Friday, September 9, 2011

Live your own life

I hate jewish novels. I really do.

When I was in high school, at a pretty mainstream yeshiva, we were not allowed to have secular books. Me, being the bookworm that I am, could not deal without any kind of reading material and resorted to The Jewish Novel. Jewish novels are generally formulaic and terribly written. They usually use some absurd title, and I feel like the author used a thesaurus for every simple word in order to make him/her sound intelligent. However, there are some (very few) exceptions. (I just need to clarify. very few).

 I haven't read very many jewish novels since high school, but one that I did was Hearts of Gold. It's not the best piece of writing and it's incredibly girly (my sister gave it to me when i had nothing to read). At the very least, it doesn't have the formula that almost all other jewish novels do. I found the second book to actually have a really great message which I'd like to talk about. In the book Chani is obsessed with getting everyone's approval, and won't get a cleaning lady, eat out, get a manicure, and most importantly spend money on garbage bags. This is because she feels people will look down on her since she is in kollel and apparently that means not spending any money on anything other than food. She finally realizes she needs to do what she feels is right and not worry about what everyone else thinks.

"If you try to please everybody, you please nobody."

 I'm sure you've heard that phrase dozens of times. But have you ever really thought about it and tried to apply it to your own life? We have a tendency to feel like musar is always for THAT guy, not me. But are you doing what you're doing because you want to do it and feel it's the right thing? Or are you living your life according to what you think your parents, friends, shadchanim, etc. think is right. I'm not saying that what people think is completely irrelevant. It is. It's a fact of life and our nature to care about what other people think. However, your mindset should not be all about what everyone else thinks.

This is especially relevant for shidduchim. When you dress yourself up, are you thinking of what will happen if someone (read: shadchanim/ opposite sex) will think of your dress, or do you want to make sure you are dressed like a ben/(bas?) torah? Are you going to daven because of your reputation, or do you want to actually daven? Are you not going to participate in that chareidi/zionistic event even though you think it would be helpful to yourself and others, because your zionistic/charedi friends will think less of you?

It's YOUR life, not someone else's. We all have unique talents. Try and use them; not someone else's.

We are always so worried about the few people who don't like us. We need to realize that some people just won't. No matter how nice, how pretty, how smart, how shtark that you are. Somebody, probably numerous somebodies, will not like you. And I'm not quite there with being okay with that, but I'm trying. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what people think. I'm learning that more and more every day that people don't care as much as we think they do. And even if they do, it's all up to the One Above, not man. I have more to say on this topic, but I'll leave it at that for now. In the meantime have a good shabbos!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The title of this blog

I was reading  Frumanista's blog this morning, where she talks about why she doesn't like the phrase "im yirtzeh Hashem by you," and I figured I would explain why I chose it as the title of my blog.

It certainly is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. But I picked iyhbyu because it is one of the most loaded phrases in shidduchim. When it is said out of pity, it can certainly be infuriating. However, I think that I'm in the minority of daters that I don't mind the phrase.  At the end of the day, it is a bracha, and I'm going to say "amen" if someone says it, or "bekorov etzelcha."  I'd rather people not feel like they have to ignore my status as single, and sweep it under the rug. I don't like it when people feel like they can't mention marriage out of fear I will burst into tears or something. 

I guess it really depends who it comes from. I certainly agree with Frumanista that an 18 year-old should have a bit more tact than to say it to a 25 year old single. You need to use your judgment. I appreciate it if it is said by someone I know, or an older person. Sometimes I feel like some people are saying it condescendingly, but other times it's like "hey, I know that you're single, but it's cool. You'll get there soon enough. " 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A word on shidduch resumes

Some people think they are an indispensable part of dating. Others think it's a complete waste of time. The truth is somewhere in between.

On the one hand, I can't stand when people just send me a shidduch resume without telling me anything about the girl, a resume which sometimes will only have a list of schools, family, and references, and ask me "So, nu, do you want to go out with her?" I'm sorry but what you just sent me looks like every resume that's been sent to me in the past 6 months. You can't honestly expect me to give you an honest answer of whether or not I think it's a good idea to go out based off of looking at a resume for five minutes. Maybe you can tell me what you saw to think this a good idea, and at least give me the illusion that you did not just think: pants+skirt=shidduch.

 On the other hand, I don't like when people just extol a girl's virtues and personality traits, without sending me a resume. I would like to know which sem she went to, what's her family situation, and if she's got a blurb describing herself and what she's looking for, it  is somewhat useful in weeding out those people who are completely off the map.

BTW I also like the term "profile" a bit better than resume. Sounds less businesslike.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Guys and Girls

First of all, I'd like to thank bad4shidduchim for the bump I hope you all enjoy this blog.

In a similar theme to the last post, I'd like to examine the variant difficulties that guys and girls have in shidduchim. Conventional wisdom is that girl's have it harder in shidduchim. I wouldn't disagree.

However, each has unique challenges. On the one hand, girls have a much harder time getting suggestions. Generally, guys do not have such a problem. But while you can't have too much of a good thing, suggestions aren't always good things. It's kind of frustrating to have every single girl's resume, between the ages of 18 and 27, who lives in a 50 mile radius, sent to your inbox. I'm only looking for one. And the one who expressly wants someone learning the rest of his life in kollel when I'm in law school, might not be for me.

Another thing which was addressed in bad4's post was that  guys aren't that different from you Venusites. I think it's true that men aren't as emotional (naturally) as women. Despite the stereotype, that doesn't mean we're emotionless pieces of rock. We've got difficulties with the dating process too. But while a girl might have no problem talking about their emotions involving dating with her friends; guys do. It's not so easy to spill your emotions out to another male friend. It's pretty awkward. I know it would be awkward if someone tried to speak about it with me. So it kind of gets bottled up. (another reason I started this blog.)

I'd rather have more suggestions than I need, than non at all. I'd rather be less emotional and not be able to talk with someone about it, then be really emotional and really need to talk about it. Shlo asani Isha. But that doesn't mean it's a piece of cake.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oldest vs. Youngest

I'm the youngest of a few kids in my family. My siblings always used to complain that I wasn't made to do any work and I was so spoiled. This is a widespread misconception. The youngest has it just as hard as the oldest.

The reason behind this view, is that when you're a kid, you don't have any concept of how much responsibility should be given to someone based on age. Usually this is evidenced by children's whining about their lack of freedom. That's why you always complained about adults staying up late, and you were forced to go to sleep early. But this also works the other way. When you're 12 years old, you can handle setting the table. Me at age 5...not so much. But the 12 year old thinks-hey why do I have to do this and he doesn't? Well the answer is that when you were 5 you weren't setting tables either. And when I'm 12 I'll be the one setting the table.

Now that all my siblings are married, guess who all the chores go to? That's right. The youngest. Mr. Spoiled. We end up doing more work in the long run.

But to parallel that with shidduchim- I don't know who has it easier. I think it depends on the family. If you're siblings are normal, healthy people, people will think of you as a well-established commodity. On the other hand, if you've got a brother who went off the derech, and an unmarried sister who doesn't leave the house... then it's going to be more difficult for you. (B"H I'm the former.) But an oldest sibling doesn't go into shidduchim with any preconceived notions, as to what type of person they will be. They're their own man.

Additionally, the youngest, as in my case, might not have any siblings to hang around the house with, and it can be just a bit lonely. But their are benefits like going to siblings' houses for meals, asking them advice, etc.

My point is, everyone has their own unique challenges. And don't call us youngest ones spoiled. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dating Stinks

The majority of people I know hate almost everything about shidduchim. Whether it's checking out a prospective date, dealing with seemingly clueless shadchanim,  or all the awkwardness of first dates; It's not fun.

In fact, I know of two people who when they got engaged, told me "I'm not sure if I'm happier about actually being engaged, or that I don't have to date anymore." Though, on the other hand, I know of one person who was upset when he got engaged that he wouldn't have to go on dates anymore. He was just a relaxed guy. and crazy.

I think we all just need to relax, especially on first dates. One of the best pieces of dating advice I heard is-on the first date: don't picture yourself married. Think of it as an ice breaker with a new person that you're meeting. It's alot easier said than done, but I think we need to talk ourselves into forgetting about the signficance of the event, and just not think so hard.

 Maybe then dating won't stink. But it probably will.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

: Ep. 1- Opening the car door

I'm going to try to discuss some of the various unspoken standard rules and techniques of shidduchim dating in installments of "The Official Rules Of Dating"

First up, Opening the car door-

I try to park my car next to a walkway rather than in front of a tree or some other obstruction when I pick up a date in order to allow easy access to opening the car door. I then open the door, wait for the girl to begin to sit down, and walk to the other side of the car. I don't close the door because of the ridiculous thing that I've heard that you aren't supposed to do that because it will require you to look at her legs to see if she pulled them into the car. But hey, I try not to do anything too controversial.

As for getting out of the car, I've never had a girl who waited for me to open the door for her to get out, but that would be super weird if she did. So she handles that.

The thing is I don't really understand why we open the car door. Its not like I'm really helping you. I'm expending so little energy, it's not even worth it for you to utter "thank you." We no longer really view women as these helpless little things who can't do anything. So why do we hold onto the antiquated tradition of opening up the car door. Chivalry? I don't think that shows anything. I do it because its standard, but I find it ridiculous.