How many times do I have to say, “If you’re old enough to date and marry, you should be the one handling your dating life”? Apparently, I haven’t said it enough times, because time and again I’m told that someone’s shadchan is “dealing with the boy’s mother.” First of all, he’s not a “boy” – unless you are referring to the fact that he is acting like a minor child who can’t make decisions for himself. If he is in college/graduate school or is working, then he is a young man, or a man, or a fellow, but not a boy! Boys don’t go on dates and mommies shouldn’t be getting involved either. Even mommies may interject their own feelings and think they are helping their child when they are eliminating many wonderful eligible young women for their sons to date, or they tell the shadchan what they are looking for in a daughter-in-law, not necessarily what their son is looking for in a wife.
Do the “boys” ask their mommies to get involved because their mothers can ask the questions that would be inappropriate if he asked the shadchan? Guess what? If it’s inappropriate for “the boy” to ask, then it certainly is inappropriate for a third party to ask (it doesn’t matter that “we’re all girls”). And what surprises me most is when the mother actually asks the inappropriate question and doesn’t think anything is wrong with it or isn’t embarrassed to do so. One quick example: During a visit to my OBGYN, when I was pregnant with my son, the doctor told me that mothers of “boys” call him all the time to ensure that the girl is healthy and able to have children. The doctor hates these calls for many reasons; he just tells the mother to have her son ask the woman that question on the first date and he’ll get the answer.
Now I’m hearing that the boys don’t get involved and the parents don’t want them involved because it is considered “un-tz’nius.” Oh, please! If that’s the excuse you’re going with, fine, but does the question asked above fall into the tz’nius or non-tz’nius category – and don’t forget, they were asked by the mothers.
Below is an email I received a few weeks ago from a mother of a MAN. And she is telling me of her firsthand account of this foolishness.
I am the mother of a single boy who is having the following problems with shidduchim:
Many shadchanim he has met with have been giving him an excruciatingly hard time over the fact that my husband and I are not 100 percent on top of his shadchanus, and they are dismayed that he is using SawYouAtSinai without the full accompaniment of his parents.
They claim that it is “un-tz’nius” for a single boy to handle resumes and make his own dating decisions himself. (Most single boys are naive enough to submit to this practice; their mothers are chained as a result.)
Our son makes his parnasah working remotely for a company while sitting on the couch in his apartment; my husband and I are doctors who treat breakthrough COVID-19 patients in massively understaffed ICUs for a living. The disease is absolutely horrific.
Shadchanim frequently call us while we are in the ICU; and they decline our requests to reach out to our son directly, each of them claiming it is un-tz’nius for them to reach to him himself. We both have frum co-workers in our hospitals whose children are having the same exact problem with shadchanim. This new “geder tz’nius” did not exist three years ago.
In the ArtScroll biography of Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, the author writes that the late Rosh Yeshivah did not involve his parents in his dating life until shortly before his engagement.
What is so different about today’s dor of single boys? How do you expect them to become responsible husbands and responsible fathers if they hyper-depend on their parents to make their dating decisions?
Is it truly un-tz’nius for a remotely employed single boy to communicate with shadchanim and girls’ references on his own? Or is it more un-tz’nius for his parents to ditch their bleeding patients’ open wounds in order to play phone hop with shadchanim and references who likewise lead their own busy lives?
For all 400+ SawYouAtSinai suggestions sent to my son’s account that don’t lead to first dates, must I truly chain myself like an agunah to every dead-end suggestion’s reference phone calls? If I had to choose between using up my sick and vacation days from work in order to play phone tag with shidduch references and hard-to-reach shadchanim versus using them for Shabbos, Yom Tov, and family smachos, which should I choose?
(Unlike my husband and me, our son’s parnasah does not require him to sacrifice a sick day or pull mid-week all-nighters working the ICU in order to be home in time for Shabbos on a blizzardy Friday afternoon.)
Why is it so inappropriate for our son to simply handle shidduch inquiries on his own and leave us out of the picture until after the third date?
Thank you, Dr. J., for your email.
I agree with you 100 percent in regard to the fact that your son can and should handle his dating life. All of these mature adults who feel they are ready for marriage should deal one on one with their shadchan, be it online or in real life, and not go through their mommies and tatties. Personally, I hated when I was dealing with a shadchan and was told that she or he would call the “boy’s mother” to find out information or to answer a question. I don’t mind if the child is still living at home with his parents, in his 30s or 40s, but take control of all aspects of your life!
Do these mature adults make decisions at work, or do they call their parents for help? It’s embarrassing for an adult to even say, “Speak with my mother about this.” The shadchanim telling you that it is not tz’nius to deal directly with the single are very old-fashioned. This is a modern world. Shadchanim can communicate through phone, email, text, Zoom – and they aren’t asking to see the single, in order to ensure that what the parents have told him or her about their child is true – that’s why photos are “required.” But that’s a whole other topic.
I admire you and your husband for caring so much for your son’s dating life to write to me, and I am in awe of the wonderful, necessary professions that you both have. I can understand being called away if your young child was injured in school or something like that, but to ask professionals to put their jobs and patients on hold so a shadchan can speak about their child’s dating life is ridiculous and it’s sad that those shadchanim don’t realize it.
I always preferred when the man I was redt to dealt with the shadchan one on one, rather than go through a third party, especially his mother. The single can speak directly to the shadchan, tell him or her what he is thinking, what he wants and doesn’t want, instead of having the mother add her personal feelings into the mix, as well. Too much broken telephone communication, if you ask me.
You and your son aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s not “un-tz’nius” to have a single speak and meet with a shadchan. I think it’s very necessary for the single to deal directly with the shadchan. The shadchan can also get a better sense of what the single is looking for, if they actually speak with each other. Think about it: Does your son want to get involved with a young lady that has her parents running interference and acting as her representatives for something as serious as dating for marriage? It may give you a clue to what they will be like as in-laws and how their daughter may constantly turn to them for advice or help.
Your son sounds like a mature young man who is more than capable of handling his own with shadchanim, and any shadchanim who don’t want to deal directly with a single should have their heads examined.
The fact that shadchanim don’t see anything wrong with calling you out of an ICU to discuss your son should tell you what type of people they are – and you should run in the other direction.
There are plenty of singles handling and in charge of their dating life, and nothing is wrong with that – mature adults making mature decisions. I dated many young (and old) men. My mother was the go-between for about ten or 12 of them, and that was in the very beginning, before I got a handle on this great shidduch parshah that many are stuck in.
Continue on, and I wish your son hatzlachah. He will find the right woman, without you needing to step in. I’m sure of it!
Hatzlachah to you all.