Monday, May 14, 2018

How to Stay Sane While Dating: XI

My non-Jewish co-worker (I think she's Baptist?) was opining to me about her dating life. She did not entertain a new partner search for years following her divorce, and having just joined the ranks, she finds the fellows she goes out with are, um, less than desirable. 

I actually found her experiences, well, validating. You see, frum folk sometimes blame issues on Judaism or Jewish society itself. I've heard from more than one crabby single that if she wasn't frum, dating would be a breeze.

But from what I have been hearing, not really. 

"The only guy I can see myself with," Jasmine sighs, "plays games. Like, is he interested in me? I can't tell." 

In (the original) Will & Grace, episode "Cop to It," the two meet up for dinner with their married friends, Rob and Ellen. The latter couple bicker the whole evening, announcing that they want to divorce. 

As Grace pries into their motivations, they eventually confess they want to recapture the youthful jollies of dating. Grace pops that bubble fast. "You want to date? Okay, well, you know, good luck. 'Cause I've been out there for the past two decades, and it takes work to find someone who can stand you. Look, you're getting old, you're not very interesting, and you're both losing your hair. You belong together. If not for love, then for the mere fact that no one else is gonna take you." 

The two reluctantly decide to remain married, and continue to viciously bicker on the way out. 

You see? Relationships are hard all over. What does the secular world have going for it? Only this: It's easy to mingle with eligibles. But there is the same ratio of regrettable interactions.

In some ways we have pros: Dudes know they're dating for marriage—girls don't have to guess as to their motivations. These guys also can't murder and dismember you, as your aunt who went to the bungalow with his sister-in-law's parents would object.

Here's the thing: It's hell everywhere. They also get the low self-esteem that can come from too many bad dates: "You begin to wonder," Jasmine said, "is there something wrong with me?"  

How many of us (elderly) Jewish singles have thought the same thing?  

Yes, the current state of affairs leave much to be desired. As the quote goes, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." That can probably be said for shidduch dating as well. But perhaps it beats the alternative, in some ways.


Anonymous said...

Just because a guy is frum, doesn't automatically mean he is dating for marriage purposes, sad to say.

Not even talking about people with major commitment issues, I went out with at least 2 that I recall who made it quite clear they were looking for something else...still upsetting to think about it a number of years later. I was young and naive then, didn't say anything to anybody about it at the time but I sure would now.

Anyway, of course dating can be tough in any circles. But the judging and the gossiping and the supercilious comments (by other women!) ,are at least somewhat unique to frum circles.

Princess Lea said...

Yes, I have had my own experiences with guys who were dating but didn't really intend to marry. But as a society, there is still an understanding, as opposed to the secular world where there is none.

I'm not sure. Have you seen the opening scene of "Bridesmaids"? That's all I saw, and it seemed awfully familiar.