficiently wet. (Yes, sometimes I go splashing in rainstorms.) So a date that includes wading in the surf searching for fossils was just up my creek. (Pun intended.)
Play a Little
It was late and dark. The weather was that invigorating Autumn crispiness that makes you want to run through fallen leaves and yellowing grassy hills for sheer joy of existence. Except there weren’t any, because we were in the urban jungle surrounded by monochromatic metal flora.
So instead we went to a playground and ran over the play structures, sliding down poles, slinging ourselves onto slides, and finally, panting, flinging ourselves into the swings, where we chatted for another hour until I couldn’t conceal my shivering any more.
Things Not to Say to a Friend You See on a Date
Who set you up with him?
Soooo…. should I plan for a wedding in the future? [wink wink nudge nudge]
Oh well, we all have to eat a few lemons.
Don’t take this the wrong way but, next time you go out? Let me do your make-up.
Your tag is sticking out.
He brought you here? He took me to Abigael’s on our first date.
Bisha’ah tova umutzlachas
You can never tell – my first date with my husband was terrible.
How Long to Smile
…And other essential dating tips you didn’t know you needed to know. Here’s a graphic representation (thanks Ezzie) of everything you need to know to socialize properly with members of the opposite gender.
You know what I like about these things? They suggest that a huge portion of the population is completely ignorant of what we all agree are social norms -something, in theory, we all ought to be able to do naurally. But we’re almost all ignorant, so how natural can it be?
At any rate, if you’re socially awkward, you’re in good company. Just study up, practice in the mirror, and you too can get a date.
If She Could, I Could – by Fauna
I haven’t really got time for a post, but I came across this item in Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, a slim novel in which matchmaking plays its part. (It’s a sequel to Cannery Row, for Steinbeck fans.)
Anyway, a character named Fauna is trying to sandbag the local most eligible bachelor with a girl Suzy, who just blew into town. And she has a truckload of advice for Suzy on how to make herself appealing. She has enough advice, she claims, to write a book entitled If She Could, I Could.
So, in the spirit of advice being only worth passing along, I have transcribed the short volume for you. This being a family-friendly blog, I have expurgated anything bleep-worthy.
They ain’t no way in the world to get in trouble by keeping your mouth shut. You look back at every mess you ever got in and you’ll find your tongue started it.
Next thing is opinions. You and me is always busting out with opinions. Heck, Suzy! We ain’t got no opinions! We just say stuff we heard or seen in the movies. That’s the second rule: lay off opinions because you ain’t really got any.
There don’t hardly nobody listen, and it’s so easy! You don’t have to do nothing when you listen. If you do listen, it’s pretty interesting. If a guy says something that pricks up your interest, why, don’t hide it from him. Kind of try to wonder what he’s thinking instead of how you’re going to answer him back.
Don’t pretend to be something you ain’t, and don’t make like you know something you don’t, or sooner or later you’ll fall on your [derrière]. And there’s one more part to this one, whatever it is: they ain’t nobody was ever insulted by a question… The nicest thing in the world you can do for anybody is let them help you.
Nobody don’t give a particular about [you] one way or the other. It’s hard to get them thinking about you because they’re to busy thinking about themselves. There’s two, three, copper-bottom ways to get their attention: talk about them.
If you see something nice or good or pretty, tell them. Don’t make it fake, though. Don’t never start a fight, and if one starts, let it get going good before you jump in. Best way in the whole world to defend yourself is to keep your dukes down.
Now look, Suzy – tonight, just before you say something, say it first to yourself, and kind of dust it off. …Sometimes if you look at it you don’t say it. A whole lot that passes for talk is just running off at the mouth.
All of this goes a long way to polishing Suzy me. One item Suzy discovers herself, on her date:
She then lifted her glass slowly, looked at it carefully, then sipped and held it a moment before she put it down. S-l-o-w-ness. It gave meaning to everything. It made everything royal. She remembered how all the unsure and worried people she knew jumped and picked and jittered. Just doing everything slowly, forcing herself, she found a new kind of security.
This little epiphany occurs after she manages to bite back a “Whattaya think I’m an invalid?!” when he opens the car door for her going in and out. I definitely identified with that one.
And Fauna’s final advice:
Just remember a lot of things:
first, you got to remember you’re Suzy and you ain’t nobody else but Suzy.
Then you got to remember that Suzy is a good thing – a real valuable thing – and there ain’t nothing like it in the world.
It don’t do no harm just to say that to yourself.
Marriage? This is About Marriage?
Does anyone else read the dating page in the Jewish Press? Every now and then I come across a bemusing line or two. Something to the tune of, “Linda had been dating Josh for two months without thinking seriously about marriage. When her friend hinted that an engagement must be coming up, Linda freaked out. She began analyzing everything Josh said or did and wondered, ‘Do I want to marry this person?’”
So, this brings up two obvious questions:
1 – why does it seem like every MO guy is named Josh? Did an MO rebbe, R’ Josh, die about two decades ago, or something?
2 – what universe do the daters in this column inhabit anyway? Two months without thinking about marriage? Hello? My dates think about it from Date One. I usually start at Date Two. Let’s give an extension of about one date for every ‘increment’ to the left that you go… still, two months? That’s got to be too far left to even be reading the Jewish Press. Heck, I’m surprised he’s even called Josh.
At least, that’s my gut reaction. But I could be (and often am) wrong. So, anyone out there: could you date someone for 2 months without ever thinking about whether you’d want to marry them?