Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shavuos 2009 - a Love-Hate affair

I caress them. Perfection. They have eluded me for years. The vision of dreams. Found, after months of searching in the malls of the holy land.
I slip them on. The shoes I've always wanted. I admire my reflection in front of the narrow pine mirror. There is something about a good pair of heels that can make even a covers-the-knee-when-sitting-down-skirt look hot (or so I'm hoping, at least)
I teeter off to shul.

After davening I practice my chatting-up skills. Standing by the bulletin board, pretending to scan the shiurim schedule, I strike up a conversation. By the end of it we've arranged to meet at the first shiur of the night.
(For those who think aidel bais yaacov girls have no opportunity for flirting, let me correct the misconception. We flirt just as much, but with stout middle aged women, instead of young cute guys. We dress the look, talk the talk, walk the walk. Learn how to make eye contact, smile, joke, exchange telephone numbers. Every woman is a potential mother of/aunt of/neighbor of a "boy", and must be treated with due interest.)

Supper is spent in bright pink crocs. It's just family, so who cares. Only when it's time for my night of shtark learning do I force my feet back into patent leather, which is beginning to look (well mainly feel) distinctly less appealing, and return to the bais medrash, this time clenching my teeth as I walk. Beauty is pain, or so I was told countless times in camp, when my amateur-hairdresser friends did their best to yank or singe my hair into submission.

After a couple of those modern orthodox type shiurim, the ones with the perpetual source sheets that everyone tries to foist back onto the speaker as soon as he closes his mouth, I see that the rest of the night, despite being billed for "All", has a list of topics starting with "Bava", and followed by Aramaic. The Women's sections remains closed off. Apparently the shul isn't quite that modern, and we are expected to return home, to recuperate from the cheese cake making perhaps.
I step outside, into the darkness. Bid farewells and begin the trek home.

The road is deserted, aside for a shaggy white dog, who thankfully can’t speak well enough to report back to society on what he's about to witness.
I slip off my shoes. I dangle the straps in my hand, my stockinged feet now lying against the cool and rough cement. Blisters and agonising self inflicted torture are forgotten. It feels like heaven. I tread back, in the moonlight, through a path strewn with blossoms. Freedom. For one night at least.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good - Bad- Good (not my usual style)

Layers.

On the surface I'm a saint. However hard I try to look hot, sexy, rebellious, I always end up giving off the same good–Bais-Yaacov-girl vibes. Frum, sweet, innocent, that's me.

Yet underneath lie all the needs, the wants. The guys I'd flirt with if I could work up the nerve. The times I've done more than that, and let's not go there. The mini skirts and tight jeans I'd love to wear. The Brachos I usually forget to say, the Davening I often miss. The times I've thought "Oh,what the hell!", and rifled through my Muktzah purse on Shabbos, to fish out earrings, or a key. The god I get angry with, sometimes. The god I forget about, or try to, when there are things I want more.

A hypocrite, I was scared of being. Bad under good, wants under wishes.

But I don't think I am. A hypocrite, that is. Because underneath it burns that flame. That holy-light-inside-every-Jew thing, of Carlebach songs and Chasidic tales. The me looking for truth, the me who stocks a shelf with Rav Hirsh's and Rav Dessler, between the Grishams and the Archers. The me who on rare occasions actually manages to pray, for real. The me that cares, that loves.

We hear about two forces, good and evil, having their little battles inside us. But I think there are three. Good, then bad, then good.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Charedim on Facebook

Take nice sweet aidel innocent Chareidi girls, put them on facebook, and what do you get?

D-A-N-G-E-R

Not because they hook up with guys, not because their photos are up there for the whole world to see.

They simply have no sense of what-not-to-post-in-public.

On my B-Day, my wall gets filled up with posts wishing me "Find a Chassan soon!", "Meet your Besherte this year!"

I mean, have you ever?

No pressure or anything..

As it is my less chareidi friends think my society is insane, this will only confirm it.

What next, shidduch suggestions on my wall?

Oh yeah, and I've even been asked to join a Sheitel Macher fan club.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's my hair, I swear!

I'm tired of sticking my hair under the shower head, rinsing off the shampoo, pulling through a comb, stepping outside, and having to prove to the world that, no, I'm not wearing a wig, and yes, it's my own hair.

If it looks good- it's obviously a top of the range wig.
If you're having a bad hair day- it must be you're wearing last year's wig, which got singed while you were slaving over the kitchen stove.
Whatever I do to my hair, whatever look I pick- long, short, straight, curly - people keep on assuming it’s a wig!
I thought of going for the green hair with spikes look, but I doubt that would help. Don't Purim wigs look something like that?

"What’s your maiden name?" Asks the random lady I've just met and am making small talk with, in the hopes she'll set me up with the love of my life.

"Do you have kids?" asks the old classmate I bump into in town.

I guess if 90% of the Charedi female population over 19 is wandering around in a wig, there's no reason for them to think I am any different. Probably it's the same in L.A with nose jobs.

"It's because you look and act like an adult", explains one married friend. Adult = Married?

"It's because you wear your hair down", explains another. Single = Ponytail? No, the ponytail Shaitel is in. Maybe braids?
(Yet she does have a point. On those days where I venture out in a ponytail, the question at Kiddushes changes to "Have you finished school?", and in Israel, school does NOT mean college. Then, instead of clarifying that I don't have kids, I get to relate that I've finished high school, AND finished seminary, AND graduated from college, and am now working. All the time seeing the "18 + 1 + ? + ?" additions going on in my questioner's head, with them unsuccessfully attempting to work out how old I actually am.)

So much talk about married women being mistaken for free-as-the-wind, but the singles-in-shaitels phenomena is much more worrying! Who will think to set us up, if we are already married? Shidduchim for adulterers haven't as yet caught on, as far as I know.

I think I've found the true cause of the "Shidduch crisis".

Anyway, this Lag Baomer, I want to have a singles wig-burning-bonfire. Come, and bring a (hopefully male and eligible) friend! I've invited the dudes from the Meah Shearim to help out, they have a lot of experience.

Meanwhile I've come to terms with my married status. Hey, the store keepers are calling me "Gveret"! That's a plus!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Clever girls are Ugly

"His Mom wants to see your picture".

"No way. Sorry, I don't do pictures"

"She says she won't show him, it's only for her to see."

"She can ask everyone what I look like; height, weight, hair color, eye color, length of nose, promince of cheekbones, whatever she wants. "

"No, that's not good enough. She says her son wants to date a clever girl, and most clever girls are ugly. So she needs to check."

Have you ever?! Intelligent Women of the World, let us unite.

Shidduch Resumes are out, Interactive DVDs are in

19th Century- Yente the Shadchan.
20th Century-The Resume.
For the 21st century- The Shidduch DVD! More graphic, more interactive, more in depth coverage.
Wait, should I be telling you this before I've patented it?

OK, I confess, I've never actually written a shidduch resume. (The first time I heard of them, I was sure it was a joke.)

I did write out an email with all my "info", a couple of weeks ago. A woman at work wanted "details". Plus the required phone numbers of friends, family friends, and rabbis.
So I wrote it all out, and pressed send.
A few days later, someone else at work wanted the same "info".
"No problem!", I said. This time all I needed to do was press forward.
So here I am, pressing forward every couple of days, and thinking I've got the "finding out" stage covered.

Then it struck me. Text documents are so out of date. I mean, how much can words in black and white convey? What every girl in Shidduchim needs is an interactive DVD.
This may sound like a lot of work, but it's worth the investment. From now on, no more conversations, no more emails, no more photos. Simply burn a few million DVDs and hand them out to every random stranger you come across.
Intro- Pics of Miss Maidel from birth until the present.
Interviews with Rabbis and Friends (and Police, for ex cons)- They get interviewed once and voila, they are rescued from the repetitive phone calls. Links will be provided for each contact, with options to email, SMS, and phone.
Interview with all first, second, and third degree relatives- Providing information on themselves (the family is also important!), and their description of and relationship with Miss Maidel.
Interview with the star herself- of key importance for seeing her figure, posture and body language.
If it all looks good, the prospective marriage partner (or his Shadchan) can decide to try out with the "Am I right for her?" quiz. At each stage he is asked about a different essential criteria (e.g. Age, Yeshiva, Height, I.Q, Bank Balance, Family Tree, etc.).
If one of Mr.Maybe's answers doesn't pass the test, the DVD immediately switches off with the encouraging message of "It's not Shayach for Miss Maidel. Much Hatzlacha in finding your Basherte!"
If, by some miracle (that's why it's compared to the splitting of the red sea) all of Mr. Maybe's details match Miss Maidel's requirements, we can progress on to the final stage. Fireworks, and..drumroll.. Miss Maidel's phone number flashes on the screen.
The lucky winner now has two options, printing out her phone number, or designing the wedding invitations.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Underground Independence Day

Charedim are anti Zionist, right? I mean everyone knows that.

So how come black hats have been spotted, near picnic tables and grilling meat?! This on Yom Ha'azmaut itself, no less. Perhaps they got the date mixed up with Lag Ba'omer? Let us be Dan LeKaf Zchus.

Casual investigation amongst friends turns up the fact that the majority of us celebrated Y.A this Wednesday, with the traditional family BBQ.

Me: "So, we had this party, well actually a BBQ, everyone's on vacation you see.."

Her: "Oh, us too. We do every year. Just because of it being a vacation, of course.."

This year we even invited the neighbors, him a black hatted Kollel Avreich and all. We were a trifle scared of ruining my Shidduch reputation, but decided to risk it. They were keen on the idea, and promised to still say I'm Charedi, the next time someone calls to "find out" about me.

I wonder if this is going on in the heart of Bnai Brak too? It's certainly happening in the best neighborhoods in Jerusalem (minus Meah Shearim that is)

In fact, not even the Shtarkest of Seminaries is safe from this scourge. I remember when I climbed onto the roof of my Seminary on the Eve of Y.A, in Shana Aleph, after hearing lectures against Hertzl and his buddies all day. (No, I had no plans to jump, I just wanted to see the fireworks better.) There I found a group of Shana Bet girls, no less. (For the unitiated, Shana Bet is when you become genuinely hardcore vs. the first year's lightly brainwashed.) They were holidng little paper Magen Dovid flags, and were in the midst of cool Y.A rooftop picnic...

I have a great idea for next Yom Ha'Atzmaut, for all the poor genuine anti-Zionist Charedim, who haven't been invited to any BBQs. They can go on BBQ hunts, with the cry of "burn the infidels". This kind of travesty really shouldn't be permitted in our midst.