Monday, December 12, 2011


It's a scene I've witnessed many times in my life. Only this time it took a painful twist.

I'm talking to a coworker, playing Jewish Geography. "Do you know Raizy Finkel? I think she lives right near you?"

I nod. "Sure I know her! And I also know her granddaughter, Suri-"

She cuts me off before I get to finish, to explain how I know said granddaughter. "Oy, Suri. Nebach she needs a shidduch already."

The end of my sentence dies in my throat. "-she was a classmate of mine in high school."

Ouch. Just ouch.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shidduch Priorities

They're moving around all the people in my department soon, and I kind of hope that I wind up very, very far from the lady who currently sits next to me.

It's not her abrasive nature that makes me want to distance myself from her. And while I heartily dislike it when she leans over me to loudly talk to the guy sitting opposite me (even when I'm on the phone!), that's not enough of a reason for me to want to move away from her.

And really, it's not her ultra loud voice either. It's what she talks about, namely, shidduchim. I have, in the past, heard of people who spend about 90 percent of their time devoted to shidduchim, but I had always assumed people like that were basically like Santa Clause or sensitive males: merely urban legends.

Until I met Mrs. Fried (not her real name.) Mrs Fried manages to discuss shidduchim more in a single day than the average human does in a lifetime. Her children are all married, so I'm not sure exactly who she's matching up (trading?), but she obviously never runs out of hapless singles to negotiate on behalf of.

And it's not just her shidduch talk that bothers me. Mrs. Fried represents everything I hate about the shidduch system. I routinely hear her matching problems over people: "Well he was divorced and she was (nebach) sick so they can go out." If that doesn't sound bad, here's a classic gem from Mrs. Fried. I file this under "things I can't believe even though I heard them with my own ears."

She said, on the phone, on one of her many, MANY, shidduch calls, (I quote. I promise.):

"Yeah so they're looking for someone with a lot of money...also for good middos."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, I sat in my classroom, learning about Rosh Hashana. Chaya came in late that day, her brother's bris had been that morning.

If Chaya looked nervous or anxious when she came in, I didn't notice. She was always a "goody-goody," not the kind of girl who would disrupt the class. Not even to relate news of this magnitude. So Chaya took out her notebook and began to take notes.

And for that one blissful hour, myself, my classmates and my teacher where unaware of the way our lives had turned upside down.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. The principal stood there, asked the teacher to come outside for a minute. Miss Gold looked unalarmed as she headed to the door. Just as she stepped outside, Chaya saw fit to finally stand up and make her announcement. I'll never forget her face, the look of alarm, mixed with the look of I-don't-really-know-what-is-going-on.

"Two planes hit the twin towers and they fell down. Another plane hit the Pentagon in Washington and it's still on fire."

I scanned her face for a glimmer of a smile, a hint of a joke, but there was nothing. I was hoping desperately hoping for a way out, a way to not believe that something like this could have happened. "Maybe," I thought to myself, "maybe they were accidents."

Even in my mind it sounded ridiculous.

Miss Gold walked back into the room, shaking. Clearly a year in seminary and a week or so of teaching experience isn't adequate to prepare you for a moment like that. We all looked to her for some kind of affirmation. Finally, Miss Gold found her voice, and said, "ta-take out your Tehillims."

The rest of the day is a jumbled mess of disconnected memories. I wish I could say that I remember the moment I learned that a heinous act of terror had been perpetrated against my country, that innocent lives had been taken, simply for the crime of going to work in our capitalist country.

But I don't. I remember sitting huddled around the radio with my family that night, listening in horror to news reports. I remember thinking that we looked like those pictures from World War Two, where families did exactly the same. "But this is different," I thought to myself, "they were in the middle of a war."

I wish I remembered the moment I realized I was wrong, the moment I realized that we were in a war too. But I don't.

I remember desperately listening to news reports, rabbis, teachers, parents, anyone who might be able to give some answers. But none came.

I wasn't old enough to really split my memories into the pre-9|11 and post-9|11 events. I don't remember flying in an era where every passenger was not a potential monster who would use the plane to carry out the most devastating and horrific act. My flying memories involve serious security: removing my shoes, throwing out my drinks, and all kinds of other restrictions placed on us by people so desperately depraved that they've been able to turn innocent items into potential bombs.

But in the back of my mind, I do have the memories of a time when New York's skyline didn't have a glaringly gaping hole. I can remember a time when "war" was something that happened in the "olden days."

My children however, will not have those memories. They will be born into a world where airplanes are scary, potential bombs. They will be born into a world where extremists have managed to instill fear in the hearts of travelers. They will be born into a world that has seen horror and terror in ways we wouldn't have imagined 11 years ago.

And so it's not just a memory. 9|11 isn't just an event that occurred ten years ago. It's the mark of the time that our lives all changed. We can't ever go back to where we were ten years ago. Not us, nor future generations.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Repost: The Mourner's Chair- a Tisha B'av Poem

Looking around the world,
We forget what it's about,
Yes there are some troubles,
But we are comfortable, no doubt.

We look around at life,
At the good times that we see,
We look at all the wealth we have,
Every luxury that could be.

So we become complacent,
Our Galus-cast away.
Minor problems crop up,
And only then we pray.

We ask Hashem for this and that,
But do we know what we need?
If we'd only Daven properly,
Then surely He would heed.

We ask for a good shidduch,
A job and a bit of wealth,
We ask for children who make us proud,
We ask Hashem for health.

But what we really need,
Yet always seem to forget,
Is to see the light of Moshiach,
A light we haven't seen yet.

Sometimes it's a shake-up,
That makes us stand back and say,
How can we have let ourselves
Slip up along the way?

How can we have let ourselves,
Forget why we are here?
Why are we not working,
To bring Mashiach near?

I walk into the shiva house,
And sit down among loud wails;
And I listen in silence as those chairs
Tell us their terrible tales.

Yes the chairs, they tell of pain,
That I can not comprehend.
The pain these chairs see constantly,
They know we need an end.

I may not see much suffering,
When we look at only me,
But think about those mourner's chairs-
That witness suffering collectively.

While we've become complacent,
In a Galus that we can bare,
We must strain to listen to the tales
That come from the mourner's chair.

How many tears has this chair seen?
How many families torn apart?
How many newly orphaned kids,
Crying from the depths of their heart?

Look at these low chairs,
They hold mourners every day.
They never see the easy side,
Of our Galus cast away.

They see the pain of loss,
Of a loved one torn away,
They see the pain of a widow,
Whose world has now turned grey.

How much pain have we all faced,
When we join it all together,
Oh how bad this storm seems now!
How much longer can we weather?

We know we can't continue,
We can't go on this way.
We need Moshiach here,
We need him here today.

This Tisha B'av we'll cry along,
We'll join the mourners in their tears,
We'll ask for an end to this Galus,
That has plagued us for all these years.

We won't become complacent,
We won't forget the chairs,
We won't let ourselves forget,
The mourners and their tears.

We must Daven, we must beg,
We must try to change our ways,
We must look within us and try to see,
A yearning for better days.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Some Talk About Pictures

Let’s talk about pictures.

And by that, I don’t mean taking pictures. There are numerous places online to find a wide variety of photography advice; this isn’t one of them.

I refer, naturally, to the infamous shidduch picture. One might consider this picture a mere part of the larger scale self depreciating device commonly known as the shidduch resume, but I beg to differ. After all, the two don’t have to go hand in hand.

Or do they?

I will attempt to be impartial in the following discussion, despite my strong feelings about the issue.

Let’s talk first about people who insist upon a picture. As one single male put it: “When I travel far for a date, I insist on seeing a picture first, that way I know she won’t be DOA.” Now, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure plenty will,) but that seems to be serious objectification of women. If she’s pretty, but incredibly stupid, the date won’t be DOA?

On the other hand, it’s hard to know in advance if your date will be a blithering idiot. Sure, you can ask people, but your information will only be as accurate as the honesty level of the people you speak with. A picture, however, never lies. Or does it?

Let’s leave aside Photoshop for a minute, and discuss the picture itself. Almost anyone, no matter how fat, ugly, pimply or otherwise blemished they may be, can get themselves made up, find a decent photographer, get the coloring all right, and manage to get an unedited (technically, anyway) photo of themselves. Let’s talk this scenario through. A young man and his ever scrupulous mother receive the picture of a lovely looking young woman. All of the other information seems to check out, and the date is arranged.

The day arrives and the young man gets his first glance of the woman he thought he’d seen a picture of. The full talents of the photographer sink in, as the man spends the rest of the date trying to figure out how the girl in front of him managed to look the way she did in the picture. You might say that this case sounds extreme, even blown out of proportion, but the issue is the same. How many non-photogenic, yet beautiful girls get passed over from the pictures?

I’ve conceded partially on the resume issue. I will, however skeptically and unhappily, send a list of references and other basic facts about myself (and by facts, I don’t mean opinions) to any interested parties. But I draw the line at opinions…and pictures. My mother might sneak one to people on occasion, but I haven’t knowingly sent one. I don’t think I am that ugly that nobody would look in my direction, but I just don’t think that me and everything I am and represent can be properly conveyed by a bunch of pixels patched together on a piece of paper. I’m not married yet, or even engaged, so perhaps my strategy is faulty, but I won’t budge. Not on this.

And if you can’t deal with it, don’t date me.

Many don't. I can handle it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top Ten Banned Foods

Today's post started, innocently enough, with a tweet. As usual, I was complaining about something. In this case, it was a nasty smell coming from a coworker's desk.

I noted that certain foods should be illegal in a closed office setting. Immediately, people started to agree. And what I discovered is that certain items are universally disliked by anyone who sits at a desk all day.

Here's what I came up with, with the help of my twitter followers. Notably, JustStam had a number of additions.

Here goes:

10) Anything with Tabasco sauce in/on it.

9) Goat cheese, or, for that matter, any stinky cheese. (If you don't know what I mean, ask a french friend.)

8) Burnt popcorn.

7) Egg salad.

6) Anything flavored with vinegar (even chips!) Specifically, balsamic vinegar.

5) Indian food. Definitely the worst of the ethnic cuisines, though a special mention should be made for chinese food before a certain hour, say, 11:30 am.

4) Raw onions.

3) Tuna.

2) Sardines.

1) Herring. No joke, people in my office eat this. I have considered filing a sexual harassment complaint, because obviously no woman in the world can stand the sight, smell or taste of it.

What foods make you cringe when a coworker pulls it out?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top Ten Words to Live By

Presented by Stam here. Go read her pearls of wisdom!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Still One

I'm driving along the Garden State Parkway, trying to get to my sister's house for yom tov. As I drive, I'm trying to think of something to write about shavuos.

And suddenly, a beautiful idea lands in my lap in the form of a strange driver in a red pickup truck motioning violently in my direction. Eventually I get the hint and pull over, not a moment to soon. The front driver's side tire is flat.

And when I say flat, I don't mean a little low on air. My tire is shredded. My first thought is "it's a good thing I don't leave just enough time to get there before yom tov!" My second thought is "ohmygosh I'm alone on the garden state parkway with a flat tire. What the heck do I do now."

I wasn't even finished dialing my father in a panic when a car suddenly pulled over to the shoulder. A frum couple got out to help. Just as my father picked up the phone, another car pulled up. A frum man got out and offered help.

Thankfully, flat tires aren't exactly my area of expertise, so they helped me through it. The man found a service to come within the half an hour and change my tire. The woman from the other car smiled and encouraged me that it would be ok.

Eventually, the roadside assistance was scheduled to come, and the couple got ready to leave, after ensuring that the other man would stay with me.

Before they left, they asked me if I had any cash to pay the tow truck. With a sinking heart, I dug through my wallet to confirm what I already knew: I had five dollars to my name.

With a big smile and no hesitation, he pulled out his wallet and handed me a fifty dollar bill. I'd never met them before, and suddenly they're lending me a wad of cash.

I settled in to wait, a nice frum, albeit strange man with me. He encouraged me, called the towing company for updates, and waited to make sure I'd be ok.

About twenty minutes into my wait, a New Jersey state trooper pulls over to see if we need help. "It's a tendency within your community," he noted, "to stop and help each other out."

I was blown away. The cop, not feeling like the big strong hero he wanted to be, said it with resentment. But inside, I feel nothing but pride. "Mi Ka'amcha Yisroel," I think to myself. How many times has this cop seen a scene such as this one unfold on the side of the highway? How clearly he knows that people won't drive by and assume things are ok! He wasn't there the whole time, but I'm sure he wouldn't be surprised that (so far) four different cars have stopped to offer help.

On erev shavuos, I find it particularly touching. "Vayichan sham yisroel neged Hahar...k'ish echad b'lev echad." Like one man, with one heart, the Jews accepted the Torah. And like one man, with one heart, the Jewish people continue to fulfill the commandments, doing Chesed, making a kidush Hashem...the list goes on.

No longer are we standing at the foot of har sinai. No, today we sit at the edge of the highway. But the message, thousands of years later, is the same. We are indeed, K'ish echad b'lev echad.

Good yom tov!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dating Secrets or Secrets in Dating

We've discussed the Sibling Angle of Shidduchim in a previous post, but there's loads more to discuss. Let's start with a reminder of the gravity of a phenomenon I like to call The First First Date, or FFD.

As I've previously mentioned, this is the first date for a family, not an individual. This is, thankfully, a one time experience. If you are unlucky enough to be the eldest in your family, you will be most hard hit by the FFD. For a sibling, it's not as bad. Especially if they don't know about it.

Which leads me directly into my story. This didn't happen in my family, but it might have. It might have happened in yours. And that will lead us directly into an important lesson for all parents of shidduch aged children. But first, back to my story.

The Silver family (*name has been changed) was eagerly anticipating an engagement in their near future. They did, after all, have a daughter/sister who had recently come home from a year in seminary.

Gila Silver did everything right. She went to the right schools, she dressed in all of the right clothing. She never stepped out of her house, or even her bedroom for that matter, without her hair done and her makeup immaculate. She went to meet all of the right shadchanim, and got just the right job.

It was, therefore, no surprise when after a number of rejected matches, Gila had her first date scheduled. Gila and her parents were well aware of the teachings of our sages that brachos rest in things that are hidden from the eye. Besides, it would be SO embarrassing if it didn't work out and everyone would know.

And so Gila and her family made the fatal decision to keep her date a secret, even from her caboodle of younger brothers.

The plan seemed, to them, very simple. They were going away for shabbos. On Motzei shabbos the parents would invent an excuse to leave, encouraging their kids to stay until the next day, when a neighbor would take them home. "At the last second," Gila "decided" that she was tired and wanted to go home early too.

Everything worked as planned. The Silvers and their daughter Gila drove home triumphantly. The boys stayed at the shabbos hosts, with plans to stay until late Sunday, when, unbeknownst to them, their sister would be a couple of hours into her First Ever Date.

The next morning ushered in a frenzy of activity for Gila and her parents. Mrs. Silver polished every piece of furniture, even those in her basement playroom. "You can't be too careful," she thought to herself.

Gila did her hair carefully, pinning it back into the most tzniusdik style she could think of. She tried on every article of clothing in her closet before finally deciding on the same outfit she had decided on three weeks ago when the shadchan first called. She took out her tehillim and sat down to wait.

Mr. Silver hummed as he selected a tie to suit the occasion. "Tonight," he thought to himself, "I may meet my future son-in-law."

At 7:02 pm the doorbell rang. Mr. and Mrs. Silver gave eachother a nervous glance before hastening to open the door. The young man looked at them, and they looked at him. For a really long second, they stood and watched each other.

Finally, the young man sat at the table. They made small talk. In the next room, Gila said her last few feverish words of tehillim, then put it down and shyly made her way into the next room.

Just as Gila stepped into the room, there was a loud bang. The Silvers exchanged frantic looks as they turned to the door and the source of the noise.

It was with no small measure of horror that they watched their five younger sons pile exuberantly into the house. For those of you familiar with the ways of the yeshiva bochur, a picture is probably starting to form in your mind. For those of you not familiar, let me try to explain.

This wasn't a matter of five young men walking into a house. It was a matter of five exuberant teenage boys juggling monumental quantity of pekelach, staggering into the house. They dumped an odd assortment of hat boxes, suitcases, garment bags, tefillin bags and other miscellaneous junk on the floor, right in the entrance to the dining room.

At this point, they were still focused on their packages, and didn't have a chance to look up. It was only after they all cried out, very loudly, it would seem to Gila, "Suprise!! We got an earlier ride home!! Three hours early!" that they looked up and noticed the green shades of their parent's skin. Their sister at that point was pure white. The young man was, of course, bright red.

They finally realized what was in the middle of happening, and tried to step unobtrusively out of the room. It was a pretty hard task though, when you remember the mountain of dumped luggage in the doorway.

Suffice it to say that the young man and young woman did get married in the end, but not to each other.

And that, my friends, is the end.

The lesson should be self explanatory. My personal experience to follow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ten Pictures

As you may have read yesterday, I'm kinda sick. But I wanted to do a Top Ten Tuesday (for a change...) so here goes.

Some of these pictures might look familiar, especially to those who follow me on twitter, but for the rest of you, enjoy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Take THAT Teachers!

I've marveled before at the differences between being an adult and a child, but today, as I crawl back into bed coughing and sneezing and feeling like a truck is parked on my lungs, I have to comment on this phenomenon once again.

You see, as a child, and then as a teenager, a sick day was decided on by my mother. It should be noted, at this time, that my mother has a very liberal view of sick days.

I'm pretty sure that some of my high school teachers were convinced that I'd gotten myself a part-time job; I certainly wasn't in school very much. Any time I stayed up late and felt a little too tired to drag myself out of bed in the morning, I put on a sick face and a sicker voice, and explained to my mother that I was too sick to go to school.

My school wasn't thrilled, but as long as my mother was writing notes to testify that I was sick, there was little they could do, short of accusing my mother of lying.

I've certainly shocked myself, so I'm sure my teachers would pinch themselves if they would see me now; I've become a ridiculously responsible adult.

In my last job, I barely took off from work in years on the job. It all worked out pretty nicely though, because just before I quit I had surgery, so I used up years of sick days while recuperating.

In the six months since I've started my new job, I took off one Friday due to illness. I've been sick since then, but I just work through it, tough it out.

Today was day five of being sick. I skipped work. It wasn't without much deliberation. I was fully dressed with my hair done, about to start doing my makeup, when I realized that I was about to collapse. With an uncomfortable sinking kind of feeling taking over my insides, I emailed my boss that I'm not coming in and collapsed into bed. I woke up at 1:30 and called the doctor. Turns out, I have bronchitis.

The doctor started to say something about if I don't feel better tomorrow. I shook my head and explained to him that it's not an option. I WILL feel better tomorrow. I have to. I have almost no paid leave time left, I have a growing pile of work to get through, and I know that the longer I'm out the tougher it's going to be.

Look at that- I've become responsible!

My high school teachers should only see me now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pleading My Case

"I have a great boy for you!"

It's half hour into our first meeting ever, an the first mention of dating or marriage. I try to protest, to save her the words, but it's difficult. She's a lawyer by trade, and obviously prepared to plead her case.

"What makes you-" I start asking, but she cuts me off. "Let me tell you about him."

I try to object; but my objection is overruled. I know I'm in for a long opening statement, so I silently nod as I direct my thoughts to more exciting things. My thoughts are interrupted by little snippets of her arguments. "Amazing family," "wonderful parents," and "Well playing job" seem to be some of the keywords. I nod politely until she seems finished.

Cross-examine. "What does he do?"

She looks hesitant. I wait for an answer. "Weeeell, that's the thing. He has kind of an offbeat job."

"I'm not-" My objection is overruled once again."

A detailed description of said off-beat job is forthcoming. Again, I nod politely. The only thoughts I am capable of at this point are related to the amount of time being wasted.

She is finished. It's time for my closing arguments. "I'm looking for a learning boy."

Her face falls as she realizes that she hasn't yet found a suitable match for her cousin with the off-beat job. Case dismissed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Big News

I wasn't going to post about the events of the last week, but it struck me that someone would read my blog many years from now, and not know that some monumental events have recently occurred.

And so I will sum it all up this way, (via twitter.)

This past week, there was a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and a death certificate.

That's all folks.

Nachas and Chinuch

I was with my three year old niece in a local grocery store. Out of the blue, her happy face fell. "Uh oh!," she breathed, obviously distressed.
I was concerned, "What is it?"
Cutie is not known for being shy. "There's MUSIC!" Tiny kid, huge voice; people turned to look.

I wasn't sure where she was going, and I wasn't going to guide her. "There is music."

She was obviously alarmed: "But it's sefirah!"

I beamed with pride at her brilliance; she only turned a couple of weeks ago. Then I did what a good aunt does. I told her to go ask Bubby.

I went home and shared the nachas moment with my family. My father was the one who came up with the interesting question.

Everyone has their own opinion about a cappella music. Some feel that there's no reason to avoid it during sefira. Others feel it follows the letter of the law, but is far outside the realm of the spirit. Others, like me, avoid it because they can't stand it.

But what about the chinuch issue? What does it tell our children? And, more importantly, what about children who aren't old enough or sophisticated enough to understand the difference between a cappella music and "real" music? What does it teach the kids about the lessons they bring home from morah?

Regarding issues such as music during sefirah, I've often heard "we don't have to be so strict with kids." But today... I wonder, shouldn't we raise out standards for the sake of educating our children?

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Dear Blank Letters

The idea for this post has been floating around the outer recesses of my mind even before I discovered Dear Blank Please Blank. (No link because I'm on my iPhone, and more important because I'm not going to endorse the contents of this very funny but not always 100% kosher site.) I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in ages, and so I finally sat down to do this one. As funny as that site is, I don't think they would accept submissions related to Shul, yom tov, and shidduchim.

So here are mine. Enjoy, then add yours in the comments!

10) Dear Married friend trying to set me up with a loser,

Oh, how I wish you were still single so I could say "if he's so great, why don't YOU date him?"

Sincerely, single, not desperate.

9) Dear Brother-In-Law,

No offense or anything, but I hate when you come. I feel like I'm under bedroom arrest once my PJ's go on.

Sincerely, your wife's sister.

8) Dear Lady who davens in a loud stage whisper in shul,

Thanks for letting me know where they're up to, without having to embarrass myself and ask.

Sincerely, got here late.

7) Dear Robe Store Owners,

I asked you if you have this in the next size up, but you don't have to scream that across the hoards of pre-yom tov shoppers.

Sincerely, that's not my real size- it runs small!

6) Dear Shadchanim,

When I say "he doesn't sound right for me" and you say "no but he's perfect for you," please realize that I've known me at least twenty years longer than you have.

Sincerely, not gonna happen.

5) Dear Shower,

Oh, how I've missed you.

Sincerely, Motzei three day yom tov.

4) Dear Former high school classmate whom I haven't spoken to in years,

Just because we bump into each other in the grocery store, doesn't mean we have anything to talk about.

Sincerely, next time let's just nod politely.

3) Dear Frum world,

Yep, I wear my hair in a pony, even to weddings and on shabbos, I'm not a teacher, therapist or accountant, and I think for myself.

Sincerely, yes, I still think I'll get married.

2) Dear Erev yom tov shoppers,

There's no need to push. Contrary to popular belief, the world won't end if you don't get that last article of clothing or ingredients for one more kugel.

Sincerely, ouch, you stepped on my toe!

1) Dear Week before pesach,

I really don't like you.

Sincerely, overworked with nothing to eat.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Without Any Injustice

In parshas Ha'azinu, the posuk says:

(I apologize for the English letters. I'm on my iPhone, which is an excuse for being terrible at Hebrew typing.)

"Kel Emunah ve'ein avel."

Describing Hashem, the pasuk says that He is a faithful King who causes no injustices. That seems to be repetitive. Wouldn't it be a fair assumption that a faithful king doesn't cause injustice?

The answer, simply, is that it's not. Here's why. Say the king of a particular country decrees that anyone who breaks a particular law will be thrown in jail for ten years. Not long after that, one of his servants breaks that specific law. There were witnesses, surveillance tapes and a non-coerced confession. The case was clear cut; the man was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Was the king being unfaithful? Surely not. He had ironclad evidence. The man was given a fair trial. He had been warned. And yet, there are some grave injustices being committed, and the best intentioned ruler in the world can't do anything about it.

You see, the man's wife, who knew nothing of his criminal ways, is stuck with a husband in jail, children to raise on her own, and the irreversible stigma that comes along with being married to a criminal.

And think of his poor children. They might be too young to comprehend the meaning of their father's crime, but despite their innocence, they are stripped of a father. They are left to grow up with people pointing and whispering behind their backs, and they did nothing wrong.

His parents, his siblings, his friends, even people who suffer in the smallest of ways due to his imprisonment- each of them is an injustice.

There may not be a solution for a king of flesh and blood, but for Hakadosh Baruch Hu this isn't a problem. Hashem doesn't "forget" the suffering of others when He doles out a punishment, nissayon, or any other form of hardship. Being the Melech Malchei Hamlachim, the omniscient and omnipotent Ruler that He is, Hashem is in the unique position to take every drop of pain and aggravation that any given person will endure as a result of the "punishment."

You see, if a person is sick, you know that G-d meant for him to get sick, but it's easy to forget that G-d also meant for his family to experience their pain, however minimal in comparison.

When you think about it, the whole concept is mind boggling. The web of people who's lives are affected by any given incident is seemingly endless, yet G-d is able to, and indeed He does, calculate each bit of pain.

This thought is an incredible comfort to a person who is struggling, but there's another whole side to this thought, and that is the immense complexity if the calculations involved in Hashem's actions.

That's why I find myself horrified every time I hear people attempt to understand the inner workings of Hashem's plans.

You've probably heard the talk. An earthquake hits Japan, and immediately the thoughts of frum yidden turn to the bochurim imprisoned there. That's natural, even commendable. We want to ensure that our people are okay.

But as soon as people's thoughts turn to a possibly connection, they are stepping into dangerous territory. I'm not here to make an argument for or against a connection between the incarcerated bochurim and a natural disaster that uprooted an entire country. I'm simply trying to point out that none of us have a right to presume we know that.

How can you explain the thousands of people who lost their lives, most of whom were probably unaware of the bochurim involved in their country's legal system? And, however minor it may seem, how do you explain the frum man in New York who's small electronics store is unable to get stock of the many items manufactured in Japan? The ripple effects are endless, and we certainly have no right to presume to calculate it.

Perhaps the bochurim played a part in the disaster, but to make a statement such as "the reason they had another earthquake is that they didn't learn their lesson and release the bochurim" is nothing short of chutzpah. And when someone proclaimed that "someone should tell the Japanese that if they just release the bochurim the earthquakes will stop" I can't imagine they thought about what they were saying.

I think that this time of year, when we are trying to remember the incredible nissim that Hashem performed for us, it's important to remember that Hashem's power extends past the actions. Let's all try to remember that Hashem's love, care and careful calculations extend from the very first second of our perceived trouble, up until the very last ripple effect.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A New Method of Looking Into Shidduchim

I was having a discussion with a woman I know about the idiocy of shidduchim and shadchanim, when she mentioned the following gem of a phone call.

It started when the Nosey Shadchan thought of a Shidduch for the woman's daughter. Before we get started though, I should probably note that her daughter is 17 years old; many years away from any form of shidduch related desperation.

That being said, the NS decided to give the boy a shot. And so she called. And she redt a ger to the mother of the 17 year old. Without even giving the mother a chance to express any sort of hesitation, she rushed to validate her suggestion.

"Aren't you or your husband geirim? Or ba'alei teshuvah?" Not to knock geirim, ba'alei Teshuvah, or anyone else of unremarkable ancestry, but the family in question is from a long line of prominent rabbinical figures, and so she answered, truthfully but emphatically, "No, we aren't."

The Shadchan didn't miss a beat. "Are you sure?!"

One can't help but laugh. Was it desperation? Or was it just the smooth-talking of a pushy Shadchan?

Either way, I say we should all take our bets on how long it will be before a normal, perhaps expected part of the looking-into-shidduchim process will be past-life regression therapy.

All I can say is, I hope I'm married before then.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weddings and Pity- a Terrible Combination

It's no secret that I hate weddings. I won't enumerate the various things I dislike about them; I've done that many times in the past. (Sorry, no links. I'm writing this on my iPhone.)

Tonight's wedding is worse than usual though. You may think I'm referring to lack of familiar faces I anticipate seeing, but you are mistaken. I hate weddings at which I don't know people, but that isn't the real problem.

If you were, however, thinking that the Choson is youger than me, causing me to dread this wedding, you are partially correct.

You're correct in assuming that it's because of the age difference between myself and the (very young) Choson and Kallah that will make this wedding worse than average, but the problem, as a matter of fact, is you.

Well, ok, not just you- that would be pretty silly. I don't know you. I don't know most of the people who think it should be torturous for me, but nonetheless, they are the collective problem.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, I'm pretty sure it won't come as a shock to you that I hate pity. Be it from high school girls who think I'm ancient, Nosey Shadchanim who had three kids when they were my age, or Chizuk Ladies who understand that I'm not getting any younger, pity makes me sick- any way you slice it.

And a night like tonight is a pity party for interested parties. (I'm starting to confuse myself now.) Doesn't it stand to reason that my feelings tonight should be a mixture of resentment, jealousy and sadness? Oh, wait, they aren't. Right now I feel a lot of boredom and just a wee bit of impatience.

"But even the- gasp- Choson is younger than you!" you may exclaim. Yep. And nothing I was looking for in a boy. Why should it bother me?

But thanks to the wonderous efforts of the annoying people I know, tonight will be a tedious blur of "im yirtzeh Hashem by you"s.

What's not to dread?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And The Number One Reason to Get Married Is...

All this talk about why people should get married, I think it's about time somebody points out the number one reason:

To get out of shidduchim...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Great Debate

If you are one of those opportunistic people who follow me on twitter, you may already know of the In-Town versus Out-Of-Town arguments that take place on an extremely frequent basis.

It's never anything new. The In-Towners discuss the fast-paced life in NY, where kosher food and a mincha minyan are available on every corner. The Out-Of-Towners counter with their extreme politeness.

Personally, I don't get it. I'd rather have a rude guy throw a kosher hot dog at me than a really nice man inform me- in the most polite manner possible- that I'll have to go hungry.

Now before I go making the arguments for those really, really nice people in Hicksville, let me clarify something. I love New York. I've lived here my whole life, and can't imagine life elsewhere. That being said, I have to point out a drawback to life in the greatest city in the world.

One morning, when packing my lunch for the day, I realized that we didn't have any fruit in the house. Making a mental note to buy some in the local grocery store that night, I headed out to work.

As I've mentioned before, I usually spend my lunch break going walking through the area near my office (midtown manhattan). I walked into the local Daune Reade, picked out a drink, and headed the the cashier to pay. On my way, my eye fell on a colorful display of fruit.

"How expensive can it be?" I asked myself as I picked one up and headed to the checkout. The cashier smiled and welcomed me to the store. "how much are these," I inquired, pointing at the apple.
Her smile froze. "That's 99 cents."

My eyes popped out of my head, my mouth dropped open, and my vocal cords shut down. My lack of words didn't deter the woman from understanding my reaction. I was shocked. And horrified.
Her response? "You must not be from New York."

I am. And I am a cheapskate. Can those two go together? If not, maybe I should be on the next plane to Yehupitsville.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Friendship That Almost Never Was

My friend got married last night.

I know, it isn't news that my friend got married. It's news that she is my friend. I say that because I thought I killed any chance at friendship with Leah the first day we met.

But last night we danced, as close friends. I leaned over and whispered "remember the first day we met, when we were working on xyz project?" She nodded. "I was so snobby to you that day." She nodded again.

I originally met Leah at work. I wasn't pleased to have her work with me, and I'm afraid I made that perfectly clear. The first day she was there, we had a project to work on. It was complicated and difficult, and it would have been easier to do it myself than train her in and do the project simultaneously.

I'm sure she sensed my resentment. And I know she noticed me texting all afternoon. But I hope she doesn't know that I was texting about her. I was complaining to everybody I could think of that my new coworker was a total MP. After all, I texted, who comes to work with her hair all fancy and a full face of makeup.

It's been almost two years, yet I still remember being horrified at her fancy looks, annoyed by her over friendliness, and frustrated at her lack of experience.

But looking back, it's really kind of funny. Had I not started the day with a lousy attitude and a disgusting amount of self centeredness, I might have realized that I was intimidating. I had been there for forever, I knew everything there was to know about the job, and everyone knew it.

And perhaps, had I bothered to think of anything other than myself, I would have realized that her fancy clothes, fancy hair and full face of makeup was a desperate attempt to impress me.

Years later, after months of friendship and many a day seeing Leah's mode of dress, I can laugh about the way Leah started wearing her hair in a pony, little or no makeup, and even slinky skirts pretty soon after that day.

And it is only now, after hours of conversation, after many late nights spent shmoozing, that I can acknowledge the bond that we share, that I can admit that Leah is one of the most interesting conversationalists I've encountered in a while.

It wasn't until my drive home from Leah's wedding that I thought about the way things might have turned out. I could have continued to be a ridiculous snob. We could have turned into a pair of coworkers that merely tolerated each-other, instead of close friends.

Alls well that ends well, I told myself, in a desperate attempt to validate my actions and placate my guilt. But it didn't work. Because a happy outcome doesn't mitigate the problem.

Imagine a scenario where the unfriendly feelings stayed. She would have spent her days feeling a mixture of resentment and probably anger at my attitude. I would have continued on my path of annoyance, frustration and snobiness. When I finally quit, we would have exchanged a polite goodbye, never to speak to each other again.

And last night, she would have gotten married, only I wouldn't have been there. I probably wouldn't even know the event was taking place.

Here's the part that bothers me most of all. Had this scenario played out, neither of us would have ever known what we were missing, what could have developed.

And that makes me wonder. How many friendships have I killed? How many people do I consider mere acquaintances, when they could have been good friends?

I don't think we can ever understand the consequences of our actions, but sometimes life gives us reminders. If a bad mood and negative attitude almost killed a great friendship, imagine what a nasty comment might do. We never know what the future holds, but thinking about it might just help the outcomes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Ten Signs Your Coworker is Over The Hill

10) She puts on her glasses to squint at her blackberry.

9) He takes frequent naps at his desk.

7) When giving out her email address, she specifies "all lowercase."

6) The ringer on his phone is set to Sonic Boom level.

5) She collectively refers to the rest of the employees as "you young people."

4) He takes off a lot of time to go to doctors appointments. And he discusses them extensively when he comes back.

3) When at your desk, she exclaims repeatedly that you do things so quickly on the computer.

2) He spends a lot of time reminiscing about how different things were when he entered the work force 40 years ago.

1) He has a copy of 'Outlook 2007 for Dummies' on his desk. And he refers to it often.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top Ten Ways To Spot a Tourist

Until recently, I sat in my office during my lunch break, using my phone, talking, or killing time some other way. Then one day I decided that people all over the world dream of visiting NYC, and spend a huge amount of their money doing it, yet here I am, in the heart of manhattan, day after day after day. And I don't appreciate it at all.

So lately, I've taken to walking during my lunch break. I have so much fun "people watching" as I like to call it. (The exercise-I walk fast- is a nice bonus too.) Lately I've been noticing that tourists and New Yorkers are different species. Here are Top Ten ways to spot a tourist:

10) They buy things from street vendors without haggling or trying to get a discount of any sort.

9) They have a camera on a strap around their neck. And they're wearing an I-Love-NY tee-shirt.

8) They look shocked that there is a man cursing into a public telephone at the top of his lungs.

7) They stand at street corners taking pictures of the tall, tall buildings.

6) The roll these huge suitcases along the street, and they look thrilled to be doing it.

5) They walk really slowly. They probably talk slowly too, though you generally can't see that.

4) They look surprised, rather than alarmed, when a random stranger smiles at them.

3) They stand on the sidewalk until the walk sign actually appears. And they look scandalized that there are natives already across the street by then.

2) They actually notice, and seem both fascinated and terrified by the homeless man standing at the corner singing into an old flute as if it's a mic.

1) They can't recognize a Jew when choosing someone from whom to ask directions to the nearest Burger King.

How do you spot a tourist in NYC?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'm Feeling Old. Again.

She looks up at me with her sweet, 9 year old eyes. "You know which book I really like? A light for Greytowers. Did you ever read it?"

"I did," I replied. "But not for a long time. I probably haven't read it since I was your age."

She looked puzzled. "That can't be. The book isn't THAT old."

Suddenly her eyes weren't so sweet anymore. Way to make me feel old, kid.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hereby, Forthwith, and All That Other Stuff

That's it. I quit.

Seriously, when I applied, I had no idea what I was signing up for. The toilet paper, the toothbrush- they have nothing on me. This job is the pits, plain and simple.

My first interview feels like yesterday. It started with MP elbow deep in my drawer, scrounging for what she deemed "appropriate" for the occasion. My hair was scrutinized, ("you'll have to wear it down.) My makeup was subject to strict critique, ("not too much, you don't want to look like a clown, but not too little; you need to look put together.") Then we tackled my shoes. Don't even get me started.

I arrived at the interview exactly on time. As I walked in, I tried not to think about MP's opinion of such compulsive behavior. ("You don't want to look too desperate.") Keeping all of the (unsolicited) advice in my mind, I walked in. I like to think I appeared natural, but not overconfident. Smiley, but not smug.

The lady who conducted my interview was pleasant enough, but underneath her friendly demeanor I could tell that she was asking some pretty pointed questions.

I won't relive the follow up interviews. Suffice it to day that I did not enjoy them. Not at all. The end, I repeatedly told myself, will justify the means.

Yet as the whole process dragged on, I started to lose hope. Maybe I won't get this job. Maybe I don't even want this job.

And hear I sit, thoroughly absorbed in this business, and it doesn't live up to the hype. It doesn't live up to any of the glorious expectations. Others seem happy here, but I think this job is a heap of abuse.

And I've had enough. Why did I sign up for a position that would constantly occupy my thoughts, cause such misery, and pay so little? When did shidduchim turn into a full time job anyway?

And so I quit. Hereby, forthwith, and all that other stuff. Who else is jumping ship?

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Benefit of a Date

(I'm posting this from my iPhone, so I'm going to have to post the link the old fashioned way. If anyone knows of an app that will let me do a hyperlink on here, I'm all ears, er, eyes.)

Bad4 posted a long and very good post about the benefits of shidduchim. (You can read it here: However, she missed one very important and simple benefit.

I used to think it was only my family that had moments like these. Two of the married siblings were there for shabbos, along with their very cute but very messy brood. Toys are strewn about all of the main lingo areas of the house. The yeshivah bochurim were home for an off shabbos, and left a trail of hats, laundry and other miscellaneous paraphernalia in their wake. A mess like that is rather unmotivating, and so it idles.

And that's where shidduchim are useful. A friend of the family, who has a number of children in shidduchim once looked at her (to put it kindly) untidy house and proclaimed: "what this house needs is a date." Yep. A date. A deadline to buckle down and clean up the mess.

And that, my friends, is the number one benefit to shidduchim.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Ten Ways To Entertain The Morah

The Morahs always claim to have an educational reason for asking, but between you, me, and the world wide web, it's for entertainment purposes only.

I spent a couple of summers as a daycamp counselor for toddlers, and my favorite thing to do was ask the kids what they want to be when they grow up. Sometimes in the end of summer pamphlet they sent out, I'd write the responses down to share a laugh with the mothers. The problem is that most kids say boring things like a mommy or a morah.

I once had a kid who said she wanted to be a marriage counselor, but it's less funny when you put it in context; her mother was exactly that.

I hope for my niece's morah's sale that she asks my niece what she wants to be when she grows up. See, my niece will do anything for nosh. And lucky for me, the last time I was at her house I brought lots of it along with me.

It took quite a few twizzlers, but by the end of shabbos, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, my niece answered confidently: "a politician." She even learned to say "I have a dream!"

I figured it would be good for a laugh when morah asks. Then I figured that we could think of a bunch of ways to make Morah laugh. So here are Top Ten answers to...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

10) A politician
9) a Marine Biologist
8) Uncle Moishy
7) A Shadchan
6) Justin Bieber
5) A Taxidermist
4) A Chasidishe Rebbe
3) The Biggest Loser
2) A Guinea Pig
1) A Tax Payer

Some rejected ideas included: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Drill Sergeant, Dog Walker, Psychotherapist, IRS Agent, Plumber, Lady Gaga, Used Car Salesman, NYC Taxi Driver, Polymer Scientist, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Michelle Obama, Mortician, Fisherman, Gas Station Attendant, Pope, Barbie, A JAP, a Neurosurgeon, a bunny rabbit, a dump truck and a calculator, among others.

Have you ever heard any really funny responses to this question? Bonus points for anyone who videos a kid saying any of these! (I'd post the video of my niece saying her career ambition, but I do want to be allowed to visit again...)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Strange Customs

So many of our practices and customs have become a regular part of our life. We get used to them to the point where we don't realize how odd they can look to an outsider.

That's how it was for me, anyhow. Then Kelly (*not her real name) moved into my area at work. Everyone else in the area are frum yidden, so needless to say, Kelly finds our discussions both confusing and amusing.

Take, for example, the birth of Esther's grandson, and her preparations for the upcoming bris. Leaving aside the entertaining conversation we had with Kelly about the custom of bris milah, Kelly found something else confusing.

"Your daughter had a baby?" she inquired. Esther nodded.
"So," Kelly continued, "why didn't you bring in some booze and say that word- what's that word that the guys always say when someone has a baby?"
"Lechaim?" I offered.
"Yeah, why don't you bring in booze and say lehayim?"

Esther didn't have much of an explanation, and so the matter was put to rest until the next day,

The timing was kind of ironic, when you think about it. You see, the very next morning, one of the guys who works near me had a family member's yartzeit. He commemorated it, as usual, by bringing a bottle of scotch and a big box of rugalach.

Kelly saw the treats and exclaimed excitedly "Oh, someone had a baby and they are making a lehayim!"

One of the men that had stopped by for some refreshments offered her an explanation. "Actually, nobody had a baby. Somebody died." thinking he was being sarcastic, Kelly started to laugh. She stopped though when nobody else laughed.

I took pity on her and explained. "He isn't joking. Somebody actually did die." her confusion at that point was complete. "You mean they're drinking booze to celebrate that someone DIED?"

I nodded. She wanted an explanation, but suddenly everyone got busy with work. Some things are better left unexplained.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Every Breath That I Take

I know, I know. It's an old story. We never seem to appreciate the good things we have until they're gone.

This comes up in many ways. A person who's value isn't appreciated until they go on vacation, a store we don't realize we like so much until they've closed down, a product we expected to find in the store until it lost its hechsher. The list goes on. And on.

But one place where this phenomenon sticks out more than any other is in the area of breathing and the common cold. About 95% of my mornings start out the same way; I wake up, contemplate calling in sick to work, decide that being tired doesn't qualify as sick, get out of bed... I won't bore you with the details of my morning, but I assure you that nowhere in my morning routine is there a time slot for "think about my breathing."

And then it happens. I catch a cold. A common cold, as they call it. And then I wake up, wondering why I can't breathe. My mad dash for a tissue is accompanied by runny eyes and a runnier nose. And, being the non-morning person that I am, it takes me a couple of minutes to process the difference. I can't breathe. Not like I usually do.

And each time I get a cold, this goes on for a couple of days. I cant breathe. This is weird. Wow, I normally breathe without thinking about it? And then, inevitably, there is the morning where I wake up with a clear nose, clear eyes, and I don't need to put my face up to the light to make myself sneeze. "One second," I think to myself. "Something is different."

And then it hits me. For a change, I am thinking about how easy it is for me to breathe. And I like it this way. I think I should do it more often. It's kind of nice, thinking about what I have, instead of what is missing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Ten Times You Shouldn't Pick Up Your Phone

In an interesting reversal of roles, I helped Bad4 in the compilation of a Top Ten list. It wasboth  interesting and frustrating to see my ideas nixed, and I bet she has a better idea of how tough it can be to come up with a good top ten list.

Anyhow, check it out here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What You Didn't Think About

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote a letter to a yid. That letter was a joyous one. I was proud to write it, proud to have wittnessed it, proud to consider that man my "brother."

Today I have a completely different letter to write. I don't want to write it. I don't want to call attention to the wrongful act I saw commited last night. But, once again, I bore witness to the "other side" of an action that was commited by a fellow yid. Only this time I am not proud to call him that. This time I am writing to publicise what he did, only in the hopes that perhaps one other yid will think before they do something like this.

Dear Yid,

I know it was a cold and snowy night. I was armed with warm boots, warm coat and warm gloves, and still the treck from my parking spot to the entrance of the rest area on the Garden State Parkway was frigid and miserable. I understand wanting to park closer to the door. But I would have never actually entertained thoughts of doing it.

And yet, there I was, approaching the door, and I saw the sight I wished I hadn't. But even if I had walked in two or three minutes later, it would have effected me. You see, when you parked next to the door, rather than in a legal spot, you weren't just risking a ticket. You were angering the lady who works there, who witnessed you pulling up. You were in a haste to get out of the cold, so you missed her reaction, but I didn't.

"Must be handicapped," she declared.

I looked at your hastily retreating back, and then at her rolling eyes, and I could practically feel the scorn. Her eyes then turned to me, and the blame reflected in them was obvious. Her eyes were talking. They were screaming at me, "you Jews. Why don't you follow the rules." It was at that moment that I wished you didn't have a big black yarmulka perched on your head, that you didn't have a pair of tzitzis dangling behind you, that you didn't look so Jewish. But you did, and so do I, and so the blame for this incident fell on not only your shoulders, but on mine, and every other (religious) Jew in the world.
It's a tough job, being an embassidor to the Jewish nation, to our G-d, but every time you don that yarmulka or dress like a religious Jew, you take that responsibility onto your shoulders. And tonight, as you parked illegally, without thinking about how others would react, about who would see you, you took that responsibility and threw it away. For what? For a few seconds of warmth?

I walked past that woman, feeling her eyes on me as I went. When I came out, she still stood there, at the door. And your car still sat there, illegally, at the curb. And her eyes still spoke volumes.

Her glare followed me to my car. The entire time that I walked through the cold snowy ground, the very same walk you saw fit to avoid, I thought about the ramifications of your actions. It might seem petty, but to her it wasn't. She witnessed hundreds of cars pull up, park in an ordinary spot, and walk through the snow to the rest area's entrance. And then you pulled up, but you had to be different.

I'm sure you didn't realize that you're a representative to an entire nation. I'm sure you never expected your action to be noticed, much less cared about. If you had, I like to think you would have done something different. And that's why I write this letter. Perhaps you will never read it, but somebody will. Somebody who will think two or three times before committing an act that will make other look down upon our nation. And maybe, just maybe, this very same woman will one day receive the chance to see the good side of a yid's behavior.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ten Auto-Corrects

Last week's post discussed my exciting new phone. This week's is dedicated to an aggravating feature for all iPhone users, but particularly for those who speak "yeshivish."

Stam was nice enough to let me help her with the first entries onGevalt! Auto Correct, a spinoff of a non-Jewish site with a name not fit for a G-rated blog.

In honor of Tuesday, there are ten posts up there to get you started. Keep checking back, submit your own GAC stories, and spread the word. There isn't a frum iPhone owner who won't acknowledge the necessity of this site.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Do I Have a Dreaded Disease?

I don't generally read Family First's Advice Line column, both because I despise advice columns and because I find they mostly don't apply to my stage of life.

This week's topic jumped out at me, and I'm slightly surprised that nobody seems to have been commenting on it.

The question comes from a worried mother who says that her daughter is (nebach) 22 years old and insists she isn't ready yet for marriage. Her question, in a lot more words, was basically "what can I do to make her ready."

To the magazine's credit, the first two responses were fairly intelligent. The first responder wrote that not all young adults feel ready to get married at the time that peer pressure expects it of them, but there MAY be a bigger issue behind it. The second responder was great. He called the mother out on her question, questioning her motives in asking. As much as a yiddishe mama wants to see eineklach, she can't rush her kid into it.

The third responder, however, really bugged me. I wonder if anyone else found her response disturbing. In her answer, she equated the daughter's unreadiness to get married to appendicitis. "Would you wait to get your child medical care because they insisted they're 'not ready yet?'" she asks.

Untreated appendicitis can be fatal. Is she saying the same thing about wanting to wait before getting married? Perhaps my life is over because I'm not married yet.

Don't get me wrong. I do want to get married. But I'm not desperate. I like my life now. I enjoy my job, my independence. If I would meet someone that would be worth giving it all away for- sure, I'd give it up. But I'm not pining for a man in my life now.

Am I ill according to societal norms? Am I the only one who thinks it is absurd to expect all people to be ready for marriage at the same time?