Monday, January 12, 2009

Dating From Home

"Oh, so, y'know who's engaged?" My mother asked.

I just looked at her. "Some 19-year-old pisher," I thought to myself.

"So-and-so's daughter. And you know what? She was never picked up from her own home. She was either picked up from the shadchan's house, or arranged to be picked up from somewhere else." (And, yes, it was her first guy. And she was 18, not 19, silly me.)

"That's ridiculous," I said matter-of-factly.

If it were me picking up the girl, my initial reaction would be, "What is she hiding? What doesn't she want me to see? Why is she so immature?"

"Yeah, but this girl didn't want anyone to know she was dating. She was afraid her neighbors would see," my mother explained.

"I don't know, if you're old enough to date, you're old enough to be seen being picked up for a date."

"Okay, that's your opinion," my ever-so-diplomatic mother replied.

I think I can honestly say that one of my neighbors keeps better track of my dates than I do.

He'll be outside when the guy opens my car door for me (if he has that courtesy) and say something like, "Oh, let me get my garbage cans out of the way..." and take a good look at the dude.

When I went out with a guy with a red car three times, there were questions about "Michelle and the guy with the red car."

When I was standing on a corner (on our first and last date with one another) with my date after a minor fender-bender in the neighborhood, someone assumed I was getting engaged because I was outside with a boy in my neighborhood. "What you saw yesterday is over," I informed this individual, when I met him on the street again the next day. "That's too bad, my son and I thought you were getting engaged." (In this case, I honestly don't think he realized what he said. At his daughter's vort, his wife gave me an actual sincere 'IY"H by you,' so I can't really give this guy a terribly hard time.)

When you are picked up on a date, yes, there is a possibility that you will be seen. I understand that some people's neighbors aren't mature enough to handle seeing their neighbors on a date.

Nevertheless, I find this new "not dating from home" trend idiotic.

Dating in your own neighborhood is another story for another day.

Perhaps a girl who is not mature enough to tolerate being seen being picked up for a date is not mature enough to be dating, period.


At 1/12/2009 3:12 PM, Blogger Something Different said...

Reminds me of when my neighbor got engaged. She told us (my sisters and myself) that we must be the most spaced out people on earth not to notice that our next door neighbor is dating. (She of course notices every time one of us goes on a date...) we told her that we don't think it's spaced out to be too busy to notice our 18 year old neighbor going on a date.

At 1/12/2009 4:04 PM, Blogger Lost And Not Yet Found said...

Nosy neighbors....

At 1/12/2009 4:07 PM, Anonymous Meir said...

I actually like entering a girl's house to meet the mother and/or father. I don't think people should have to meet their in-laws only after they're engaged.

At 1/12/2009 5:07 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Something different -- Right. It's called HAVING A LIFE.

Meir- They prob meet the parents in a public place before they get engaged, I would imagine. But I think there is something to be said for seeing the home as well.

At 1/12/2009 5:08 PM, Anonymous sil said...

Since when is there a correlation between maturity and marriage in the frum world?

At 1/12/2009 9:53 PM, Anonymous big bro #2 said...

Mom is right. You have to understand that some people are so nosy and all they do all day is yenta that I can see why this is not such a horrible idea. In our circles, who cares. But in other circles, I can see this becoming a circus, and I can't kill these people for doing what they did. I don't think it's a matter of maturity. Mom has a few yenta friends, but they're harmless. Imagine a block full of yentas who all have blocks full of yenta friends who are serious yentas.

At 1/13/2009 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, I used to think as you do. Until, that is, I got "burned". When I dated for the first time, I couldn't care less where the initial location was. I didn't flaunt it, obviously, but neither did I feel it was appropriate to go out of our way to sneak around. Well, big mistake- we had a couple boarders living in our house, and it did not take more than a sniff in the wind on their part for their entire school, not to mention our shul, to somehow assume I was getting engaged. *I* was being informed by virtual strangers that I was about to take a step I knew nothing about. If it weren't so irritating, it would have actually been amusing. However, I like my privacy like the next person (in all areas, not only shidduch related), which is why I can now sympathize with people who go to the other extreme. That being said, I still would not do it that way if I could do over, despite my experience. Probably my inclination to thumb my nose at people, but the spiteful side of me *did* want to stop dating him for a while just to give the tongues something further to wag about.

At 1/13/2009 7:22 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

sil - good point :)

Anon - true, but what if the shadchan lives where people know the girl who is dating?

Also, I didn't think about it in terms of having boarders stay in your house. Perhaps that might be a valid excuse...but I am sure these girls do not have boarders staying at their homes.

At 1/13/2009 8:43 AM, Blogger smoo said...

I think Hatzoloh should only stock an IV drip of lashon harah and another of motzei shem ra because that's all jewish people need to be infused with to keep them going.

At 1/14/2009 4:46 PM, Blogger Kaila said...


sorry, but why is this bothering you? so they meet somewhere else. if the girl and the guy don't care, why should you even think about it? why would your mother mention it unless it's to suggest you date in a similar manner? this, to my mind, is yentism at its purest.
there are some legitimate reasons for dating from another home. if it made her more comfortable, it's a legitimate reason. end of story.
you have no reason to suspect immaturity on her part. there's too much suspicion involved in the shidduch process as is. suppose she has difficult parents and doesn't want to involve them until later in the process. in this case, dating from elsewhere is a mature thing to do. and obviously the mother is not going to announce the reason for it. but she doesn't have to announce it because it's none of your business. those neighbors who calculate when you're getting engaged are a pain. and i believe you said they need to get a life. looking into why the girl is dating from outside the home is in the same category. whoever is so upset by this should perhaps find something worthwhile to add to his/her own life.

there are so many dating "systems" out there. most are not "wrong." there is no norm. i think we should all realize that we live in a diverse world and that people have legitimate reasons for doing things we would never consider doing.

to bring up another point, michelle, since when are 19-year-olds categorized as "pishers?" i'm no longer a 19-year-old, but i find that attitude disturbing. is it so terrible that there are 19-year-olds out there who get engaged/married? i'm pretty sure you were dating already when you were 19. and i'm pretty sure you were dating with the intent of getting married. you don't have to be ecstatic when a 19-year-old gets engaged, but why not acknowledge that some of these youngsters are mature enough for marriage and are very happy to be marrying? calling them "pishers" makes you sound...well...bitter. you're not an old maid, so why sound like one?

At 1/14/2009 6:57 PM, Anonymous big bro #2 said...

Agree with Kaila that there are so many variables in every case that to judge fairly would require us to look at each case and its own merits.

But I don't think having an opinion is called being a yenta. We may disagree with Michelle, but she is entitled to think that (a) dating outside the home is ridiculous, and (b) that 19-year-olds are pishers.

At 1/15/2009 11:38 AM, Blogger Kaila said...

big bro-

agreed. having an opinion is not being a yenta. expressing that opinion as if the other opinion has no standing, discussing someone else's situation/life choices when said situation/life choices has nothing to do with any of the people involved in the conversation- that's being a yenta. i see no difference between that and keeping an eye out to make sure you know how many times neighbor x went out with boy y.

as for the 19-year-old pisher business, i didn't mean to indicate that michelle has no right to that opinion. i just wanted michelle to realize how she comes across when she writes something like that. it makes her sound bitter and jealous. i think putting such personal emotion into her writing can negate the purpose of the rest of the piece. if you want to tell the frum world that some 19 yr olds should wait before dating, you need some solid reasons. once you call 19 yr olds "pishers" your credibility goes out the window. since i believe michelle is interested in journalism, i felt it necessary to point that out so she can take note of such remarks in the future.

michelle, i hope you didn't take any of my comments the wrong way. they were not intended to offend.

At 1/15/2009 6:53 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

19-year-olds are pishers. The only reason I was dating at 19 was because we got calls and my parents assumed I wanted to, even though I would have been content waiting until 20, which I think is a decent age.

I am not being a yenta by discussing people who don't date from home. That's ridiculous.

Kaila- I'm not offended. Since this is a BLOG, which is somewhat personal,there is definitely room for me to add my own editorializing. That's why it's MY blog, and not a newspaper article.

In Journalism class, we learned that we can't classify one's death as sad. "Who said it's said?" asked the professor. "The guy at the funeral home is happy, maybe the guy's ex-wife is happy..." But those are rules for journalism.

Note the name of my blog. These are my opinions. Do I guarantee them to be fact? Absolutely not. Just sharing my thoughts. You have every right to disagree as you have.

At 1/15/2009 6:55 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

BTW, when I said "we got calls" I just mean a few. I'm not trying to make it sound like I got a million calls the minute I turned 18.

At 3/27/2009 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is obviously a bit delayed - haven't checked the blog in quite some time...

Question. Why do we care?? Granted, I don't live in Flatbush, and I don't know my neighbors names, or if they've been living next door for a month or 20 years, but why would should anyone cares what the neighbors think?! One should have to change their dating habits in order to make sure they don't fall into some gossip trap?

Do people really all sit around and talk about who and who is getting engaged when? And if there are certain sad, pathetic, individuals who waste their time with such shtuyot instead of doing something productive with their time, then let them talk.

There is no reason a girl should have to change her dating habits to accomodate for nosy neighbors.

P.S. I don't have my dates pick me up from home, simply because I want to pass judgement on them with my parent's input!!


At 5/14/2009 12:58 PM, Anonymous George said...

I don't fully agree with this. Not every date does a girl need to be picked up. Lets say they met in the city which might be more convenient. In some ways just meeting at some coffee house is a more casual way to date and would lessen the unnecessary pressure that often comes with meeting parents right away. In my opinion, these young daters shouldn’t “meet the parents” until well they really want to move forward. Although, I understand things work a little differently in Brooklyn.


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