Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bobbing for Apples

I haven't turned my back on the dating world. My last post gave some readers the impression that either dating is not a priority for me, or that I have otherwise given up the whole enterprise as a failure. Not so. Well, not totally. I mean, I definitely haven't been successful. And I definitely don't put it at the top of my To Do list. But it is certainly not a forgotten endeavor.

There is a certain factor at the root of my predicament, namely that I am in Chicago. Skipping too much background, there is a basic issue of long-range dating that gets in the way. Yes, I've done it before. But I have found traveling for dates to be wholly ineffective. And quite possibly a bad idea as well. Sure, it gives me an opportunity to at least keep my skills fresh. And I hate to disappoint the ladies by not providing equal opportunity to young women around the country to get to go out with me ('cause I'm that good...). But it just doesn't work.

Maybe I'm just too immature, but I find that the time pressures of traveling are simply not conducive to making life-long decisions. Knowing I have three days to determine if one woman (OK, I'll admit it, up to three) would be a suitable companion and mother of my children is just not realistic. Couple that pressure with the logistical arrangements and other social obligations, and I just can't do it all in one weekend. Inevitably, knowing my limitations, I simply make a call based on my first impression (I mean first minute, not first date), and then treat the rest of the weekend as a wasted trip.

I don't want anyone to walk away from this thinking that I don't take dating seriously, or that the people I've gone out with weren't great people. But the amount of energy I had to get to know them just wasn't there. Maybe it would take two weeks to find out that somebody has the qualities I'm looking for, but they are just deeper below the surface. But in my haste, I cut them off and never give them that chance.

Again, maybe it's just me, and I'm not mature enough. Or perhaps the scenario is intrinsically unconquerable. But for the meantime, I don't have any plans to continue traveling for dates. I've learned my lesson. I'd rather stay single than treat some girl unfairly.

hmmm...i wonder if my old brooklyn apartment is still available? it's in midwood, at least twenty shuls within walking distance, all kosher shopping and in the eiruv.
so we schlepp you to brooklyn, set you up with a job, get you a few dates, and the next thing you know, they're kashering the kitchen at grand prospect hall and you're getting married.
and at what expense?
disrupting your whole life?

like i said before, do what works for you. there's no shame in that, no matter what community you're from.

shavua tov.
That's a very interesting (and mature) view on long distance dating. But if so, what then? Though one would imagine you haven't covered all of Chitown yet. Would you move to the Big bad City?
Josh, I know frum dating is different but would it be possible to do better screening by email and phone before travelling to meet? I have travelled to meet, sometimes thousands of miles, and it has always been worth it because we got to know each other reasonably well (sometimes extremely well) before we met and I knew that many important things lined up before I went out there. Granted, I'm not married yet but I have had wonderful experiences and have not abandoned the idea of long distance potentials. I don't think it's immature at all for you to want to stay local. I think you're being practical given the circumstances. It is a bad idea, I think, to travel to meet when you've only had that person "recommended" to you and spoken to them for maybe 20 minutes. There are bound to be too many suprises that way.
No Jewish women in Chicago?
On behalf of women, I thank you ;)
okay josh- so i see that photochik has picked up the ball and run with it from the last post- so in the interest of keeping us all entertained, when and where would be a good time/place for you to meet? as i said, she is willing to come to chi- now it's up to you- don't keep us in suspense too long...(and p.s.- i have a bachelorette #2 waiting in the wings as well- maybe this should become the blind date with josh blog...) please keep us all posted!!
Bec - I'm not worried about disrupting my life, just being unemployed. Y'all are free to chip in with job leads as well as female leads (pun intended).

Elster - I'm sure there are some single women in Chicago. I'm just not plugged into that world. It is mostly Beis Yaakov types that never left home and conservadox types that are not at the same place as me. There's nothing wrong with either of those worlds, but there isn't much of a middle, open minded world out here. I'm not sure which city is the Big Bad City, but I would definitely move - anywhere- with a job.

Shosh - You are right on. Long distance dating is possible, but in my circle it is just hard. Maybe it's a frum world thing, but most likely it's because the people who are setting me up aren't used to the travelling thing. I usually have three days notice before meeting the person, so I don't get to know them very well. I guess it's because most of the girl's I've gone out with (probably all) date locally- I was the exception- so my dating is expected to fall into that usual pattern...which of course doesn't work since I'm 750 miles away.

Anon - Yes, but I'm looking for single women...

LRH - Your welcome, I should get the key to the city...

BB - You defintely don't have to worry about me keeping you posted. I'm going to juice this for all the attention its worth. Tell all your friends - reality frum dating show at Josh's blog.

Since both BlogBlond and Photochick are two anonymous people as far as I'm concerned, I'll just write my responses here for everyone, and you guys can figure out how to pretend like this is a normal Shadchan situation.

I invite everyone to play the role of Shadchan- you know, provide me with questions/answers, and- hey- be like BlogBlond and keep the contestants coming.

To answer the first question, I don't know where PhotoChick lives, so I don't know what kind of travel arrangements would be necessary. Like Verizon, I'm free nights and weekends, so just let me know when you want to come. If you would be driving, I may be able to meet you part way. And as Shosh advised, feel free to get to know as much about me as you want before comitting to anything.
Well, that sounds oh so mature. Perhaps I should let you know, it is a total trek of 4 1/2 hours driving up a very uninteresting highway to Chicago. I suppose all I need now is some free time, a trench coat, and perhaps some gas money!
Josh, baby, trust me. When you meet the right person and there's chemistry on the phone, you'll want to fly in to meet her.

I'll keep my eyes out for you, but I think you should give Photochick a shot (I know her, too, btw...).
I have a great Shidduch for you!

This happens to me all the time. Someone will come over to me and "red" me "great" "attractive" girl etc. I think you get the drift. When I ask if (s)he has seen the girl (or a picture of her) the inevitible response is no.

Now frankly, this is arguably chutzpa and at a minimum a total lack of consideration. Basically, what I am being asked is to gamble my emotions, energy, time (and some money) so that this person may be a "winner" and be able to say that (s)he made a shiduch (and then get a brokerage fee a/k/a "shadchanuus") to boot.

If you you don't know how to cook, you don't belong in the kitchen. If you're not a doctor, you shouldn't have a medical office. If you're not a lawyer, you shouldn't hang out a shingle. AND IF YOU ARE NOT A SHADCHAN, DON"T ACT AS ONE !!!!
frum single- can i venture a guess as to why you're still single?????????????????????????????
Frum Single -- let me throw a scenario at you. I'm a single 23 year old girl, I've made to date 4 shidduchim. Does that make me a shaddchan? No. I try setting people up all the time (yes, including Josh) some work and many don't. That's shidduchim. You have to find Shaddchan's you trust. People that won't lie to you. But just because someone's not a professional shaddchan, doesn't make their ideas automatically horrible. Beleive me, dating STINKS! I'm the first to say it, but it's all in an attitude! Work hard and you shall suceed at some point. There's someone for everyone and it's all in the amount of effort you're willing to put in. Remember, especially as a guy, the ball is ALWAYS in your hand. You can say no!

As for Josh, writing off every girl in chicago is not a good idea. I'm sure there are a few out there that would be your speed. You have to put the effort to find them. Until you have exhausted that possibility your attitude is that of giving up. Shidduchim requires work, and you have to put some in!
Joshy poshy.. Mate we gotta find you a---mate... Hmmm let me think i may know some frum girls in houston. Give me a few weeks and I'll let you know. My eema is really good at being a shaddchan. She should officially become one.. Hmmm will look into and Chitown is tooo cold. I live there once for 4 months when I was in the Navy and I was sick the entire time. But maybe you should move to NYC,, More fish there--wink!!

FS, while ignoring your arguments, I will address your general point. I have always exclusively relied on friends to set me up. No parents friends, no teachers, no professionals. So I understand where you're coming from. But you also can't turn down a good girl just because the source is new. Nobody said you're bashert will be spoon fed to you. So go into any shidduch offer with a healthy dose of skepticism and be open minded.

Now I'll address the specifics from IMM's comment. You might not think I've lived up to the response I gave FS. I have. In NY I've had the luxury of relying on close friends. In Chicago, I haven't. But I've been open minded. I've let random people throw offers my way. More often than not, the girl isn't in Chicago. And the other times it never got to an actual date (the girl said no or the Shadchan never followed through).

That being said, I do think you have an excellent point. I am isolated in my community. Contrary to the assumption I've been living with, there may be some women here. I live in a mature suburb with (basically) zero singles (definitely none-from the four I know of-that I'm interested in). There are other neighborhoods though, and you never know. I really haven't "reached out" or networked to see what's out there. Part of that is because, aside from dating, I have no need to. There are all kinds of frummie events going on here, and I could probably meet people who are "linked in" to some other singles, but I'm not interested in those events for their own sake.

But I've definitely isolated myself in my comfort zone. I haven't put my name out there, asked to be set up. Maybe it's because I have a "crutch" in NY, but I probably could stir up something here if I tried. But in my defense, as Tanisha points out, there is an infinitely greater number of fish out East!
josh, i am emailing you AGAIN.
this is good.
I'll agree with tanisha as well but you have to remember, all it takes is one. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing who or where she is. We'd all be in great shape if we could know who that special someone is. As hard as it may be to network (it's extremely uncomfortable and awkward on top of making you completely vulnerable)it's a necessary evil. Start slow but you gotta start.
okay- just so you know i haven't dropped the ball- lucky girls #1 and 2 are both figuring out logistics to get to chicago as we speak... stay tuned...
I agree with shosh. Often if you email or talk on the phone. (Email's much better b/c then you have a chance to think about what you're saying) before going out, it takes away alot of the akwardness and helps get a feel for the person sooner.

And if that seems to click well, then traveling becomes less of an gamble.
Bec so much to say to you...

BB - I love the fact that there's two girls apparently in cohots to go out with me. I hope they don't break out in a fist-fight, but if they do, please send pics, and I'll post them. By the way I'll be more than happy to help with transportation and housing.r

Masmida - My problem is that when I travel for dating, it usually involves prebooking a flight and taking time off from work. So I'm kind of committed, regardless of whether I've gotten a good phone vibe. I suppose I could start out on the phone without any prearranged travel plans, but I've never had an open-shidduch like that, and I could imagine most girls wouldn't be that excited about waiting 2 weeks to meet me.
Josh - May want to revisit your "blog whore" post with the latest influx and total domination of the blog by female posters. Maybe this is an evolution in your blog where you are leading it in a new direction, blazing heretofore unseen paths, but I'm disheartened to say that the actual content, from my limited perspective, has declined. Of course, this post wasn't created to cater to my sentiments and to tickle my intellectual fancy, quite the contrary, it was for you to air your random thoughts, musings, and ruminations, but I'm sad to see the blog take a downward turn to incessant prattle. I hope, b'ezras HaSheim, that all of the comments DO help you to find the right person.
Just to state clearly: I'm not trying to berate any of the posters or anything of the kind, I just feel that this blog has turned into Instant Messenger.
Traveling far for a date with someone is hard. I guess it depends on the situation and we have to decide if it's worth it or not.
JYRA - I don't usually use this three letter combination, but "LOL!" You're comment cracked me up. I'll be the first to admit I enjoy the attention (and certainly whom it is coming from), but I was thinking for my next post whether I should continue with the dating theme. You'll be happy to know that I decided against it, despite my profound desire to be the hub of all things frum and single on the blogosphere.
You'll be happy to know that I decided against it, despite my profound desire to be the hub of all things frum and single on the blogosphere.

And female.
Oy, Josh. It's hard being in an area where either the people are a lot older or don't share your commitment. But don't rule out some of those conservadox gals. My husband and I were on very different levels when we met and have grown alot together (thank Gd). If the person is right, then it works.

We were introduced by a friend when I was teaching in Chicago - of all places! - and he was living in California. We corresponded for several months, spoke on the phone a few times, exchanged photos and, well, here we are almost 13 years later.

I have also set up people and some have worked, some haven't. Am I a shadchan? Look, you can stand 20 years in a garage and you still won't be a mercedes. I try to share some of the happiness that I have been privileged - through the good deeds of worth ancestors, no doubt - to experience. Please Gd, it will be the same by you soon.
I agree that everyone should see themselves as a Shadchan. I haven't ruled out anybody - I just haven't been set up with anybody!
It's so funny. I just went to a Chanukah party and heard about a family with a very nice marriagable girl moving to your neck of the woods. However, she wouldn't consider anyone who wasn't Lubavitch (we're not, btw). Father is a rabbi up here; big deal in the Russian community. How odd, cos I really don' t know many frum families in Chicago anymore.
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