I am writing this question an hour after returning from a first date. Twenty minutes after I dropped the girl off, my parents received a phone call from the shadchan. The girl is not interested in going on a second date.
At least I was worth twenty minutes.
I’m fine with that. I’m more than fine. It’s not a shidduch. I’m moving on.
But then I began thinking: What would have happened if I would have rejected the girl in the same fashion? There would have been an outcry. I could already hear all the experts and shadchanim yelling at me for being insensitive and uncaring. I would be rebuked for lacking sensitivity towards the girls, who have it so rough in shidduchim. How, I would be chastised, could I not at least give the girl a second date? Do I even possess a heart?
But for a girl to unceremoniously dispose of me is okay.
Do I sense a double standard?
Although you have rather unequivocally stated that you are more than fine with what has transpired, your narrative, coupled with the fact that you sat down so quickly to pen it to the Yated for validation from the panel and for national reading, indicates to me that you may have transferred your feelings of hurt into a more self-righteous form of machismo.
It is perfectly natural and normal to feel a real sense of pain after an experience such as yours. While it is admirable to accept that not every shidduch was meant to be, and it is healthy to be capable of moving forward with confidence after a shidduch ends, it is neither admirable nor healthy to bury feelings of pain. Being dumped twenty minutes after a date is unkind, there are no two ways about it.
Even if this young woman had noticed something on the date which made it abundantly clear that the shidduch was not shayach (we will return to this shortly), and as such, she notified the shadchan immediately that she would not be going on a second date, at the very least, I believe the shadchan could have given it a little more time before reporting back to you. The immediacy of the trajectory has caused you the completely unnecessary feeling of, as you rightly stated, “having been unceremoniously disposed of.”
I would strongly suggest that you take some time to reflect on how you are feeling, and give yourself the opportunity to process those feelings, before marching on so decidedly. Talk to your parents, talk to your Rabbeim, allow yourself to be completely honest about the experience, and then pick yourself up, stronger for it, and make your next move.
Returning to the specifics of your question, for the most part, I believe it is true that it is incumbent on men to be more sensitive and caring towards women than women need be towards men. Perhaps this makes me old-fashioned, but I do believe, generally speaking, there is a metzius that women are more emotionally affected beings than men are. Yes, there are always exceptions; there are women who are stone cold and men who are experientially very deeply emotional, but I do not think that to be the general rule.
Men and women are equal as humans, but not the same. It is the nature of the briah. If that weren’t the case, dating would be far less complex, and this column would be a far less engaging read.
As such, sometimes the standards going in one direction are not the same going in the other. There are times that this reality asks more of men, as in the matter of sensitivity, and there are times when it asks more of women. Meaning to say, double standards certainly exist, but they are not always bad, wrong, or in need of equilibrium.
However, I do not think that what happened to you is acceptable in either direction, and I decry what was done to you no less than had you done the same to a young woman.
That said, what is then the appropriate way to handle such a situation from the side of the single person who is not interested in a second date?
It is almost always advisable to mull over a first date for at least a few hours; cogitating on how the date went and mentally reviewing the conversations and interactions that took place. All done in order to be to sure that there is really nothing there before concluding that it’s a no-go.
But sometimes that is not the way it goes. There are times when something transpires on a date which makes it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the shidduch is not nogaya. There are also times when nothing specific happens, but it is still crystal clear to one, or both, of the single people, that it is simply not a match. One can recognize that the person they just dated is a fine person with many wonderful qualities, but that those qualities are not a good match for their own needs.
Now, for the most part, I would still dissuade a single person from issuing an instantaneous no. It is my personal opinion, and also that of most shadchanim, Rabbonim, and others involved in shidduchim, that outside of a truly egregious transgression occurring on date, it is advisable to give a shidduch a second chance. Even when a shidduch appears to be undoubtedly not shayach, first appearances are often faulty, and a second date can prove pleasantly enlightening. However, it also the prerogative of every young man or woman to extricate themselves after a first date if they truly feel the shidduch isn’t going anywhere.
When that happens, it is acceptable to tell the shadchan right away that it’s a no for date number two. However, I believe it would be proper mentchlechkeit to also ask the shadchan to wait a little before calling the other side with the news, so as not to offend or hurt anyone due to the suddenness of the decision. And if it did not occur to the declining single to make that request, I would say that the onus of proper mentchlechkeit now falls on the shadchan to wait before placing the call to the other side. It is not always best to go the route of “ripping off the Band-Aid,” especially so when exposing a fresh wound.
Once again, I am sorry that you were treated poorly, and may The Noisein Koach give you the strength to move on towards the next opportunity with confidence, and conviction.