Saturday, October 04, 2008

Yes, I Do It For Shidduchim (NOT!)

When my mother was giving some of her friends a ride and I was in the car as well, I understood my duty as the "child" in the situation was to sit in the middle seat in the back.

When one woman asked me if I'd like to move over, I explained that I sat in the middle intentionally. She thanked me, and said sincerely how respectful that was.

While it could have stopped there, another woman in the car felt the need to elaborate. From the front seat, she turned around to declare that "Wow, Michelle is so respectful! Oooh, should we put star on your chart so if anybody calls me for information about you, I can tell them how respectful you are?"

First of all, I'd better hope you have more important, and nicer, things to say about me than the fact that I sat in the middle of the seat for 7-minute car ride. (No, we were not overloaded. One woman in the passenger seat, and three of us in the back.)

Second, um, I'm not five.

(Honestly, if she did tell that story, I think it'd have a bad effect. If that's all she got, we're in trouble.)

When I did another small favor for someone a few weeks prior, she also mentioned that it would be added to her "Giving information about Michelle" repertoire.

The idea behind these two scenarios is that apparently nobody can do anything because they feel it's right anymore.

Not that they appear on my "reference" list necessarily, but since they're in the community, there's always the possibility that they'll get a call asking about me.

Some friends have received comments of a similar nature. Thankfully, not from me.

I have proudly given information about my friends, and, yes, I am sure to mention little anecdotes that feature their wonderful middos and inspiring spirituality. Never will I tell them, "Well, great, now that you did this for me, I can tell all the women who call about you just how blah blah you are!!" Because they're not five. And I know that they did what they did for me, (or someone else) because it was what THEY felt was right, not because they knew I'd repeat it.


Don't get me wrong; It definitely doesn't hurt to tell someone inquiring about a young woman an act of chessed that she has done. But to assume that the only reason we do things is so that people will tell stories about us in the way of Shidduchim? Please.

One thing I DID do for the sake of Shidduchim, though: I kept my mouth shut for once.


At 10/04/2008 7:19 PM, Anonymous big bro #2 said...

Example number 582 on his blog of ONE woman who makes a moronic statement that you turn into a generalization (i.e. all people assume that everything you do is for shidduchim).

At 10/04/2008 7:44 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I had a feeling you would come up with something like that.
I doubt it was the same woman who said it to me, and others who'd report the same thing. You're not in it, so how would you know if people say it all the time?

It is a general attitude in the chareidi community, especially when young women reach a certain age.

At 10/05/2008 11:51 AM, Anonymous big bro #2 said...

"It is a general attitude in the chareidi community, especially when young women reach a certain age."

If so, then it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. For instance, I know a guy in Brooklyn who started wearing a hat on Shabbos when he was about 40, when his daughter was about 18. I remember hearing people commenting that he was doing it for their shidduchim. Without asking him, how do they know? Maybe he had a spiritual epiphany and wants to wear one for the sake of wearing one?

Suppose he doesn't wear a hat. Then he's an oddball. He's arrogant because he thinks he can get shidduchim without conforming.

Can't win.

At 10/05/2008 5:49 PM, Blogger The Babysitter said...

I have 2 sides to this.
At first it did sound like she was treating you like a little kid. But it could be because she know's your at the stage of shidduchim she supposes you would enjoy some shidduch humor, so she turns what happened into a shidduch related thing to make it personable to you.
But yet, it could be she was saying it in a sincere way, I know for myself I could never think of stuff, I mean I have a hard time imagining stuff. So if I am faced with a situation with a chance to remember something then I would take note of it. What I mean to say is, that it could be hard for these people to think of things to say about you when people ask, so now that something occurs, they take note of it, so they have something to say. Not that it's the only thing about you, but it is something, and it does count.

At 10/05/2008 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter how she meant it, the end result is very patronizing. The problem I see (and no, this is not just a generalization, I've had too many personal experiences with this)is that there is a lack of respect in the frum community for single girls/women. Like you said, you're not five years old. That's just not the way you'd talk to an adult (regardless of whether or not you plan to use this as information if you are called about a shidduch).

At 11/17/2008 6:42 AM, Blogger JOE L. said...

I didn't get the sitting in the middle of the back seat. Can anyone explain Y?

At 11/18/2008 7:30 PM, Blogger The Babysitter said...

Joe L: I understand why to sit in the back so that the other ladies don't have to shlep to the back seat and it's usually more squishier back there. But I'm not sure about the middle part.

At 12/01/2008 3:09 PM, Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

Joe and Babysitter-

I think it's because the middle seat has the least amount of legroom, and thus is the least desirable seat in the car. If I'm in a full car I'll usually offer to sit in the middle because I'm shorter than everyone else and need less legroom.

At 5/14/2009 1:08 PM, Anonymous George said...

I’m also in the dating world and hate it when people make comments like that woman did. It’s comments like those that add even more pressure to get married quickly – or else! My response would be “Please do me a favor and don’t say anything about me – Douche Bag!”


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