I first learned in college how to waste space when trying to fill up the page with words so you can reach the goal of a ten-page term paper. Then I had one professor in graduate school who made it very difficult to fill up the page with nonsense. The instructions for her term paper were very specific: “Only one and a half inch margins on each side of the paper, use 12-point font in Times New Roman...” The instructions were so specific that I was finally able to understand why this professor had such a tough reputation: She actually wanted us to research and work! My friends and I felt sunk. Now we couldn’t stretch the paper with nonsense and 12.5 font, etc.

Last week, I published a letter from a different type of Jewish single. I published a letter from Pinny, who told us the unfortunate situation that he and his children are in. Pinny’s wife – the mother of his children – left the family and him, and that was it. Pinny was left to be mother and father, and only had his close family to rely on for help. He concentrated on getting his children the help they needed and then concentrated on himself and adjusting to their new life. Pinny wasn’t seeking dating advice for a divorced father; he was complaining that he felt the frum community wasn’t doing enough for him and others like him – divorced, single parents. He even wrote, “I am here to beg people to look around them, and if they know of a family such as mine – where a spouse has left – don’t just think, ‘They’re probably okay. They have their father. He’s working. They have what they need.’ My children and I will be okay, but we were from ‘okay’ months ago. Don’t only give to those who have suffered an ‘acceptable family trauma’ such as death. Families in a situation as mine need their neighbors’ assistance just as much; but I feel that because we aren’t your typical nebach case, we are ignored. It’s wrong. My children and I need help – both socially, emotionally, and financially.”

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.

Sometimes I write an article that garners much feedback, and sometimes I write one that garners no feedback. It happens; I don’t get too emotional about those. But, recently published in another newspaper was a letter and my response. What I didn’t include in that periodical was that the letter changed my life – literally. I’ll republish the letter, but I’ll add more details to my response for my own readers (wink wink):

I know for a fact that I was not the only mother who did a happy dance when I entered the house after returning from carpool on the first day of school. Many others did their own version of a touchdown dance. Slowly but surely, the world is returning to a version of what it once was. I hate the term “new normal.” But that’s what it is. Traffic is back to what it was six months ago. People are slowly returning to work, eating out to some degree, shopping – and dating. Just as it has been six months since my daughter has stepped into a school, so, too, it has been that many months since people have gone out to date, not dated; I literally mean have gone outside to date. I know for a fact that during COVID people dressed for a date similarly to the mullet hair style – proper on top and pajamas, jeans, and slippers on the bottom (while the mullet is business in the front, party in the back). Many felt safe dating from the coziness of their homes. I’m not only referring to people with social anxiety disorders, but to those who weren’t comfortable dating in general. They got used to clicking on Zoom and dating.

I’ve always said that having differences of opinions about topics is good for a relationship. Too many times I have heard that a couple stopped dating “because he/she thought ______. I mean isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard.” No. Breaking up with them over that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard – or one of the top ten. I know someone who told me years ago that she couldn’t go out any more with the “guy” she had been dating because he pronounced the “l” sound in the word “almonds.” Excuse me. What? You stopped dating someone because of how he pronounced a word? And I suppose you pronounce everything perfectly? I still can’t believe that the girl stuck by her reasoning and still does to this day!