The Bentching Game
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
So you've found yourself on a dinner date. You don't know where your next meal is coming from so you've eaten half your body weight in bread. You are basically a slave in Mitzrayim except that instead of hard labor, you refresh Facebook.
The date has gone well. You haven't had to resort to any of your typical tricks to make it end early.
But now comes the hardest part of all.
You both pull out your phones and load your bentching app, surreptitiously ignoring the texts from friends and relatives asking how it is going along with the notification from the garage sale group on Whatsapp where someone is selling their used toilet paper rolls.
You mentally check in your head if it's Rosh Chodesh (if you remembered to check in your head that if it is Rosh Chodesh than it isn't Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh only happens on days when you do not remember to check.) Then you begin to bentch.
Now comes the part that's tricky: How long should you bentch for?
If you're like me your natural bentching speed is a sneeze and a half. I'm a deep believer that the less time I spend focusing, the more likely that some level of intent will appear. If I take my time and focus I will find myself three days later with 8 different options for the US Gymnastics Olympic team, completely unsure where I am. However, I do not want to display this character trait to Mr. Prospective Husband as he may judge me for my apparent lack of connection and know he needs a girl who really puts her all into her bentching. It's important for me to charm him with my good looks, trivia ability, and stories of spending the night in the hospital with sick babies before he discovers that I am trash who bentches for a sneeze and a half.
So, naturally, I fake it.
Faking it is very important in relationships, or so I am told. My trick for faking it is to think of a random song (spoiler alert: the song is always by Taylor Swift) and to passionately mouth the lyrics while staring at my bentching app.
However, this poses another problem.
What if Mr. Prospective Husband has already finished his bentching? You don't want him to think you are some sort of goody-two-shoes who takes years to bentch. Why, right now he could be imagining his future shabbos table and how, if you are there, he'll never get a shabbos nap in because he'll be waiting for you to finish!
Question: Why doesn't he use that time to clear the table in his imagination?
Answer: Because he is a MAN.
So, it is important that while you are faking it, you also keep an eye on your prospective partner in an effort to finish at approximately the same time.
Now, as an unmarried woman I cannot guarantee that this works. I would think that if it did work I would be married by now. But dates can get boring and repetitive so I happen to believe that playing games with yourself and your partner, especially games where he doesn't know that he is playing, can make you a winner no matter the outcome of the relationship.