I know very well that I’m opinionated and jaded regarding many topics. Dating is one of them. So when I received the email below, I had to ask myself how I would want the question answered if I asked it. Here we have a “wet-behind-the-ears” young woman who has entered the shidduch parshah. She’s asking for advice. Do I begin to tell her what to be on the lookout for and how to avoid certain situations with shadchanim as well as with fellows? Do I just give general advice that can help anyone entering the shidduch parshah without frightening them away? I decided that if she wrote to me, she must either read my column (so she knows where I stand on most shidduch topics), or someone who knows her and my column told her to email me. Either way, I chose to be the bigger person and to give general advice that can be applied to life in general, not just the shidduch parshah.

Now that I am spending more time than normal at home, how can I leave the apartment when my four-year-old has hours of Zoom classes throughout the day – sometimes with only 15-minute breaks between classes/reading groups? While I let her go and have fun in the afternoons, our mornings are ruled by the clock and Zoom. I zone out as my daughter is tuning in (I hope). The other day, my memory remembered something that it had forgotten, and I thought it would be a great topic for an article.

Dear Goldy:

You actually know who I am, so I am not going to reveal too much about myself, because I don’t need you or the whole world knowing that this is me and that nothing is wrong with me. I know this is a very weird way to start, but you’ll see as you read – and feel free to publish if you want.

 I received the following email from a woman who feels very passionately about what she writes of. Through the years, I have written and spoken about my time as a single frum woman. This woman is still in the parshah and has been in it for a very long time, from the sound of her letter. We communicated through email and I asked her permission to publish this letter. She agreed, on the condition that I not attach her name to any part of the letter. I agreed. I can honestly feel this woman’s pain. I, too, still have friends in the shidduch parshah who are now of a mature age and probably feel the same as this woman.

 I have said from the very beginning that real married life is nothing like dating life. You don’t go out to dinners at expensive restaurants or cute cafés once or twice a week, no long walks in the park or maybe a carriage ride in Central Park, no going miniature golfing, no going to axe-throwing locations (it’s a thing now). Now you have work, errands, and responsibilities. Not that the romance is over, but now real life starts and you have to fit the romance into real life – which can be hard.

 I first learned in college how to waste space when trying to fill up the page with words so you can reach the goal of a ten-page term paper. Then I had one professor in graduate school who made it very difficult to fill up the page with nonsense. The instructions for her term paper were very specific: “Only one and a half inch margins on each side of the paper, use 12-point font in Times New Roman...” The instructions were so specific that I was finally able to understand why this professor had such a tough reputation: She actually wanted us to research and work! My friends and I felt sunk. Now we couldn’t stretch the paper with nonsense and 12.5 font, etc.