Think Of Me, Think Of Me Fondly
Updated: Jan 19, 2021
My grandmother, may she live and be well, is very old and a little loopy. She lives at an independent living facility where she received three meals a day in a large dining room. The facility hires kids from the local high schools and colleges to wait on the residents. Every time I call my grandmother and catch her when she is at a meal, she tries to see if any of these waiters will marry me. She does this because she wants to help and also wants to go to my wedding before she hits her expiration date. Never mind the fact that if I brought home a non-Jewish 17 year old named Trevor who worked as a waiter in an independent living facility, she would be furious. When people want to help, their rational senses can go out the window as they focus on their task, even if they aren't 93.
There is a very kind thing that people do when someone they know is single. They go through their friends, acquaintances, and anyone who looks Jewish at their doctor's office in the hopes of finding a match for that person. Many of my friend's matches have been made this way, and, as I proved in Will We Use This In Real Life , 35% of the guys I've gone out with have come up this way.
But, like every coin, there are two sides, except this coin is a dreidel with four sides and also it is spinning constantly. I have been suggested many shidduchim in my time that range from great ideas to "am I growing a horn out of my forehead? Is that why you're sending this to me?" I ask every reader of this blog to think of me, but I have some tips for doing so in a way that is a kindness to the person and not a reason their therapist can sleep easy at night on their very large pile of money.
Suggest Once Then Move On
If I've said no to a person, I usually have a good reason or several. We have all heard the stories about girls who have changed their minds and found their husbands but I want to point something out: in none of those stories did they change their minds the next day or week. Expecting me to have changed my mind about a guy I said no to within 2 years of me saying no is insulting to my intelligence. This isn't an iced coffee order at Starbucks, I'm not sitting in my room going "maybe I should have added a second pump of caramel." Just kidding, I'm frum, I don't drink Starbucks (low blow?). Whatever I found in the guy that wouldn't work for me hasn't changed in a week either. Nor have I woken up one morning and realized that all I want is to do shlichus in middle Australia. Life adjustments take a long time and when they don't there's usually a problem.
Think For More Than 3 Seconds About Who These People Are
When small children begin to lose it and throw a tantrum a popular tactic to get them to calm down is helping them to count to 10. This gives them a moment to take a deep breath and relax and hopefully find a way to use their words to express their frustration. Friendly locals of any single should consider doing the same. It can be very exciting to be in shul and to see the 45 year old bochur, recently returned from his year in Israel that started in the 1990s. That does not mean you should call up every single girl in town above the age of 22. It means you should count to 10 and think about his age and life experience (none) and earning potential and personality (also none) and if you know anyone who is looking for someone with those traits. If you do, great! If you don't, it doesn't give you free range to force it. You'll look as silly and thoughtless as the tantruming toddler.
If There Are 6 Single People In Your Small Town, Don't Worry, They All Know About Each Other
Occasionally 2 people from the same small town will get married. This is awesome! We love this. However, this does NOT automatically create the transitive property to every other person who lives in that small town. Most of us know each other quite well. We have Ubered from Laguardia together and have organized a 6 am shacharis in Terminal C for the 3rd day of the omer together. And no, the Krispey Kreme in the airport is not Kosher. So, fellow members of my small town, you can stop calling me, my immediate family and close friends about these people and wondering if I have thought about them. I thought about them when I ubered with them for 3 hours while the BQE figured out its life. In fact, I even know the single people of the other small towns that have similar flight schedules to Laguardia (Minneapolis, Denver.) And it's going to be a no from me.
Consider That Not Everyone Promotes Themselves Accurately
In 2017 a festival was announced and promoted called the Fyre Festival. It used major social media influencers to promote what looked like an amazing party. A private island, 5 star accommodations, and some of the buzziest musical acts around. In reality, when the thousands of young adults who could afford such a trip arrived, there were no accommodations, the food was cheese on bread, and the musical acts had cancelled. Everyone ended up stranded on this island without protection from the elements or a good water supply as they awaited emergency transportation back to the USA.
From this we learn a great lesson: sometimes people are ambitious and want to be/look a certain way but, if you are very lucky, G-D gave you the intellect to realize when the 5 star accommodations are a wet mattress on the sand.
When you are looking into a match for a single friend, consider that some people may say things like "hard worker" "great job" "good middos" "is relatively not homeless" "independent" "positive outlook" "has it all together" and that shockingly, some of these things may be exaggerations or even straight out lies.
I know. It's hard to believe.
One solution that you and the Fyre Festival attendees could use is asking questions. These don't even need to be personal questions, it can be simple things like "where do you live?" "What do you do?" You can also take a good hard look at this person. If you rub together your brain cells really, really, hard, you may be able to discern some things just from looking.
Consider What The Single Is Looking For
I'll be honest with you all, what I tell people I am looking for is fake and I am just waiting for someone to send me someone who has none of the criteria I specified.-Said no one ever.
I wrote out my criteria for a reason. I can tell it to you, sing it to you, or sign it to you, though the last bit will take awhile as I only know letters. When people choose to completely ignore what I am looking for because they have a good feeling (or really just want to see these two people married so they have less tehillim to say) it makes me feel like I am shouting into the void and no one can hear me. In Shidduchim, no one can hear you scream. Also realize that you don't know where I am emotionally when I receive these suggestions. It may make you feel good to send over every guy you know. For me, that turns me into a problem that needs to be solved, not a person who is looking for quality and eternity. And it can hit at just the wrong time.
STOP USING SHIVA HOUSES TO MAKE MATCHES
I cannot BELIEVE I have to put this in writing: A SHIVA HOUSE IS NOT AN INVITATION FOR YOU TO ANALYZE ALL THE MEMBERS OF A FAMILY AND TRY TO SET THEM UP. These people just had a close family member die and all we can think about is shidduchim? That's just sick. Also consider the fact that the timing might not be great? Consider why you go to a shiva house in the first place? Consider your entire life over again?
Moms Are Liars
Every mother wants their daughter/son to get married so she can bully her new daughter/son in law. That's the way of the world. Mothers often see us in our best light. My mother, for example, loves me, which proves she might be clinically insane. If you run into your friend who has a child in shidduchim, get a second opinion before you set that child up. Remember that even serial killers have mothers who visit them in jail. Just because the mom says their child is religious/human/definitely-not-gay doesn't mean a blessed thing.
Timing and Location Do Not Make Marriages. People Do. The fact that two people are going to be in the sameish place for a given amount of time does not mean they need to date. 2020 America may be bad but we aren't up to the "Quick! These two people who are near each other need to reproduce or we'll all die!" part of our history. (Yet.) If a single person is coming to town it is great to think of people for them. Just make sure they are people who you would also suggest if their proximity wasn't going to shrink.
So what can you do?
You can make suggestions with some level of discernment and respect when the person says no.
You can ask the person what they are looking for and what their dealbreakers are so you can get a better idea of what to look for.
You can keep your ego out-singles aren't rejecting you (unless you are the guy and you are just trying to pick up girls in a bar or kiddush. Same thing really.) We are rejecting the idea because we have had experience and know what we need.
You can ask around without the singles knowledge to try to find someone who is really shayach for them.
You can respect the single's life choices.
You can stop going to shiva houses if all you are doing there is yenta-ing. Just make a donation instead.
You can daven for your single friends.
Mostly you can continue to treat me like a person, not a problem. If we were both eating out at a restaurant, you wouldn't force me to eat fish because you are convinced I might like it. Take the same stance for shidduchim.