Now that I am spending more time than normal at home, how can I leave the apartment when my four-year-old has hours of Zoom classes throughout the day – sometimes with only 15-minute breaks between classes/reading groups? While I let her go and have fun in the afternoons, our mornings are ruled by the clock and Zoom. I zone out as my daughter is tuning in (I hope). The other day, my memory remembered something that it had forgotten, and I thought it would be a great topic for an article.
During the summer months, when regulations had calmed down a bit, my family and I were invited to be guests for an outdoor Shabbos s’udah. This was a perfect opportunity to converse with adults and let the kids play outdoors and not worry about masks or social distancing. So we accepted the invitation. (I don’t care if you are “tsk tsk’ing me. You try living in a small apartment with two kids under 5 and not being able to go to shul or get together with others as per usual and not having a backyard for months on end.) The host asked me if I know of any potential girls for one of the other guests to date, a young man whom I will refer to as Simchah. I have never claimed to be a shadchan. If someone crosses my path and I think it is a good match for someone I know, I will suggest it. I don’t try to push anyone into dating or shoot down their reasons for saying “No.” I respect the person and his or her reasons and will not force someone into doing something. That being said, I told the host that I needed to know general information about Simchah so I can try to think of someone.
Simchah told me the basic back story of who he was and what he is looking for in a wife. One of the reasons why Simchah is having a bit of trouble finding women to date is because he is divorced and a father of four. He said that besides that being an issue, he also had a list of “prerequisites” that the girl he dated and eventually would marry had to have. Again, no comment. Simchah explained the reasons for the “prerequisites.” I listened to what Simchah had to say and mentally wished him luck on his treasure hunt. Simchah had very specific prerequisites that the woman he would even consider dating must have. He’s looking for a needle in three haystacks. Simchah and his friend, the host, told me that he wants to get married again and really tries to give everyone a fair chance. The host added that Simchah was “young and stupid” the first time around, and didn’t really have any preferences, so while his ex-wife was a good mother, she was not a great partner for Simchah, and that’s why Simchah was being specific now. I ended the conversation telling Simchah that I would try to think of someone and will be in touch with him if anything came to mind.
All through the rest of Shabbos and Motza’ei Shabbos, I thought of Simchah and his story and the particular type of girl that he was looking for. Truthfully, I should have put him out of my head, but then again I thought that if it were me, I’d want someone to help me (but I’m not looking for the lost city of Atlantis in a husband, although I feel that my husband is the rare gem that took decades to find. Lol.)
On Sunday morning, a light went off in my head and I contacted a gal whom I thought “fit the bill” of what Simchah requested. I described Simchah and all his maalos and informed her of him being a divorced father of four and the “prerequisites.” I had no shaichus to Simchah and wanted to let the woman know exactly what I knew about Simchah and not have her run into any surprises – full disclosure. Much to her credit, she didn’t bat an eyelash and said, “Okay, call him.”
I called Simcha and provided the name and information of this gal. He said he’d “get back” to me. An hour later, Simchah called and said that he found a common friend that he and “the girl” shared as he looked her up on Facebook. The friend “had only good things to say about this girl. Really, she said nothing bad. But she also said that this girl wasn’t for me.” This annoyed me. I delivered the order exactly as requested by the customer. The “order” agreed to date Simchah, even after I told her about Simchah’s situation and preferences. Now, because a third party who had “nothing bad to say” said she didn’t think the match would be possible, Simchah wouldn’t even consider dating her?
I told Simcha that I didn’t understand. The common friend said that the woman was great, with nothing bad to say, but because she didn’t think it was a good shidduch, he was just going to follow instructions, no questions asked? For someone with a long list, and who sounds so full and sure of himself, he was taking direction from a third party? “So don’t ask for help finding a shidduch. You give an arm’s-length list. I found someone who hit all the marks. She agreed to date you. And your friend, who says my suggestion is great, but doesn’t see it, is enough reason for you to say no?” It just didn’t make sense. I was getting a bit annoyed and that doesn’t usually happen in situations like this. I don’t push people, but at least give me a concrete answer as to why you don’t want to go out with this woman!
Simchah explained that he had been burned in the past and didn’t like dating. He said he had to be careful about whom he dated. I told him that I understood and that was the oldest tale in the book, and it didn’t make him more special or unique than anyone else looking for a shidduch. I explained that unless his dream girl was going to walk into his living room, he was going to have to go out and find her – even if that meant a 45-minute date at Starbucks. Simchah held fast to his logic. He added that he needed someone to understand where he was coming from and that he will change for the girl he ends up loving, but he can’t make the changes now. Excuse me? As someone raised with seichel and a social worker by trade, I had soooo many problems with the statement he just made. Everyone has a backstory and issues.
What Simchah had to understand is that if he wanted to change, he has to do it for himself and not wait for someone who will make him want to change – that is a lot of responsibility to heap on someone in a relationship! I will equate it to an alcoholic who meets someone and, because of that new relationship, the alcoholic attends AA and gets sober. But because the changes weren’t made for the right reasons, when the relationship ends, the alcoholic will return to his ways of drinking. I related this to Simchah. He agreed with me, but added, “You just don’t understand.” I guess I didn’t. Again, he explained that he wasn’t picky with his ex-wife. I told him that I didn’t want to hear it, because he can only use that excuse for so long, and eventually he has to get over it and date.
A couple of days later I thought of another young woman I knew. This time, I did not call the gal first, because I didn’t want to have to explain to her like I did the other gal that he said “no” after she agreed to date him even with his craziness. I mentioned her name. Simchah said he would look into her (via Facebook) and let me know. I knew this girl wouldn’t mind the facts that he was a divorced father of four. The other particulars I wasn’t so sure about. Simchah soon called me back and said, “Other than the fact that I’m not really attracted to her because I don’t like her hair style, I am going to say no because I don’t feel that a person like that can relate to me.” I will not tell you how the rest of the conversation went, because I am sure that you can imagine. I did tell Simchah that he was being a bit unrealistic and hard to work with, and “hair changes, especially when you wear a sheitel!” How can he tell that “she can’t relate to me” from what she posted on Facebook a year or so earlier?
All I know is that I was given a very tall order to fill. The first girl I found agreed to all the terms, and Simchah said “No” for what I think were not concrete reasons, more like tissue paper reasons. The second girl I suggested was rejected because he thought, by looking at a Facebook picture, “she wouldn’t be able to relate to me.” I don’t even know if I can relate to or understand Simchah! The first time we met, he and the host told me that he gives everyone a chance. Now he just shot down two girls in the course of a week. He then asked me if I knew of anyone else he can date. I flatly told him that I didn’t, and I wasn’t sure if he knew who he wanted to date either. I said that I didn’t think I would be of any help to him and he shouldn’t rely on me as a shadchan or redting any more shidduchim for him. He said that he was a little surprised to hear that. I asked, “Why? You have a long list that even when a woman meets all the criteria for you, you still don’t want to date her. Why would I bend over backwards to deliver the order, only to have it sent back for a superfluous reason?” I actually said that.
I wonder if Simchah even knows what he is truly looking for. Two girls delivered on a silver platter and he rejects them. I am not blaming Simchah for saying, “You see, this is why I am single.” But does Simchah even know what he wants?
Years ago, I had a similar situation with a young girl. She described the type of fellow she was looking for and what she wanted out of life. I happened to have known someone who was exactly what she described. I told her about the fellow. It didn’t take her 30 seconds to refuse a date because, “I just don’t know. He sounds too good to be true. What’s wrong with him?” I didn’t think anything was wrong with him. He just didn’t meet his zivug yet – just as this young woman hadn’t. Why not invest an hour or two and decide for yourself? The girl refused, thinking that he must be “a loser.” All I knew was that this fellow was everything the girl described. I knew hashkafah-wise that they were on the same level, but yet she wouldn’t even consider going out with him or even looking into him any further.
I have heard of similar stories from people relating what they have experienced, and some mirror Simchah’s story and others don’t. I just don’t know what to say. Why couldn’t Simchah – or this other girl I wrote about – invest an hour or so in a date? I don’t know. Simchah said he has been burned; well, no one has lived under a rainbow and remained single by choice for years. The girl I wrote about didn’t even ask anyone; she just assumed “something had to be wrong.” Excuse me, but you just set the parameters that he fit into; what does that say about you?! Chances must be taken. Step into the great unknown! I am able to say that because I did that countless times on dates. Stop being glued to your list and your preferences and your “friends” who won’t tell you why someone isn’t “right for you to date.”
Hatzlachah to you all.
By Goldy Krantz