Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why Can't We Just Be Friends?

In my dating experience, among dishonest losers, I've met two young men with whom I'd enjoy a friendship. I would not want to live with them, or have them raise my children, but I'd certainly enjoy talking to them and hanging out once in a while.

I don't want to lead them on knowing we won't marry, but I don't want them feeling bad, because there was certainly chemistry. So sometimes I am tempted to call them, and just apologize that we're not husband and wife material, and agree to keep in touch and hang out once in a while.

I think it would be fun, and perhaps as we get to know each other, we'll be able to set the other one up with a friend, and learn and grow from one another like any other friendship. Or, on a stretch, as a result of the low expectations, and different relationship dynamic, you might come to realize that you are compatible, and choose to marry.

When I presented this idea to a friend, she asked what I think about meeting your own guy in Brooklyn College. I told her that I avoid the caf scene as well as the reading room that's known to house the "frummer" hang-out.

"Why is that any different?" she asked, "If marriage can come out of it?" I explained that I feel that in BC, you're looking to make a platonic relationship into a romantic one, whereas in the other situation, you kind of ruled out the chance of you guys getting together, and you just want a platonic relationship. There's much less flirtation involved, and it's just being friends with a guy. In BC I see the girls thrusting themselves at the guys, twirling their hair, and dressing like hobags. I also see some girls, few but existant, who talk to guys about the class they share because they're not hetero-phobes, but end it there.

It's funny, though. When I discuss this idea of the post-date friendship with fellow Brooklynites, they gasp in disblelief. Tell me it'll never work. You can't do it. Not only is it against the rules to say hello to a former date if you meet him on Avenue J, but it is certainly not okay to have friends of the opposite sex. On the other hand, in the MO communities, they've had contact with the oppposite sex all their lives, and there is nothing wrong with it. Also, Shidduchim aren't taken nearly as seriously there. So the friendships can be more platonic. Maybe I should write a post about that issue alone--relationships in MO communities...

But also in Brooklyn, keep in mind the WWSS factor-you're seen with a boy. You're either getting engaged tomorrow (because otherwise, how would you have the guts to walk Brooklyn streets together?) or you're a bad girl who "hangs out." So apparently, the only time we're allowed to have contact with guys (and I don't mean physical, obvioulsy) is on Shidduch dates? And just because the shidduch wasn't "the one" we should become strangers forever? Yes, apparently, because of our reputations. GRRR.

But I want to know what's wrong with callin the guy, and hanging out once in a while? Am I right that it differs from hanging in the caf?

83 Comments:

At 6/10/2006 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really know what you mean. Every so often I think to myself, "I wonder what's doing with Mr. X or Mr. Y..."

When we see eachother on the street or at simchas, which is bound to happen since it's a small world after all, it would be nice and cordial if we could do more than acknowledge eachother. Michelle, I agree with you on this one, or maybe we're just the curious types.

But the uncomfortable situation comes when you see a guy that you rejected. I don't know about anyone else, but I feel so guilty-- maybe guilt is not the right word, but something about being in that position gives me a bad feeling. That's when I try to avoid eye contact.

I went out with a guy a couple of months ago a couple of times. We both realized that we weren't for eachother, but before the night was over I felt like telling him, "You know, we both know this is not marriage material, but I really want to be your friendly dating mentor." He was around 27, so dating around 5 years I guess. Nice guy, but thought he still needed some direction in this area. That probably sounds insulting now that I think about it, but I wish that could be considered normal.

 
At 6/10/2006 10:56 PM, Anonymous chabibi said...

hi, I totally hear you. After I went out with my husband a few times, I started to rethink the whole marriage thing. I really didnt want to get married at 19, but i kept thinking, what a great guy, if only he was a girl, we would be best friends. So I married him. Fifteen years later, we are still best friends!

 
At 6/11/2006 1:47 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

sometimes when you have companionship from the opposite sex, its a lot harder to find the motivation to get married, or to look past all the obstacles in a potential relationship.

 
At 6/11/2006 6:08 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Michelle, you might not want to hear from me, because you might feel that I was one of “those bad girls” that hung out with boys. But whenever I really clicked with someone on a date and it just didn’t materialize into an engagement for whatever reason we always remained friends and kept in touch with each other. They are my closest friends to this day. My husband did likewise with girls he dated along the way. Life is just too short to reject nice people of either gender you meet along the way. They were a tremendous source of emotional support when I was at my loneliest periods.

 
At 6/11/2006 6:09 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6/11/2006 9:32 AM, Blogger ClooJew said...

It's not a question, lulei demistafina, of what works or what is appropriate in the yeshivish world versus the MO world.

It's a question of what works and what is appropriate for you. Even in the yeshivish world, a 19-year old girl who has a platonic friendship with a guy is viewed differently than a 29-year old girl who has a platonic friendship.

Nonetheless, I think that you have to be aware that even if a guy is hanging out with you "platonically" he very often harbors un-platonic thoughts and intentions. And by "very often" I'm being conservative. Have you ever seen "When Harry Met Sally"? Nuf said.

Whether or not it will make you less eager to get married I can't say, though I've seen that happen. I would say, lulei demistafina, that you are putting yourself in danger (which given your avoidance of even the "frummer" crowd at BC is an appropriate term in your case) of becoming physically involved with one (or both!) of these boys.

Unless of course you want to flirt--literally--with danger...

 
At 6/11/2006 5:25 PM, Blogger Josh said...

I think the issue of platonic relationships is delicate in any world, and you have to know your own motivations. There is a big difference between chatting with the opposite sex at simchas, and hanging out with them around town. But there is also a big difference between friends from common circles, such as your brother's friends or your classmates, and former shidduch dates. There's nothing wrong with keeping up with an ex's whereabouts, but it's another thing to turn to him for emotional support. I've set up girls I've dated, because, yeah, I do know them. But I don't really have a deep relationship with them after going out. Unless you have in the back of your mind that you could theoretically marry them, and the platonic screen creates a more comfortable setting for you, I think you should beware of getting involved with these guys. Part of me wonders if the only reason you feel more comfortable with those guys than the BC crowd is because its not open for everyone to see. Any relationship like that which is below the public radar has potential to go somewhere you don't want it to go. Unless you do want it to go there, like CJ said. The decision is up to you, but you have to assess the purity of your intentions and the strength of your convictions (OK, we know those are strong!). There certainly is a lot to gain from having a non-pressure relationship with guys. But there is a lot to lose if you're not careful.

 
At 6/11/2006 6:43 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I agree with anonym00kie. It's a hard call.

 
At 6/12/2006 3:45 AM, Blogger notahottie said...

semgirl, are you and your husband still friends with these people? i always wondered about that-isn't it a little wierd for a girl to call your house and you pick up the phone but it's not for you, it's for your husband, and when you and your husband should be spending time together he's talking to some other girl instead...i don't know.
michelle, i know many people who met their spouses in BC and they're very nice fine people. you don't have to flirt or throw yourself at all the guys in college, but if you do meet a guy or see a guy and think he seems nice, there's no harm in striking up conversation. it doesn't mean you have to hook up, but if you do enjoy one another's company, maybe it can lead to something more. if you find that you have no interest in one another, that's it. you didn't sign a contract just because you chatted with him.

 
At 6/12/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. There are times when I wish that I could break off a shidduch, but still remain friends. However, I realize that this is nice in theory, but wouldn't work practically. In truth, the only friend that I'd want from the opposite sex would be my spouse.

Semgirl, I honestly think that it's ridiculous that these boyfriends you speak of are some of your closest friends. In a marriage, one should be able to turn to his/her spouse for advise or help of any kind. I believe that it's degrading to your husband that you keep up with these boys. Likewise, it's demeaning towards you that he's in contact with other girls.

 
At 6/12/2006 9:07 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

something very strange with your story semgirl your husband is good friends with his x girlfriends and you with your x boyfriends
what a marriage LOL

 
At 6/12/2006 9:08 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

you could be friends with your x dates but be prepared to be called a hang out girl if you like to hang out once in a while what other people will say shouldnt be your concern

 
At 6/12/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

I was thinking about asking to borrow your R' Orlofsky platonic relationship tapes, but after reading your latest post, I think I'll leave them with you. I think that it would be inappropriate for me to have any sort of relationship with guys I've gone out with in the past, & they would think the same thing. I wouldn't want to marry a guy who's friends with other girls, & I wouldn't want to marry a guy who would marry a girl who's friends with boys. I'm not saying that you're not supposed to be normal & polite when you're sitting at the Shabbos table with your friend's brother, but more than that is not good, in my book, at least. What the rest of the world thinks & would have to say is their business, although sometimes it's good to care about your reputation. But I don't think it's a good idea regardless.

 
At 6/12/2006 11:20 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

I won't name names, but some people here have really wacky views on normal interpersonal relationships.

Boys and girls are not different species and friendships are valuable things to have whatever the gender and whatever the marital status of the other person. Don't lose a friend just because he or she has the wrong chromosome.

There are potential complications, surely, but that's for you to work out. And if you're even just a little smart then they are easily avoided.

 
At 6/12/2006 1:00 PM, Blogger Nice Jewish Guy said...

There's nothing wrong with it. As someone said above, life really is too short to preclude friendships with people you like just because they are of the opposite sex.

Think about something you said for a moment: that it is considered "inappropriate" to say hello to someone whom you have previously dated if you pass them on the street. WTH? What happenned to derech eretz? Are people afraid of being seen being a mentch?

I consider myself MO (emphasis on the "M"). And though I grew up in a very RW world, I never went the shidduch route. There is nothing... repeat, NOTHING wrong with meeting someone on your own in the caf or SUBO or Hillel or the bookstore (regardless of the Powers That Be of Shidduchland telling you otherwise). Are the dynamics different? Are the "rules" of the "game" different? Absolutely. But so what? The Brooklyn Frum world would have us neblieve that meeting someone without an intermediary, or "research" or not knowing after three dates if you're gonna marry, makes you an "oisvorf". You know what? It doesn't.

The shidduch business has IMO gotten completely out of control. Of course, I can say this as a divorced guy, an adult, independent of my parents and who could give a rat's pupik about what some one in Brooklyn or Lakewood thinks of me. But I can say this: the mechanics of shidduchim are completely artificial, and I don't feel that the experience of shidduch dating as commonly practiced allows each party to get to know each other the way two people contemplating marriage ought to. You need to build a relationship before getting engaged, and relationships take time to develop, through spending lots of time together and getting to know about one another in a variety of life situations. The best relationships develop out of friendships.

I think that you know this deep down, Michelle, and that you wish you could do things differently. And you know what? You can.

 
At 6/12/2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

hey you nice jewish guy
look how you ended up
and you were smart and didnt follow the system

 
At 6/12/2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

comes down to one thing
the bashefer firt di velt no matter which route you take

 
At 6/12/2006 3:09 PM, Anonymous Michelle said...

The only problem I have with meeting a guy in BC, is the fact that guys are not like they were back in the times that my parents got married. (They met through Shidduch, but other couples their age tell stories of how they met in school, or on their own in other ways)

Guys are different. I know, I know, they always had sexual ta'avos, but it was so much more taboo than it is now.

Don't all attack me at once, but I feel like many (not all) guys in BC would EXPECT me to be not Shomer and things like that.

Also, as some other comments said, I would certainly feel uncomfortable knowing that my husband hs female friends, and I wouldn't want to have male friends when I am married.

So I guess it really isn't too practical...Hmm, I don't know.

Like, I have a friend whose husband took rides with a woman to school every day. I wouldn't want my husband doing that. Not that I wouldn't trust him, but it's not appropriate, and why tempt him?

 
At 6/12/2006 4:34 PM, Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

I agree with your points, Michelle, but keep in mind that there are guys and girls out there with strong sexual urges. For them, any platonic relationship is in danger of leading to negiah and other stuff.

And for the anti-Flatbush eruv crowd, R' Moshe has what to say about platonic relationships in one of his tshuvos. He's not for them.

I would say maybe call the guy in question once in awhile, especially if you know a girl for him. I agree you shouldn't have to cut off all ties. But in terms of meeting them and hanging out, you oughta know who you're dealing with and be careful.

So I would agree with Josh on this one - nothing wrong with staying in contact, but more than that: depends .

 
At 6/12/2006 10:25 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

NAH, YY, Anon .... Obviously, now that we are married, we both talk to each other's friends and stuff. I thought that was obvious. Guess it wasnt. How did you all get so messed up.

 
At 6/12/2006 10:58 PM, Blogger Lost said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6/12/2006 11:06 PM, Blogger Lost said...

Michelle,

I never really agreed with you on this issue. It's one thing to hook up with random pp from college (a little extreme, but for nec. effect), and another to have a convo with someone about current events, the weather, crappy classes. Are you actually seeing any negiah issues on campus? Those pp who are shomer, make it known, and have no problem keeping to it. Depends how strong one is in their hashkafos.. and normal frum guys wouldn't think twice about a girl who's shomer!

Honestly, I really do think you need to MEET these guys in college before you make judgements about sexual urges, evil inclinations etc. Most guys in college are dorks. Who want an education. Who wouldn't mind have a convo with semi-intelligent human being of the opposite sex. Call it a platonic relationship, call it a marriage prospect.. but these guys aren't evil.

In regard to keeping up with past Shidduch dates, I dnt hv much an educated opinion. I've never been on a shidduch date (as of yet) and I can't imagine how a coke/lounge/how many kids do you want type of experience can lead to a friendship. The difference between talking to "boys" in college and talking to those you've dated for marriage is just that. No expections on a college campus. You can see the person once a semester, once a week or every monday. But no ones asking you what yeshivos you want to send your kids to.

I don't think Shidduch dating is conducive for forming casual relationships with guys, but you wd definitely know more about that than I would.

Good Luck with your decision I suppose.

 
At 6/13/2006 5:47 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

michelle, i think before you make any decisions, you need to be honest about what it is you want and are feeling.
what you probably really want is male companionship (thank g-d youre healthy!!), you probably dont want the college guys cuz you view it as part of a whole meat market and that turns you off, you probably would like to be friends with your dates because youve gotten to know them and your choice is not superficial. you're enjoying going on dates, its fun to talk to a guy, to spend some time getting undivided attention from a guy, having a guy want to listen to you and get to know you, to flirt a little - thats what you want and you're thinking, why does it have to end at a date, why cant we keep doing this even if we arent dating/getting married? well youre right, there is no 'real' reason to end it.. but realize that if that is your intention, and if that is the feeling thats motivating you, this is a really slippery slope.

on the other hand i do agree with all the comments that there is nothing wrong with being polite, with chitchatting if you meet someone in college.. but realize theres a reason why all that is unappealing - its not really what you're craving.
anyway my point is, try to be really honest with yourself, with what youre feeling, only then can you make a decision, without tricking yourself.
(i realize i barely know you so i may be way off, but i think this comment is generic enough that it would apply to most poeple, if im wrong, i apologize)

 
At 6/13/2006 5:52 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

oh and another interesting thing, they have the same argument in the secular world, but in that world its the complete opposite - people ask themselves why they cant have a purely physical relationship without any emotions or commitment. its mostly the guys who ask this, and its mostly the girls who shake their head thinking 'how naive'

i think in both cases the ones who are more able stick to the 'purely physical' (men) or 'purely platonic' (women) are not clearly aware of what the opposite sex really feels, and in my personal experience those of the opposite sex who try it out end up realizing the hard way

 
At 6/13/2006 5:54 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

semgirl
now that is even more odd

 
At 6/13/2006 7:41 AM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

YY- right on ... as semgirl said in the last post, about affairs getting swept under the carpet... from experience!!! she just calls it mixed couples night or a healthy foursome

 
At 6/13/2006 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Semgirl-any way you slice it, it's inappropriate. Simply put.

 
At 6/13/2006 9:51 AM, Blogger The Truth said...

I wouldn't think such a blog comes from you. I always admired you on some small issues. For example I realized instead of putting up your email address and later complaining about the inappropriate emails you receive (like other bloggers do), you simply don't publicize it and aren't machshil people etc. Well I guess everyone still has their weak points somewhere.

Anyhow we can't judge someone until we are in the exact same situation (which is never).

 
At 6/13/2006 11:20 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

the truth:
why exactly are you so shocked that a healthy 20+ year old girl is interested in male companionship? or that she is trying to do the right thing?

there are enough poeple/blogs/posts to be shocked by. from what I've seen so far, I doubt this is one of them!

 
At 6/13/2006 12:16 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Limey...and you always seemed so normal...wtvr..

YY, anon... all I can say is I am very happy that even in Lakewood, and weird and unbearably Yeshivish as things sometimes get, I am fortunately never exposed to anyone like most on the commenters on this post in my n-hood.

Michelle, thank you very much for this post and discussion. I never realized how pleasant things really are in my n-hood. These commenters have proven it could be a lot worse.

Limey, maybe you should just invite your neighbors over for tea and cake, instead of reading porn in the bathroom.

Nebach...

 
At 6/13/2006 1:54 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

SG- saying that the world is nuts and your the only sane one is not gonna get sympathy or the pats on the back you seem to need...
You mentioned you listened to rabbi orlofsky's tape, aren't his points at least a little valid
Maybe you're TOO normal (at least for lakewood)
I do have my neighbors over for coffee and cake (americans dont do tea) but i don't look to old g-friends for emotional support i get it from the "normal" venues

 
At 6/13/2006 1:59 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

There is also a HUGE difference between tea and cake and "my closest friends"....

 
At 6/13/2006 2:43 PM, Blogger notahottie said...

semgirl, it wasn't obvious, that's why i asked. i always wondered how those kind of relationships worked out once people get married. for my husband and myself, i know that we don't keep up our friendships with the opposite sex from before our marriage, but when we see one another's old friends we talk to them. it's just kind of pointless to have anything to do with each other now, we've grown apart, probably because the friendships weren't as platonic as we thought they were in the first place! anyway, i just wanted to make sure that michelle was aware that it's not always so simple to be friends with a bunch of guys. you're not the only one whose been there. i've been there too, and i'm telling you that this is how it worked out. just wanted to know if it was different for others...

 
At 6/13/2006 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

woa...i think some of you need to just step back and BEATHE...but that's really michelles place to say.
anyway, about sexual urges etc - it's NOT 'animalistic', it's the way ppl were created. As a part of the make-up of a human being, the opposite sexes are attracted to each other, what can you do. As for the 'just friends' line...i can't talk, cuz i personally don't hang with guys. but it's interesting to see the views of people who do...

 
At 6/13/2006 8:06 PM, Blogger ForWomenByWomen said...

ever watch the movie "just friends"? very cute! (sorry for just being out of the blue but your post just reminded me of it). i recommend it.

 
At 6/13/2006 9:57 PM, Blogger ForWomenByWomen said...

isnt it weird that it is frowned apon to have a full legnthy passionate conversation with someone on the opposit sex who is not your spouse but here we are conversing for hours to anybody who will listen. be it man or women, married or unmarried.

 
At 6/14/2006 3:35 AM, Blogger notahottie said...

btw, my husband and i met on our own-don't want to give details for privacy reasons-but we were very young and it was assumed that we would go on shidduch dates-it's not like we were older and met at a singles event. anyway, our parents were actually quite happy with the way it worked out instead of having to deal with shidduchim like they had to do with most of our sibs. but if we had realized it wasn't gonna work out, we probably would not have stayed in touch, again, pointless, unless we had a reason to talk to each other (ie had a shidduch for him/me) but we for sure would have acknowledged one another in the street-i never understood that-you spend time with a person on a shidduch date and then pretend you never saw one another. but anyway now this is wierd cuz i'm talking about being cordial with my hubby and possibly not being married to him and i can't imagine that!

 
At 6/14/2006 8:36 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Well, you're right in assuming that I have little-t-no experience hanging out in the caf, which I am fine with.
To me, it's like why bother. Why get involved?

I don't want to have to be SemGirl's position. I think close friends of the opposite sex ruin a marriage. That's why I wouldn't want to have a male confidant, because it'll be hard to give him up when it comes to getting married, and I think my relationship with him would hinder the one with my husband.

They can talk when they see each other around, but no longer serve as confidants or anything like that

As for the enjoying male companionship...I mean, I guess so, but I hate shidduch dates. I just wish I could get married, know I am marrying the right one, without going through the processes of Shidduchim. This system has become more and more corrupt and thoughtless as time passes, and the "shidduch crisis" continues to grow.

But, there have been dates where I don't even get as much as his undivided attention, so I don't think it's that. I don't enjoy the dates. I think it's more the pressure than anything else, to be honest. Also, similar to my college career, I feel like I'm not graduated as quickly as I'd want because of my irresponsibility. I thought it wouldn't bother me when all my friends graduated and I'm not nearly done, but ya know what? it does.
So maybe now part of me feels like it won't bother me when my friends kids (who are almost 1) turn 2, and I have yet to start a family (or IY"H be on my way) I'll feel it...get the correlation?

 
At 6/14/2006 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel with you for you. Life is hard and has its challenges. Part of the blog world is to to bring out and discuss these issues without the usual pressures etc.

 
At 6/14/2006 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay. Im just gonna come out and say this cuz I think it needs to be said. Mind you, I have no proof, but I'm not the only one who feels this way.

I think that semgirl is not married, never went to sem, and is not a girl. got it? "she" I think is a boy. So lets stop assuming she is who she says she is and take it with a grain of salt.

do you think a married man in lakewood is letting his newlywed wife talk with former boyfriends?

semgirls blog has been fishy from day one. if Im wrong, God forgive me. But I dont think I am, nor do a lot of other ppl Ive discussed it with.

 
At 6/14/2006 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle,

Whatever you do should be thought out (which it seems you are doing, as this blog is your sounding board).

It seems to me, however, that Josh and ClooJew have thought through these issues and their comments show an awareness of human nature. As opposed to comments from Orthoprax, calling others' "wacky views" because he doesn't share their values; or Nice Jewish Guy's dismissive "There's nothing wrong with it."

Why is it that the less religious tend to be dismissive of, or even oblivious to,the consequences of gender mingling?

 
At 6/14/2006 12:28 PM, Anonymous Chani said...

Anon-I agree 100% with what you said, but I would think that the answer to your question should be obvious. The more religious or orthodox/ultra orthodox/ultra ultra orthodox you get, the more you will find a separation of genders. Not because religion doesn't recognize human nature for what it is, but because it does. As some of the male(& female too, for that matter) posters have pointed out, platonic relationships are very often not so platonic in actuality, to 1 or both of the parties involved. Either those less religious/orthodox(because I'm not just referring to Jews) try to pretend that that's not true, or they don't care. If you don't see why having a boyfriend(meaning,not intended to lead to marriage)might be a problem, then you wouldn't have a problem with having a boy friend either.
It's really a decision that everybody has to make for themselves, but if you're smart, you'll let the Torah have some say in the matter.

 
At 6/14/2006 8:48 PM, Anonymous Torah Jew said...

Rabbi Orlofsky says it very well on his tape about why there is no such thing as a platonic relationship. And even if he is wrong, there are other reasons not to have a close friendship with the opposite gender. A man is not supposed to spend time conversing with a woman as it says in Pirkei Avos - Al tarbeh sichoh im HoIshoh. Isho being a man's wife, kal vochomer another woman!

 
At 6/14/2006 9:03 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"I think that semgirl is not married, never went to sem, and is not a girl. got it? "she" I think is a boy. So lets stop assuming she is who she says she is and take it with a grain of salt."

Yeesh...he's been putting on quite an act then for quite awhile and I can't imagine what agenda such a person might have.

She disagrees with your belief of what her views should be and then that means that she's been putting on a giant ruse on the entire blogosphere. Right.

"Why is it that the less religious tend to be dismissive of, or even oblivious to,the consequences of gender mingling?"

Do tell, what are the horrible consequences? Is it nothing that can't be fixed with proper education?

You guys promote ignorance and segregation. Instead of forbidding all inter-gender relationships, I say teach the proper manner.

But no, we can't actually educate people, that would go against the bais yakov mentality. Feh.

 
At 6/15/2006 8:32 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Torah Jew--good call :-)

 
At 6/15/2006 8:41 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Orthoprax--I am led to believe that perhaps YOU are the uneducated one. I have been exposed to much of this, my MO relatives in communities where "friendly kissing" is acceptable, I've seen it on TV, I was in a school for 9th grade where the girls were heavily involved with guys, I see what goes on in Brooklyn College (not ALL of it, but a limited portion), Torah Jew's excellent point aside, there are many reasons--not necessarily jewish reasons-that platonic relationships are hardly ever that.

No matter how much you "educate" anyone, sexual urges are just those, and realistically, sometimes prevail.

You remind me of some issues of Seventeen magazine which discuss birth control. If it was Cosmo, that's one thing, but Seventeen, geared toward teenagers. They know they're having sex. They even put a little text box in the corner of the article saying, "Abstinence is the only definite way to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy" but girls STILL have sex. So, they try to educate the girls, and I don't think that small message made those girls stay away from sex. So there, Orthoprax.

 
At 6/15/2006 8:52 AM, Anonymous TT said...

Anon quite a point, there are some arrows which really point to that conclusion but I don't think is really true in real life. After all its written in a too much of feminine style. By the way maybe we can ask Elisheva they seem to know each other quite well.

What I do think is that "Orthoprax" is a frum yid.

 
At 6/15/2006 6:36 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Michelle,

You don't think that if your parents sat down with you a few times and had long conversations about the serious potential dangers of physical relationships, you wouldn't get the message?

It is because the subject is so taboo that kids have no idea what they're doing. They get all their information from crappy teen magazines and MTV and a media that capitalizes on sex all the time without ever getting that serious perspective from adults that they know and trust. I wasn't referring to stickers on a Seventeen magazine when I said education.

Now, you can go the bais yakov route. Forbid casual inter-gender relationships, forbid access and use of any of those secular sources, forbid everything and then you get silly conversations like these where even normal relationships are painted in Satan's ink.

I think divorcing people from modern society is absurd. Face reality. But I also say that adults should be responsible - know what your children are capable of and teach them accordingly.

The solution is good and full-bodied parenting, not making everything forbidden.

I surely hope that when you are a parent, you teach your children a thing or two.

 
At 6/15/2006 6:53 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

I dont agree with you, so I'm a boy, ok wtvr.

If you really are losing sleep over this, you can email eisheschayil at her blog. She spoke to me on the phone. Then again, maybe she is also a boy.

 
At 6/16/2006 7:49 AM, Blogger Cellar Door said...

I know of a success story, where a guy and girl met in the "reading room" in a different city college with a similar scene. It was a very difficult situation but in the end it worked out. I also almost got involved in one. I warn all guys who consider themselves more yesheivish that although the girls in college are wonderful people, you have to consider wether your very different backrounds can co-exist, otherwise you can end up in a tough situation.

 
At 6/16/2006 9:09 AM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

oh semgirl please agree with us!!!! please, pretty please with your cherry on top
we have no place in blogland if you dont!!! please!!!!

 
At 6/16/2006 11:55 AM, Blogger notahottie said...

semgirl, don't even bother trying to prove yourself to someone who doesn't even have the guts to say who he is. it never even dawned on me that you might be a guy and if you are a guy you're a loser. but i don't think that's the case...

 
At 6/16/2006 1:34 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Orthoprax---I think that if kids want to do things, they will do them regardless of what their parents tell them, unfortunately.

Those attacking Semgirl/boy, please keep that to her/his blog. I should be the only one allowed to viciously attack people around here. Thanks :-) Good Shabbos

 
At 6/17/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Michelle,

It comes down to good parenting. Good parents have kids that respect them and respect their opinions. They don't use their authority arbitrarily and when they can explain their reasons for their rules they do so.

There are good and sensible reasons why kids should not engage in serious physical relationships. Good parents should be able to convey those reasons to their children.

In either case, however, we are currently discussing college-age adults. We're talking about people like you. For people who don't care, then they don't care and they will get as physical as they want. For people with strong principles, as I suppose you are, I don't see much of a danger of that happening. Why do you suppose that is? Do you really believe it is because you refuse to be friends with boys?

 
At 6/17/2006 9:55 PM, Blogger zenjew said...

michelle,

as someone dating for marriage, i know that i've gotten in trouble when i try *just* socializing with the opposite gender. it seems that most people around my age are focusing on one thing--finding the right person--and that really, fruitless socializing and shmoozing gets in the way...

even more, it confuses, as has always been the case since the beginning of time; all "casual" "platonic" relationships involve one party who's just a little bit more interested than the other--even if the other is not aware of this.

all in all, i totally agree. be wary. dont just be friends. itll come to haunt you when you're married, cuz you really dont want to be that guy/girl whos hanging out with your wife...and all of the guys/girls that he/she was friends with before he/she got married to you. maybe its cool for some, but not for most.

i know personally that im looking for one girl to be friends with, and thats it. i would expect that the girl i'm looking for to have at least the same standards.

peace!
-zj

 
At 6/18/2006 6:35 AM, Blogger JBL the first said...

Hi, I'm so happy for you. I didn't visit for a couple of days (maybe weeks). Now that I'm back I see your comments are growing and growing. I bet next time I visit they'll be over 100+ comments.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!!!!!

 
At 6/18/2006 7:38 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

When I was shidduch dating I felt the same way abotu some guys but you just have to let it go. They dont want to be your friend. And like you say, its "scandalous" in the brooklyn community. IT sucks but what can you do....

 
At 6/18/2006 11:33 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Well, I just don't want them hearing the "no" and saying, "what did I do wrong..." and agonizing over it. I feel like if I'd call them and tell them how I feel, they'd feel better and so would i. But that would be QUITE the awkward conversation.

 
At 6/18/2006 3:58 PM, Blogger notahottie said...

michelle, you're right it probably would be awkward, and really pointless, since as you said previously, you wouldn't want to continue the relationship once you get married anyway. and also, unfortunately, people would probably say wierd things about you if you start calling up every guy who you went out with! that's just the way it is. anyway, i keep thinking about you because i feel bad that you're so confused, having such a hard time with this issue, and getting such mixed feedback from everyone. my advice to you is to just stop letting all these issues take over your life, i know it's hard to just want to know already what's in store for you, but don't waste precious time worrying about it. enjoy the single life for now, and you'll have enjoy your married life when the time comes. if there's a guy in college who seems normal, get to know him, who knows, he might be the one. and if he's not, then you'll just say hi to him when you see him around, and that's all. and if you fall in love on a shidduch date, that's great too. just don't rush anything and don't let this whole issue take over your whole life. just chill out and enjoy yourself, and may you meet the right mentch in the right time-yes, mentch-that should be the most important thing that you look for in a guy. no matter what else he does, first and foremost he should be a mentch, someone who you are 100% sure will be a terrific husband to you and a wonderful father to your children. hatzlacha!

 
At 6/18/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger ms. shtark said...

k, so I am to laaaazzy to read all the 59 posts before mine but this is what I have to say: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PLATONIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A GIRL AND A BOY - this is regardless of your religion - I know many ppl who thought it would remain thus and the relationships either were completely terminated or progressed to a romance. This is the way us humans were made - so that ultimately we would procreate (othewise who would want to go thru tzaar gidul bonim). Granted there is emotional reward at the end (talking bout the raising children part here lol).
But you can't be friends with the boy down the block like you can the girl. Of course, this does not mean ignoring the opposite sex and treating them rudely. Au contraire - you have to treat everyone with derech eretz but don't be like "aryeh.... I loooove your tie. I think my husband would probably look almost as good as you do in it as he has the same color eyes...." ok ok i know i am exaggerating immensely but there are gedarim there for a purpose. and especially for the guy... there is no such thing as any other kind of relationship. period. Now this is my opinion but it is based on stories of ppl i know... of course you can set other ppl that you think would be a good idea for others but don't start a whole big shmooze in the process. don't go crazy with extra shmmozin and text messaging...

 
At 6/18/2006 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

csbf

 
At 6/18/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger Smile cuz Ur Jewish said...

I'm not a big blog poster, although I do read the Jewish blogs whenever I get a chance... this thread has seriously disillusioned me to the validity of these so-called Jewish bloggers. These comments are nothing but people yelling and insulting each other. It's okay to disagree- there are so many different sets of orthodoxy- but to call people the opposite gender or blatantly insult their yiddishkeit? Michelle, how could you leave up a post that calls semgirl a boy? So maybe you'll call meinnocent and naive, that the only way to get you point across is to yell and scream. But does anyone remember the basis of Judaism? VeAhavta lereacha camocha? I'm laughing and crying at the same time. Laughing because go forbid you should be friends with the opposite gender, but it's okay to insult people. Crying because you Michelle, are a bais yakkov graduate and you're allowing this to go on in your blog. Crying because I always loved this blog and now I feel sick from reading this comments. What a narrow-minded attitude. I'm only seventeen, so maybe all you older Jews know better than me. Maybe this is myh naiveness coming into play. But I don't know, right now I'm furious at this world of Jewish blogs, a world that is right now maing me question my fellow Jews. I am trying to convince myself that you are not all like this in real life; that maybe, because you are anonymous, you are unable to overcome your inherent animalist survival instincts to eliminate the competition, those who are different than you. My blog was made for myself; I don't get many hits, and now I see that maybe that's not such a bad thing. If people are going to insult each other and use my blog as a vehicle for their hatred and bitterness, then stay away.

 
At 6/19/2006 1:02 AM, Anonymous tt said...

"smile cuz ur jewish" naive is the word for you. Everyone is allowed to express their opinion on the blog. No one really meant Semgirl is a boy, they just wanted to bring out that she keeps on writing stuff that are really weird and look a bit suspicious. Everyone here is anonymous so there really is no real direct insult anyhow.

 
At 6/19/2006 3:28 AM, Blogger notahottie said...

ok i'm potsting this comment on semgirl's and michelle's blog because there is something that i think everyone should know. i'm sick of the "who's a better jew" debate. i used that juvenile argument years ago on my principals, teachers and parents in high school and i look back and think about how much i've grown up since then. there is a big difference between treating a women as a "sex object" (semgirl's words), being polite and courteous to someone of the opposite gender, having a relationship with the opposite gender, and totally and completely crossing the line between being friends and being more. a person who "hurls insults at other people" and does not agree with the concept of "platonic" relationships is not BETTER or WORSE than a person who is "nice" and is involoved in "platonic" relationships. there is no correlation whatsoever between the two. you have to do EVERYTHING right, and don't think that because you do a lot of chesed but also have a lot of guy friends, you're the best person in the world, because you decided that as long as you're nice, you're better than someone who let's say gossips a lot but knows her gedarim when it comes to the opposite sex. you have to be a good person, and know your gedarim, and dress b'tznius, and refrain from talking loshon hora, and do chesed, and keep shabbos, and lots more, not necessarily in that order(i'm not interested in being attacked for the order i wrote them in, which i wouldn't put past some people). i happen to be not be so great at a lot of those things, but i have to try and so does everyone else. yes, a guy who knows your family and sees you in the street and doesn't even say hi, is not so nice. doesn't mean he's a terrible jew, not a ben torah, he's better off not keeping shabbos, etc. that kind of thinking is completely juvenile. now, when someone posts a post on her blog, there are going to be comments that come along with it. to call comments that you don't appreciate "sinat chinam" is not understanding the term, or the way blogs work altogether. i didn't see any hatred anywhere, just people stating their opinion. yes, some opinions were a little hard for some to swallow, while others were outright ridiculous, especially coming from people who don't even have the guts to make up a blog name and are simply anonymous, but they nonetheless did not show hatred, but simply another one's thoughts on the topic. and i didn't see how anyone was a better or worse jew than anyone else. again, you have to strive to have the whole package. when we die and stand in front of the kisay hakavod, "but i didn't flirt with my friends husbands" is not gonna work any more than "but i always greeted people with a smile". you shouldn't flirt with your friends spouses AND you HAVE to greet people with a smile. and you also have to do a whole lot more. when it comes to blogs, post a controversial blog and you're gonna get controversial comments, that's how it works. using harsh words to tell someone to take a post down doesn't make any sense either. you don't like a post, you don't like it, that's it. semgirl and michelle are both free to keep their posts as well as their comments up without being attacked by others. please think about this and do your best to be a good, honest, g-d fearing, wholesome jew.

 
At 6/19/2006 5:31 AM, Anonymous boruch said...

"Everyone here is anonymous so there really is no real direct insult anyhow."

Now who is being naive.. Every single Mussar sefer says that if your Cavvona is to hurt another feelings its a very serious aveira. You may want to argue that Semgirl is too thin-skinned and should just ignore the morons, or tone it down and not say things to antagonize them in the first place. But at the end of the day, the argument "but it was anonymous" wont hold up in Bais Din Shel Maala...





























'

 
At 6/19/2006 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"not a hottie" 1000% true I couldn't of said it better.

 
At 6/19/2006 8:29 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

here is a clip from a previous comment of mine:

Those attacking Semgirl/boy, please keep that to her/his blog. I should be the only one allowed to viciously attack people around here. Thanks :-) Good Shabbos

her/his--A JOKE
only one allowed--A JOKE

That was my subtle way of giving mussar. Thats all.

 
At 6/19/2006 9:42 AM, Anonymous tt said...

"Michelle" I really wonder why do you have to reply to those baseless accusations? On the other hand maybe it is better for you to apologize to her and delete all the comments that mention this subject (including this one) "Lmaan Hasholom" but Semgirl also has to delete her entire post + comments about this subject. I'm sure in this zechus there will be lots of yeshuas for all of us.

 
At 6/19/2006 9:53 AM, Anonymous tt said...

Speaking about "Lmaan Hasholom" I also have to apologize to "smile cuz ur jewish" for calling ___ (I don't want to start the whole thing again and I really don't know what gender "S.C.U.J. is) naive. Please forgive me and I'll try not to attack personally next time BE'H.

 
At 6/19/2006 12:37 PM, Anonymous Having Fun said...

I love this. It's a blog cat fight. It just doesn't get any better.

 
At 6/19/2006 4:06 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

semgirl is a girl indeed
sorry guys try to swing at someone else

 
At 6/19/2006 4:06 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

michelle
wtf happened to this blog it used to be so nice and peaceful

 
At 6/19/2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Children, I am not involved in this. Just because people decided to put accusatory comments on MY blog, and not Elisheva's or anyone else's, why am I getting this?

I am certainly a peaceful person, and if all will be better if I delete the ridiculous comments, then I could do so. It'll take 5 minutes, and the whole blogosphere won't hate me for something I didn't do.

 
At 6/19/2006 9:04 PM, Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

Michelle: don't worry about the commentors. Let them say what they wanna say, and that's all. Just keep doing what you're doing. Your blog is great, and like a "cherry on top" we get some comments for comic relief.

And if people out there will be "gutless babies" and complain about the comments on your blog, to heck with them. You'll still have plenty of fans.

 
At 6/20/2006 8:08 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks, Ike.

 
At 6/20/2006 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle,
Ireally dont understand your question. The Torah tells us that it is OSSUR to any relationship at all with someone of the opposite gender. It even goes so far that a man may not gaze at a womans pinky finger to enjoy. Now tell me, if you find a man that has absolutely no "taavos" (someone who was castrated or a homosexual guy)then it might be "mutar",I doubt it though, other than that I see abslutely no "heter" at all to have any relationship at all with any male/female. Be it from college, pool halls, etc. Only someone set up properly, through a shadchan. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by e-mail at: ramapopolicechaplain@yahoo.com

 
At 6/20/2006 8:39 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"The Torah tells us that it is OSSUR to any relationship at all with someone of the opposite gender."

Chapter and verse please.

And I was always of the view that the Torah was pro-marriage.

 
At 6/21/2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon--so I guess you're from the school of thought that all men are pigs?

Ortho-for once, I agree with you.

 
At 6/27/2006 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like Semgirl is into swinging hmm i wouldn’t want to swing with her she sounds nasty. Why the heck does semgirl think she dominants blog world and no one could attack her, oy vey she is got to be the most annoying person in blog world .

 
At 7/11/2006 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthy foursome! Now we're talking! Yeah! LOL

 
At 7/16/2006 10:04 PM, Anonymous Allie said...

I don't know if this discussion is still going on, as it's been awhile, but I just discovered this blog. I thought it prudent to reiterate the point that so many of you are stating - it is VERY unhealthy for married couples to keep in touch with old boyfriends or girlfriends. I don't think anyone would consider my husband and I the typical yeshivish couple, but I know that my husband was pretty upset when he even thought I was talking to someone that he thought I was friends with. It has nothing to do with being closedminded and I think that Semgirl has a lot to learn in her marriage. Hopefully, she'll learn it the easy way (ie. by reading all the posts on this board). Anyone who thinks it can work is either in total denial or just "young and dumb".

 
At 7/17/2006 9:09 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Allie-def. a good point. Once you're married, it's literally a danger--I think there's more temptation to cheat--to have an old ex in your life.

 
At 7/18/2006 7:32 PM, Anonymous Allie said...

Thanks Michelle. I look forward to reading your blog.

 

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