Monday, April 19, 2010

A Tall Order

One of the "features" of my latest job is that I interact with all Rebbeim. Sure, they're all old-school, and their mental frame of reference causes them to refer to me as "the new secretary". I mean, what else would a woman in a yeshiva be, right? Yet they are for the most part all good-intentioned, pleasant individuals.

Alas, one Rabbi informed me almost immediately after my arrival that he does shidduchim and may have a few "boys" for me. At first I was just vaguely amused, since:
  1. How could anyone refer to people in my age bracket as boys or girls?, and
  2. Why did he want to set me up? He barely knew me.

Indeed, it would seem that part of the reason for his determination was the previously-mentioned mindset: frummies can't seem to grasp how anyone could be almost 40 and unmarried. Sure, I was married before. But that anyone over 35 should be alone? That deeply unsettles people around these parts, and it often has less to do with a sincere desire to help versus the need to get everyone to conform to the party line. Think about it- if someone can be older, single and fulfilled, well what does that say for everyone else? Something's just got to be wrong then, right?

I realised that I was going to have to go along with the whole kit and caboodle. I do work there and I do try to be accommodating. So I figured maybe it would be a good way to ease back into dating. Go on a few dates with his "boys" and go from there.

Now, this Rabbi did call me a couple of times and subject me to the third degree. And because I understand that such behaviour is par for the course, I sucked it up and answered his questions (many of which were more intimate and embarrassing than any inquiries made by my own mother in recent memory).

But you see, the part that got to me is that he poo-pooed my desired criteria:

  • Working
  • Modern- versus yeshivish, like my workplace ;)
  • Previously married
  • Grew up out-of-town

In fact, he basically went so far as to intimate that I should have no criteria, since at this point, I should be happy to get any shidduchim! I mean, really- who on earth would possibly be willing to go out with me, once they read my "resume" (more on resumes in a different post). I literally had to say "It's a tall order, I know", in order to placate him and prove that I'm reasonable.

The entire exercise was, in short, downright belittling. And not particularly sensitive, to be honest, given my recent return to single hood.

So maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot here, but I'd like to hear from my readers: what is, in your opinion, the greatest red flag when you read my resume? That I've been divorced twice? That I have no children? That I have had health issues as of late?

Because, in the words of my first husband when he learned of my remarriage, "he's a lucky man". Having a Hubby #1 who's willing to voice my virtues post-divorce? Now doesn't that just say it all about my "value" in the shidduchim market? Put out the rest of it with the trash, I say!


  1. The greatest red flag is you wearing pants. And I don't care if you did it in school or when you were 1. You and your parents are both guilty of a serious violation of a halacha put in place by the United Council of the Elders of Zion in order to prevent kids from going off the derech.

  2. I know nothing about red flags. However, shidduchim is one of those areas where people seem to be losing their thinking abilities and feel justified ignoring halacha. I am talking about people making shidduchim, not looking for ones. The amount of pain and embarrassment that one is expected to endure with smile just to be kept in mind by someone is ridiculous. And all of it is done in the name of helping someone and a great mitzva. Sigh. (BTW, not all shadchanim are like that, I have met a few that were normal/sensitive/sensible.)