Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fast forward to 2050

The year is 2050.
Yankele arrives at the gates. He tugs up at the navy blue sleeve of his school sweater, and flashes an armband at the metallic sign attached to the brick wall. A cryptographic protocol is deployed, Yankele and the school authenticate themselves, each verifies that the other is kosher, and that the kashrut certification was not revoked, or "cheremed", as the elders call it. The gates slide open, and Yankele is allowed into the hallowed sanctuaries of the Yeshiva day school. (The elders are rather proud of their two way authentication scheme. Before it was only possible to make sure the student is kosher, but what would happen if the school would rise in revolt, and overstep the proper boundaries? Now it's possible by one simple command to have the school shut down)
Inside the building Yankele stops to greet friends, both first checking that the other is kosher according to their families minhagim. Parents can program in permitted kosher associates for their children either individually, according to family, neighborhood, or even sect. (It's a very flexible system, and caters for all.)
Lessons are given by kosher and trustworthy teachers. The boys (girls would certainly not be considered kosher in school territory) then filter from the school yard and onto the surrounding streets.
Yankele heads home. He walks with eyes downcast. Occasionally he tentatively stretches his armband skyward, searching for kashrut certification . When a beep of approval is sounded, he lifts his head, to take in the rabinically certified poster or advertisement. (Eyes must be guarded at all times. The streets are still covered with pritzus, despite the elder's best efforts. )
A smell wafts through the air; meat roasting, chips frying. Yankele is hungry. He checks his armband (Which also conveniently serves as a watch, the elders thought of everything!). There is still time. He steps inside the take out restaurant, and purchases a cheese burger. He bites in, savoring the texture, and the taste. Finally an innocent pursuit, not requiring the rabbinical certifying board's stamp of approval.
Yankele's kosher certified phone rings, he pulls it out and flips it open. "Hi Mom, I'm on my way home, don't worry".
Passersby hear a once sided conversation, interrupted by chews and sips of coke.
"Oh, I stopped off for a snack on the way home"
"Where? In McDonalds. "
"Tatte? What's wrong Tatte?!"
"But I didn't know food had to be kosher too!"

Reasons to dump a potential zivug

Yes, you've done the 3 months background checking, but nonetheless, potentially problematic suitors can slip through the net. Things to watch out for, i.e. if you spot it, dump it and run like hell!

1. Chipped nail varnish- forget the aesthetics, and the put together look issues, this is Chatziza! Obviously she's got her priorities wrong. (Oh, if it’s the guy wearing the nail varnish, dump him even if it's not chipped.)
2. Orders malt beer- it may not be alchoholic, but it's so unfeminine. Plus maybe it's her way of surviving an hour without the real thing, get in touch with the A.A.
3. Orders a mint tea in a non mehadrin place- for some reason only guys do this. Maybe they are too busy shteiging gemorra to learn the nitty gritty of bug checking
4. Guy compliments the girl- big no no. See below post for elaboration.
5. Guy opens doors for the girl, and lets her walk ahead- any serious yeshiva bochur knows rabbis banned this. The reasoning: If the girl walks in front the bochur will end up checking out her rear end. Also, Talmidei Chachamim deserve respect! " ladies first" is a goyishe idea.
6. Girl arrives in a car- guy feels emasculated, and we wouldn't want that. Problems arise when girl parks car around the corner, so the guy won’t know, and said guy then wants to escort said girl home.
7. Guy arrives in any attire other than black (plain, not pinstriped) suit and black fedora. Girl arrives with any clothing not recommended by Rav Falk's "Oz VeHadar Levusha" .
8. Girl points out inconsistencies in guy's rebbe's carefully memorized devar torah.
9. Guy/Girl don't say Shehakol (only bracha needed, since food is assur) loudly, slowly and with Kavana. Guy/Girl don't answer Amen to date's bracha.
10. Guy notices the waitress/ girl notices the waiter. Avoid any eye contact with members of the opposite sex- possibly including your date, depending on social circles.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Only status I care about

What I’d really like to post on Facebook:

"..still hates first dates, one looming up tonight"

"..hates first dates for a reason. God what a nightmare."

"..finito."

"..is crossing (magen doviding?) my fingers, maybe this one'll be the one?"

"..has finally found a normal charedi guy!"

"..is broken hearted"

"..is feeling desperate, anyone?"

I mean who are we kidding, the only status on my mind is my single/dating one.

And before you people tell me to get a life, I already have one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On the Road

Take 1.
I feel his breath on my neck. I shift position, so that his thigh isn't pressed against mine. His arm is raised, grasping the rubber grip handing from the ceiling. As the bus circles the hillside, we tilt slightly, I grip the floor with my feet, close to falling into the circle of his arms.
At least the guy behind me is cute. An old and entirely unappealing man stands in front of me. Bulging out in every direction. Wearing an old pair of pants that keeps slipping down. We are close enough for me to count the bristles on his chin. As the bus comes to a sudden halt, he falls back into me.

Cut. Take 2.
"So tell me, don't datiyot have boy friends?"
"No."
"Chamuda, you're not looking for a boy friend?"
"No. "
"We could have a lot of fun together you know."
"That's the address. Thanks."
I give him the fare and get out, slamming the cab door behind me.

And the list can go on and on.
Did you know that it's not modest for women to drive? Women attract too much attention behind the wheel.
Plus if women learned to drive, they won't need men to drive them. That's not a good idea. Women should rely on men for all things in life, aside from Chas VeChalila earning a living.
Buses and Cabs are a much more Tznius way of getting around for a frum girl.
Heck, even hitchhiking, why not?

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I miss in shidduch dates

The night before: I pick what I'm going to wear (I'll spare you the shopping sagas). I empty out an entire drawer of tights, and eventually find a pair with no ladders or holes in the toes. I do my hair, nails, eyebrows, legs. I pack makeup, find a lipstick between some magazines, and shove that into my bag too.
The morning of: I scramle out of bed, and sit for a long long time on a stuffy bus, trying to daven against a background of Mizrachi music and R&B.
The day of: Slaving a way in front of a computer all day, monotony only broken by meetings and lectures. In between emails, call hairdresser.
The evening of: Cancel a meeting with my boss, grab bulky bag, and hail a taxi.
Arrive at hairdresser, wash hair in her sink (We're low tech in Israel), then have a soul-to-soul on what was wrong with the last guy, while she does her stuff.
Hail a second taxi.
In random location (friend's pad/changing rooms in mall/hotel bathroom) wriggle out of the long skirt and into a short one, out of flats and into heels (unless the guy's my height, which sucks), out of t shirt and into one of those trying-to-be-pretty-and-tznius-but-not-fully-succeeding-at-either tops.
In front of random mirror, in said random location, smear on foundation,eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lipstick.
Hail a third taxi.
In taxi, fish in handbag for earrings, necklace, and other random accesossries.
The shidduch date:
Sit on sofa, diagonally across from random guy in black hat and black jacket and tie-that-supposedly-shows-yeshiva-bachur's-personality (never quite figured out how that works, is it the stripes vs. the polka dots where they get to express their taste?)
Sip the infamous soft drink.
Discuss yeshiva's, seminaries, free will, how lucky we are to be religious, and the weather.
Go home.
Ok, so guys , what's missing here? Aside from the honest or at least amusing conversation. Aside from the fun. Aside from the movie. Aside from the music. Aside from the meal.
"You look nice tonight/ You have a lovely smile/ You look pretty in that." One little complinent. The only time I got a compliment on a shidduch date, it was "you have pretty hands". Now, where on earth is that coming from? And even that was pretty daring, you can tell he was – *gasp* - modern.
Yeah, I know that it's shallow, and they can be fake, and they are after one thing, blah blah, but I'm a woman, and I enjoy it, and now, I miss it. All that work, it would be nice to get some feedback.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chatting

"Frum or Modern?"
"Can't I be both?"
"You know what I mean."
"Frum", I type. Can't get away from it, even on the Web.
"Chasidic?"
"No." I sigh. Close the private message window. On second thoughts, open it again. What the hell.
"Married?"
"No."
"Age?"
"22, u?"
"28."
"Cool. But you're married of course. What's wrong with her?Too many pregnancies?"
"No, just I felt like a change. One woman,for all these years, same body, same positions. It loses it's excitement"
"I C".
"So, what are you wearing ,baby?" . I know where that's leading to. I close the window. There are ten other minimized windows, flashing neon orange , I'll concentrate on those guys.
____
Why do I chat?
I used to think it was for male contact. All girl school, all girl camps, no brothers the right ages to bring friends over and turn our home into an unnoficial hangout, no friends with cute older brothers, basically, no guys at all. I could have gone semi off the derech and "hung out" with guys , but there weren't any cute american rebel types in the neighborhood. I didn't fancy the spiky, greasy and bleached blonde "franks" lounging by the makolet. Plus I didn't really know how to do it. Go off the derech I mean.
So instead I chatted. Americans, Israelis, all teenagers. Met a couple, nothing major.
Then I went to Sem. Flipped out. No men, no movies, no "A/S/L"ing. I'll meet my besherte on a shidduch date, one day, no need for anyone else.
And now? I spend my most of my waking hours surrounded by men, between work and dating . The inner workings of their mind no longer fascinate me, nor does a behind the scenes of yeshiva life. I've heard more than I ever want to or need to about yeshivas, while sipping the customary cokes. Why come home and turn on the computer? Why log in and start the old A/S/L game again?
Is it for the flirting? Could be. Although I do that at work, in a low key way, (no "what are you wearing?"s there.)
Loneliness? Nah, friends are one thing in life i've been lucky with.
Boredom? No, with a career, studies, dating, travelling, and just plain living, my life is pretty full.
I think it's for the anonymity,a way to chill, to vent, to be myself. No pretense, no facades. In some ways the internet is more real than real life. The virtual world goes by what they say, not on how they look or what they wear, not on how they speak or where they live. Yeah, real life can be pretty shallow. Especially chareidi life.
Or is it addiction? The dreaded word. Maybe it is.
What do you think?

Shidduch "Most"ests

Funniest: Wandering around a graveyard, thinking it's a park. Took ages for us to realise where we really were.
Made me feel Guiltiest: Being sent love letters by a guy I dumped.
Most Clicheish: hard to say, I've done them all. Coca cola in the Sheraton Plaza Lobby along with every other hotel in Jerusalem, Moonlight walk in Yemin Moshe, Cafe Hillel in Emek Refaim, Cafe Rimon in Mamilla, Tayelet in Yaffo. If there's something I missed, let me know, I'm sure I've been-there-and-done-that too.
Most Annoying: Having a guy arrive an hour late vies with the not being taken even to a bus stop. Davka the one time I hadn't brought a lot of spare cash. And they were both Brits! Why do people think the British have manners?
Weirdest: Seing a guy I'd just broken up with, after a rather intense relationship,also on a date, and not being able to say anything to him.
Funnest: Still waiting. Never had a truly fun date, the fun stuf I do with the non fun guys, so it doesn't help, and the fun guys I end up in the standard shidduch places with.
Most Repetitive: Being told about the windmill in Yemin Moshe, every guy feels he needs to share that with me, when we land up there on a trying-to-be-romantic-but-not-succeeding walk.
Most Pointless question: "How many kids do you want to have?", only ever asked that by BTs. I'm never sure if that's the appropriate time to launch into the torah view on birth control with them.
Saddest: Being dumped, when he was the first and only guy so far I've wanted to marry.

Why I'm still single- as a Chutznik

Some guy asked me that, one moonlight night, when I thought he was about to propose. Anyway, you, dear reader, didn't ask me this romantically, under the stars, but here's the answer all the same.
Aside from G-d, and his plans (yes, I'm sure he features heavily in the equation, I am religious after all) and aside from me being kind of picky (no, shadchanim, I didn't really admit that, this blog is ANONYMOUS), I'd account a lot of it to falling between two worlds.
We, chareidi children of Olim, are neither here nor there.
We can choose to be Israeli, but that means giving up so much. Thinking for ourselves, for a start. Accepting others, educating ourselves and our children, and so much more than that. I don't want to tar and feather all of Israeli chareidi society, but yes, that's what it would be to me, if I married one of the Israeli boys I've dated.
And Americans? Making aliyah was a struggle, learning the language, figuring out how to make it here. And this is our land, the Jewish land. I want to live here, stay here, raise my kids here. I don't want to go back. Not many Americans have the same dream, they usually want to "see how things go". They are tied to the hamburgers and the easy life. Plus easy lives make for immature men..
So that's me, caught in the middle.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PS. Why I'm gonna burn in hell

So I tell this woman (i.e woman whom I know, I'm not one of these just-made-aliyah-and-thinks-every1-in-israel-is-my-best-friend-so-talk-to-strangers-on-the-bus chicks) that I'm coming from a wedding.

This is a lie.

NO, this is not why i'm gonna burn in hell. The general consensus if that you're allowed to lie about dates (this is for the uniniated among you)

Why don't I say I was on a date? I honestly don't know, I mean it's no state secret.

So I was at a wedding, right? I'm sipping my Ice coffee, and about to pull out Center 1's finest onion pizza, when it hits me.

Wedding = Meat, Pizza = Milk.

Ok, so I'll wait with the pizza. I carry on sipping my ice coffee. I guess I'm kind of slow. I remember that Ice Coffee also = Milk.

May as well burn in hell for the pizza too. I pull it out and bite.

You hear guys? This is what coke-only-dates drives me to!!

Eating on Shidduch dates

Of all the unwritten rules floating around charedi society, this has got to be the one that does the most to make my life a misery.
Why can't I eat on a shidduch date?!
Did you know that sharing a meal with a guy is practically equivalent, to , well, sharing a bed with him?
Apparently eating is an intimate, bonding experience.
Sigh.
And here was me wanting to eat because I'm hungry. Been out at work all day, smeared on fresh makeup, stripped and dressed up in my sexiest tznius clothes (is that an oxymoron?) in one smooth motion, and run out of the house to sit in a cafe, surrounded by food, and sip a coke.
Yeah, sip a coke. For three hours. Till midnight! If I was in a desert island I guess I could survice. But in a restaurant?!
I know, I know, Charedi guys learn in Yeshiva. They don't have cash. Their dads are probably rabbis, so they are rock bottom broke also.
So what? I'll pay!
But I can't pay, won't work, no self respecting black hatter will let a BY girl pay..way too feminist..
Let's look on the bright side, if a girl isn't skinny when she enters the shidduch scene, I guarantee she'll be a walking broomstick after a couple of months of dating! Unless she does what I do, and fresses on post-date-pizza in Center 1.