Last week’s post about communicating through the shadchan reminded me of weird feedback I get after some of my dates. Things like “she needed to go to bathroom after drinking all that diet coke” or “you took her to a shopping mall where she’s bound to meet friends” or basically, “you should have read her mind.” Why don’t girls tell you these things on dates? How else am I supposed to know?
A Long-Time Dater
If you’ve been reading marriage books and shalom bayis books, set them aside. The married woman (defined as wedded for more than one year) “owns” you, and therefore treats you as a possession. But if she doesn’t own you yet, then you’re dealing with quite a different animal. And there is one thing you should know about most women: they don’t want to inconvenience you.
Trust me on this one. Someone lifted my phone and sold it to a ghetto-dweller last week. When I finally made contact with the guy, it took him about 5 minutes to make me feel guilty for wanting my phone back. I mean, he paid for it, right? I couldn’t demand it back without compensating him his loss. And since he didn’t have a car and it was cold and snowy, and he was doing me a favor by returning it, I couldn’t really demand that he pay to take a bus to my neighborhood to do me the favor of returning his purchase, right? I should go pick it up from his.
Then I felt guilty about inconveniencing the cops over what was really just petty theft. And depriving my male accompaniment of the timely comfort of his supper. And even after I got my phone back smelling like marijuana, containing Pepper50 in my contacts list, and sporting a photo of its temporary owner as the background, I still felt sorry for the guy in the backseat of the police car.
I mean, I could have replaced the phone for a hundred bucks and I would only have had to enter 145 contacts by hand and it wouldn’t be such a big deal to fly cross-country for vacation the next day without a phone… really I didn’t need to put all those people through all that trouble, did I? The guilt will haunt me for all eternity.
Or, well, for a few weeks at least.
If you read articles about why women don’t succeed in the workplace (I do), they tend to list the same set of crimes: not demanding higher salaries, not negotiating, not interrupting men when they speak at meetings. Sometimes not speaking at meetings at all unless asked directly. Not arguing, disagreeing, or grabbing the best projects ahead of everyone else.
Why? Well, they don’t want to embarrass anyone. Or put down anyone. They don’t want to seem aggressive or greedy or difficult to please. They don’t want to be difficult, disagreeable, or inconvenient. And they’re not even on dates with strangers when they exhibit these behaviors!
So, no. She will not interrupt the flow of your conversation to ask if you can move someplace warmer. She will not disturb your walk along the beach for the small matter of a bathroom break. She will not tell you that she’s fleishigs when you take her Starbucks; she’ll manage with tea.
After all, the conversation or the walk is going so well, and you might feel bad about Starbucks and what if you don’t have a backup location to go to? It would put you on the spot and you might feel bad or even resentful or think that she’s pushy and it’s not important, really…
…Not important until the shadchan asks how the date was and she can’t remember how it went because all she can remember is needing the bathroom.
Like it? Hate it? Oh I hope not. If there’s anything I can do to help ease that feeling, let me know. I’d hate to think you were upset or discomfited by anything we did.