If you are a longtime reader of this column, you know of all the dating experiences I have had while dating. There were many times that I wished I had stayed home and had watched Friends (yes, there were scripted sitcoms before reality TV) than to have gone out on a date with someone whom I never should have been redt to, let alone gone out with. When I got home, I complained to my parents: “How could ______ think that this guy would be what I’m looking for! Does this mean that they think so little of me?” But my parents would say that I can always learn from an experience, and it brings me closer to my bashert. I would reluctantly agree with them because I knew it was true. Had I not gone out with all the fellows I went out with, I wouldn’t be able to relate to people with dating issues or be qualified to write a book or this column. So, it all works out in the end.
Very recently, a co-worker came into my office and said something along the lines of, “You still write a dating article? I want you to write about what I’m going to tell you. I’ll get it published in Mishpacha, Ami, Bina, Yated. Everyone needs to read it. I’ll even let you quote me. I don’t know how to write well, and so I’ll let you do it for me…” I sat back, wanting to hear what she had to say, thinking that maybe she had an amazing idea that “everyone” would want to read about. Wrong.
My co-worker is in the dating parshah herself. She is from a very prominent and wealthy family, though you would never know it as they don’t live in a McMansion or go on fancy vacations or even eat in restaurants. But mention their last name in certain circles, and not only do doors open, but the red carpet gets rolled out and you are brought a drink to sip on while you are being tended to. Get my drift? Let me use the name Rivky when referring to my co-worker. Rivky is very opinionated and strong-willed. She knows what she wants, and she is not afraid to say so. She also says whatever is on her mind, which may not always be a good thing. If she doesn’t like the way something is being done or doesn’t agree with someone at work, she will say it and will do so bluntly: “You don’t make sense. You’re an idiot.” Or “I’m not doing that because it’s stupid.” Many times I have had to discuss her bluntness with her and remind her that when working in an agency, representing the agency, she can’t be very free with her mouth. But she always says, “I say what I feel. That’s me.” I am just letting you all know this about her, so you can see the type of person she is.
Rivky told me that she was “disgusted” in regard to a shidduch that was redt to her. She said the same thing that I had said to my parents: “What do these people think of me? That I’m a shlub? That I’ll date anyone? It never ever should have been redt, and I want you to write about it.” She wanted me to write how “shadchanim” should not set up people who are different from one another. She felt that everything was wrong about a fellow she was redt to and went out with once. She found fault with everything, from the yeshivah he went to, to the meatballs his grandmother made for Yom Tov. According to her, there was not one redeeming quality about this “boy,” and it’s a chutzpah that shidduchim like this are redt. At that point, I knew that I wasn’t going to get on board and write this article for her.
I asked her if she thought that only “like” people should be redt to one another, to date, and to marry. I told her that many shidduchim were made between people who were very different – from their backgrounds to their families and to their education, and that many couples that are happily married now, would not be married if it were up to her and if people adopted her idea – people including me and my husband. She looked at me with a blank face. Yes, it is a big pain when you date someone whom you feel isn’t shayach for you, but there’s a reason for everything. You can learn from that experience, maybe redt someone you know for this person who may be shayach. Rivky disagreed right away. She said that she wanted to be redt to a certain type of “boy” and she wasn’t getting it. She referred to all the men she has dated as “losers.” I have referred to some of the fellows whom I dated by various nicknames or titles, but I don’t think I called anyone of them a “loser.” Each was successful in work or school, in his own right. Many had personality traits that I couldn’t stand, but I never generalized them as “losers.” That’s a hateful word. I told Rivky this, but she said that she stands by her summation; they are all losers.
I couldn’t believe that any shadchan – professional or not – would set Rivky up with anyone whom they didn’t think was a real match for her and her family. Not that Rivky has to be redt to a superior race of Adonis-type people, but just a fellow who would fit in with the family and their lifestyle. I am not referring to wealth now; I am speaking of their minhagim and the sect of Yiddishkeit they belong to. There is much about Rivky’s family that I did not write about. Rivky comes from a large family and has several brothers and sisters-in-law, several come from different backgrounds. I pointed that out to her. She pooh-poohed what I was saying and told me that she was different from her siblings and wanted the best of the best. I reminded her that no one ever says they want mediocre or the bottom of the bottom. Rivky got angry. She thought I was making fun of her. I attempted to reason with her. I told her that she was a woman in her mid-20s and suggested she should meet with a few select shadchanim, let them know what she was looking for in no uncertain terms (right down to shoe size), and let them know there will be a “huge shadchanus” for the shadchan who finds her bashert. Rivky was shocked and said, “You know I can’t do that. That’s not how it’s done!” If that is how “IT” was done, I wouldn’t be writing a column, and there wouldn’t be a “shidduch crisis.” I told her that she sounded very immature and spoiled, as if she is too good to spend an hour or so with someone who may not be her bashert. She actually agreed! “I am too good to waste my time!”
B’kitzur, I told Rivky that I would not write such an article and I wasn’t doing so because I cared about her. I didn’t want people to read it and think how spoiled and egotistical she is because then she really will have an issue with shidduchim. Rivky said that she wants to teach people that they can’t just pair up people. I told her that she should really consider my idea of speaking with shadchanim (to ensure that’s he gets only what she wants) and to make sure to tell them that if the shidduch is so far off course of what she is looking for, she will charge the shadchan $50 for wasting her time with “”a loser.” This way she can ensure that shadchanim will be extra careful with whom they redt to her. That didn’t sit well with her. I told her that she can’t change the system, but it is her choice to accept the date or not with whomever she is redt to. If she makes the choice to go on the date, then she must take some responsibility, as well. She argued, how will she know if he’s not a loser unless she goes out on a date – but if he is a loser, she is stuck with the fellow on a date.
And that is where I left the conversation. “That’s the rub,” I told her. The reference was totally lost on her. What I tell you, my readers, is what I told Rivky: “Never sit too high up on your horse, because the horse can buck you off and you’ll fall hard.” What I mean is, the person you go out with may think that you are the one beneath him (or her). They may want nothing to do with you and will complain about you to their shadchan! Who are you to think that low of a stranger that you only just met that you can’t spend an hour or so with him or her? If you’re not careful, you will be the one with mud on your face.
Hatzlachah to you all.