Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What You Say Can And Will Be Used Against You

"She does everything in her own quiet way," I raved about my friend to a shadchan or a boy's mother. I immediately regretted my choice of words. "Modest, you idiot, MODEST!" I shouted in my mind. As expected, the woman asked, as if she's inflicted by the plague, "Is she quiet?" So I had to wiggle my way out of that one. "Well, once you get to know her..." I stuck my foot in my mouth. Because the kid's not loud and obnoxious, but she can definitely carry a conversation.

Then this woman asked me, "Is she a sharp dresser?" The kid dresses well. She always looks put together, and most importantly, she is always, and I mean always, B'Tznius. She isn't Brooklyny in the way of BCBG, Banana Republic type of thing.

"What do you mean by sharp? Like put together? Yeah, she's very put together..."
"No," She interrupted. "Sharp. I'm asking if she's a sharp dresser."
"What do you mean by Sharp?" I asked again.
"You know, SHARP." She repeated.
I thought" sharp" meant "put together"." Well sure enough, she adds,
"You know, sharp, put together. " Like, LADY, I just told you that!!
"Well, then, yeah." I replied, annoyed.

I don't know how that one went.

Another woman asked me if the kid would go to a movie. She asked it in a way that would seem like she doesn't care, but for all I know, that's her ploy to get it out of me that the kid does. Now I know the kid would go to a movie. So if I lie, what good will it do? She'll go out with someone who's totally not for her?

So, sure enough, I responded, "No, she won't mind. She's cool." And the mother was so relieved, because I was focusing so much on the girls Middos that I guess she panicked and thought she was a frummak.

A boy's father once kept me on the phone for over an hour and a half asking me if there are any diseases in the family, (understandable inquiry) but dwelled on how she dresses. "Does her mode of dress reflect her personality?" he asked, after I went on and on about my friend's easygoing nature. Listen, the kid is very easy to get along with, what should I say? So I honestly "confessed" that she wears denim skirts to school. To which he responded, "men need to be attracted to their dates..." Did I say she'd wear them on dates??? Jeez! He should be attracted to her anyway. She's a pretty girl, and she's wear make-up and do her hair. She looks good in denim. She looks great in a suit too. So he won't be attracted to her because of her clothes?

As I said, what I say on these phone calls seem to be used against me no matter what!!


At 6/26/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger jew-unit said...

I dont really have anything great to say just the obvious but because the first slot was open hell I might as well use it.
people need to think out of the box.when you are looking for someone that you plan to build a family with don't judged based on trait that can be changed in a changing room. anyone can wear anything. it doesn't mean anything , look deeper and see what's really in there.a match can't made on paper

At 6/26/2006 10:42 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I agree with jew unit. Sorry for all of the annoyance hope it will be over soon.

At 6/27/2006 4:15 AM, Blogger Mata Hari said...

i recently set someone up and have tried to do so a few times in the past, so i'm aware of the minefields. you do have to be a bit of a salesman.

At 6/27/2006 6:56 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

Thank G-D that I don't do the Brooklyn dating scene. I would tear my hair out (and that would be a shame, I'm rather attached to it)! Why are people so flipping nitpicky and superficial?!?! For goodness sakes, your precious son is human being too, believe it or not! He's got to have a couple of flaws of his own, no matter how hard Darling Momma tries to sweep them under the rug--why shouldn't he go out with a girl who is also a human being? Arrrrrrggggggg.

At 6/27/2006 7:32 AM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

It gets worse even a pause to think, like if they called in middle of dinner etc. they ask why'd you pause is he/she that BAD!!!
And heaven forbid to be honest because they discount everything!

At 6/27/2006 8:20 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

If they call about someone I don't like, I just say, "I don't know her that well, but so and so does. I can get her number for you if you'd like."

At 6/27/2006 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father told me that some shadchanim told him that they've been trying to set me up, but I'm getting a name of being quiet. I was wondering where that came from! Seriously, though, we get this issue in my family a lot-with schools & other things. Just because we're not the loud, bubbly, Flatbushy type, we're labeled "quiet." My father doesn't understand how someone can be on the phone for 2 hours straight & still be called quiet. Yes, I'm not so good about talking to strangers, but usually it's just because of the reverse-snob thing-I don't want to talk to them. Honestly, that lady doesn't sound so nice, so I don't think she & I would see eye to eye even if you hadn't mentioned the "q" word. Don't feel bad about that.
People are weird, especially when it comes to shidduchim. When you're checking a potential spouse out for your child & all the information you have comes from a few phone numbers that you don't know, I don't really blame people for trying to read into pauses & innocent comments & stuff like that. That's all the info you have to go on. We do the same thing. I do blame them for being way too preoccupied looking for the wrong things, but that's for another post entirely.

At 6/28/2006 4:52 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

so being a quiet girl is a problem, and being a loud mouth girl is a problem? maybe theyd prefer women's mouth be taped down so they have the choice to be quiet or loud.. i just dont get it..
michelle.. and whoever else, i really dont envy you for having to answer these calls..but the truth is, i beleive, that in the end whatever terms you use, whatever gets said, and whatever gets heard (cuz whats heard is not always what was said!) is really directed by hashem.. its just silly we have to play these games

At 6/28/2006 5:53 AM, Blogger ADMITNOTHING said...

check it out !


At 6/28/2006 7:46 AM, Blogger Cellar Door said...

I hate giving infomation.

At 6/28/2006 5:31 PM, Blogger zenjew said...

the crazy cultural baggage we're accumulating...

i was recently talking to a friend about getting set up by friends...we both agreed (this guy's much older, more yeshivish, etc) that if youre set up by friends, as opposed to a shadchan, you'd feel a lot more comfortable about going out without asking q's and doing references, as you trust your friends arent setting you up with a total screwball...

whats a BCBG?

peace michelle.

At 6/28/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger the only way i know said...


At 6/28/2006 6:00 PM, Anonymous I forgot my name said...

Michelle, like always, another great post!! Keep it up (maybe post a bit more oftne???)

umm where should I start? Ok- when someone calls you for info on someone you can't really say "i don't know her/him that well" duh, that kid gave this person your phone #, is this kid stupid or something and friends with someone they don't know... Never say I don't know them...
secondly, when mothers call up and want to know how the girl dresses, its because they want to know is she a cheap skate shopper, and wears her BY uniform the whole day? Is she put together??? Does she know how to dress well??? Yes anyone can get dressed. Throw on a shirt and skirt- but does she know how to when it calls for it???

About the movie thing- I know my mother may ask the question, and she usually wants the answer, she doesn't allways go, but she's not a frumme against it.
Its a very hard question to answer as you never know what they want. Between me and you, most girls do watch movies, some more then others, and there's nothing wrong- its just their whole "shita" on the matter- do they go because hey the yeshivish say you can't- does she do it to relax or just for the heck of it.

About the quiet issue- everyone in life wants everything perfect- they always want the perfect weight- the perfect clothing- the perfect boy/girl- we are all human aren't we.. The question is what we end up getting- when asking a shidduch question the mother (or whoever calls) wants to hear the perfect answer... Just what is it??? If the girl is over bubbly- just say she's a normal girl and quiet you can say more or less the same- you don't have to make a quiet girl sound like a rara.

There are so many things that can turn off a shidduch before it starts... And all these things will be found out on a date- and you will either like it or not- but again there is more to a girl then her looks, her parents money, her college education, where in flatbush she lives, or how she dresses... These stupidies shouldn't stop someone from meeting their right one.

That's my wisdom for today.

At 6/28/2006 6:30 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

The times I have said that I don't know the girl well was when people who knew I went to my HS and knew that she was there too asked me. My mother has a friend who any time her son is set up with a girl from my school, she'll call me.

Sometimes they asked about girls i dont know well but loved so i gave them a glowing report. But for my friends, I am pretty much prepared.

I also think that honesty is the best policy and I'll tell the truth. If they don't like what I'm saying, it's not good for her. Like the BCBG thing, if this woman was looking for a shallow, high maintenance jap, then this girl is not her for her son anyway. This way, through my honesty, I saved them trouble :-)

At 6/28/2006 9:00 PM, Anonymous I forgot my name said...

". This way, through my honesty, I saved them trouble" that's a good way of looking at it... Although if you would be in the other girls shoes, I'm not sure you would say that.

Also thanks for clarifying "i don't know". Its ok if your called out of the blue, and you were not given as a refrence to say I don't know..

At 6/30/2006 6:38 AM, Blogger Josh said...

Anon IFMN - I think as long as you are being accurate and descriptive, there is no need to "please" the Shadchan. You don't know whether the person wants aidel or edgy. So don't try and spin it politically correct. Describe the person accurately, and it is her job to see if these traits match what the other half is looking for.

At 6/30/2006 8:16 AM, Blogger southernyid said...

what about the mothers (of the boys) who ask the shadchan or the girls family about the girl's bra size.

Yes I know for a fact that this happens with "learning" boys.

In all fairness to the boys it is probably not the boys it is probably their crazy mothers.

At 7/02/2006 8:28 AM, Blogger Karl said...

I dont think there is much truth being told in most enquieries unless it is a person you know. !t all has a marketing slant to it & you have to read between the lines - both of what the person asking is really wanting to know & of what answers are given. Even if you tell the truth, the other person will often think you are playing it up/down for them. Personally, I never found it much use, either in answering peoples questions (which I hate & think I mess them up each time), and neither finding out more info on a prospective date. Of course she'll have good midos, dress tznius look great & be inteligent coz they wouldnt tell me anything else! Was I interested at what age she started to walk/talk/potty trained (yes real questions people asked)? - No, so I didnt bother asking those questions.

In the end, its all min hashomayim and you can only do your best by telling the truth.

At 7/02/2006 11:25 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

karl--yes, I have heard that people ask the potty question.

The mother thing is a post all on its own.

At 7/08/2006 8:22 PM, Anonymous myopinioncounts said...

i really cant stand this whole business. i have absolutely no problem being outright blunt and when someone asks me info like what size, how does she dress etc i interrupt and say, i dont know if she's looking for someone shallow. they usually realize how ridiculous they're being.
i also noticed sometimes the mother is soooo different than the person being asked information about, so dont always assume the person really cares if the girl he goes out with is a sharp dresser etc. basically what is this world coming to

At 7/09/2006 7:22 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I'd do that,but i am still on the market, so i gotta pretend to be nice to these ppl bc. "you never know," (gagging motion)


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