I’m always for someone adding a little sparkle or a little extra to who they are to differentiate themselves and make themselves stand out in a crowd. So when I read this letter, I smiled, because this girl is doing all she can to separate herself from everyone else.
I have a very Jewish ordinary name; think of names such as Aviva Katz or Sara Goldberg. When I meet or speak with shadchanim, I know that they may forget which one of my names I am, so I have my own tag line on my shidduch profile, “Always imitated, never duplicated.” I know I’m corny, but I need something to separate me from the rest of the girls who have my name. It doesn’t help that I have a typical job. I’m a physical therapist. I’m not a marine biologist, superhero, or amenities tester for five-star hotels. I love my job, my co-workers, and my life, baruch Hashem. I’m just not in love with the fact that hundreds if not thousands of others share it.
So let me get to my question: My friends referred me to a shadchan who “is really good.” I could already hear your eyes rolling, but it’s what they said. I was told that she set up over 20 couples that have married. I figured, why not? I have nothing to lose. I will meet with this shadchan like all the others, and hopefully I can be added to her list of successes. I called the woman and, after a few minutes of speaking, she told me that she thinks we had met a couple of years ago. I told her that we hadn’t, and said that she may be getting me confused with others with my name. She said that she didn’t think so, and then gave very general details of a life that could be mine, but that anyone would guess; like going to a fortune teller, “You have had ups and downs in your life, “You have a good job, nice group of friends,” as if to prove that she does know me.
When I asked the shadchan if she had my profile with my tag line, she said that she thinks she does and will call me in a few days after she thinks about whom to set me up with. I told her that she does not have my profile, because I had never heard of her two weeks before, let alone two years ago, and we had never met. That’s when everything went south. The shadchan thought I insulted her and said that she will not work with anyone who doesn’t have any derech eretz, if this is how I speak to someone who is trying to help me, because she sincerely wants to help singles; then she can only imagine how I will act and what I will say to someone she sets me up with. Very kindly, she asked me not to call her again. I wasn’t being chutzpadik and was only trying to explain that she doesn’t have my profile because it’s a unique one with my tag line. But the end of the story is that I am (or the other girl with my name is) on her black list.
This shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I am trying to do what I can to differentiate myself from all the others out there. All I was trying to do was to tell the woman that we had never met and she was getting me confused. She took my question the wrong way and now I’m banned. Is this how she is “trying to help singles,” being insistent that she is right when she isn’t? She has met hundreds of singles and it’s easy to get confused. There’s only one me and I know that I never met her. And it bothers me that I’m bothered by this.
Sara Katz (my real name)
Sara, thank you so much for your email.
I love it that you have a tag line. For better or for worse, I love the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo (all the cities), so I love a good tag line. I also like that you are trying to differentiate yourself from all the others with the same name as you. But if I can be honest with you, I don’t know one, let alone two, Sara Katzes. I know a few people with the last name Katz, but none of them shares your first name, so you may be more unique than you think.
I also love that you said that you love your life. When I started reading your letter, I thought it was heading in another direction, with all your comments about being average and not special. But yes, some names in Judaism are common. Thank goodness your letter took a right turn and didn’t turn out as expected.
I’m not joking when I say that Uncle Moishy speaks the truth. “You have a name; you have a lovely Jewish name.” Your parents felt that Sara was the right name for you. In that moment, when the time came to think of a name for their beautiful baby girl, they chose the right one for you. I’m just glad that you didn’t decide to use another name when introducing yourself to others; believe me, I know plenty of people who don’t use their Hebrew name, but an English one that isn’t even on their birth certificate, so others can pronounce their name and so they can be remembered easily.
The answer I have for you is simple. You can be bothered by this. You called a shadchan for help – which I always say is a humbling experience for anyone. To call a stranger and ask for help finding you a spouse because you can’t find him/ her on your own, it sounds crazy even writing about it. You called someone for help and when she wrongly thought that she had already met you, she took offense and “blacklisted you.” Maybe she is overly sensitive or maybe she was embarrassed for thinking you had met previously and didn’t know how to save face, so she ended all communication with you. I don’t know why she said you lacked derech eretz, but you can certainly be upset by that. That is a serious offense that she accused you of. If someone said that to me, I would be insulted for myself, my parents, and my teachers –all those who worked hard to teach me how to have derech eretz towards others. She may have thought you were being rude in the moment, but she just insulted years of teaching and mentoring by others.
Sara Katz, do like I tell many others: Feel bad for a moment or two and then move on. There are plenty of shadchanim who have set up 30, 40, and even 50 couples that have gotten married. I don’t think you ruined your chances of finding your bashert at all; you have now narrowed the field by one. You now know that this shadchan can’t help you.
Hatzlachah to you all!