Ten Commandments

Kudos to MCP for his Ten Commandments of dating. Check them out at the Peanut Gallery request last week. He threw an entire tub of butter at it.

When I posed the question, I was actually serious in a sardonic way. That is, the first three commandments I envisioned were:

Thou shalt not be a doctor-in-training

Thou shalt live in the greater New York City metropolitan area

Thou shalt know the exact standards of treatment your date expects and alter your behavior accordingly.

And then, somewhere around commandment ten I was going to tuck in: “I am thy God who split the Red Sea to take thee out of Egypt, and I can make a shidduch too.”

None of the suggestions quite fit the style I was going for, but maybe that’s why I had trouble in the first place – it’s too narrow. But it was fun anyway. So thanks everyone!



I Give Up: This One’s for the Peanut Gallery

A while back someone challenged me to write the Ten Commandments of Dating. I came up with four. After a couple of months of staring at them, I’m giving up and opening this one to you folks. What are the Ten Commandments of Dating? I’ll post my four next week so as not to unduly influence any of you.

Thursday Links

I like this paragraph from BoSD’s post on shidduch secrets. It has very little to do with shidduch secrets, but it reminds me of my First First Date (FFD) and all the care and panic that went into getting everything just right. (Doing things Right never came naturally to me, so I always freaked out a bit when it seemed essential.)

The next morning ushered in a frenzy of activity for Gila and her parents. Mrs. Silver polished every piece of furniture, even those in her basement playroom. “You can’t be too careful,” she thought to herself.

Gila did her hair carefully, pinning it back into the most tzniusdik style she could think of. She tried on every article of clothing in her closet before finally deciding on the same outfit she had decided on three weeks ago when the shadchan first called. She took out her tehillim and sat down to wait.

Mr. Silver hummed as he selected a tie to suit the occasion. “Tonight,” he thought to himself, “I may meet my future son-in-law.”

I know this one is exceedingly old, but every time I go back to Erachet’s blog looking for something new, I skim it again. I like it.

Before I was dating JH, I used to feel very frustrated. I felt like no one could ever really love me the way a boyfriend loves a girlfriend, the way a chatan loves a kallah, the way a husband loves a wife. I hardly ever got attention from boys (well, except for a few strange ones) and I did not really believe anyone I could ever love would ever love me back.
When I would look at engaged couples, I would think, “They’re so lucky. Their life is set. They’re going to have a beautiful wedding and then sail off into the sunny land of married people.” I don’t think I was alone in feeling that way.
What I realize now is that I (and I am certain many others) used to focus on all the externals of engagement and marriage. The bridal shower, the wedding, the attention, the beautiful gown, the attention from a boy, the walks, the dates, the romance. All these things are external. Even the idea of having a male person there for you and in love with you – that is wonderful and important (and don’t say I didn’t say so!), but it is only one aspect of the bigger picture.

Word Cloud

I was adding tags to my posts when I wondered which ones were most used. I figured it was about time I tried a word cloud for this blog. So here it is:
Wordle: BadforShidduchim's Word Cloud (click to visit the app page and see it up close)

I was kinda shocked to see Rules up there as one of the largest words. Am I so obsessed with rules? Does shidduch dating have too many rules in it? (Am I adding to the count of the word “rules” right now by typing “rules” five more times?) I have to note that “rule” and “rules” are also present in a large size. How utterly ominous.

Then I noticed that “burger” is featured as well. I’m pretty sure I haven’t obsessed about burgers that much. So I figured maybe it was just picking up page one of the blog and clouding that. So I tried page 2, page 3, and the RSS feed. Same results: too many rules and a burger. So I tried just one post, one with absolutely no burgers in it, and got the same result.

So – whatever. Time to try a new cloud generator:
rule five minutes ready date dates until “ late ” “ guy girl time nobody dinner rules takes know kept felt pretty wonder last long says something value went good little move someone things stand women start keep table got engaged bad shidduchim tags dating tomato sauce course did small piece one everyone think – life engagement too talking black notes off name friends feeling back home wedding seen day degree end year married months kind people shidduch talk tell may tree interesting going etc between hearing old half seems tuesday brooklyn love esther gila alert periods husband next same subject library books weird debt december november october september august july june april march february january

And of course, once one begins testing online apps, who hath the self-discipline to halt?

This one you have to click through to see, and it’s more thorough – perhaps too thorough.
Word Cloud

Okay, this is just getting frustrating. Does anyone know of a decent HTML word cloud app? It needs to be HTML or I can’t embed it in a WordPress blog.

Same Page of the Rulebook

There are so many Rules for how to live life and date. No problem with that – in general, they’re helpful. Except when they’re not. Like when they conflict.

Take the general rule that you should always arrive five minutes early. Or be ready five minutes early. I’m always ready five minutes before a date, but my dates, for their part, rarely seem to operate on the Five-Before rule. They either lurk outside waiting until the clock strikes before they push the bell, or they show up somewhat later.

“He’s late,” my mother might observe.

“No,” I answer. “He’s probably operating by the Five-Late Rule. That the guy should show up five minutes late, because the girl is never ready on time.” I’ve  even heard of the Fifteen-Late Rule, but I hope nobody actually does that. So not appreciated.

Then there are the dinner-date Rules. Like the What to Eat rules. I’ve always wondered: if a guy takes you out for falafel, does it mean he knows the rules and is purposely ignoring it for kicks, or is he ignorant? I don’t know, so just in case I don’t lick my fingers.

(I must observe: it’s amazing how much different eating a burger feels when you’re across the table from a guy you barely know. When I was quite small I was sometimes told I had a big mouth. I discovered, when faced with a giant hamburger, that the mouth hasn’t kept up its growth. I just couldn’t take a bite without making what felt like a pretty silly face. To my utter shame, I found myself eating the burger with a knife and fork. What must he have thought… the mind blushes. No wonder we didn’t last long.)

What about the Rules for ordering? When I go out for dinner and the guy says “I’m not really hungry” and orders the cheapest thing on the menu, I wonder, “Does he know the rule that the girl orders something of comparable or lesser value than her date, so as not to put him out of pocket?” Then I shrug, figuring that if he does, and went ahead and ordered a $6 side as his entrée, he deserves a spank in the wallet. So I order whatever looks good, short of the house steak.

Humans have this compulsive need to make rules, starting from when they’re little kids inventing a game. (“No, you have to count to five before you move, and then over there you can only throw the ball to someone behind you, unless I’m standing over there…”) In theory, the rules are supposed to simplify things. (Kids don’t discover this until later.) You’re supposed to know exactly where you stand when you play by the Rules.

However, general knowledge of the Rules varies across the orthodox Jewish community and as a result, messages become garbled, daters befuddled.

Let’s do something!

I would like to recommend a comprehensive community education movement. It’s important for our young men and women to know how to conduct themselves during this most important of interviews: the date.

Do not stand idle on the blush of your brethren!

We’ll create an organization with a name that includes Irgun and Zecher in it; hire married women and kollel yungermen on a part-time, flexible basis; and start offering lectures, mini-courses, and guest speakers for high schools and conventions.

Together we can change the world!

A special panel of experts (advised by rabbanim whose signatures will appear on the bottom of our fliers) will examine current conflicting Rules and decide on which to keep or modify and which to throw out. They will also compose new Rules as they deem necessary.

Don’t just stand there!

Your donation will go toward printing handy little Qik-Ref booklets that fit into handbags and pockets for discreet reference under the table or in the bathroom, as necessary.

Who is with me?