I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached and told, “I have a shidduch story just as bad as one of yours.” I am not trying to be the one with the all-time worst dating experiences. I will gladly hand that crown or scepter to another. Many have approached me, when I was a guest speaker at an event, to tell me some of the tales. I found several of their stories even more amusing than my own. As I have mentioned many times, I really enjoy getting to meet new people at events and also reading the letters that I receive by email.
That being said, now that I have some time on my hands, thank you COVID-19, I had a chance to look back at some emails I had put in a special file on my computer. It’s a file full of emails that I loved reading, whether for good or for bad – or for heartbreaking reasons. I haven’t written about all the emails in the file, and some of the emails that I have printed weren’t saved in the file, because they were not worth saving but were worth publishing for one reason or another. We may all need a laugh at this point of social distancing. I decided to print a couple of these emails. No worries: I emailed the senders first and explained that I wanted to use their emails to help make people laugh during this point in self-quarantine when, at this time, we sometimes feel as if we are going out of our minds and crave what normal life used to be. They both gave me permission.
I find your articles very interesting and entertaining. I always want to hear what the female view of dating is. I’m hoping to understand most of what I don’t comprehend about dating by reading the letters and hearing your opinions. Many times, I find that I agree with your opinions, and at other times I don’t; but it’s still good reading.
If I can share an odd story, I have one dating story that didn’t even involve a date. To make a long story very short, on the way to pick up a girl I got lost, even with my GPS. I called about 20 minutes before I was supposed to arrive and told her I was lost but I would try to get there as soon as I was able to. She said that was okay. When I finally arrived at her house, her father opened the door. He commented that he was impressed that I called ahead of time to tell his daughter that I would be late. I responded that I would want the same if I was waiting for someone. Her father then began asking me about my GPS and why I hadn’t used Google Maps. Google Maps? I haven’t used that in years! He asked if my GPS spoke or if I had to read directions off the screen. I explained that the GPS spoke. The father asked if the GPS had a male or female voice. I answered, “Uh, female.” Much to my surprise, the father then said, “You can program the GPS to have a male voice. I don’t think that you are appropriate to date my daughter.” He wished me a good night and closed the door in my face. Can you believe that!? I don’t even know if the daughter knew her father had sent me away! Guessed I dodged the bullet with that family.
Meir, thank you for your email. OMG, I really can’t believe that happened! What’s more is that I think I have heard a similar story a while back. I can’t remember the details, but the fellow was also sent away because of the female GPS voice. (Personally, my GPS has an Indian accent. I just like listening to it while driving. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation in an exotic locale.) Maybe it was from another fellow who had attempted to date the same young woman. In my own personal book regarding manners, you did the correct thing by calling in advance. I am sure that Peggy Post would agree. If you don’t know who Peggy Post is, she writes about etiquette, having taken over from her mother-in-law, Emily Post. Both are widely respected. Many a time, I was called ten minutes after I was supposed to be picked up to be told it would be another 20 minutes or so. Really? So…I rushed and you knew you were going to be really late?
After the father complimented you on your thoughtfulness, he turned you away? You seem to have a good sense of humor about it. Isn’t it better knowing now what type of a father-in-law you could have had and appreciate the one who you will have – who I am sure will appreciate your kindness and consideration? Keep reading my articles, but remember: My opinions are my own and I don’t think I represent frum women in general, but thanks for the compliment.
I went out with a nice guy who took me to a very nice hotel lounge in Manhattan. The date was going well and I was having a good time. It was getting a little late and I had not had the chance to eat dinner. I had rushed home to get ready for the date and was picked up a little after 7. I casually made a comment that I was hungry and maybe my date and I would be able to go for a quick bite to eat at a nearby café that I knew was not expensive. His face lit up and he said he had planned eating on the date, “because I like to be prepared.” I thought we were going to go to the café, but my date pulled a couple of Ziploc bags from one of his pockets: one had pretzels, the other had nuts. From another pocket, he took out the red Super Snacks! I never had a date remove anything other than keys or a wallet from his pocket before. He was like a human vending machine. I told him kindly that it was thoughtful of him, but I wasn’t going to start eating Super Snacks or nuts kept in his pocket. I spoke up for myself and felt great about it! He said he understood, and we ended up going to the nearby café.
Wow. At least you can’t complain that the young man didn’t prepare. He was very prepared. I don’t know what I would have done if faced with Super Snacks and home-packed pretzels. Why not bring the small snack-size bag instead? But I am so glad that you said something to him, nicely, and didn’t look aghast at what he did – or laugh. Maybe your date didn’t realize what a faux pas he had made. Does he live alone or is he still at home? If he was still at home, I am sure his mother or sister would have stopped him if they saw what he had “planned.” I’m glad he understood and all went well afterwards, I hope. I’m sure you helped other future dates of his, unless you marry and then you have helped yourself for future dates of potato chips – although I always carry raw nuts or something small and healthful in case I get the munchies.
Everyone has a story and everyone has lived through it to tell the tale. We can all learn from all experiences and we will then be able to appreciate our zivugim when we finally do find them. I often tell my husband, “You’re lucky you have a wife who had so many odd dating experiences, because I can appreciate you much more than someone who only went out with a few guys a few times.” He laughs at that line.
Hatzlachah to all!