Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Suck It Up

Menschlachkeit has many different aspects, but up for discussion today is the premise of being pleasant and present when one would rather be a million light years (or parsecs) away.

I have noticed that as time goes on, some daters just don't want to try anymore. They are crabby, they are jaded, they are weary with the whole process. Understandable. 

But why should I be dragged down with you?

There was a story involving a famous Rav, the name of which, regrettably, I cannot recall. A man was walking down the street, his face so long it was practically on the floor. The Rav, walking by, was horrified. "Reb Moishe, what's wrong?" Moishe replied, "Rosh HaShana is coming up, and I'm terrified for Yom HaDin." The Rav replied, "Because you are upset, I should suffer?"

An acquaintance was hosting a Shabbos singles event—one of those things when we all sit around a Shabbos table in a private home. It was fun, I must say, although I doubt any dates came from it. I met some nice people, and we all easily chatted. 

There was one guy there who didn't look so chipper. He was in his low-30s, and his blah outlook on life was made obvious. "We're all serial daters," he said wearily. His expectations were, apparently, nil.

Following this incident I had gone out with guy also in his low 30s. Now I'll admit, I was sure I was going to be swamped by an Energizer Bunny's worth of bad energy like from Guy 1—disinterest, monotonous "uh-huh"s, griping about how the dating world has failed him. 

I was met instead by a radiantly cheerful fellow. He was an absolute mensch, chivalrous, considerate, polite. I still think about his positive attitude, how he showed the same exuberance despite this being his nth first date. 

He never hinted that my height was a personal insult, the way many dates blatantly insinuate. He didn't mention any other women he had gone out with. Throughout the entire outing, he maintained the same upbeatness.   

I have gone out with guys way younger than him that act like taking me out wasn't their idea and behave all put upon. 

Sure, I have gone on dates where I was struggling with emotions like "Can I kill him?" or "What a loser" or "They let him leave the house?" or "He's nice, but so not for me." Did I show it? No. I behaved until the bitter end. Will they possibly think that means I was interested? Perhaps. But that is not my concern.

Emotions are the parts of us that can trip us up. They have a time and a place, of course, but they must be ruled by a higher power, meaning our rational brains (I heard this concept from Esther Wein). And one of the things it means to be a "grown up" and "mature" and "ready to get married" is to suck it up.  

You don't want to be here? Who says I do?


aminspiration said...

Our face is a rishus harabim. Your head is your private world, but there is no reason for me to walk around grunting and being rude to everyone we meet.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I totally agree.

Too many guys are chumps when they date. They need to bring a positive attitude if they want someone to really fall for them. Their attitude is as uncomfortable as a wet blanket... as in piss poor.

Biggest lesson I learnt in High School was to "Suck It Up". Seriously some guys are such wusses.

Princess Lea said...

I just find it entertaining how they often end up with tough girls who kick them to the curb.

Yitzhak said...

Princess: Your story is commonly told about R. Yisrael Salanter, e.g. here.

Princess Lea said...

Thanks! Now I can tell the story properly.