Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the shidduchim category.

True confessions after a third date…

So I was schmoozing with a bunch of people and we were talking about having to bring up “sensitive” issues when you’re dating someone. I’ve heard the old adage of the third-date rule myself, which in a nutshell stipulates that you need to reveal any earth-shattering factoids about yourself by the end of the third date. So my peeps were giving examples of things that they think that people need to share at the end of the third date, namely including a history of a depressive episode or having been molested or raped. 

I have a hard time accepting this. In the traditional frum 10-dates-and-you’re-it-community, a guy or girl says she once had to take medications or has been molested is – most unfortunately – toast, even if the person have been treated and has been stable and functioning for several years. People are frightened when they hear this kind of information, despite the fact that both are unfortunately so common.

I tried to argue with the chevra, stating that – for example – there is a difference between someone experiencing a depressive episode where they cried a lot and had feelings of guilt and hopelessness and a depressive episode that results in hospitalization or a suicide attempt, but to no avail: they argued that people have a “right” to know if the person they marry has ever been depressed since it indicates a predisposition. Even if this were true, why do you need to hear this after the third date? When you hardly know someone, such pieces of information is more likely to influence everything thta the person does or says afterwards, particularly in a community where issues of mental health is still so stigmatized.

And what about a person who has been molested? Again, the chevra argue that people have the right to know this because – get this – “48% of boys who have been molested go on to later have some sort of homosexual experience.” (And what percentage of boys who have not been molested have some sort of homosexual experience…?) Even if this outlandish statistic were true, that still doesn’t change the fact that a person has a right to maintain his or her privacy, particularly before really feeling invested in a relationship! Suppose, for example, a guy who was once molested is trying to keep this info under wraps but tells someone after a third date because his rabbi told him that is what he has to do. Not only is it likely that the girl will get freaked out, but what are the odds that the guy will be able to maintain his privacy and the whole community will not find about this? And if the first and second girl respect his privacy, what about the fifth and sixth? What if someone asks her best friend why she stopped dating that nice guy after the third date?

I agree that people who are about to be married should ideally feel comfortable sharing their life experiences with each other. The difference is that once people actually have a relationship with someone, they can hear information and place it in a greater context. They have a better appreciation of whether – and how – this person is affected by their experience. They have a greater respect for the person’s privacy so that if they decide that this is something that they can not deal with they may be less likely to spill the beans to someone else.

While I understand that in some segments of the Orthodox community the third date is some sort of symbol that things are going well, I can’t imagine that it changes the laws of social interaction completely. It doesn’t change the fact that three dates is not enough to really feel that you are in a relationship with someone. It’s hard enough for so many people to get married because of their “stigmas” – shouldn’t they be able to at least have a chance to demonstrate who they really are before being forced to hold up the scarlet letter? And if people are afraid that once people actually know each other better – like after, gasp, the tenth date! – they would be more likely to overlook these “major” issues – well, that maybe that ought to tell us something about whether we really have the “right” to about certain things so early on in a relationship.

What do people have the right to know early on? Where do we draw the line? Does a person need to reveal that they had issues of self esteem at fourteen? Does someone need to share that their grandparents all died from heart disease, suggesting that there is a predisposition in the family? Does a person need to reveal that in fourth grade he or she was jealous of a friend and stole a watch before returning it the next day? I mean, maybe it suggests a predisposition. Does someone need to reveal that he or she was depressed and took meds for a few months after losing a parents in a tragic accident? Does someone need to reveal that he or she was once grabbed by someone but he or she managed to run away before anything really “happened”? Does someone need to reveal that that he or she was depressed but DID NOT take meds because he or she was afraid what it would do to shidduchim? Where does it end? And does the fact that people feel that they would “like to know” something about the person mean that they actually have a right to know it straight up? Maybe we should all hand in a complete DNA report at the end of the third date.


How to Talk Shadchan

Here are some statements commonly made by shadchanim and what they may REALLY be thinking when they say them:

* Politically correct disclaimer: these translations do not necessarily reflect my beliefs, but a satirical view on what I presume to be the beliefs of shadchans.

What the shadchan says:

“She’s from a very balabatish family.”

What the shadchan means:

“Your son won’t have to work outside of yeshiva a day in his life.”

“He’s very well-rounded.”

Translation: He knows his Gemara but can also recite all the recent stats of the Yankees.

“They’re a lovely family.”

Translation: They’re a bunch of weirdos.

“(S)he has a very interesting  perspective on things.”

Translation: (S)he is freaking nuts.

“She really has her priorities straight.”

Translation: She’s majoring in speech or occupational therapy.

“She went to all the right places.”

Tranlation: She went to Bnos Chava seminary and Touro College.

“He’s very frum but wordly.”

Translation:  Don’t worry, he still watches episodes of Law and Order: SVU.

“She’s a typical Shulamis girl.”

Translation: May want to get a virginity check.

“She’s a good Prospect girl.”

Translation: She may be a bum, but she’s a bum with good grades and she doesn’t sing Hatikva.

“You two are perfect for each other.”

Translation: I mean, she’s a girl and you’re a boy, aren’t you?

“The mother is very classy.”

Translation: You know I don’t work with families who stack and use plastic tablecloths.

“Oh, it’s m’shamayim, I’m just a shaliach.”

Translation: Don’t blame me if it totally bombs.

“Don’t worry, it’s bashert.”

Translation: He thought you were too fat.

“You need to make more hishtadlus.”

Translation: Better lose the Seminary Fifteen.

“No one’s perfect.”

Translation: Who do you think you are? Just settle down with any shmoe already.

“She said you two –  well, I personally never would have thought it, but go ahead.”

Translation: I don’t want her to get my shadchanus money.

“Trust me, (s)he’s not for you.”

Translation: You know I know what’s best for you. How dare you question my wisdom?

“Your standards are too high.”

Translation: Your parents are divorced, what do you expect me to have for you?

“They’re a very close-knit family.”

Translation: You will never get your mother-in-law off your back.

“I don’t have anyone for you right now. ”

Translation: I don’t work with YU people. Go find someone on your own.

“They’re very out-of-townish.”

Translation: They’re somewhat open-minded.

“(S)he takes dating very seriously.”

Translation: Massive commitment issues.

“(S)he is very passionate.”

Translation: Bring pepper spray with you.

“He’s very leibedik.”

Translation: He gets stone drunk at weddings and on Purim.

“She has a lot of simachas ha’chaim.”

Translation: You can’t get a word of sense out of her.

“He has a very long list.”

Translation: He’s too good for you.

“Why don’t you give it one more date?”

Translation: You don’t want end up as an old maid, do you?

“You can’t expect to hear bells by your third date.”

Translation: Your mind has been poisoned by goyish narishketit about love and romance. You have the rest of your life to fall in love.

“You don’t really know someone until you’re married.”

Translation: You won’t know him any better after twenty dates than fifteen, so you may as well just get engaged already.

“You have to have bitachon.”

Translation: No, I don’t have anyone for you, so stop bugging me.

“All in the right time.”

Translation: Ever consider getting your eggs frozen?


All in good fun, of course. 😉



Safety on shidduch dates

I was schmoozing with a friend and she mentioned to me that she and another friend (this won’t get more complicated, I promise) were discussing shidduch dating. (What else?) Anyway, my friend’s friend – we’ll call her Gevalt to keep it simple – mentioned that she doesn’t take purses with her on a date because HER friend (okay so it is more complicated) told her that you’re not supposed to take purses with you on a date. Must be a new ban I haven’t heard about. I guess ladies’ purses are untznius because of the potential for fetishizing. High heels must be coming next.

Anyway, MY friend – we’ll call her Relatively Normal, RN for short – expressed some surprise. Where do you keep your cell/wallet/keys? Gevalt said she never thought to bring any of these with her. RN expressed her surprise at THAT – meeting a new dude on a blind date and not taking anything with you. Gevalt said she “never thought of it that way.” Besides, even if she was set up by someone she doesn’t know, her parents look into the guy first. Naturally calling the guy’s best friend or rosh yeshiva (who’s contact info HE provided) is real FBI background check.

Not to sound paranoid or like a man-hating feminazi or anything, but – going into a car, alone, at night, with a guy you have never met, who may have been suggested to you by a person you don’t know and doesn’t know him, and you don’t bring a phone?! ID? A wallet, cash, credit card, or metrocard? Forget the possibility of him being an ax-wiedling murderer. What do you do if the guys makes you feel uncomfortable in anyway? If he orders a few drinks and is over the legal limit to drive? Of course the majority of guys are decent, but there are also plenty things can go wrong  with the most decent guys that have nothing to do with the dude’s character, like someone getting sick or getting into a car accident. I’m not saying not to date or even to carry pepper spray. Is it too paranoid to take with you ten bucks?

Anyway, my point (yes there is one) – I don’t think Gevalt is the only girl – frum or not – who “never thought that way,” but I also can’t help feeling that we lure our frum girls and guys into a fall sense of security. I know that for all my high school/seminary classes on “family living” (i.e. married sex life) and workshops shidduch dating, NO ONE ever mentioned anything about basic safety precautions – unless you count “dress tznius and date a ben Torah and no man will ever look at the wrong way.”

I don’t mean to insinuate that basic safety precautions are guaranteed to protect you, or that a girl who is attacked must have somehow behaved irresponsibly, or that a girl who doesn’t bring a purse on a date “deserves” anything. I’m just saying that we have to stop being naive, worry less about frank discussions about the dangers of rape being “untznius,” and encourage our daughters to do their best to keep themselves safe.

So – am I being paranoid or practical? Let’s discuss.