Pity Me

“I don’t like eating out at families for Shabbos,” my Flatmate said. “I hate being the nebach case at the table.”

“You think that’s why people invite us?” I asked. “Really?”

“Well why else do you think they do?”

“For the pleasure of our company?” I replied, suddenly doubtful. Maybe my company isn’t all that scintillating. Maybe the only reason people invite me over  is because otherwise they imagine me alone in a dark room with cracked walls, lit  by a single, dangling, lightbulb, sitting at a wobbly table eating dry bread salted by my own tears.

Then I laughed. That was ridiculous. Who could imagine I had such a pathetic existence? No, they definitely invited me over for a much-needed break from discussing community politics and preschool options. They probably appreciate having someone new around to provide a more youthful perspective and broad-ranging conversation…

Friday night, as we proffered our parting thank yous to our hosts, the hostess leaned in and urged us to invite ourselves over any time. “You know Elisheva, who lives a few doors down from you? She has a hard time finding meals for Shabbos. She told me that sometimes she eats all alone. I feel so bad! But sometimes the week just gets away and I forget to invite people. So don’t feel uncomfortable about calling, okay?”

Pop. That was the sound of my bubble.

Okay. So maybe they don’t invite me for varied conversation. Maybe, I go to them for varied conversation. The truth is, if you want to imagine me in a nebach situation, it would be a teeny drop different than the dry-bread-in-a-dark-room situation.

You’d have to imagine me in a brightly lit, spacious apartment, at a table brimming with food and surrounded by friends, all carrying on an LCD conversation about… dating. It sounds so familiar, I suspect we had the exact same conversation last week.

“Hey, anyone try any new recipes lately? Read any good books?” I try.

Blank looks.

“Um, how’s work?”

“Ugh, not on Shabbos.”

“Goethe? Post-modern art? How about that government shutdown? The weather?”

“C’mon. This is what I come here for,” a guest says. “To get in my weekly crabbing about dating.”

Sigh.

Diaper brand comparisons? After-school daycare? Bring it on.

Nebach me.

Friday Repost: Talking About Dating

This one is kind of long, and very young.

These days, I have no trouble telling friends “Can’t make it out shopping with you; I have a date.” To which they generally respond, “Oooh, to who?” As if I’m going to give them a name. I do give them a description, though. “Fishing guide, Silver Spring, 5’12”, 28-years-old.” This is usually about as much as I know anyway.

After the date, they’ll generally ask “So, how was Mr. Fishing Guide?” And I’ll say, “A little fishy. I think he wasn’t 5’12” – more like 6′. Lots of big fish stories. Would see again.” This strikes me as utterly reasonable, but somehow I don’t think I would have liked it five years ago.

 

Thursday Link: In Shidduchim

This site is clearly for girls, which makes it fascinating reading for both guys and girls. I’m afraid the “Is this normal?” and “bad date story” forum might steal some of my business, but I still feel obliged to send you all there for some light entertainment.

My only criticism is the tag line. I think they should have just stopped typing after “The place to be.”

Friday (OK Tuesday) Sort-Of Repost: Let’s Not Go Out Again

Rereading this post, I was thinking how frequently one blows off the shadchan with a non-informative explanation for why you’re not interested.

Sometimes, it makes your life easier. There are many well-meaning shadchanim out there, but not everyone is for everyone.

Take the shadchan who called around all my references to find out if my skirts covered my knees (they do). She assumed they wouldn’t because I have a degree from a secular college and live away from home. Or the shadchan who prophesized that I’d come back begging for a learning guy after I saw the caliber of the working guys out there (the opposite occurred).

There’s an obvious disconnect here, so why waste your time trying to explain when you know they won’t get it?

And sometimes, you just don’t want to say what has to be said. Like, “He’s too nerdy for me. I know I’m nerdy, but he’s super-nerdier. A completely different level of nerdiness.” Or, “He was a little too into clothes, food, and appearances for me. Also fame. I’m trying to avoid saying ‘shallow’ here.”

Who wants to say it? Not me. So I don’t.

Which was why I was surprised to find myself candidly explaining to a shadchan why I was thinking about turning a guy down after a first date.

“He’s really nice and funny when you get to know him,” she said anxiously. “You just have to give him time.”

He didn’t need time. He’d been very nice and funny. We’d had a great time. He was just my brand of nerdy, actually. But…

I laid my explanation out like a five-paragraph essay. I introduced my reservation. Advanced the argument with three illustrations. And finished by concluding that, although I would not mind a second date, I rather thought I was wasting his time.

The shadchan listened thoughtfully and agreed with me. I polished off the piece of potato kugel she’d set in front of me, surprised by how pleasant the whole experience had been.

Maybe I should try this more often.

Image Control

I was a bit put out to hear that one commenter’s mother thinks my outlook is too jaded. Me? Jaded? I’m not jaded. Jaded is when you’re bored by dating and are no longer excited at the idea of dressing up and meeting an interesting new guy. I’m always excited when I go out. In fact, now more than ever, because now I won’t go out with anyone who doesn’t sound exci… wait, that’s not jaded. That’s just experienced.

Okay, fine. Maybe a tad. This is why we have Friday reposts. To hearken back to the carefree days of skipping down Avenue J with nothing more weighty on my mind than the length of my skirt… and the Women in Black who were measuring it.

Yes, I know. I seem to obsess about dating. That’s cuz this is a dating blog. That means I write about things related to dating and being single and so on. It’s a topical blog, and that’s how topical goes. In real life I hardly ever talk about dating. Can’t seem to keep my friends from talking about it to me (as if I’m interested, guys! Well, just the bad date stories. Those I collect), but for the record, I’m not the one who brings it up.

Yeah really. Once Apple was picked out from a threesome of bloggers as the most likely Bad4 because she spent an entire afternoon complaining about crummy dates. I was just sitting there and taking mental notes. Thanks girlfriend! I got, like, three posts out of that afternoon. And complete anonymity.

Not that I’m perfectly contented. (And who is? That would stymie progress.) In my perfect life, I’d be engaged about now. But who ever lives their perfect life? In all the big things, I mean. Somehow the little things are always peaches and cream. But there have been times when I was very frustrated because life didn’t work out how I’d hoped and I was positive things would be – well, not rotten, but fairly mediocre. Of course they weren’t. In fact, every time, in retrospect, the way things actually worked out was infinitely better than how I’d planned them.

In fact, after a whole series of such occurrences I promised myself that I’d never plan again; I’d just go with the flow. That lasted about – oh – three and a half years. I’ve been really good about it, honest. But every now and then you hit an important crossroads when you just want to know. And I don’t.

So, does uncertainty stink? Yes. Am I depressed, obsessive, and miserable? Um, no.

If you don’t know me, you’ll have to trust me on this one. (If you do, be honest: am I?)