There's a phrase I hear a lot when talking to Shadchanim. They've told me that "Bartholomew is great. He really straddles both worlds."
Naturally I have an idea of what they mean by this when they say that to me. For me that would mean that he is someone who really gets the Yeshivah world and has mentors from there but also has a very serious internet problem and a thing for Tarantino movies.
But I think everyone has it in their minds that they are the best of both worlds, probably because we all were raised on Hannah Montana which is also why none of us respect our parents.
But, because we all think this, we all mean something different. Including the Shadchans.
Excluding religious context, there are probably finance bros who play polo, went to Brown or Duke, have maybe not raped someone but definitely were in a house when someone was raped, get blackout drunk twice a week, and tell girls they straddle both worlds because they have cried once to classical music or the movie Bambi.
There are white bread mothers whose kids are named Mckinley Addison Tarryn Skye who cook only organic, and do not vaccinate, and have gender reveal parties that cost more than the average wedding, and let their husbands tell them who to vote for, and who have degrees in merchandising, and were cheerleaders in high school, who tell people that they straddle both worlds because they once ate a pot brownie and yelled "Fuck The Police!" out their car window. On a completely empty street.
Within religious context it's even more confusing.
There are Yeshivish girls who tell Shadchans that they need a guy who gets both worlds because they want to be completely 100% hardcore yeshivish but occasionally have not frum college kids over for meals to convince them to fill the empty spaces in their soul with religion (college kids-fill it with TV it's easier and you already know the actors have some terrible sexual crime in their pasts. It sucks harder when it's Rabbis.) (Outreachers- have we considered going for the mentally healthy crowd? Just a thought.) and they'll need a husband who is ok with having people who may not be 100% tznius 100% of the time.
There are Modox boys that tell Shadchans that they really want a girl from both worlds when what they mean is that she went to all the same day schools, seminaries, and Stern, but she was a little wild and traveled with her family in the summer instead of going to one of the 3 approved camps.
Every single person on earth has an idea of what they want and what they mean.
I told you earlier what I mean when I tell the Shadchan I want him to be from both worlds. Here's where it has gone wrong:
The Ba'al Teshuva-He is a classic yeshiva guy but he has an aunt who intermarried. Both worlds, no?
The Traveler-This is the guy who is usually a Ba'al Teshuva and because he is a ba'al teshuva (or is just a weird yeshiva raised guy) he has a career that wasn't built around the Frum ideal of staying in one place so you can get Kosher food and be home for Shabbos so this guy has had to navigate being frum in Malaysia or Guam and therefore isn't considered Yeshivish by shadchanim because he lived in the middle of nowhere. Disregard the fact that he compensated for living in the middle of nowhere by keeping Shabbos three days a week and only eating vegetables he grew himself. He coincidentally also weighs 30 lbs less than I do which just hurts my soul. He isn't Yeshivish, but he is lacking the social awareness of the Yeshivah world which is the very reason why you keep saying the word Yeshivish- because I just want someone who is savvy enough to get my parents, siblings, and friends to like him while being a total trash human (like myself) in private. So it's the worst of all worlds: he's so frum that Rashi is like "dude chill" but he doesn't get any of the social nuances.
When I tell the Shadchan that the man is frummer than Hashem, she'll naturally ask me if I heard about his time in Bora Bora. She'll point out that this means he's worldly. I don't mean worldly about the actual world. I mean it about Twitter.
The Nature Rabbi-This is someone who is extremely frum except for their vice. I love guys with a vice, tell me you have an addiction to rap music or March Madness or something in the cultural zeitgeist to which I can relate since that's where nearly all of my vices reside.
The vice is skiing. Or camping. Or jogging.
This guy feels so terrible about himself that he sometimes misses Shacharis because he is camping in the wilderness of Montana that he has told Shadchans that he isn't really Yeshivish and his picture is him in-and prepare yourself for this-camping clothes. Forget about the fact that it's basically this camping outfit:
This guy knows in his neshama that Hashem only intended men to ever wear white shirts and black pants. Whoever marries this guy is going to have a great wedding night when he refuses to lose either. So he knows he is a sinner and he's looking for a sinner girl.
When I tell the Shadchan you're really looking for a guy with hobbies she'll say "did he tell you about the cross country skiing?" Yup he did. Right after he told me he spends 40 hours a week working, 80 hours a week learning, 20 hours a week davening, 25 hours a week sleeping, and crams the "hobbies" into the remaining 3 hours. He mixes the self hatred in everywhere.
Or there's the Modox guy who is the most Modox cult a person can possibly be and he's never heard of anything from the Yeshiva world but I'm told he's straddling both because his sister who is seventeen years older than he is married a guy whose Rebbi's son runs a really yeshivish program in Brooklyn.
Or the Conservative guy who goes to shul every shabbos because he never learned how to make chulent and he's addicted to the stuff and he doesn't know about the kiddush club (that you don't have to actually daven to get chulent) so he drives to shul, davens every word, gets chulent, and drives home. He's straddling both worlds, wouldn't you say?
Subjective phrases are subjective. But being too specific will get a girl accused of being picky.
I want everyone to be honest which will never happen but just imagine if we were honest with ourselves and others in our resumes and descriptions. If it wasn't such a dramatic game of intrigue and hiding who we are from each other. Just being ok with who we are.
I'd have a list of my favorite movies and shows and books and maybe a link to my deranged dating blog.
I'd tell people that I really don't know how often I want my husband to learn or daven because it isn't like I bother that often. (I davened very hard this week for Taylor Swift tickets. More on that later.)
I'd talk about the struggle of it all and how I want someone who is just as willing to face their struggle head on and then, with that self knowledge, ignore it.
I just want real. No straddling necessary. Is that too picky?