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Yated Shidduch Forum 7/24/20: Why do Boys Have to Say Yes First?


As a boy inshidduchim, I am easily able to see the significant advantage that boys have over girls in getting dates. Usually, a boy will just have to flip through a pile of résumés and pick the one that he feels is most suited for him (which is actually harder than it seems. But still). A girl, on the other hand, can wait for months before even getting the opportunity to start ”legally” researching.

Why does the system have to be set up this way? Why do boys have to give the first yes? Maybe, instead of the system that we have in place now, we should have it that when someonereddsashidduch, the resumes should be given to both sides, and either side can give the yes first. Personally, if I were to be given a resume which I know the other side is interested in pursuing, that would take precedence (given that it looks compatible) over the others, because of the added security of knowing that I will not be met with a no after all that work in researching.

Am I missing something here?


Though no shortage of arguments have been made with respect to the optimal order of résumé issuance, and there are certainly times when women do receive the résumé first, it appears to me that you have essentially answered your own question in the final line of the narrative. Namely, that it is preferable to say yes to a young woman who has already agreed to a date – of course, with the caveat that she conforms to one’s criteria for compatibility – in an effort to avoid the inescapable feelings of burnout and rejection that arise when one is turned down after delving into a suggestion and tendering a yes.

Regardless of whether the résumés are sent to both parties at the same time, or to one side before the other, someone has to say yes first. And the one who shoulders that responsibility does so knowing full well that their acceptance may be met with disinterest and dismissal. There is no way around it. 

Hence, should résumés be shared with both sides simultaneously, I would imagine the following outcome: a. single women will begin to see an uptick in résumés being sent their way, b. single men will continue to gather far more options than their counterparts, and c. accordingly, instead of women effectively receiving greater dating opportunities, they will merely obtain additional rejection, as they start offering yeses to young men who are holding the résumés of 10 other women, and who thus refrain from replying in the affirmative to all the various potentially interested women, since a dater can choose but one yes at a time. 

Essentially, we would be exacerbating the likelihood of a situation where multiple women will have said yes at the same time to the same fellow, as any number of shadchanim could have redd a shidduch between one young man and different young women. In turn, this will lead us to the inevitable consequence of women beginning to bear the greater brunt of rejection on the front end of things, and all with the equifinality of single men having more viable options at their disposal. Only now, they will also enjoy the upper hand in terms of not having to worry about getting a no for a first date when they are so inclined to go out. 

In short, and as was noted in the first sentence of the question presented, men hold many advantages over women when it comes to shidduchim. However, perhaps the one small vestige of sanctuary women are afforded is that when an idea comes their way, it comes with a guaranteed yes, because they generally only receive a résumé once a young man has assented to the shidduch. For a brief period, they sit safely in the driver’s seat, knowing that their research will not be pointless, and deciding whether they should say yes, or whether they should pass. And it seems to me that this is more than fair.

True, dating can be hard for everyone. I do not deny that. But for all that our single men are provided during their time in shidduchim, I do not think it too much to ask that standard operating procedure calls on them to do some work researching – indeed, possibly in vain – and say yes, first. Even if doing so slightly diminishes the otherwise notable degree of security they possess. I believe that conferring this piece of protection on our single women is the least we can do to ease their collective struggles. And in fact, if any particular group should have to man up to putting themselves in this vulnerable position, it should be the men.

May the Adon Haniflaous grant an abundance of menuchas hanefesh to all those who traverse the oft uncertain roads of shidduchim.