Got Orthonomics in your Email Box?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Shidduchim: Will She Travel?

The topic of courtship has been on my mind since for a time now, but I figured it would be appropriate to visit the topic this week since we were just given the instruction: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife."

I can't think of anything more key to a relationship than the application of this multi-faceted instruction. And, as such, I am disturbed by the increasing number of girls and their mothers who make it known that they will travel to meet potential dates, as well as the increasing number of boys who have no qualms about saying they would like the girl to come visit them.

I understand that in today's competitive shidduch dating world the girls, especially, want to make themselves as attractive to date as possible (especially out-of-town girls who can easily be passed over because they are inconvenient to date). Nevertheless, I don't particularly care for the growing trend.

Call me old-fashioned if you may (you won't be insulting me, I guarantee), but I really think there is something to be said about "courtship," or a young man making a deliberate and concerted effort to seek out the girl, impress her, and win her over.

Lately, I am frustrated by bringing suggestions to young men who don't seem to show any enthusiasm for dating. Sometimes suggestions are met with such a lukewarm response that you wonder what you did to insult them. Sometimes it is clear that a young man is firmly under the thumb of his parents (like on mid-30's guy in a high powered job who could not even give me a "maybe" on a suggestion before consulting his parents). Anyways, the lack of drive sometimes leaves me asking if these young men really want to be married or if they are just going through the motions as expected.

I guess you could say I am becoming increasing impressed by shows of "manliness." For example, approximately a year ago, I received a call from a gentleman I'd never met. He was at an Orthodox singles event and took an interest in a particular young lady. After a number of calls to contacts in my community to seek her out, he was told to call me. While their date did not end in marriage, I was honored to be able to facilitate the shidduch date. This young man was really quite pro-active. It isn't easy putting oneself out there. But, I think it shows a characteristic that bodes well for marriage. But, the fact that I was left impressed by this, doesn't particularly speak well of what is going on in the dating world.

Another friend of ours really took us by surprise. He had been dating a young lady and it really seemed met to be. But, somewhere along the line the relationship sputtered to an end. After a number of months and some changes, he really took the "bull by the horns" and got permission to call her and literally won her back. It was made for TV shidduch dating!

Your comments. . . . .

21 comments:

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

i think the passivity you describe is a function of the contemporary shidduch scene, which is carefully scripted by parents, siblings, rebbeim, shadchanim, neighbors--everyone but the boy and girl themselves. i'm not in that scene, however, so i'm not sure why the boys are more passive than the girls.

"I am disturbed by the increasing number of girls and their mothers who make it known that they will travel to meet potential dates"

i have no problem with the girls doing this. but they should leave their mothers at home.

BubbyT said...

It's especially a problem with out of town girls.

Tamiri said...

I have a friend who was interested in remarrying after his divorce. He drove 6-7 hours from his hometown to the greater NY area to meet eligible women. Some of these women, who knew he was coming, were too busy for a meeting: they had to get the the gym Sunday, thereby messing up the day (he had to drive back Sunday night to be at work Monday), once there was a gal getting her legs waxed davka when they were to meet and other odd stories which made me wonder whether the WOMEN wanted to be dating at all, much less married. Maybe the young girls are also sending a message of "could not care less" to guys with good intentions..... so they get passive.

Ariella said...

As, in fact, it is a mitzvah for a man to marry, perhaps the travel involved in dating for him could count along the lines of schar halicha. But that is not the way they see it. The shidduch market is one in which the boys are seen as the prize and the girls (or their parents on their behalf) must do the legwork. As the boys are the ones sought, they do not have to do anything to have them come for them.
A friend of mine was living in Baltimore for her job for a few years. People did not want to set her up with New Yorkers, for the boys did not want to travel out, and they did not like having to make her travel in. She was forced to relocate to NY, where she found an excellent job. Ironically, the man she married lived in Maryland.

Anonymous said...

I live very out of town. My bride has to live here, in this community, in this house that I have purchased, and in this city. There is no point in meeting in NYC, particularly NY women who view the other side of the Hudson (much less the other side of the Delaware, Mississippi and Missouri rivers) another planet.

It is simply pointless trying to evaluate prospective brides in NYC when the marriage will be here in the distant reaches of America.

G said...

Please keep in mind that as frustrated as you feel when talking to these (young) men, (and I do not question the sincerity), there is often a matching frustration on the other end of the line.

As for traveling, while it may be preferable for the young man to alight onto the young ladies front steps...tell me, all things being eqaul (and I realize this is a little crass), where do you do your shopping?

**also, not all guys date while in yeshiva, where it is easier to disappear for a few days when the need arises.

mlevin said...

I hear you. My daughter is dating now.

She has a feeling that these boys have no respect for girls. After a date, regardless of how late it ends, boys just drop a girl at her house and drive away. What happened to making sure that she got home safely? And it's not just her dates. She asked her girl friends. Majority of girls don't even expect any acts of chivarly from the males. If that's how they act on dates, imagine what would happen once they are married.

One date was confused why she did not come out to his car when he drove up and blew his horn. What is she a slave to do his bidding at a first bell ring? "Yes, master. I'm ready for a date, master."

At this point she thinks that she will end up marrying a first boy that waits for her to enter house safely after a date.

Anonymous 10:33 Not all NYC girls want to live in the city. There are plenty who want to get away for various reasons.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

I agree with G. dating is expensive enough for guys as it is especially if they really want to impress a girl. To tack on travel expenses on top of that is asking a bit depending on ones financial situation.

DAG said...

Its a buyers market for the guys. That's why they get to dictate the rules.

mlevin said...

Dag - That is why there is such a great divorce rate. Girls pretend to be what they are not, just so they could get married. But once they are married, both wife and husband realize that it's not what they thought it to be.

On the second note, guys are not even picking girls. It's a guy's mother who does all the selecting. He just gets to say yes or no the the select few that passed his mother's test. At this point he is not very relevant, because it's a mother who chooses his wife. So, he doesn't care how he treats that girl.

Moah Kemo Efroah said...

ARIELLA:

"perhaps the travel involved in dating for him could count along the lines of schar halicha."

i guess going out to expensive restaraunts for first dates is considered hiddur mitzvah also. :)

"view the other side of the Hudson . . . another planet."

forget the hudson. from my personal perch, i consider anything on the other side of the East River another planet.

Halfnutcase said...

As a boy, I should say that at least for some of us, we can't afford to skip school/work for dating, especialy not to do so repeatedly.

I mean, its more than a day's trip, and to do that several times a semester, or even many times?

That way when they finaly let me date the only way I'm going to be able to date is only for 2 months every summer, then back to school/work with me if I haven't found anyone!

Now that said, I think its disgusting that the boys are not making sure that the girls get home safely.

G said...

"dating is expensive enough for guys as it is especially if they really want to impress a girl. To tack on travel expenses on top of that is asking a bit depending on ones financial situation."

Dollars are not even the key issue, from what I have seen/heard. It is more about time/energy/opportunity. I know plenty of guys who are willing to pay for the flight (although you should hear the responses when that offer is made, you're almost better off not).

It is a flawed system with no easy answers.

G said...

At this point he is not very relevant, because it's a mother who chooses his wife. So, he doesn't care how he treats that girl.

--Uh, you wanna explain that leap to me. How involved one is in the process has zero to do with how they will treat the other party. Someone was either raised to act correctly or not.
Try guys from outside the Tri-state area :)

Anonymous said...

"from my personal perch, i consider anything on the other side of the East River another planet."

So do I, and I suspect we are on different planets.

And MLevin:
What is wrong with a young man dropping a young woman off in front of her home? Is she afraid of being kidnapped while walking down the driveway? She should be happy that she is chauffeured door to door by someone who probably had to endure a fahrher from her parents for the privilege of treating her to an (likely expensive) night on the town.

Overall, the lack of chivalry on display likely is caused by both a general society that teaches that men and women are equal (and chivalry is an affront) and a frum world which teaches that men and women shouldn't talk, let alone flirt.

DAG said...

I think EVERYONE puts on a show during dating...That's one reason I LIKE long engagements.

As for chivalry, I think I missed that day at Yeshiva.

mlevin said...

g- May be I phrased it wrong. What I meant is that boys are so removed from girls that they don't care at this point. Last time I was in BP they have shuls with separate men/women entrances.

These boys are growing up without any real concept of what is a girl/woman/female. They know that their mother/sisters are part of the foreign species that shares their household, but they never really interact with them. In their mind they see women as someone who have been taking care of all their needs. And now that there is a need of a wife, than a woman (mother/shatchan) takes care of that need too. There is no need to impress a date. This girl will be a substitue for his mother when he moves away. That is why his mother is involved, because she knows better then anyone how to best take care of him. All he has to agree is that he likes the way she looks. Kind of like picking a couch.

anonymous said"What is wrong with a young man dropping a young woman off in front of her home? Is she afraid of being kidnapped while walking down the driveway? "

Yes, she is. You don't know who is lurking around late at night, waiting for the next victim. When my daughter goes out with her girl friends, they always make sure she gets in alright before driving away. Is that too much to ask of a man? Especially one who intends to marry her and protect her for the rest of her life.

dag- these things should be out in the open before the engagement.

moah keno efroah said...

DAG:

"I think EVERYONE puts on a show during dating...That's one reason I LIKE long engagements."

agreed. although it's heresy

ANON:

"I suspect we are on different planets"

probably

"Is she afraid of being kidnapped while walking down the driveway?"

unfortunately, on my planet on this side of the east river there is crime. (i personally was mugged down the block from my building in flatbush.)

"the lack of chivalry on display likely is caused by both a general society that teaches that men and women are equal"

true in general, but not in the frum world where men and women do have distinct gender roles

". . . .and a frum world which teaches that men and women shouldn't talk, let alone flirt."

this could be true

SephardiLady said...

In regards to the expense of dating, flying, etc, I can understand the reluctance to jump on a plane immediately.

The shidduch scene is incredibly scripted to a fault. There should be nothing wrong with a boy picking up a telephone (my goodness, every young guy has a cell phone attached to his belt anyways!) and getting to know a date over the phone for a brief amount of time.

Full disclosure: my husband spoke on the phone before he flew out to meet me. After it was obvious that the relationship was headed somewhere, we alternated traveling and paid for our own tickets.

I do think women should also show some initiative and have encouraged friend of mine to give things like singles events, the internet, etc a try. I get just as frustrated with the lack of initiative I see on the part of some women.

Regarding the expense of dating, I think it is ridiculous to pay an arm and a leg to park in a downtown hotel in order to sit in a lounge and drink a $5 Coca-Cola. I don't know who came up with this idea. There are plenty of out of quiet, out of the way places dating couples can go in order to get to know each other. The first date shouldn't cost so much (and IMO it isn't impressive when a guy breaks the bank unnecessarily. . . but then again, I do go against the flow).

anonymous mom said...

To put it succinctly:
The entire system is completely screwed up. It is in need of a Yeshua, Refuah, overhaul, Hashem's pity--because the leaders of Klal Yisrael are not pitying it enough or at all.
It definately is a buyer's market.
The rules are out of control.
The reason chivalry is dead is because the Yeshivish world (of which I used to be a part) has deigned it inappropriate to do certain things. It might lead to stuff (which it doesn't). Hence, no calling on the phone, no "wooing" or "winning back" and no walking to the door. Hundreds of wonderful over -30 single frum women who have been "put out to pasture."
Oh, and the mothers do decide everything. The more Yeshivish you are, the less involved the boy is in any part of this. It is pseudochasidic, neaveau-Yeshivish world. Chasidim do this world better. It's their game, after all. Oy, not succinct.

anonymous mom said...

And to clarify, I am not putting down the Chasidim. I actually think that the rules work better for them because of the way Chasidic culture is set up. My Chasidic friends and relatives feel comfortable with it because of how it is set up. In my opinion, there is more respect shown for women in the Chasidic world than in present Yeshivish world. Either way, in the Yeshivish world it is now sadly all about the money and the silly rules and procedures.