Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How To Stay Sane While Dating: Intro

My mother-in-law was approached by a woman who had heard of Han's marriage. "I was so happy to hear the news," she enthused, "and then I heard how old the kallah was, and I was even happier!" 

Aw, gee. 

32. The advanced, decrepit, elderly age of 32. 

"Older" singles? You thought the stupid comments would end with your wedding, right? Oh so cute. Nope. Because stupid comments are a certainty, like death and taxes. 

Han and I (still!) commiserate over our single years. What was most difficult about those times wasn't necessarily being single—we had our health, our family, comforts of the first world. There was a yearning for that which is missing, yes, but the true angst came from elsewhere. 

People. People and their comments. People and their suggestions. People and their condescension. People and their bullying.  People and their well-meaningness that resulted in . . . chaos.

It can drive one to violence. I usually kept a mental picture of Sing-Sing as a deterrent.

I had complete strangers telling me "not to be so picky." I was grilled by self-proclaimed shadchanim about my preferences, redt something else entirely, then berated for politely declining. I went out in the name of "being open," to be held hostage by the so-not-shayach.

It is at this point when one realizes that no one—or, at least, very very few—is on one's side. Excuse my Yiddish, but there is usually a "good enough for yenem" policy. We are born inherently selfish. The secret is to keep it on the down-low. 

The single has to turn inward and alter one's viewpoint, because madness is inevitable.  

And so, I give you our new series: How to Stay Sane While Dating. First segment coming next week.   


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I can really relate!

A number of years ago a shadchan-type woman asked me (in an ever so judgmental tone) why it is that older single B.Y. girls become more modern.

I don't remember what I answered but honestly (I guess I was in my upper 20s at the time), I don't know that I would have been able to verbalize it properly. That was more than a decade ago. If someone would ask me that now, I could talk to them about feeling marginalized and being on the fringe of things and feeling you have no place in the society you grew up in. However, I'd much rather keep my self respect and dignity (because the pity is the worst of it) so actually, I guess I wouldn't give a real answer, probably just change the subject.

It's just funny to me, how in my professional job people always assume I'm married and have kids, and are quite surprised to find out differently. I guess I'm so used to feeling conspicuous in the frum world, as though people look at me and see me as having some sort of obvious blemish because I'm not married. So when I'm at work and a client or new co-worker addresses me as "Mrs." or asks me about my kids, inwardly I think, hey I actually look and come across as normal, there really is no reason that I *shouldn't* be married. Then I always realize how skewed my perspective is due to being frum. And of course, I'm not going to leave but sometimes I do think about how different my life would be if I weren't frum.

Sarah said...

Looking forward to the series! I try to maintain a sense of humor about it all, since nothing seems so bad when you can laugh at it. I definitely commiserate with being set up on totally-not-shayach dates and going out anyway just to be open minded...I can’t do that anymore. There is no point in wasting time — mine and my date’s (plus his money) — just to flatter someone else’s vanity or say I’m “busy.”
Also, I hope this doesn’t come across as obnoxious, but I really appreciate that you’re coming at this with years of experience. It’s so tutoring to hear dating advice from people who were fortunate enough to get married with very little dating experience.

Sarah said...

^that should be “tiring”

d said...

yessssss, looking so forward to this!!