Monday, February 21, 2011

Single As a Dollar Bill: Hamodia tries to capture the readership of older singles

I had heard about this column. I read about on someone's blog somewhere. A couple weeks ago I was at someone's house and I saw their piles Hamodia magazines laying out. On the cover I saw, "SINGLE AS A DOLLAR BILL by popular demand -now a weekly column." "That's that colunm I read about on someone's blog," I muttered to myself as I turned the pages and started reading. After reading a little, I asked my friend if I could borrow her two Hamodia magazines that had the column.

In that first magazine I picked up, the author was focusing on the idea that singles have feelings, too. She points out how outrageous the shadchans' behavior can get by entertaining the idea that if a teacher ever told her students that they weren't pretty or skinny enough. No one would question how out of line they were. Yet routinely shadchans abrasively tell off singles like that. I am gorgeous so I am not fed that one, but I've been told that no one would want me because I'm a convert or because I don't make good money. While many men may not, there could be someone who wouldn't mind.

Anyhow, the highlight of the article is a trip to the New Jersey home of a big name shadchan only to find her crying her eyes out. Apparently, she had just met with one of those "oh-so-great-bochurs" . This gem of a guy looked through a stack of photos and said that none of the girls were pretty. He proceeded to ask the shadchanate why she wasn't getting any pretty girls. The author was offended that her pictures was in that pile and the shadchan was telling her this. I'm sure the shadchan forgot and wasn't trying to be rude when she wailed out that she didn't understand either why she wasn't getting any pretty girls.

The real problem here is that we, as a Jewish community are allowing the men to go crazy demanding their requests. They aren't shopping for a product, they are looking for a wife-a human being! Furthermore, the fact that these yentas are allowing these men to have this sort of control is exactly why we have a shidduch crisis. The rabbis can put out letter after letter until they're blue in the printing press, but they are targeting the wrong group for change. The men are the ones who need to change, but the greater Jewish community needs to get rid of these pissing wars we have with each other. The shidduch crisis is as bad as it is because many people are trying to hold out for someone that will make their acquaintances jealous. The criteria changes from hashkafa to haskafa as to whom will make their peers jealous, but the underlying drive to make others seethe in jealous is a monster running loose in the hearts of us.

Rabbi Pasach Krohn mentioned it when he spoke at a shul in my neighborhood over a year ago. It doesn't just exist with regards to shidduchim. He mentioned how women get upset when someone they know re-does their kitchen. I'm sorry, but if you can get jealous of someone who re-does their kitchen, you've probably never had a "real problem" and should be grateful for that instead of pining away for fine granite countertops.

Oh, and the bochur in the story? He may "look good on paper" but he has terrible middos. Usually people who look good on paper are messed up in some way that comes up when you get off paper. I think I could write a whole 'nother post on that one....


  1. I agree with you (and think it was a shame that column was canceled).

    I think (and I say this as a 30 something single FFB who has been out with both FFBs and BTs) there are A LOT of guys out there with issues and ridiculous expectations. And you are right, the shadchanim should refuse to deal with them, but I guess they figure they have to work with what they have.

    The girls I know who've gotten married a bit older still have somehow (rarely through a shadchan) miraculously found a normal guy who treats them well and is a mensch. For some reason, they had to wait. (I'm still waiting....)

  2. They didn't give it long enough time for word of mouth to get to the singles and bring them in. Maybe the shadchans and the mothers of the BOYS (I emphasize not men) complained to Hamodia. It's such a shame. We need a publication that acknowledges the Gerim and BTs.

  3. Really, I do think people that make unreasonable demands (both men and women) should not be catered to like they seem to be. A man with unrealistic age/look requirements or a women with outrageous income or other demands should be told that they can't be helped right now. No need to be mean or rude about it, but it just seems that 'looks good on paper' folks get babied, yet offer little that's real.

    I tell people until I'm blue that I need someone age appropriate. I believe this is very reasonable. Yet, the only suggestions I ever receive are men that are way old (late 40s or more often 50s) but they must be matched with someone of childbearing age. I don't feel I should be pressured or bullied when I don't feel comfortable with a large age gap. I am so disgusted that in my experience, the man's demand keeps being considered more important and how I'm sooo lucky mr. old guy would consider a convert.

  4. I have the same problem. There's probably great guys out there that are age appropriate that would consider us, but where would we find them? For all the talk about a shidduch crisis, Frumster is really skimpy. Saw You At Sinai actually hasn't even made that many matches. They claim over a thousand but if you go into their listings, you'll find the most recent to be number at five hundred and change. It makes me feel like I made a huge mistake converting. Before I was Jewish, I dated but it always turned out they already had a wife or girlfriend and they just expected me to take care of the needs their woman wasn't taking care of while they took care of her and not me. I would get mad. Orthodox guys are no different. The ones that are single think they are holding out for something great but they end up in their 50's deciding they want a family and panicking about it.

    I, too, get pissed off about these men who are older and piss and moan for a big age difference. I went off on a friend about it and she says, "Hey, that's my uncle! What is he going to do?" I told her he should find a woman in her early 40's and hope for the best. She claimed that there weren't any women that age. If that isn't bullshit......

  5. I just lost a really long response to your comment, 10:13pm. I'm so with you and sick of the dirty old men being pushed on me by women who are married to age appropriate men. I'm not getting married. That's all there is to it. There is no one to marry.

  6. I've been trying to understand this for the longest time.

    You're saying there are lots of men between the ages of 35-45, but they're all waiting for some 20-30 year old single girl to come up, so they never find one and end up being 50 and finally willing to date a 40 year old...

    That sounds nuts. Why would men in general not realize by now that life doesn't work that way? If so few actually find that 28 year old, why do all of them expect to find one, and if it's common and reasonable for them to find what they're looking for, can you really blame them for preferring it?

  7. It's not common. What it is is they hear of one scenario-a friend that married well, then they want MINIMUM what their friend has or what they think their friend has. I have a friend and blog reader who can id herself if she wants. She's 29 and married to a 60 year old man. She says, "it's bad because it gives all these altecockers hope that they can also bag a young chick, but I'm not the norm." Why did she marry him? She was working for him so she just started liking him. He was also on his feet rather firmly financially. The reality is that many guys who are older singles are not supporting themself. A coupld weeks ago, I had some dates with a 44 year old lawyer. He also lived with his mother and seemed like he wasn't really making anything-perhaps less than I after overhead (had his own practice). He kept talking about how much money I would make after graduating college.... ummmm yeah, most people don't make very much fresh out of college.

  8. Pretty much all the age gap marriages that at least on the surface appear successful that I've come across were not through shidduch setups but through normal interactions (i.e. working, shared interests, etc.). They had a chance to get to know each other before deciding to enter into a relationship. One can really learn a lot (personality, interests, ethics, attraction, chemistry) about acquaintances this way.

    The men are financially stable and not rely on the woman's income to (help) support the household. Sometimes the men are also in really good physical shape and tend to look a bit younger than true age. I've also noticed the couple tends to be pretty active, such as doing travel, charity work and/or physical activities. They have a 'youngish' lifestyle, not sitting around the house doing little. I don't have a problem with these couples as the relationship appears authentic and genuine. Sometimes things work out that way, but it doesn't mean that old, broke lazy men should realistically expect the same as a successful, active man that takes care of both himself and wife. Just like pretty girls tend to have more options than less attractive, that's just life.

    When these less desirable older, lazy men and their matchmakers want to push younger women into an age gap situation, there is no same sense of comfort zone, just urgency to get involved without getting to know the person. These men I've encountered, and there's been many, are often lazy and tend not to like to do stuff. I.e. a long phone call is considered dates, must go out of way and be all dressed up just to meet the man for a coffee or walking around the park date (man is often very late to show up), etc. Wanting a real date is being 'greedy.' Like you, I've noticed quite a few of these men living with their parents still. I'm not referring to reasonable situations like temporary 'just returned from Israel,' or taking care of ill parents.
    Men who can't take care of their self and need a competent professional woman with income yet want to run the household in a traditional manner (i.e. don't ask for household help from him). These men are not seeking to add value to another's life, but instead are takers.

  9. having gone jogging. I think he said he had jogged 5 miles one of the times I talked to him.

  10. I don't think the phone date guy was lazy. He was talking about going jogging. I think he was cheap. His argument for a phone date instead of a real date was that he didn't want to invest time, but I think it was money. He also is very liberal and seemed to be dating non-Orthodox. He told me right away that it was very important that his kids had a Jewish education (umm, we're both mo, that should go without saying.) When I told him I wanted to home school, he repeated this need for Jewish education... (ummm, yeah?).

  11. I see lazy and cheapness are very often related, cheap in both time, money and anything giving to another person. By lazy, it's not just about lack of exercise. Going to jog is a solo activity, nothing is invested in another person, it's all on his terms on his schedule and not having to fix up one's self to head out. People that are cheap like this are often quite generous and even financially irresponsible when it comes to their self. I.e. splurge on luxuries, but can't meet basic living expenses like rent so they live at home.

    In the time it takes for a lengthy phone conversation, say 2-4 hours, if both people are in the same metro area, they could have met up for dinner (even if it's rather inexpensive like kosher delight or pizza or just dessert) or drinks and had a real date and face to face interaction. Or even the freebie 'walk in the park.' But a phone call date means they guy doesn't have to expend effort to get dressed, look presentable and leave the comfort of his apartment, show up on time, etc. to share an interaction. He doesn't have to expend much effort as he would in person to interact and often multitasking on the phone at that (which is OK, but means you don't have their full attention).

    I realized this a while back after having great phone/IM extended conversations that never lead to real dating or in the case of female 'friends' actual doing something sometime which is what I would rather do. I'd hear over and over about the generous dates/activities they had with prior dates and friends. I was good enough to interact and communicate on their terms, but they were never available when I was having cabin fever or wanted do something, even something very simple, with a 'real' person in the flesh.

    I've decided that I can better use my time than to providng extended free couseling that does nothing for either of us.

  12. Yeah, and he got nasty at me. But he kept asking me to stop blowing him off. He commented that you can't have a relationship when you can't talk on the phone with someone for 11 days. I read that in my Email and I said, "yeah, buddy, I've also never met you and NO, I do NOT have 2 hour chunks of time for someone who I've never met."

    The way I see it is that if a guy doesn't want to meet me, he's not interested ENOUGH.