Cause for Celebration?

I recently marked my 42nd gentleman caller — although that’s a bit of a misnomer as I had to go to him. (Driving 2 hours to date someone in NYC is normal. Driving two hours to date someone outside is to much to ask.)
The rate of gentlemen over the years has not been constant; there’s been a bit of an increase. Indeed, if this trend continues I think I may soon see my 50th “caller.”

Dates per Year

That calls for a party, methinks. A Confirmed Bachelorette party, celebrating Half a Century of Men and Boys. Gifts not required, but welcome if they purr.

Does this signify anything? I doubt it. After all, my math shows that there must be hundreds if not thousands of bachelors in my range around. So this is more of an excuse to throw a party, and maybe get a cat, than anything else. But the big Five-Oh… surely that’s a number worth marking?

Not a Good Wingwoman

I was at the mixed-orthodox shul with a friend who we shall call Morah. We were standing around, nibbling on our chulent, when Morah said, “There’s a guy eyeing us from across the room. Here he comes…”

“Hi!” Guy introduced himself brightly. “I’m new to the neighborhood and trying to meet people. I’m Guy, who are you?”

We surreptitiously checked his fingers for a ring, and, finding none, introduced ourselves in turn.

“I’m Morah and I’m a preschool teacher.”

Guy smiled at her and turned to me.

“I’m Bad4 and I’m a neurochemist.”

Guy made a 45-degree body turn back to Morah and smiled. “I also work with small children!”

They chatted about small children and classrooms for another 15 minutes while I finished my chulent and wandered off to get something to drink. Neither noticed me going.

“Well what was he supposed to say?” Morah defended Guy later. “He probably had no idea what a neurochemist does.”

“Most people don’t. That doesn’t stop them from saying ‘I guess you look at brains a lot, huh?’ or ‘so you blow up neurons?’ He didn’t even try.”

“Well it’s just that you intimidated him,” Morah soothed me, like I was a small child having a melt down. She’s good at that. Only that’s really not what I needed to hear.

A medically inclined friend of mine went to a singles event a few weeks ago, where she sat next to a lawyer and a preschool teacher at the speed dating section.

“It was set up that two guys would come sit down at a table with three girls and you’d do introductions,” she said. “So every time two guys would come sit down and we’d do the intros, who are you, what do you do, who are you, what do you. And we go ‘doctor, lawyer, preschool teacher.’ And they nod and smile and say that’s nice, and proceed to physically turn and talk to the preschool teacher.”

The lesson is, preschool teachers make rotten wingwomen.

There is clearly something about women who spend their entire day chasing small children that men just simply cannot resist. Why this is I couldn’t say, but women be warned: stay away from those preschool teachers when you’re trawling for men.

Or better yet—tell them you teach preschool too! Then you can snag the guy, go on a date, and get to know him. If things go well, you can tell him you’re applying for jobs as a scapula surgeon, to break him into the idea. If he can get over your alleged career change, you’re good to go. If he can’t… well, time to start applying for preschool jobs.

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

I was over at an MF, and we got to talking about guys who are “bad at dating.”

“It’s usually the little things, like as small as just telling you where they plan to take you on a first date. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a lounge, but if you’re not, it really does! I can’t count how many times I walked around Central Park in 3-inch heels. And I went bowling in heels, too.”

“They let you bowl in heels?”

“I don’t remember if they let, exactly. But I wasn’t going to put my feet in those bowling shoes without socks! That’s disgusting! If I’d have known I’d have brought a pair. And I would have gone ice skating in my heels too if it was possible. I mean, seriously. Why am I handing in a pair of 4-inch stilettos at the skate rental? That’s just weird! There’s something wrong with that situation. And then me trying to skate in a fit-and-flair dress that I bought for sitting in a lounge looking pretty. If you’re going to do something unusual, you tell the girl.”

This rant, mind you, from someone who’s been married four years. I guess her bunions still remember.

 

I Scrubbed My Brain, But the Stain is Still There

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that a guy called a friend to ask about me, but insisted on remaining anonymous.

He wasn’t completely anonymous, though. Based on his questions, I pegged him as dead-on yeshivish. And based on his area code, he was apparently from Monsey.

And I have a problem with yeshivish guys from Monsey.

Someone who self-described as “yeshivish” solicited a friend on a (admittedly skeezy) Jewish dating website.

Now, whenever I hear about a possible match with a yeshivish guy from Monsey, I wonder: could that be him?

I know this soliciting sleazebag is about 31 years old. I know he still lives with his parents. While that’s not enough to identify a secret skank beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s enough to cast a shadow on a very small population subset.

Is that good enough reason to refuse to go out with 31-year-old yeshivish men from Monsey who live with their parents?

Skulking Suitors

“Hey, got some questions for you,” a friend said. “A guy called last night and asked these, and I said I’d get back to him.”

“No problem,” I said, and provided the answers.

“By the way, who was he?”

“I promised not to tell.”

“What?”

“He told me who he was, but at the end of the conversation he made me promise not to tell you.”

“Why? What nosy, obnoxious questions could he have possibly asked that he doesn’t want me to know who he is?”

“Really nothing. He asked what your siblings do, why you live OOT—mostly things he’d know if he actually read your profile. And then the ones about whether you go to shiurim or have a rebbetzin or would be willing to Skype date.”

Then why won’t he tell me his name?

I am unable to come up with a good reason why someone would withhold their name in connection to their actions. Usually it means you’re embarrassed or afraid, or don’t want to take responsibility for it.

When a guy won’t put his name where his mouth is, I automatically assume he also writes anonymous letters to the Yated condemning everyone who doesn’t think the way he does. It’s not a promising start to our relationship.

Or wouldn’t be, if I knew who he was. That’s the point, right? I can’t hold it against him if I don’t know who he is.

In theory, at least.

This isn’t the first guy to try to hide his name from a potential date. Another friend of mine was playing reference for another friend of hers, when she got a call at 11pm from a guy who refused to identify himself.

“I could lie and give you a fake name, but I’m being honest and telling you that I won’t tell,” he explained proudly.

“Why won’t you tell?”

“Well, I don’t necessarily want it getting back to her, the kinds of things I’m asking about her.”

“Does that strike you as fair? That you show up on a date knowing highly personal information about her that she doesn’t know you know?”

“Well—“

“And do you really think she has so many guys looking into her at the same time that she won’t be able to figure out who you are?”

“Well—“

“And I will also mention that you called at 11pm, and the only reason I took your call was because I thought it was an emergency because who calls a stranger and a mother at 11pm on a work night?!”

“Well if you’re not going to tell her anything nice about me, I guess there’s no point in this call.”

That was actually what I told my friend, regarding my own non-identifying would-be suitor.

“You don’t need to bother calling back with answers to any of his questions. I’m not interested in a guy who won’t stand by his actions. You can tell him he’s officially nixed, whoever he is.”

Single Due to Demographic Genetics

Back in my younger days, I once came across a dating profile where the guy put “slim” first on his list of “looking for.” It was also underlined. I immediately threw it out. In the high-minded idealism of youth I disdained such blatant shallowness, such unabashed superficiality, such emphasis on the thin cosmetic veneer of our physical interface with the world.

Also, I was fairly certain I wasn’t pretty enough for someone like that.

Back in said youth, it was rare to come across a profile where physical traits were mentioned, let alone emphasized. Yes, we all know why people ask for pictures. And sure, I heard about guys who added an addendum for the shadchan detailing their preferences. Oh the Shabbos afternoons, comforting the girls who accidentally saw the “for the shadchan only” entry on a SYAS profile! “He wants a buxom wife, only he didn’t say it quite so nicely,” or “He requested ‘plump and proud.’ Seriously?! I’m not proud—I’m on a diet!”  But none of these were purposely stated to the female party herself.

Recently, as I date older and older guys, I’ve noticed a shift. Now I get profiles where “Looking for” begins with the usual “Kind, caring, sweet, nurturing” but then moves on to “petite blond with blue eyes, who I can carry across the threshold of our first apartment. Giggling a must.”

Actually, the last profile I got skipped the “kind, caring, sweet, nurturing” and went straight to “pretty, well-dressed, outgoing, shorter than me.”

Far from offensive, I find these profiles to be a relief. Usually I give anyone who sounds reasonable a fair shot. But thanks to these profiles, I now know that I don’t have a fair shot. We can debate how sweet I am, but factually I am not blond, not petite, not outgoing, and I have never in my life giggled.

So I quickly return an email to the would-be matchmaker explaining that while I am shorter than the  5’6” gentleman, I haven’t got a single pair of dress shoes with heels less than 2” high. Thanks for thinking of me, but I guess not this time.

People will protest that I’m aiding and abetting in a  typical older-single tactic: eliminating options rather than being open  to them. “If everything else is right, he won’t mind that you have bouncy hair instead of swingy hair.” After all, everyone’s hair looks the same after the wedding anyway. You can get a blond sheitel, blue contacts, wear ballet flats, and learn to giggle. If everything else is right.

First off, it’s unlikely that everything else will be right. And you’ll never be given a chance to find out if you don’t pass the Looks Test.

And let’s not downgrade the importance of that test!

Maybe the guy really has issues with brunettes. They just look so much smarter and more bookish than blonds. Have you ever seen a blond librarian? And what color is the hair of all the evil women in the movies? Hm? Dark, maybe?  And let’s not start with redheads. Oy vey. Since when is red a Jewish hair color? It’s downright prust. And it smacks of intermarriage. Where do you think Dovid Hamelech got his hair color from? I bet you it wasn’t the Jewish side of the family.

Maybe curly hair horrifies him. Why can’t it just go straight? Pick a direction and go with it! None of this zigging and zagging like a target dodging potshots. There’s something inherently dishonest about curly hair. Have you ever seen a truly aidel maidel with kinky locks? Do you know what“kinky” is a synonym for? Q.E.D.

Brown eyes are boring. Grey are depressing. Green are weird. And hazel eyes? What the heck are hazel eyes anyway? That’s just another way of saying you’ve never been decisive about your eye color. If you can’t decide something as simple as that, how are you ever going to choose a baby name?  Stick with blue: it’s heavenly. It’s pure. It’s good and right and true. And you get a little dizzy gazing into blue eyes. That’s a good thing.

Or maybe none of the above apply. Maybe these guys just aren’t attracted to anyone they can’t keep in the china cabinet. It’s a handicap, and you should pity them not judge them. You think they want to be single? It’s not easy being so limited!

Anyhow, the way I figure it, if a guy puts that requirement in black and white on his profile, he wants the girl to see it and he wants her to self-eliminate. He’s being kind, saving everyone a lot of wasted time and money getting together, having a pleasant time, and then racking their brains to come up with a plausible reason to break up so they can get back to blissfully date-free Sundays.

Or maybe I’m just looking for ways to eliminate options rather than be open to them.  Am I getting to be one of those older singles?  Maybe, under “Looking for” on my profile I should put “Six-foot tall, broad-shouldered man with commanding but gentle personality, a uniform, and a secret second job as a spy.” It will help drive away the riffraff. And then I can enjoy those blissful, date-free Sundays.

Thursday Link (early): Men Can’t Have It All Either

Never thought I’d be linking to Esquire, but thanks to O (and her sources) I am.

There’s lots of chatter about how women are 40% of household breadwinners (15% of those are married), and how they still can’t have it all, and never will have it all, etc.

But it takes a fearless magazine like Esquire to point out that men don’t have it all either… Truth is, I’m not exactly sure how this infograph shows that, but I love the graphics, so I’m linking to it anyway.

I also like the article attached to the infograph.

On the Subject of Being Interesting

I hate to be the hobby police here, because I don’t really have much by way of “hobbies” in the traditional sense, but gentlemen:

“Talking to friends” is not a hobby. That’s how normal people socialize. “Going to the gym” is not actually a hobby either, unless you’re training for something special or bodybuilding.

This is the section where you can sound mildly more interesting than all the other nice, smart, professional boys out there. Please make some kind of effort!

The View from the Top of the Hill

When I was a young lass, I wasn’t ready to settle down. But my elders cautioned me: “Marry young. By the time you’re ready to settle down all the good ones will be taken.”

Obedient as I was, I dated from the tender age of 20. I went out with all sorts: normal, humdrum, typical, boring. I went out with the clueless and the obnoxious. I came home with questions like, “Is it okay for him to mock other people if he’s motivated by showing off to me?” and “Is it bad that I’m bothered when a guy has apparently not thought about our date before he arrived?” I dated infrequently, maybe 3-4 times a year, usually during finals, when the last thing I wanted to do was saddle myself with additional responsibilities.

Twenty-five, they warned me, was the top of the hill. From twenty-six on, it was a downward spiral to old maidhood at 35, pitying glances from bais Yaakov girls, and chesed Shabbos invitations because, nebach, I have nowhere to go.

Well, I’ve been 26 for months now, and I have to say, it’s been fantastic. Four guys in five months, most of them truly wonderful people who I respect and enjoyed dating. If this is what the other side of the hill looks like, it’s the best kept secret of dating. Bring it on!

Pass This Fad Around

Many men are incapable of doing anything by half. Guys don’t say, “Hey, I’m going to take up biking to work for health and economy.” A guy doesn’t take up biking. He becomes a Biker. This means he buys a $3,000 bike, an indecent spandex suit, a high-tech hydration pack with a bracelet that monitors his blood and beeps if he’s getting dehydrated, special shoes that clip to his pedals (never understood the point of those), and a meter for his bike wheel so he knows how many miles he’s pedaled. And don’t forget the pre-vulcanized patch kit, mini-pump, and wrench set that fit into a little soft case under his gel-cushioned seat.

It doesn’t stop there. Anyone can bike to work. But a Biker bikes. Suddenly, he’s up early doing 50 miles before breakfast. He’s entering himself in bicycle centuries around the country. He brags that he once did 50 mph downhill, and that his bike only weighs 6 pounds. He subscribes to Cycling monthly where he learns to coordinate his breathing with his pedaling. And so on. 

So, sometimes it’s probably better if your man sits on the couch playing Call of Duty. It’s cheaper, and at least you get to see him.

But then again, sometimes you benefit if your man goes crazy. Which is why I’m reposting this NYTimes article about men and cooking. Guys, read this: Cooking is cool. I mean, how bad can it be if our men learn to putter around the kitchen?

Well, actually… In No Cheating No Dying, the author has a husband who obsessively works his way through some slab-sized haute cuisine cookbooks. Any day she is likely to catch him dismembering a whole, freshly killed pig on the counter, so as to get truly fresh mashed brains. Slavish devotion to progress through the cookbook subsumed any concern for keeping the wife happy. The author notes that one salad she really liked didn’t reappear for another four years. He’d already done it, so why waste time doing it again?

Still, for all that, I think we net benefit when a guy begins to take the kitchen seriously, so I’m encouraging it. Just, for God’s sake, guys, keep away from the molecular gastronomy.

I’m Ready Now!

I was skimming some old posts when I found one about how I wouldn’t want to marry the first guy I dated because I don’t know enough about guys to make an important decision liked that without comparison. I was worried that maybe all guys were super-awesome, and if I took the first one, I’d be giving up the even-more-super-awesome guys waiting in line.

That was four years and 28 guys ago. At this point, I think I’ve seen what’s out there. I’m ready to go. So, where’s the super-awesome dude who is going to blow all the rest of them out of the water? Please ring my doorbell and invite me out for a bike ride.

Moving: Need a Man

Yesterday, at 6am, I drove to the local Uhaul lot, left my car, and drove off with a pickup truck pulling a UBox—Uhaul’s response to the POD. It was a lot of fun barreling down the avenue in a monstrous Tundra, the trailer swinging along behind me. The fun ended about 15 minutes after I started trying to back the trailer into a parking spot.

Don’t you dare laugh. The entire parking lot was barely wider than the ensemble that I was driving. I don’t think any male could have done better.

I eventually gave up, and decided to unhook the trailer and drag it into the parking spot instead. The guy in the UHaul lot had dragged the trailer. He made it look easy.

GRUNT.

Not happening.

But why was I insisting on doing this the hard way? Let’s face it: the easiest way to change a flat is with a tube of lipstick and a touch of mascara. I flagged down a passing knight and asked him to rescue me. He obliged, with some far more effective grunts. Okay, in this case a male definitely did better.

After that it was pretty straightforward for a while, thanks to my (friend’s) trusty Magna Cart—yes, it’s really called that, isn’t it awesome? I love using the name.

Stacking boxes inside a shipping container is a lot of playing Tetris in 3D, but with a few extra variables like weight and shifting potential. I don’t know why nobody’s made an iPad game of it yet.

I felt perfectly adequate for a humming hour or so…until I needed my car to get to work. The truck was cute and fun to drive, but the UHaul advert splashed on the side took away some of the style. Also, I was paying by the mile.  So I unhooked the truck and took it back to the UHaul lot to get my car, and after work, reversed the process. Then, when I realized that I’d left the mattress cover in the car, I went and did it all over again. I thought wistfully of how nice it would have been to get dropped off at the lot at the very start and eliminate all of this shuttling.

I went back to playing 3D Tetris for a while, but was soon struck with another difficulty: the couch. Even my trusty Magna Cart (yes, I will seize every opportunity to say “Magna Cart”) couldn’t handle the couch. I needed help. Luckily, I had cultivated a few friends during my time here in Downtown OOT—always a good strategy if you ever anticipate moving a couch one day.

Friends are also handy for when you need to hitch a truck up to a full trailer. This is a very precise maneuver that requires a second person standing behind your truck making inexplicable hand gestures and calling out things like “Stop—no, a little more—stop!—a drop more fenceward—no, a bigger drop—ooh, you missed.” And so on.

It was around 1am, when I was eating melted cheese and surveying all the boxes that somehow still needed loading—where did it all come from?!—that I took out my Rugged Individualist membership card and threw it over the fence.

“You know, I could really use your help right now!” I shouted at my future spouse, who happened to not be present at the time. Convenient of him, isn’t it? Hiding out until all the work is done.

This experience has convinced me that a unit of two is much more effective at tackling life than an individual, even  when the individual is supported by friends. For sheer efficiency  and ease of everything, everyone should get married.

I’m accepting applications for people interested in beginning before that UBox arrives at my new address in suburban OOT.

Thanks, Erlenmeyer Exploder for the geography of OOT.

What a Great Idea!

Host: “I’m going to be having my (male) cousin over. Is that okay with you?

Me: “Yeah, no problem.”

Okay, I hear where she’s coming from. Five years ago I would have been a little leery of a Mixed Meal. But 6 years of dating later, I’m not sure what the point of avoiding men is. I’ve been out with loads of them, and the only negative fallout was boredom.

There are three possible outcomes to a mixed meal that I can envision:

(1) You don’t like the male at all, and cheerfully part ways. I’m thinking of that truly obnoxious guy who interrupted me literally every single time I opened my mouth, loudly inserting his own comment over mine. Zero exaggeration. I think I completed one sentence the entire meal. I found the psychology of the situation very interesting. Completely marginalized (thanks for nothing, host), I wondered if I should stick to looking pretty and commenting on kittens. Instead, I went off to help the teenage daughter pick an outfit for next week’s shabbaton.

Was it frumkeit? Did he not want to listen to a woman speak? Was he showing off? Trying to impress me with his knowledge? Or was he just a jerk? Who knows. I have no plans to get to know him well enough to ask.

(2) You enjoy their company, but just not like that. A friend of mine was at a few mixed meals (With married people supervision! You know, to keep the singles from misbehaving) with the same guy. They enjoyed exchanging ideas, so someone tried to set them up. Quothe the guy: “I don’t think of her that way.”

So it’s not just me who is perfectly capable of thinking about members of the opposite gender platonically. Wait: I know loads of men can, because that was their reason for breaking up. I’m not advocating air hugs all around, but I’m not convinced that sitting at the same table as an unmarried member of the opposite sex is going to tarnish anyone’s soul.

(3) You really like them and want to get to know them better. Whereupon you ring up the host, and someone gets to play shadchan. And what’s wrong with that? As DiT puts it:

 “…Back when I was in the Heights, if a meal had a guy in it, I wouldn’t go. Meeting men when you’re trying to get married? Bad idea! What was I thinking?”

Where Have All the Posts Gone?

I have always envied those really great writers who seem capable of banging out n0vels about things they know nothing about. Floridians who write about surviving the Klondike gold rush, or Californians writing about being a woman in modern Pakistan, or the NJ housewife writing murder mysteries placed in Communist China.

How do they do that? I wonder. How can they capture the experience so well when they’ve never experienced it? Of course, I’ve never experienced it either, so I don’t really know. But it seems very realistic.

Myself, I’ve always been stuck writing about things I know, like learning to drive with your parents in the backseat, or solving Laplace transforms. (That last one went over like week-old sushi in creative writing class.) Being a single dater in the Orthodox Jewish universe was one of those things.

Was.

Because I’m not any more.

No, please. Don’t engage me. I stopped being a player in the dating scene when I moved out of town.

There are about four single males in this city, and we managed to size each other up in a couple of months. There were some good efforts at setting me up with a dentist in St. Louis and a firefighter in Boston, which fizzled after less-than-fascinating phone conversations in which the gentlemen made it clear that if I wanted a date, I’d have to go to them. (Did I just call them gentlemen? Misnomer. I’m a whole lot more in-town than St. Louis. Seriously–the nerve!)

Those were the enterprising shadchanim. The ones who said, “He wants to live OOT, she wants to live OOT, let’s bring them together!”

Some didn’t even try. Paraphrased quotes from emails:

Shadchan: “I received your resume [Call it a profile! – editor’s note] and I deal with the type of boy you’re looking for. I heard you’re moving back to New York soon, is that true?”

Me: “Maybe in a year or so. But I visit regularly.”

Shadchan: “Well, email me when you do move back, and I’ll see if any are still available.”

AnotherShadchan: “I received your resume [It’s not a resume! – editor’s note] earlier this week and noticed that you live in OOT. When will you be moving here?”

Me: [to self] “When? When? Does anyone else see an objectionable assumption there?” [in email] “Maybe in a year, but I visit regularly.”

AnotherShadchan: “Because, you know, it’s so hard to get boys to travel even to Philadelphia, let alone to Baltimore. It’s just a hopeless cause.”

Me: “Thanks, I guess.”

YetaThirdShadchan: “I have your shidduch resume [It’s not a farshtinkener resume! It’s a profile! – editor’s note], and I have an idea of a great guy for you. Are you willing to relocate?”

Me: [dismayed] “For the first date?”

So, since I’ve moved to this lovely town, I’ve dated (as in, met in person) a grand total of two people. This is not a sufficient quantity to sustain a dating blog. Hence, a drop-off in quantity of posts.

Want more BadforShidduchim? Send dates. Venturesome fellows, not afraid to feel the dirt beneath their tires or ask directions from someone drinking beer on a couch on their front porch watching the cows come home.

Seriously, guys. You need to get out more.

Or you could just make yourself available when I’m in the tri-state area. Is this asking too much?

Friday Repost: My Summers Chasing Boys

Remember learning about ma’aras ayin? I never understood it. I mean, who on earth would suspect a frum aidel girl of going into a Mickey-Ds for a burger? Obviously she’s either pregnant and needs the bathroom or is going for coffee. Anyone who suspects otherwise is the person with the problem (probably lack of life experience or imagination), not the visitor to the Golden Arches.

That’s what pops to mind when I reread this post about being seen with men in public, or chasing boys around for a summer. For details, click on over.

Open Letter

Dear Girlfriends,

You put up with a lot of criticism when dating. Even if you staunchly stand against nose jobs, it can’t help but get to you: all that disapprobation of how you dress, how you look, how you do your hair and carry yourself. What you say on a first date and what you shouldn’t have said. Some say you’re not modest enough. Some say you’re too modest—you’re not in high school anymore. Some say be yourself; some say don’t lay it on too thick at first. Whatever you do is somehow wrong, and that’s the reason you’re still single.

Well, I think you’re great. I love how your funny texts make me stifle a laugh at work. I love how those thought-provoking articles you send me lead to month-long email conversations. I love how we can spend Shabbos afternoon flopped on the couch discussing everything from the social effects of microfinance to the use of taupe in eyeshadow. I love how you’re up for everything, from winter camping and art museums to sledding and Nerf skirmishes and splashing through puddles in thunderstorms. And I love how you bustle in to look after me (or our other friends) when we need a little tender loving care.

You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re kind and considerate. You’re adventurous, thoughtful, and completely unique.  (Your grandmother agrees with me about this, by the way.) I’m proud to count you as my friends.

Don’t let those other people get to you. They don’t know you well enough, and they’re too shallow themselves to delve beyond your surface. Those guys who complained about your hair, your makeup? Too busy keeping artificial scores to experience real life. The one who ditched you because he worried you weren’t pretty enough to show his friends? He’s the one who should be self-conscious, not you. (Your grandmother agrees with this too.)

All of that is not why you’re single. Ignore it like the static it is. One day, a guy won’t ditch you after a second date. One day, a guy will take the time to get to know you like I know you, and appreciate you like I appreciate you. Then you’ll realize how wrong all those other people were. And you’ll giggle at his texts, send him your favorite articles, and shoot him with your Nerf gun when he comes home at night. (For the eyeshadow debate you can’t replace us.)

Because, though often repeated, it’s also true: you aren’t married because you just haven’t found the right guy yet. Somewhere, out there, is a guy as smart, funny, thoughtful, and deep as you are. And you’ll find him, eventually, because you deserve to.

I know this is true. Even your grandmother says so.

With love, your friend,

Bad4

What Are We Talking About Again?

From: Bad4

To: ColdFeet

Subject: Rated to -40

Message: You should have bought these boots:  http://www.zappos.com/sorel-snowlion-white

——

From: ColdFeet

To: Bad4

Subject: Re: Rated to -40

What I’m Looking for in Boots:
  1. Warm
  2. Supportive
  3. Cute enough to be seen somewhere besides the outback
  4. Not solid black/white
  5. Don’t require spending a lot of money
  6. Will get delivered in time to be useful
 These boots achieve only 4/6.
If you meet a guy who fits all 6 of those, marry him.

Above Love

What intrigued me most about this conversation was my coworker’s perspective on the question: does marriage need love?

When I was in the bais yaakov system, they repeatedly informed us that love comes after marriage. You pick out someone you’ll be compatible with in terms of personality and hashkafa, and then you fall in love with them afterwards.

I took this on faith, the same way I took most everything on which I had no other perspective, and sallied forth to look for someone compatible to marry.

We all know that yeshiva educations are lacking in many ways. Science, math, history, and basically any secular study. Well, I have found another gaping hole in the education of our young men. It dawned on me slowly, but about a year or so into my dating career it crystallized: nobody had told any of my gentleman callers that love came after marriage. My dates wanted to fall giddily in love before they proposed, and when they didn’t, they told the shadchan “no.”

The one who left me most confused was the guy who was clearly smitten on date one, but failed to ever be smitten again, and after four dates gave the shadchan a garbled excuse for why he didn’t want to go out again, but which even the shadchan admitted boiled down to “Not sure what happened but let’s not keep trying.” I was puzzled. Didn’t he realize that his crush was a shallow, ephemeral rush of hormones created by a combination of lighting and angles and gazing into eyes and as easily gained or lost as the conditions permitted?

But eventually I came around. I realized that love was clearly an important thing, and by not insisting on it, I was short-selling myself. I decided that I too would require my dates to be conceivably loveable in order for us to go out again.

I wish I could say that this changed my dating life. That I started a career as a dating diva, turning down guys because they were too hairy, or skinny, or big-footed. That wasn’t what happened. What happened was that, instead of the guy saying “no” after date two while I dithered “Well, if he’s interested”—instead, we both said “no” after date two, and my ego came out much the less bruised for it.

I’m not going to lie. I enjoyed that phase of my dating career. There was such certainty in it. I never felt guilty about turning down a guy whose company I didn’t mind but who didn’t have a bat’s chance at the optometrist of interesting me romantically. Nor did I feel very bad when one of those guys turned me down. “I wasn’t so into him anyway,” I’d shrug.

There was some cognitive dissonance. I mean, who is into anyone after spending 4-8 hours with them in a formal setting? Do I have a single friend in my life that I fell in love with at first sight? Or even second sight? (Actually, some of my oldest friends are people that I hated at first sight.) Dating like this was some kind of absurd parody, and it was never going to land me a mate. Why was I even trying?

Worst of all was the fear lurking just below the surface: was I in the right, or was this the highway to picky older singlehood? If Mr. Perfect showed up, would I turn him down for failing to make my heart flutter?  Absurd from one perspective, reasonable from another, and completely theoretical from every which way. Mr. Perfect never showed, or else he never agreed to a third date, so I didn’t need to face down my theories with my beliefs.

I coasted along until a late-night conversation with a friend.

“You’re not a guy,” she informed me. “You can think with your head. You pick someone reasonable and you try to make him fall in love with you.”

“You make it sound so easy,” I groused.

“I know, I shouldn’t talk. I don’t have guys falling at my feet either. And I haven’t met any that I’d want to. But if I found a half-normal Sephardi guy to marry, I would do it in a second, love optional.”

With that, I was back in mega-uncertainty mode. Not that it mattered, since I didn’t date anyone half-normal for quite a while, but lacking a principle to live by was troublesome.

And now, here was the lab tech, telling me the same thing as my bais yaakov teachers: pick someone likable for whatever accessories they have, and let love follow after marriage.

Wrong? Right? Indifferent? Say it below.

Let’s Riot!

Ezzie sent me this link about sex-selective abortion in the east from the Freakanomics blog a while ago. Mostly what I got out of it was the following paragraph:

In Egypt, for example, at last count fully 50 percent of men age 25 to 29 were unmarried. That’s a huge number in a society that is very focused on family. Some scholars contend such low marriage rates have left a population of easily influenced young men—and helped contribute to the Arab Spring protests earlier this year.

Did you see that? When women are stuck being single you get Gone with the Wind: pining at home or catfighting over wedding bands. When men are stuck single, they riot and overthrow governments.

Which sounds more fun to you?

We women have come a long way in the past century. We can vote, we can work, we earn and advance in the working world as equals with men. But we still can’t bring ourselves to riot.

Ladies, it’s time to take control of our lives. Are we going to forever be playing catchup with the male population?

We’re single too! Let’s react to that as equals with men!

We can’t afford to be left behind!

We must let the world know about our discontent!

We too have a right to smash things when we’re upset!

Yes we can!

Let’s riot!

Quote of the Week: Why I Moved

Setting: Lunchtime in the cafeteria at work. Bad4 is sitting with a pair of finance managers and explaining how she wound up in the neighborhood she wound up in.

Finance Manager 1: So, you’re Jewish?

Bad4: Yep.

Finance Manager 2: So are you hoping to find a nice Jewish boy out here?

BAd4: choking noise followed by coughing. Um, no. I think that’s a lost cause.

Sincerest Apologies

For being so spotty. I haven’t had much time to sit down with my laptop recently, and then I’m usually deleting spam and returning emails.

Lucky for you there are other blogs out there. Im Yirtzeh Hashem is relatively new,  chatty, and properly punctuated. What I like about it is that it’s written by a guy. So you get this wonderfully honest (I hope) post about appearances that completely restores your faith in mankind.

Turns out that men aren’t so different from us after all – give or take some facial hair. I like this post, about becoming The Older Single. So far, there are still plenty of people around who are older than me. But what if someday soon I become The Older Single that all the neighbors slip into their prayers, and at whom all the bais yaakov students glance sideways and pityingly? Oh the skin crawls!

But at the same time, I’m kind of glad I haven’t gotten married yet. I mean, who has time for it all? Yes, I know. Marriage is like having a kid. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll die without it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see the benefits in remaining single. I mean, it’s not like I could help it anyway. And I have a policy about things that I can’t help: don’t sweat ’em. If possible, enjoy ’em. So I am.

Enjoy the reading! I’ll be back as soon as I’ve cleared my inbox, data-entried my expenses, and cooked and ate dinner.