I may have a master’s degree and a license in social work, but I’ll be the first one to tell you that there are times when I can’t explain human behavior, and that is what social work is about. According to Google (which knows everything), sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. I’m very honest about what I know and don’t know. I don’t lie to my readers. I can tell you why monkeys may act a certain way and why bulls snort and kick up dust, but people? I don’t know what motivates them to do or not do something. That’s one of the reasons I don’t practice clinical social work. At one point I did, but it’s exhausting. I found my place in administration.

 What does the title of this article mean? It means that sometimes, when a shadchan is given an answer to a question that he or she asked, that should satisfy the shadchan. The next question can be asked about something else. But some shadchanim don’t like the answers provided and will push trying to get to the “heart of the matter.” All of a sudden, the shadchan starts questioning the single, “Why...” “What….” “Explain once more…” – trying to get to the root of why the single answered that way. I dealt with a few shadchanim who would press me for answers and try to get to the “bottom of it.” I would politely tell them, “I don’t know what you’re looking for, but that’s it. There’s no ‘story’ here.” If I had never met this shadchan and it was a call out of the blue, I’d be appreciative of the shadchan reaching out, but I wouldn’t tell this person everything about my life. I don’t know who she is or what she will do with the information. Let’s not forget about the broken telephone game, and in shidduchim you have to be so careful about what is said, because you don’t know how the other person will interpret it and then tell others about you.

I hate calling my mother a liar because she wasn’t. She was a loving, kind, fun, playful mother, the best-friend type. But she and all the other mothers in the world lied to their children, me included. A mother tells a child crying from something that was said to her in the school yard, or in class: “Words can’t hurt you. They are just words.” Then the mother goes on to say that whoever said the “mean thing” that made the child cry was “actually jealous of you [the child]” or “wanted to be your friend” or “didn’t know how to express her real feelings.” Well, that is all malarkey! Malarkey, I say! The lie told is a white lie, and told for the benefit of the crying child as much as for the parent saying it. No parent wants to see his or her child hurt and in tears, and no parent wants the tears and crying to last longer than it should. The mother says, “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you.” She may follow it up with a cute true [or made-up] story that happened to her when she was her child’s age and then all is well. Most of the time, the child feels better and moves on until the next life-shattering crisis for a six- or seven-year-old comes along.

 Last week I gave you all a serious article, some may even say an unpleasant one. But not everything in life or in dating is sunshine and roses. It would be wrong of me not to address the topic of abuse once in a while and bring awareness to the topic.

Lately, I have been receiving all sorts of emails covering many topics (some, you will read about in future columns). But I found quite a number of people were talking about getting back to one-on-one/face-to-face dating, instead of how dating was during the height of the pandemic, and they feel out of practice. I would have thought that we were beyond this topic, because rules have been relaxed since May and June, but then again, maybe people didn’t get right back into the dating scene because of apprehension or anxiety. Some referred to it as starting to date all over again, even if they have been in the dating parshah for many years. I understand that people easily got used to the Zoom date or just long phone calls, and now that dating is back in full force (for now, and I hope for the foreseeable future), they are nervous. One email equated it to getting back in the pool after not swimming for years. Yes, he still remembered how to swim, but his movements weren’t as fluid, and he was having trouble treading water. Another person compared it to getting back on a bicycle after not riding one for years: “Yes, they say that your body never forgets how to ride a two-wheel bicycle; but for the first few seconds, it’s touch-and-go and you wobble just a bit. That’s how I felt when I went out on my first real date after the pandemic.”

 I like to keep the conversation light. I like to bring the funny, be the one to make others laugh. I try to do that with this column. But I also try to be responsible and sometimes things have to get serious. I’d be doing a disservice to readers if I avoided the unpleasant – and some may say harshness – of the dating world. I want all to be informed and knowledgeable and aware of what is out there and prepare all of you, and I’m not just speaking about bad dates and shadchanim who don’t have your best interest at heart. It hurts that I have to write this, but I must, and I write it because I care, not because I want to sensationalize something or scare readers. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s dangerous. Read on and educate yourself.