The Ultimate Guide to Jewish Dating
As my longtime readers may have noticed we got FANCY here at The Archer. We have our own URL now and we refer to ourselves as we because we are a queen. We also have Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thearcher13blog/
You can also sign up for emails on the homepage.
As the readership base will hopefully expand I'd love to find new ways to interact with everyone reading the blog and promote the content. At the end of the day the things i write are helping me to learn more about myself and I have heard from many others that going on my journey has helped them with their own journey and nothing floats my boat like knowing I am floating someone else's boat. Basically there's a massive piles of boats and they are floating as much as balancing on each other and that is ok.
BUT, as the site becomes more popular there are going to be those out there who don't understand the lingo or to what the hell I am referring (almost always Taylor Swift.) So I am creating this article to guide others into my journey with baby steps. No need to be thrown into the deep end. Or on to a large pile of boats.
So what is shidduchim?
Shidduchim is the term for the time period when Orthodox Jews are looking to be married. It means that someone is interested and available to get married. It can be used in a sentence like:
"Aviva is 24 why hasn't she begun shidduchim?'
"I wish I were old enough to be in shidduchim!"
'She legit spent no time in shidduchim she just married her first cousin."
There is not a set time for people to enter shidduchim. There are hard lines in some communities. For example, most places want you to have graduated high school before you enter shidduchim. Some places do not care if you have graduated high school. In my community (out of town yeshivish) most girls start shidduchim at 19 or 20. Boys have separate rules. In my community many don't enter shidduchim until they are 23. However there are some that date when they are 20 and others that wait until 26.
Chasidic communities have their own rules and they are separate from Litvish rules. Now what does this mean?
Chasidic-a sect of Jews that tend to live in Boro Park, Williamsburg, Monroe, and, randomly, Arizona. These are the ones you see on TV with the super curly fake sideburns (their sideburns are real. The ones on TV are super fake.) They are Orthodox but have many different customs than myself, however we are both considered Orthodox Jews. I cannot comment on their customs as I am not one of them and do not have that experience. They have found themselves fetishized on TV to the point where Litvish Jews pretend to have been chasidic for attention.
Litvish-a term for non-Chasidic non-sefardi (of African or Middle Eastern descent) Jews who can range from Open Orthodox to extremely observant. Generally these are the ones who aren't wearing little bonnets and don't have the long sideburns. I belong somewhere in here but like everything else-it's a spectrum.
Yeshivish/Frum-a term for how observant someone is. In another religion you might say "Oh wow, Mary Catherine went to Mass 20 times this week she is so yeshivish/frum." In Judaism you might be trying to be more observant of the Torah to become more frum. You might be wearing less modest clothes in order to attract a guy who is less frum. Once again-a spectrum.
Shadchan-a matchmaker. This isn't like Rabbi where you need a fancy certificate to become one of these. This can be anyone from your next door neighbor to your UPS (true story) guy who thinks of two people and suggests they go out.
Going out-when you are seeing someone and you might hate every single cell in their body but also might be engaged in two weeks.
Shidduch resume- a piece of paper that at the very least says your name and occasionally says your blood type. Usually has some information about your education, siblings, parents, and a list of references to your character but more importantly your dress size.
So how does dating work?
In my world you are generally set up. This could be through a website, a family friend, a paid matchmaker, a community matchmaker, or literally anyone. Both sides have resumes and both sides examine the other side's resume-generally with the boy approving of the girl before she approves of him.
Approving usually involves some detective work. Both sides try to find someone who knows the person and their family and get the real dirt-how bad do their family monopoly games get, etc. If you don't know anyone you can ask the references that are provided on the resume and try to get dirt based on their pauses.
If both sides say yes the boy picks up the girl in his car, Uber, or the nothing he prepared. They go on a first date that can range from 45 minutes (my shortest) to 12 hours. Dates generally go longer if the couple is having a nice time and the girl hasn't had to escape by talking about Panda Sex.
After that date they both call the shadchan and tell him/her if they want to go out again. If they both say yes they go out again. If they both say yes again we sacrifice their virgin bodies to satan IM KIDDING, they continue to go out, usually telling the shadchan they don't need him/her to communicate for them anymore when they feel comfortable (a process known as dropping the shadchan) and eventually the guy asks permission to propose and then the girl tells everyone she has met since she was two that she is getting engaged and then the guy proposed and then they are engaged and then we do the satan virgin ritual.
Some people date for only a couple weeks. Some date for moths or years. Some people meet each other organically at an event or at work or in a shared uber and go from there. There is no formula, but there are trends.
Some trends I have noticed:
The lucky bastards-these are the people that marry one of the first three people they dated. They are usually tiny children who cannot drink alcohol and they get the exciting world of growing up with their spouse. And then usually making a baby with whom they also grow up.
I Dated!-these are the people that get married after dating 3-8 people. They want you to know they didn't have it easy. They had to date 6 whole people and one of them was 5 minutes late. They didn't just "fall into marriage" like the lucky bastards.
The Trenches-the people who date more than 8 people, who are in this for 2 years or more. They are getting nervous. They probably have more than one mental health professional and are constantly wondering how do you know if your therapist is actually good. Don't mess with these folks. They will either stab you or break down into tears that cause a massive hurricane.
The Justice League-Like the DC Comic universe these people are dark. They've been in this 4 years or more and they are angry, sad, resolved, mentally healthy, enjoying life, despairing, on the brink of a nervous breakdown, have a cold, and pumpkin spice vibes all at the same time. There is something healing about getting out of the beginning of dating. You learn what you need and what your tricks are (Panda. Sex.) But the not knowing and the endless void that seems to follow you around can be crushing. You never know when you wake up, am I going to be fun and righteous like Wonder Woman or am I going to be the weasel from Suicide Squad? Depressed and PTSD ridden like Batman or hyper like the Flash. It's a real mixed bag and who knows? Maybe a different director could have made a version that felt better. But we'll never know.
A bride is called a kallah from her engagement until her baby bump starts showing.
A groom is a chosson from his engagement until he gets fat from her cooking.
A wedding is a chasunah.
You can learn about me on the about page but for now I just want to say that I am here to write out my frustrations and guide you into my world. Please keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times.
You never know when you'll get hit by a collapsing tower of boats.