I have married off children, and they didn’t marry the first person they dated. All my children dated for a while before they met their spouses. So, I have heard my share of dating stories and read your column religiously, but I’ve never come across or even heard of something like this happening.
My son is now dating. He’s been in the parshah for about a year. He is always a mentch to the girls he dates. Between me and my daughters, we’ve told him the do’s and don’ts of dating. But he’s no dummy, so it’s not like he needed an intense course. We were just like, “Don’t forget her name, always insist on paying, never split the check even if she says it’s okay, etc.” One thing about my son is that he is always punctual – whether it’s for minyan, work, or a date – and calls ahead if he knows he’ll be late. So maybe you can explain how this happened.
He had a date and showed up on time at the house. He was invited in by a younger sibling of the girl. My son sat in the living room for a few minutes, waiting for his date to appear in the doorway, but instead of that happening, he heard a lot of noise in the back of the house. He said he heard feet running, loud whispers, some arguments, but couldn’t really hear what was being said. He didn’t think too much about it. But after about ten minutes of waiting, a younger brother, about ten years old, according to my son, came into the room, sat down next to him and said, “You know, ____ isn’t going out with you tonight.” He continued to say, “She’s arguing with my mom because she thought she changed the date, but she didn’t. Now my mom is trying to get ____ to come and apologize to you.”
My son was able to see the humor in this. Now all the running and whispering made sense. And here comes the younger brother letting the cat out of the bag. My son asked if the girl was going to come out or if he should just let this “man-to-man” talk take care of things. The young boy shrugged. My son said he didn’t know if he should stay or leave. Goldy, my son is in his mid-20s and so is the girl. Mature adults. A mistake was made; just come out, apologize for the mistake or mix up, and reschedule. But now my son was sitting in the house for 15 minutes, knowing he was not going on a date, and everyone in the house knew he had been sitting in the other room oblivious to this. Just as my son was about to leave, the girl’s mother came out and apologized. My son said she was saying it took her a few minutes to put on her sheitel, get ready to meet him or something along those lines. The mother apologized, said there must have been a mix-up, because something had come up and her daughter wasn’t home, but she was “positive” that the shadchan had been notified to reschedule. The mother apologized for the mix-up. But the younger brother had spilled the beans. The girl was home, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t go out that night. Instead of owning up to her mistake of not letting him or the shadchan know, she had her mother come out and make excuses. My son didn’t argue. He stood up and said he understood that mix-ups happen, not to worry, and he will contact the shadchan later. And he left.
The shadchan is my son’s chavrusa’s wife. The wife is a cousin to the girl. My son called his chavrusa as soon as he got back in the car. The chavrusa and his wife promised him she hadn’t heard from the girl about rescheduling the date. No call, text, or email.
The next day, the chavrusa’s wife called my son, formally apologizing on behalf of her cousin and the “mix up,” but asking if he’d like to schedule a date for the next night because her cousin was available. My son said no. He said he wouldn’t have minded being told right away that the daughter forgot to call the shadchan or there was a mix-up and couldn’t go out. But he was sitting in the house for a while, the mother – not the girl – came out to explain things, and the excuse didn’t add up. Add to that the fact that the girl didn’t text or call him the previous night to apologize, my son said he didn’t want to get involved with the girl who didn’t seem mature enough for him.
I’m not desperate for my son to date this girl, but I think he should at least take her out once. I can see how the girl may have been shocked and embarrassed about the mix-up, and maybe she didn’t think she was presentable enough to meet him then. There can be so many explanations. But my son’s mind can’t be changed. He said once everything gets added up, it’s too much and he’d rather not get involved.
I don’t know. Should he give her a second chance?
Thank you for your letter, Chaya.
I’ll begin by saying that no one is right or wrong in this situation. Everyone is entitled to his opinion. Dating isn’t about things being black and white, right and wrong – there is a lot of gray area, and if that can’t be understood, then you’ll have a lot of difficulty dating. This is the first type of story like this I have heard. I’ve heard of date nights getting mixed up, but everything was discussed, and plans were rescheduled on the spot. Seems to be a lot of drama here. A lot of arguing behind the scenes. The younger brother sounds like comic relief. He got tired of watching and listening to his sister and mother argue about this, so he strolled in and, as you said, let the cat out of the bag.
You can’t do anything to change your son’s mind if it’s made up. I can see you want to give the young woman a second chance, but I can also see that all the little pieces of the story adding up and your son doesn’t want to get involved. You wrote that the young woman didn’t call or text your son the evening of the date, but the next day the cousin apologized for her. As I have said before, if you’re “mature” enough to date, then you have to take on all the responsibilities of dating – which includes being a mentch and apologizing if you have made a mistake or said something wrong. I think the young woman should have called your son that night or at the very least, the next morning. It shows a level of maturity and responsibility, no matter how embarrassing it is. And I’m sure it was an honest mistake; the girl forgot to tell her cousin beforehand (or could have called your son directly) to reschedule.
I’m also sure the mother felt terrible about being put in such a situation and did the best she was able to for her daughter, just as we all would.
Your son had time to think about this. He doesn’t have to date this girl. He really is under no obligation, in my opinion, to date her after what happened. He fulfilled his part of the “contract”: He showed up on the right day at the right time. The fact that the girl didn’t even call him later that night may have cemented things for your son. If she can’t take responsibility or apologize, then he doesn’t want to deal with someone like that. She’s in her mid-20s; she’s not 16 going on her first date. What may have started out as a mistake on the girl’s part ended up adding drama where drama wasn’t needed. Your son knew she was home the entire time, arguing and begging her mother to help. If your son has second thoughts, I’m sure he can ask his chavrusa to try to redt it again, but for now, your son is moving on. Let him.
Hatzlachah to you all.
Goldy Krantz is an LMSW and a lifelong Queens resident, guest lecturer, and author of the shidduch dating book, The Best of My Worst and children’s book Where Has Zaidy Gone?