Monday, October 6, 2014

Fire in the Hole!

Shadchanim nowadays seem to be leery of their profession. Since redting is currently based quite often on an e-mail attachment that floats about and lands in various inboxes, sometimes erstwhile shadchanim redt without knowing more than dry stats. 

While they cannot claim to know the fellow in question, they want to suggest him to a gal but cannot really summon the persuasive enthusiasm usual shidduch-redting would require. It's all in the art of the sell, but lately I have been receiving e-mails like this: 

I don't know him, but here's his information. Remember, I don't know him. 

It's like they're gingerly pulling the pin of a grenade, lobbing it into my general vicinity then running like heck, fearing that if this suggestion seems offensive, they won't be associated with the aforementioned bomb.
It's all the more puzzling when the profile depicts a clean-cut accountant with a steady yeshiva background. Do you know something I don't?

One of the problem with this sort of mentality is the shadchanus aspect. We have the tradition of compensating successful shadchanim in an expression of gratitude, since bringing a successful shidduch about is usually exhausting. 

But they want all the glory with none of the guts. To actually redt a shidduch, one has to actually talk. And convince. And persuade. And woo. And gush. And stand by their suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lea, I feel a need to comment. I am lightly involved in shidduchim, though very busy in my personal life, and oftentimes I do exactly what you describe.
Of course, when greater elbow grease is needed, I am happy to exert those efforts on behalf of the single I am setting up (if one side has a question about the other, if one side is unsure but open to convincing regarding the worthiness of the shidduch, etc.) But if I couldn't do the quick email back and forth and I felt compelled to research each and every suggestion deeply before "redting" it, I would probably not getting around to rediting them at all. What do you feel about that? Would you rather the guys in question never be suggested?

In today's day and age, I am confident that the singles I know can use their superb Google and Facebook search abilities to do the research for them, in addition to calling standard references if they choose. To many, they're happy to receive suggestions, however brief, because (sorry this is so cliche but I sincerely believe it) never know who is the right shaliach and when the moment will be right! Do you believe differently?

Also, I don't do this for the commission, so you can leave that our of it for me and many other shadchanim. I try to do my part to set up the singles I know, and if my sporadic and "quick" efforts don't help, please inform meand I'll stop sending suggestions! (speaking to all singles in general, since as far as I know, I don't know you personally).

Princess Lea said...

To begin, I would like to say that if I have offended you, I am sorry. I was preoccupied with venting my own frustration, and thinking no further.

Permit me to elaborate: For me, and I mean in my own experience, when a suggestion arrives in my inbox but there is no one having his back there is that feeling of helplessness. Not everyone has an online presence that can be easily discovered, and also the purpose of references is to make the bachelor sound good. Chances are, no one will tell me: "He is socially awkward and is prone to lying when he is eager to impress his date. Additionally, he thinks that boasting about his previous dates will make him more appealing."

Even when the shadchan knows me and him the date can be disastrous. When it is random, then it is just often . . . random. Skirt-and-pants setup, if you will.

I had one experience so, very, very, very bad from a shadchan sending me a random profile that I am, to be frank, terrified to repeat the experience. Yes, there have been happily-ever-after stories that came about from random setups, but for every one there are a hundred traumatizing dates. People blithely say, "But every one brings you closer to your bashert," but I would have rather not have had to go through those painful, hurtful episodes that gradually chip away at my faith in mankind.

Keep in mind if I do have a horrible date I very rarely tell the shadchan, because I do not wish to blacklist anyone. I just stick with "He wasn't for me, thank you so so so much for thinking of me."

I do not speak for all singles, merely for myself. I profess the dispiritedness of being sent a random profile, feeling obligated yet unexcited to go out from a need to prove my lack of "pickiness," then enduring a insane evening that makes me shudder in retrospect.

So, yes, shadchanim such as yourself who make an effort: We thank you. But I ask you to consider it from our - at least, my - perspective.

Would I prefer that shadchanim such as yourself not send me these profiles to begin with? I honestly do not know. For every one good experience I have had, there have been ten bad ones, dates who have left me feeling emotionally crushed. If someone is making an effort for me, however, and keeps sending me profiles, I feel obligated at some point to accept against my better judgement. I also don't like to be the sort of person who spurns so many human beings, and it seems quite to callous to delete a person out of hand. But then, that is from my own stupidity, and cannot be blamed on others.

Thank you for providing your perspective; the above is mine. To put it crassly, "You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs"; I know that for us singles that pleasant evening following pleasant evening is too much to ask for.

I am aware of your efforts (not specifically you, but other shadchanim) and your desire to help, and they are appreciated. Yet we are the ones who go on these dates, and have to interact with someone who will hopefully bring us home in one piece.

A git yur.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to chime in and agree with every single point PL said above. I've been on some disastrous dates just like she describes and it is hard to put into words how bad it makes you feel. And at a certain point, enough is enough. It's not being picky, it's trying to avoid emotionally crushing date situations when I say no.
When I get emailed a random profile that I can tell is absolutely off the mark, it is hard to slough off the judgmental comments from the shadchan who has never met or even spoken to the person and has no real reason to tell me why she thinks it is a good idea. One such person told me she thought I just didn't want to get married--it wasn't what she said, but the snide way she said it that bothered me.
I am sure the shadchan above is nice and can accept a "no" without being pushy or demeaning. In my experience, that is a rarity.

Single on the Scene said...

Princess-I totally, 100%, agree with you. I too, have 1 good date (to be 'nice') for every bad 10 dates. As for Anon Shadchan, we appreciate your efforts, but a small phonecall would obviously be appreciated. shidduchim have become so informal lately. a text here, a whatsapp there, an emailed resume and that's it-you're all set. There is no one to talk to anymore, and yes, even with google and facebook, it's still hard to find CORRECT information. Some people aren't searchable online, others have common names, the references just say 'he's a nice guy', so us singles have a hard time to begin with, and without the person 'redding' it to talk with, all the text can somehow be misinterpreted, etc. not to mention typos.
Princess-I couldn't have written a better post myself. It's as if we are LIVING the same life.

nachliele said...

Lea, I totally agree. Anon: If you feel like you would never get around to redting a shidduch otherwise, IMO, you are almost always better off not redting. If you know nothing about the guy you're redting, what on earth makes you think the two are compatible?

The assumption of researching prospective guys on Facebook/Google is actually pretty funny to me- singles can theoretically just search for religious eligible males without the help of a random suggestion. What makes any random guy you find on Facebook any different from the random guy you are redting that you nothing about?

I am not trying to bash you, I just feel that if you think about what you're saying, it basically comes down to as PL says- skirt and pants setup. If someone is redting a shidduch on the basis of 'you're a girl, he's a boy', that kind of leaves them to date every single person of the opposite gender until they find the right one.

Anonymous said...

Anon Shadchan back here: WHOA, guys, I was a single myself for a number of years, and I had all of these experiences umpteen times -- that's why I even bothered getting involved in shidduchi! Trust me, I'd save myself a lot of time otherwise! And I don't think my post made any mention of people saying "no" to my suggestions -- I have absolutely no problem with that, and unless it's one of my VERY close friends, I really try to reserve any judgement about the worthiness of saying no and if they should give it a shot, etc. I am only speaking for myself, but trust me, I (think I) remember how emotionally draining every single date is -- it's not so easy to "just give it a try" in practice. Especially when a guy is weird, mean, or creepy! I got you!!

I'd like to think my suggestions are not "skirt and pants" ideas -- I usually have some kind of solid basis for suggesting the idea. Something like "I know of this guy's family and they're really sweet, and I know his hashkafa/life plan matches what you're looking for, so even though I don't know him personally, I think this is a good idea". I also usually provide ideas of people who I think would be good, accurate references for him. If that does't work for you as enough of a basis for a shidduch, then that's fine, but when I was single I was happy to get nice, homegrown ideas like that -- rather than some big name shadchan who has met the guy, but knows a million others and million other girls and can't really vouch for the idea either. If you're concerned about him being creepy or weird, then do whatever research you want -- I don't think it's at all reasonable to expect a shadchan to do a full-scale investigation on your behalf before redting a shidduch. Not unless you're willing to pay me the equivalent of my salary at my full time job, so that I can quit and work on your shidduchim full-time instead!

A final word about Facebook/Google search: I mostly work with the working/learning set (which seems to be growing at leaps and bounds these days, B"H) who usually have online presences, though if you're a full-time learner type I hear how this part of my argument isn't relevant. I truly believe that this is the best "reference" out there, and if you know how to search properly, you will find as much info as you need (I concede that a name like Moshe Cohen can be really hard, but if you know what high school, college, yeshiva he went's called Google!!)

And to nachliele -- I don't think searching for random religious guys on Facebook is even such a bad idea! I once came across a random guy on Facebook that looked shayach, and from his info I found a mutual friend who gave me some more info about him, etc. Nothing came of it, but my point is that there is nothing wrong with being proactive in that sense -- if you're not proactive on your own behalf, who will be? This goes along with my general point -- I provide half-decent ideas and leads, you do the research. I take it from there. Be your own advocate and iyH you'll find your basherte bikarov!

A gut yahr to all.

Princess Lea said...

Anon II: There are definitely no words for the horrible dates. Then there is the resultant self-loathing, hopelessness ("Will I ever meet someone sane, never mind nice?"), and anger at having been put in the this position.

I recently allowed myself to be bullied into saying yes, but after mulling it overnight I texted a retraction to the shadchan in the morning. Enough is enough. I'm upset at myself that I allow shadchanim give me the "picky" speech and letting it take over my head. I thought I had better self-esteem.

SotS: That's what "redt" means, right? To TALK. It's not called redting if there is no talking! And when did "He's a nice guy" get so perverted nowadays? Every guy who was a bad experience was "a nice guy." They really have to come up with better descriptions.

When I started this blog I wanted to reach out to all the gals who are the same situation and commiserate. We aren't happy with the current scheme of things, and we would like to put our objections forward. Being heard, however, is something else.

nachliele: Well put! Random is random, it's all the same random. The point of a shadchan is something who really thinks that based on background, personality, or interests, two people have a chance of rubbing along. If it's just a "What can it hurt to send her his profile?" then that is not being a shadchan. That is just throwing darts.

I came to the conclusion that I can't assume that every single solitary suggestion that comes my way is my bashert; it just doesn't work like that. I might as well tranquilize a random guy on the street and drag him home to my lair.

Anonymous said...

Anon shadchan here, one more point: I usually DO make calls often when redting shidduchim. My original objection here was to the apparent lack of hakaras hatov (though PL, I realize that's not what you meant) to people who take time to think of ideas for you and contact you altogether.