How to Solve Your Shidduch Crisis: Work for Chuck

Chuck Schumer, it turns out, is a very successful shadchan. One notably thing about this article is how many of the names of the couples sound Jewish.

Can we get him more involved in the greater frum Jewish community?

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Women are From… Oh Sorry

Dear Bad4,

Last week’s post about communicating through the shadchan reminded me of weird feedback I get after some of my dates. Things like “she needed to go to bathroom after drinking all that diet coke” or “you took her to a shopping mall where she’s bound to meet friends” or basically, “you should have read her mind.” Why don’t girls tell you these things on dates? How else am I supposed to know?

Sincerely,

A Long-Time Dater

 

If you’ve been reading marriage books and shalom bayis books, set them aside. The married woman (defined as wedded for more than one year) “owns” you, and therefore treats you as a possession. But if she doesn’t own you yet, then you’re dealing with quite a different animal.  And there is one thing you should know about most women: they don’t want to inconvenience you.

Trust me on this one. Someone lifted my phone and sold it to a ghetto-dweller last week. When I finally made contact with the guy, it took him about 5 minutes to make me feel guilty for wanting my phone back. I mean, he paid for it, right? I couldn’t demand it back without compensating him his loss. And since he didn’t have a car and it was cold and snowy, and he was doing me a favor by returning it, I couldn’t really demand that he pay to take a bus to my neighborhood to do me the favor of returning his purchase, right? I should go pick it up from his.

Then I felt guilty about inconveniencing the cops over what was really just petty theft. And depriving my male accompaniment of the timely comfort of his supper. And even after I got my phone back smelling like marijuana, containing Pepper50 in my contacts list, and sporting a photo of its temporary owner as the background, I still felt sorry for the guy in the backseat of the police car.

I mean, I could have replaced the phone for a hundred bucks and I would only have had to enter  145 contacts by hand and it wouldn’t be such a big deal to fly cross-country for vacation the next day without a phone… really I didn’t need to put all those people through all that trouble, did I? The guilt will haunt me for all eternity.

Or, well, for a few weeks at least.

If you read articles about why women don’t succeed in the workplace (I do), they tend to list the same set of crimes: not demanding higher salaries, not negotiating, not interrupting men when they speak at meetings. Sometimes not speaking at meetings at all unless asked directly. Not arguing, disagreeing, or grabbing the best projects ahead of everyone else.

Why? Well, they don’t want to embarrass anyone. Or put down anyone. They don’t want to seem aggressive or greedy or difficult to please. They don’t want to be difficult, disagreeable, or inconvenient. And they’re not even on dates with strangers when they exhibit these behaviors!

So, no. She will not interrupt the flow of your conversation to ask if you can move someplace warmer. She will not disturb your walk along the beach for the small matter of a bathroom break. She will not tell you that she’s fleishigs when you take her Starbucks; she’ll manage with tea.

After all, the conversation or the walk is going so well, and you might feel bad about Starbucks and what if you don’t have a backup location to go to? It would put you on the spot and you might feel bad or even resentful or think that she’s pushy and it’s not important, really…

…Not important until the shadchan asks how the date was and she can’t remember how it went because all she can remember is needing the bathroom.

Like it? Hate it? Oh I hope not. If there’s anything I can do to help ease that feeling, let me know. I’d hate to think you were upset or discomfited by anything we did.

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

Turning Down Dates

For the third time in my life, I found myself explaining to a colleague why I won’t date a non-Jew. It was my fourth time running through it (once I had to do it on behalf of another orthodox girl in college whose identity I still don’t know), so I condensed it into one convincing but diplomatic line. Nothing against his friend who sounds like a great guy—this is just how it is. But I was beginning to note a pattern.

Non-Jewish men with strong values dig orthodox women.

Yes, ladies. There are guys out there who think you are hot stuff. Your aidelkeit catches their eye and they like what they see.

Okay, I’m laughing. I mean, I’m not exactly the prototype aidel bais Yaakov maidel. Not for lack of trying—I really gave it a shot once. But it just didn’t take. Still, compared to my colleagues, I’m the picture of sweetness and modesty. Also, I’m nice, friendly, kind, thoughtful, considerate, generous, and good with kids.

Oh wait, this isn’t my shidduch profile. Scratch that.

Anyway, this little discovery was a boost to my self-esteem. In addition to the demographic of men over the age of 50, it turns out I am also of interest to non-Jewish men with strong family values. At this rate of discovery, I might find a Jewish demographic to date by the time I’m 30. Hey, they must be out there.

Has anyone else had to field feelers from non-Jewish colleagues?