Monday, December 18, 2006

Oy Simchas

So my whirlwind travelling trip is off to a poor start. I'm in Vienna, and my second wedding is in Jerusalem. But I did pick up some interesting advice at the first wedding. My freshman Rebbe told me, "When are you getting married already? Stop messing around!" Now I know BlogBlond had just paid him to say it, so I'll just assume that it's her I'm really talking to.

I could get married. I could do as Isaac did, and just grab the next girl that shows up. I cretainly have had more than my fair share of opportunities. For one reason or another I just wasn't interested. (OK, I'll admit to the rare occurence that she wasn't interested...)The question would be, however, whether I'm avoiding marriage or whether I just haven't found the right person.

People can be picky about many things, and people can get more picky over time. People are looking for a girl with a certain dress size, a certain amount of money, and who knows the latest pop-culture despite having attended the best Beis Yaakov. But I'm not being that supericial. (Just a little...)

I am complicated, and that complicates the search. If you fit into the puzzle, it's not so hard to find your perfect fit. But I make no effort to fit in, and I think that makes finding my complement that much harder. But I wouldn't have it any other way. That's me.

So I'll keep looking for that girl who is guided first by Yiddishkeit, is always thinking about others, is outgoing and not afraid of people who are different, has a good sense of humor and take on life, and has goals of what she'd like to accomplish with her life (aside from just popping out children). Is that so unreasonable?

Um, and a size two...

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Didn't Do Anything...

Despite my lack of inspiration to blog lately, there is in fact still activity in my brain. In fact, a lot of it. One of the recurring themes is girls. Go figure.

I hope you've settled down from that shocker, because here comes another. I want to refine my opinion on platonic friendships. I'm not backtracking or saying I was wrong, but my thinking has evolved, and I want to share that with you. Yes that's right. My opinions aren't set in stone.

Specifically, I have in the past seemingly flaunted my opinion that a guy and girl can be friends with each other, in no different way than they are with their same sex friends. I have not changed my view that this is possible. But I do want to say that I think this is the minority, in any community.

So I'm not really backtracking, just flipping to the other side of the coin. Whereas before I found it useful (read: Attention grabbing) to minimize the risks, now I find it overly dramatic to pretend like I was mistaken. Come on, my superior analytic logic couldn't be that flawed...

I've never really bothered to qualify the definition of platonic that I have always used. In my mind, it is easy to be friends with somebody without wanting something more. When that more is an exclusive relationship. But when that more is a purely physical relationship, I think that is harder to separate. When we are with somebody of the opposite sex, on some level, even when we aren't interested in them, there is still some level of curiosity, if you will, in most cases.

And that is where the challenges start. When we are in Yeshiva, living in a controlled dorm forces limits on us that, willingly or not, safeguard us from having to cross any lines unintentionally. But I've been out of that cocoon for a few years now. And I've seen the number it's done on my friends.

One of the biggest debates is whether anybody is Shomer Negia. Notice that the assumption flipped from when we were in Yeshiva. Now I'm not going to dig too much into that debate now, as this post is already getting long. It is my assumption that those people who you know that strive to be more religious in all aspects probably do refrain from physical contact. But those that don't work at their level of religious practice probably aren't. Because frankly, aside from religious commitment, there probably is too much of a draw, and not enough of a reason, not to.

But we are all in that world, those of us who are single after graduating from carefully structured religious institutions. And for those of us not living at home or with another family, there is no intrinsic structure. And so it becomes our own decisions that will relay into whether we stick to the path we were on in Yeshiva, at our religious apex, if you will, or whether we will re-chart our own course.

A lot of this will have to do with the lines we draw. I've hesitated to publicize my line (aside from the fact that I've broken it numerous times, I'm also afraid that I'm shooting myself in the foot), but I've always tried to stay out of single girls' apartments. Anytime. But for me, once you cross that line, you enter into an unchaperoned world where boundaries get tested and there are no referees. That's not to say I would grab the nearest girl at a Shabbos meal. I think we all have some self-control. Probably quite a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. But I believe that there is a certain environment that is conducive to true platonic relationships, such as professional association, where lines are clear, as opposed to hanging out in a girl's apartment, where every decision is so subjective, and not necessarily made with our true goals in mind.

Part of the problem is probably due to a pervasive lack of belief in Gd. Judaism is a rote practice, at best a social club, even within Orthodoxy. If that is all, then an individual will make their own rules behind closed doors. And that is what I see with so many of my friends. We aren't the best judges, when sitting on a couch alone with the opposite sex, of whether a specific relationship is a true platonic relationship or whether curiosity isn't an underlying factor.

I've actually wanted to a do an in depth response to the Shomer Negia blog for a long time. And this wasn't meant to be it. But I don't think the challenges of being Shomer Negia are psychological. They are physical. They are pushing of the normal desires we were created with for good. But we have to realize that with every lifestyle decision we make, we are moving towards Gd or away from him. And if we let ourselves be blinded or fooled by our attitude towards the opposite sex, you can bet which way we'll slide.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yes, I'm still alive

I'm in between travelling seasons, with my first Sunday off in over a month. I figured I'd put some thoughts down while I had a moment. A lot's been going on, and I may even be moving. So what has been occupying my mind? A lot of things. A lot of business ideas, as well as views on relationship issues. I've even had some thoughts on personal responsibility. But nothing that made me say, "I need to blog this!"

I guess I'm just thankful that my move has been going so well. I've been getting out for Shabbos, and meeting friends for dinner during the week. I've attended numerous Simchas without having to travel, and I have a great adopted family to tell about my day when I get home.

But am I changing? Am I becoming a New Yorker? Am I still a modest Ben Torah or am I a self-centered fool? It would be stupid to suggest that a person isn't affected by their surroundings. I see how well many of my friends have done since leaving the four walls of the Yeshiva. Is it just a matter of time until I join them, or am I different?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?