After I read the email that I am publishing here, I had my doubts that it was a real scenario. It just sounded too convoluted. But then I remembered all that has been told to me by singles and what I had experienced while single, and then thought that this may be true. I’ll let you decide.
I’ll be honest. I’m 27 years old, have a good job, nice personality, am pretty, I’m average size in height and weight; there is nothing that sets me apart from the other thousands of girls who can fit the description of myself that I just provided. But I’m fine with that. I’m normal and average, and that’s okay.
I’ve been in the shidduch parshah since I was about 19. I have good and bad dates. Again, average there. But something happened that I don’t think happens to everyone. I want you and your readers to know that I am angry, disappointed, frustrated, and everything else you can imagine. Last year I met with a shadchan. The woman was nice, asked all the appropriate questions, asked for a picture and résumé, and said she would be in touch. I heard from her once. The shidduch wasn’t shayach so I refused. I called her once or twice but didn’t get to speak with her. Then COVID hit, so I put dating on hold for a little while. A few weeks ago, the same shadchan called me and asked if I knew of a girl whom someone contacted her about. She said she called me because we have the same last name, which isn’t a common name. She wanted to know if we were related. It happened to have been my cousin. The shadchan got very excited and asked me to tell her about my cousin. I didn’t just give out my cousin’s information readily. I didn’t know who was asking for them.
The shadchan told me that she has been dealing with a boy and his family for many months, and the last time his mother called her, my cousin’s name was the name mentioned that the boy wanted to date. Of course, the shadchan wants to help all, so she investigated, remembered me, and wanted to ask if I can have my cousin call her. I told her that I can certainly ask my cousin to call, but I asked the shadchan for information about the guy, in case my cousin asks. I was told that information can’t be spoken about until she speaks with my cousin. I asked her just to tell me his job, age – just something – or else why would my cousin want to call. The shadchan refused and said that she can only tell me that my cousin would really be missing out if she chose not to call. I said I would do my best. As I was about to hang up, the shadchan said she would make sure she set me up with someone if my cousin agreed to go out with the boy she was contacted about.
Let me get this straight. The shadchan called me once, almost as an obligatory call to redt a shidduch. I say that because it wasn’t a shayach shidduch. Then I never hear from her. Now I hear from her and she is so desperate to set this boy up with my cousin that she uses getting a date for me as a bargaining chip? I asked her, not in so many words, if that was what she is doing. The shadchan said no, but now that she had me on the phone, another boy came to mind that she met with a few weeks ago. I don’t believe it.
What do you think?
Thank you for your email, Abigail.
You ask me what I think. What I first thought, when I read your email, was that this whole scenario was made up. I can’t even begin to think that a shadchan who, as you said, “called me once, almost as an obligatory call,” now called about your cousin. As per your account, she won’t give you any information for your cousin about the potential shidduch, but is bribing you to have your cousin call her about a mystery fellow, by dangling a potential date for you, like one would dangle a carrot in front of a donkey to get it to move? I have many doubts about this because I don’t want to think that a shadchan would do that to a single.
But let’s say that this is an actual situation. I say this because I have been out in some pretty unbelievable situations by shadchanim myself, including one trying to guilt me into attending a Shabbaton that she invited me to on Thursday evening: “But if you don’t come, how can you say you are serious about getting married? You aren’t even willing to attend a great Shabbaton where the guys are just what you are looking for. We’ve set you up in the past, and you’ve said no to all, and here you are passing up a chance that we chose you for, even though you’ve said no.” I let her go on and on and dig the hole deeper, because I knew what my response would be.
Finally, when she was finished, I asked a simple question: “When were the invitations and Evites sent out for this “amazing” Shabbaton that’s just right for me?” The shadchan seemed surprised and tried to avoid answering by telling me the names of some of the fellows who would be attending. “I asked when the invitations and Evites were sent out. Surely it must have been before now, less than 24 hours before the Shabbaton.” Yes, the Evites and calls had gone out a month prior to this call, which I knew right away. I told the shadchan that she wasn’t dealing with a gullible little girl who believes all she’s told. It is quite obvious that I wasn’t on the A or B list for the Shabbaton, which is fine, but to try to guilt an “older” single into attending a Shabbaton that she didn’t “make the cut for” by saying that I’m not serious about marriage if I don’t attend the Shabbaton and I should be grateful to be included – even though I rejected all TWO fellows she suggested to me throughout the years – was just plain wrong. I told her the reason why she called me on Thursday night: She didn’t have enough singles to fill up the Shabbaton and was calling me in the last few hours because she and the others who planned this “amazing” Shabbaton were going to take a loss. Needless to say, she was speechless, and I told her she could lose my number because it wasn’t that big of a loss to me. Oh, no; I don’t play that dirty shidduch game and that shadchan just found out.
So, Abigail, I can imagine that maybe this situation is true. I am on your side. I do not believe that this shadchan had anyone in mind for you and she threw the shidduch in just to entice you to do her bidding, which is to get your cousin to call her. Why didn’t this woman want to provide a little information about the fellow to you – his age or profession? I don’t know. Did she think you would want the shidduch for yourself, although you said you are very different from your cousin, so you may not even be looking for the same type? Did she not want you to get some credit if the shidduch works out and take some of the shadchanus? I don’t know. That could be it, but I would hate to think of people being so petty.
Shadchan or not, no one should just give out someone’s information to another. Maybe the one being spoken about doesn’t want it – maybe your cousin has been redt to this fellow a dozen times and has refused a dozen times. Now this shadchan is enlisting you to help get your cousin on the line in order for her to make her sales pitch. That may be the farthest thing from the truth, but who knows?! But information shouldn’t be shared with strangers, even strangers with good intentions, for so many reasons in today’s’ world.
Abigail, I’d like to address something else that you mentioned in your email – a few times. You referred to yourself as “average” and “nothing sets you apart from others.” That isn’t any cause for alarm, but then you started to describe your cousin. You said that everything sets her apart from other single girls, and she is the opposite of you. I’m not putting on my clinician hat, but the way you described yourself as opposed to your cousin is very different. True, nothing is wrong with regular and average, but it’s not better or worse than those who have a quality that sets them apart from the flock of others. Every peacock is special. Every bird has its feathers that it would like to show off. To take a concept from one of my daughter’s books – but it can be applied to all ages, not just the under-ten crowd – Hashem made each and every one of us special and unique. There is no other person like you. Even if you had a twin sister, there would still be differences, and Hashem loves how we are each our own person. No one is “average” or “normal,” because what is the barometer to measure normal up against? And a little secret: Your husband will think you a beautiful, interesting, and unique woman because he will have chosen you and not anyone else. So it’s fine to think of yourself as average, but never ever think that something is wrong with average!
Hatzlachah to you all!