Thursday Link Early: Marry Young, My Son, Marry Young

Not going to have a post ready by Monday, so here’s this to keep you busy:

Living OOT and not getting too many Jewish publications, you miss some of the more entertaining  notions people come up with. So I was unaware that men going to Israel at 21 is depriving poor spinster girls sitting back in the USA trying to get married. (What is wrong with marrying a 23-year-old boy, I’m not sure yet. Does anyone have an article detailing this particular solution to the “crisis”?)

At any rate, someone is calling them on it.  Controversy ensues. Arm waving, yelling, someone throws a tallis bag… Whattaya think?

In case the link becomes defunct, here’s a page with the full text of the letter (but none of the comments).

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My Solutions to the Shidduch Crisis

Let’s convert the doomed Chinese singles. There are all these Asian and Indian men who will never marry because of sex-selective abortion by an entire generation of parents.

Forced association with SMFs will turn everyone off marriage forever and possibly make them Pavlovian-puke at the very thought.

Polygamy, duh. If there are too few men to go around, why not permit double-dipping? In many polygamous societies the multiple wives band together and create a sisterhood. Imagine always having someone to go to with questions about your hubby, always having girlfriends to hang out with, and always having spare hands to help with the housework. It could be worse.

My Explanations for the Shidduch Crisis

Three years ago I listed the reasons people give for the “shidduch crisis:” Singles are too picky, there aren’t enough good boys, or there aren’t enough boys (period, aka: the pyramid problem).

I also hosted some NASI back and forth on the subject. Their original article on the 10% crisis, my follow-up response, and a third reply from the boys, all on the subject of our lonely doom.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a number of alternative explanations for the shidduch crisis. Some I agree with. Some I don’t.

I link to some of them here:

Nobody wants to marry a career-woman, and since most women are career women, they can’t get married

–  Men are slowly degenerating into slightly squishy couch-cushions whom women would rather sit on than date

–  Jewish men don’t wear wedding bands, thus preventing Jewish women from striking up conversations with apparently single Jewish men because there are no apparently single Jewish men

Jewish women don’t wear red, and red attracts men, so Jewish women don’t attract men

There aren’t enough idealistic Jewish men for all our rational Jewish women

Too many of us are friends with my old pal E, who is a segula for not getting married

There are fewer men being born in the western world than ever before so there really are too many women around

We don’t pay shadchanim just for dates so why should they bother to set us up?

People place too much importance on hats, which casts shade over more important issues, like essential hashkafic compatibility

Women won’t marry down, and most men are down these days (and the ones that aren’t don’t want successful women [see bullet-point #1]), so women won’t marry and it’s all their own picky fault

 

Work your way through those for a bit. Next week I’ll post some of the solutions I’ve posed over the past few years.

I’m Old – I’m Young – I’m Old

NASI, our local favorite do-gooding organization for singles, has come up with yet another dollar-driven plan to marry us all off.

For those not in the know, NASI is the North American Shidduch Initiative. They believe strongly that the Shidduch Crisis is an issue with numbers, but they also believe that it can fixed with numbers – number framed in green and in close proximity to a president, preferably.

NASI is regarded by this blog as a well-meaning but misguided fellow – the sort you’d pat affectionately on the head while explaining why yet another one of his crazy schemes won’t work. After all, they (whoever they are) do try hard. And they do seem to believe that their ideas are absolutely amazing. One imagines their little think tank arguing things out in an ivory tower before enthusiastically bursting forth to purchase full-page ads, without ever running them past a real, live person.

At lunch one day, Finance Manager was holding forth on the sorry state of the single scene in her life. She explained that all she wanted was a guy with a job and all his teeth and not a total jerk, but she couldn’t find one and that’s why she was still single. “Me too,” I agreed. She cast a cold glance at me, as if to say, “Did you hear mewling from the nursery?” Embarrassed, I realized two things:

(1) I was 25, which was probably a good 7 years younger than her, and too young to get married by her standards and

(2) I look about 20 and have the job generally held by an entry-level 21-year-old, which made my comment even weirder.

I’m used to being practically middle-aged, but her approbation jerked my life back into perspective. Hello! Bad4! You’re not that old yet!

Then, last week I see this little announcement by NASI. It’s yet another scheme – this time a GAMECHANGER! They’re going to marry off all those over-the-hill grannies (well, not grannies obviously – great-aunties?) with their latest and greatest Shidduch-Crisis-Solving Scheme.

Who are those old maids? Well, their scheme starts with the 22-year-olds…

Ouch.

Hey Finance Manager, don’t look at me like that. I am way old and single. NASI even said so.

A Link: Shidduch Crisis Goes Mainstream

Is there a shidduch crisis, or it is a ploy by the ultra-orthodox to take control of defining orthodoxy? And if there is one, is it caused by conservatism, shallow expectations, or American culture? Do you think about this subject ever? Well, so does the Washington Post, now.

The paragraph I found most interesting:

Orthodox Jews make up less than than 10 percent of American Judaism, with an estimated population between 300,000 and 750,000 people. Being unmarried into your mid-20s in this world can be isolating.

Mein Gott! Only 750,000? And assuming half are female, that only leaves me 325,000 to choose from! Hashkafically in range, 200,000. But of course that includes married people and people who are too old and too young, so you can probably chop that down to only 50,000, if not far less.

Now do the math. You go out with 10 guys, of which maybe 1 or 2 you really liked. So we can say that only about a tenth of the men out there are likely. We’re down to under 5,000.

There’s an argument for settling if I ever heard one. There are 750,000 American orthodox Jews, of which 50,000 are datable, and 5,000 with which I could conceivably get to a fourth date. If I go out with 6 guys a year, how long would it take me to find my bashert?

…at risk of making my statistics professor cry, I’m going to answer “A large number of years.”

So basically, if you can hook one that’s half decent, don’t worry about the other 4,999. Just grab him and keep him.