Thursday Link: Soulmate Math

Enpey sent me today’s link ages ago.  It’s a rather bizarre xkcd post about soulmates. It takes a few leaps of logic that don’t strike me as very logical. All in the name of proving that the whole soulmate idea is kinda ridiculous.  Too bad the agenda is too obvious to permit the post to be credible.

I didn’t post it because I wanted to do the math for frum Jews. Calculate how many Jews there are in the world. Where they live. How likely you are to meet them. How many you’d have to meet to find your soulmate.

But somehow, more interesting things kept getting in the way – like trying a new carrot ginger soup recipe, or attending a kayaking club meeting.

But a quick google right now brings up an estimate of 1.6-1.8 million Orthodox Jews worldwide. Maybe 500,000 of those are chasidim. Probably an equal number are modern orthodox, yeshivish, heimish, Mizrachi, or some other group you’d be able to share a life with in a million years. So take off 1 million.

There are about 550k in Israel and 120k in the rest of the world outside the USA. Let’s assume that most of those are in countries that don’t speak your language and who you’d be highly unlikely to communicate with. Nix another 600,ooo.

Let’s say about a third of the population is too young for you and a third too old for you. Divide by three.  That leaves 133,333 people that you’d have to date to find your soulmate.

If you have 15 years or so for dating (on the assumption that when you hit 35, if you don’t add “froze my eggs” to your profile, you won’t get any more dates), that would be 8,889 guys per year.  If you freeze your eggs or find open-minded guys, that’s 5,333 guys per year.

Wow. I am so behind.

Thursday Link: Same Old Familiar Pleasantness

Ha’aretz makes you register to read their articles free, but it’s worth it for this beautiful piece.

My favorite parts:

I can already predict the end of the evening, or perhaps next week or three weeks after that, when he will make that inevitable, anxious joke: “So, will your next story be about me?” And I smile and think, “Do something interesting first.”

The beauty of this line is that she actually is writing about them. It has a subtext not unlike that associated with the great music blogger’s line:  “You’re so vain you probably think this post is about you.”  I do get that question too often. It makes dating while blogging about dating rather awkward at times. How do you tell someone that they’re not being written about without implying that they’re not worth writing about?

She also writes:

The neighboring tables watch too, curious about the young couple who might be engaged to marry within months; she knows that the younger girls are wide-eyed as they play guessing games nearby, because only a few years ago it had been she herself watching from afar: “What do you think, Leah? Is it their fifth date? No, no, they look too uncomfortable, must be a third.”

Hey wait, younger girls? I still do that. It’s always fun to nudge your neighbor and point out a date, the couple standing a careful distance apart, the awkwardly restrained conversation of two people who are still trying to make a good impression on each other, who still don’t trust each other quite enough to just be their regular selves…

Just last week I was out with some girlfriends and a date took the next table over. I guessed they were on 5 or 6 based on their greater comfort level and the way the guys eyes shined when he gazed at the girl. They made a very cute couple too. If that was you in Shalom Bombay, I wish you all the best.

There are times when I consider putting aside these shidduch dates, but I realize that I have no interest in stepping outside of the warmth of my small, familiar world. There’s no other place I’d rather be in, no dizzying cocktail party that can rival the quiet intensity of our traditions.

Amen.

Be Someone’s Second Best

Don’t you love studies? I adore them. People can find studies to support just about any thesis. But when they write them up in an article they’re so convincing that you usually assume they’re legit. Especially when they confirm what you already think, or what you wish you knew.

This link is in the latter category. It’s a very cheering article about how men are so desperate to settle down that they’ll marry even someone who is second best and learn to love her later. (Kind like the lab tech I mentioned a while back who claims he married his wife for her money.)

Link: All the Single Ladies – My Thoughts

Part 1 of Link: All the Single Ladies

 

The Atlantic article: All the Single Ladies

Here’s my favorite line from the article. Analyzing, as she is, the major changes occurring to the American family and modern marriage, Bolick points out why this is such an issue right here and now:

“But real change can seldom take hold when economic forces remain static. The extraordinary economic flux we’re in is what makes this current moment so distinctive.”

That’s it, folks. We’re in one of Those Times. You know those great crises of change in history, like the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, the colonization of America, the rise of Christianity, the rise of Islam, the unification of Italy, the birth of modern economics (eg: The Great Depression)?

All of these moments are romanticized in our minds and our public libraries, but truth be stated: they were miserable periods for most of the people involved.

This is our fate–this is the revolutionary moment in history that we’ve drawn. So, some aspects of our life may seem miserable. But just think of our future! When this revolution is completed and the New American Household is established, we will be romanticized in novels, documented in history books, expounded upon in college courses.

We’ll be famous!

Who knows? Maybe they’ll even read BadforShidduchim as a primary source documentation from this period. If you want to be quoted in history, comment below!

Link: All the Single Ladies – Someone Else’s Thoughts

Part 2 of Link: All the Single Ladies

O sent me this very long article and completely ruined my plans to be asleep before 11. Thanks O. I thought you were my friend. (Warning: article rated PG-13)

It starts out with the usual discussion of the fall of men and sociological observation that if a woman wants to marry a man who is both taller and more successful than herself, she’s in trouble. There’s some blah-de-blah about the plight of women on college campuses (including a rather confusing note suggesting that it’s not nearly as promiscuous out there as everyone claims, this article included) and a dark prophesy that the deterioration of family in the black community presages the future of the white community.

Then it delves into the single female experience. Really, Bolick (the authoress) points out, being single isn’t so bad. We should enjoy it while we can.

“Back when I believed my mother had a happy marriage—and she did for quite a long time, really—she surprised me by confiding that one of the most blissful moments of her life had been when she was 21, driving down the highway in her VW Beetle, with nowhere to go except wherever she wanted to be. “I had my own car, my own job, all the clothes I wanted,” she remembered wistfully. Why couldn’t she have had more of that?”

I don’t completely agree here. I mean yes, being single is nice. In the morning when I cruise to my own job in my own car admiring the beautiful sunrise that is clearly there just for me I enjoy a moment of complete happiness and satisfaction. Life is awesome. Absolutely awesome.

But surely you have moments  like that even after your first kid. If you don’t, then why do we all drive ourselves crazy to get married?

Bolick notes that some of our self-pity is induced by society’s view of single women as crazy cat ladies, obsessed shoe-shoppers, and weird loners:

“The single woman is very rarely seen for who she is—whatever that might be—by others, or even by the single woman herself, so thoroughly do most of us internalize the stigmas that surround our status.”

In other words, stop identifying yourself as a Single Orthodox Female. Just be a Person.

She goes on to point out that the modern marriage is inherently selfish, and a couple contributes far less to the community than a single.

“Some even believe that the pair bond, far from strengthening communities (which is both the prevailing view of social science and a central tenet of social conservatism), weakens them, the idea being that a married couple becomes too consumed with its own tiny nation of two to pay much heed to anyone else. In 2006, the sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian published a paper concluding that unlike singles, married couples spend less time keeping in touch with and visiting their friends and extended family, and are less likely to provide them with emotional and practical support.”

“More concretely, there’s what my brother terms our “immigrant bucket brigade”—my peer group’s habit of jumping to the ready to help each other with matters practical and emotional. This isn’t to say that my married friends aren’t as supportive—some of my best friends are married!—it’s just that, with families of their own, they can’t be as available.”

She points out that women can often compensate for lack of men by forming close, inter-familial bonds. African-American single moms do it, and single women who live in the same buildings do it, so why can’t white single moms by choice do it?

“Could we have a modernization of the Mosuo, Ryan mused, with several women and their children living together—perhaps in one of the nation’s many foreclosed and abandoned McMansions—bonding, sharing expenses, having a higher quality of life? “In every society where women have power—whether humans or primates—the key is female bonding,” he added.”

*Cough cough*

Haven’t I been calling for a Spinster C0lony for years now? Okay, year. But let’s face it. Girls rock. We look after each other. We band and bond together. We can do anything together. Chut hameshulash and all that. Yet we make ourselves miserable waiting for a man before starting a family… Okay, I’ll put the soapbox away. And I’ll continue this tomorrow with my final thought.

Part 2 of Link: All the Single Ladies