Hi. I’m the “shallow thinker” from two weeks ago. I read all the responses to my question, and I’m wondering if the real answer is rooted in a different problem in the shidduch system.
Dehaynu: It is well-known that girls dump boys a lot more than boys dump girls, at least according to the people I speak to. This phenomenon, I presume, is due to the simple fact that boys have a lot more choices than girls. Many boys’ parents have lists of girls to choose from, and they can therefore take their time inquiring and gathering a lot of information about a prospective date, pinpointing who is the most compatible among the names.
The girl, on the other hand, does not have the privilege of picking from a whole list of boys. She only has a shot at a specific boy who gives a yes to her. This, in turn, means that a girl has much fewer choices.
Now, since the girls’ choices are much fewer than the boys’ under our current system, there is reason to believe that when a girl gets a yes, she will give a yes even though her parents did much less information-gathering than the boy did before giving his yes. The mindset behind this is, “Even though we are afraid that there are deal-breakers in this shidduch, nevertheless, since we don’t get a chance at a shidduch so often, why not give it a chance? Maybe the maylos of the boy will outweigh this or that deal-breaker.” This leads to the girl going out with the boy relying only on a chance that it will work out.
With this background, we have an understanding of why girls say no more than boys do, because, too often, this “chance” that the girl was relying on indeed does not come to fruition, and she is left with the deal-breaker and does not want to continue with the shidduch.
If all of these assumptions are correct, then I believe – obviously from the perspective of a bochur in shidduchim – that this is totally unacceptable. We all know that what a boy has to do for a date is a lot harder than what a girl has to do. The boy has to get a car, find a place to go to, think of conversation topics, and spend the money. All the girl has to do is “do” her hair and be all ready to be “wined and dined,” so to speak. It is therefore very obvious why it is simpler for a girl to say yes to a shidduch idea, even though there’s a significant chance that it won’t work out, because the work she has to do is minimal.
In my opinion, it is extremely unfair to put a boy through this rigorous, anxiety-filled process because the girl and her parents have a small tzad that it will work out. Why do I have to spend time, energy and money because maybe it will work out?
This is the reasoning behind my frustration. It is not because I got dumped (trust me, I got over it by now), but rather because of the fact that we have to go on four dates and spend time, energy and money until the girl finally comes to the realization that the deal-breaker will remain a deal-breaker and just can’t be ignored. Just do the full information before, and stop taking these chances.
Am I justified in my taynah? If I’m not, please elaborate where I have gone wrong.
To begin with, it would very much appear that whoever labeled you as a “shallow thinker” did so rather speciously.
That noted, although you have made some points which I do feel have merit, I believe that you have also made some fallacious assumptions regarding some of the most critical areas along the way and that, consequently, your maskana is incorrect. Granted that point A neatly leads into point B, and so on, and even though the progression appears intellectually sound, I believe there are cracks in the foundation. U’kshnisroieiyah hayesoid, nuflah habinyan.
As I see it, you have put forth a six-step sequence, and I would like to go through them one-by-one in order to share with you where I feel you are correct and where I feel you are not.
Step 1. Young women end shidduchim with greater frequency than do young men.
This point sounds viable; however, I do not personally have the data at hand to know one way or the other if that is true. That being the case, I am willing to accede you that step.
Step 2. Young women in shidduchim have less options being presented to them than do their male counterparts.
It is my opinion that this point is correct. I believe most people agree to that.
Step 3. Ergo, young women are more likely to say yes to a shidduch that is either questionable or nebulous as to its likelihood of being successful.
While I do not believe that this can be said for every young woman in shidduchim, as some are plenty selective – regardless of how many options they may or may not have – overall, I believe this point is more often correct than not.
Step 4. A young man must work harder on dates, e.g. rent cars, spend money, decide where to go, and what to talk about, than must a young woman, who has only minimal work to do for a date, e.g. make her hair nice and preparing for an evening of chivalrous courtship.
It is at this crucial junction where I believe you have fallen off track, and made some rather unappreciative assumptions. Even if we are to accept your assertion as correct, that is how it is supposed to be. Derech ha’ish leilech achar ha’isha – it is the responsibility of the man to pursue the woman. The man is expected to do more and to spend more than the woman when it comes to shidduchim. That is the way it is meant to be, and there should be no resentment towards this charge, because that is what the Torah expects.
Additionally, practically speaking, I believe that young women may very well be working just as hard as the young men when it comes to dating. I fear that you are not fully appreciating what young women must do before, during, and after a date, and that you are discounting how much work the bnos yisroel put into dating.
To expound just a little bit, in a day and age where many young women are commonly expected to send pictures of themselves to the young man’s side before they deem her worthy of a date, could one really believe that all there is to be done is for her to comb her hair and walk out the door? It takes a considerable amount of time for a young woman to put on her make-up, get her hair to be just right, and decide on an outfit and shoes that she hopes will impress. All this coupled with the anxiety of not knowing if, at the very least, she will be deemed put together enough to be worthy of a second date.
Furthermore, because so many young women and their families are expected to supply the brunt of the parnassah while her husband learns in kollel, and because most families cannot support fully, young women who are dating are very often also in school and/or working to ensure that there will be enough money coming in for her to get yesses for dates. It is no small task to manage all those things and also have the time and energy to date at 100% capacity.
Finally, although it may be the young man who is expected to lead the conversation and make sure to have discussion topics at the ready, the young woman must be equally prepared to engage in the dialogue and prove to be a proficient conversationalist if she is to get a yes for another date. Not to mention, there will always be conversation topics that the young woman would like to discuss which the young man may not bring up, and she must then be ready to offer up those topics in order to know if the shidduch is what she is looking for and if she would like to continue.
In short, I believe you are quite mistaken in believing that young women work any less hard on dating that do young men.
Step 5. Due to the fact that young women have only minimal work to do on a date, it makes it easier for them to accept questionable shidduchim and then discard them out of hand if they prove to not work out.
Again, although I do agree with you that overall it is likely true that young women will say yes to shidduchim which they are not entirely sure about, I do not believe at all that they just end shidduchim willy-nilly.
Young women very often have no assurance as to if and when another yes that is at least somewhat shayach will come their way. They are fully aware that if they say no, it may be months before another solid opportunity presents itself, and I do not believe they take the decision to end shidduchim lightly whatsoever.
Additionally, based on your narrative, it appears that you may have been told no after three or four dates on a handful of occasions, and this pattern has become frustrating. Perhaps how you are conducting yourself and how you are coming off on your dates are influencing this repetitious conclusion. It is also conceivable that you are the one saying yes to questionable suggestions, and that it is you who should be more diligent in your shidduch research before saying yes. Instead of assuming that the root of the problem is entirely external, it would be worth considering the possibility that it is internal as well.
It also possible that you are doing everything properly and it’s just the luck of the draw that has put you out. Either way, it would be advisable to take a step back and remember that shidduchim do not always go as quickly or easily as we would hope and that three or four dates to ascertain if someone is right for us before getting more serious or deciding to move on is really quite normal. Doing so may prove to alleviate your frustration significantly.
Step 6. In conclusion, it is unfair to the young man to have to waste his time, energy, and money on dates which should never have taken place to begin with, and, therefore, young women and their families should be more assiduous when researching before saying yes, and should only say yes when they are all but certain that no potential deal-breakers are lying in wait.
Given that young men today hold so many significant advantages over the young women who are in shidduchim, it seems only fair to me that young women and their families are afforded a little leeway in their decision to say yes in the hopes that a shidduch will pan out in the end. Spending the extra time, effort, and money, is not only incumbent on the young man’s side, al pi din, it is also a pittance to pay in exchange for finding one’s eishes chayil with whom he can spend the rest of his life, b’ezras Hashem.
It is my hope that you will strongly consider the areas where you may be mistaken, and fully acknowledge how much is put into the shidduch process by the young women you are dating.
May the Kol Yachol bring you your zivug speedily and may you be zocheh to build a bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel, b’karov mamash.