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?