Frumsatire's post on why he loves being an Orthodox Jew had me itching to write one of my own. So here's the female perspective, on why I'm glad I'm religious. Deep existential reasons aside.
Shomer Negiah- I complain about it endlessly, about how tough it is not to be able to touch my boyfriend, OK, how tough it is not to even HAVE a boyfriend. But, when push comes to shove, being Shomer Negiah is a great excuse to get out of kissing old men on their dry parchment skin, or hugging fat uncles, or basically any physical contact whatsoever with the male species who are, on a whole, less than appealing . It's bad enough having to kiss every female at a wedding; Thank God the men keep to their own side of the Mechitza. And even if we do end up making out with the opposite sex, we limit touching to the guys we find attractive. The rest of the clan we can tell "Sorry, I'm Shomer."
Also, I'm glad I wasn't pressured into sleeping with my boyfriend at the age of sixteen. Although it would have been nice to have actually had a boyfriend…
Separate Swimming- Every time I go to the swimming pool I'm grateful I'm religious. Compulsory strutting my stuff in a bikini is hardly the most relaxing activity in the world. Especially for those of us who haven't got much stuff to strut. This way I get to skip Vogue's annual work-out and self tanning tips, and move on to the serious stuff, such as 'how to tell if he's into you'.
Shabbos- It's clichéd, but- "I don't know how non religious people survive without Shabbos". Twenty four hours of guilt free doing nothing. As opposed to other days of doing nothing, where there's always that "I really should be studying/cleaning up/ [insert chore]" lurking at the back of my mind and ruining the laziness.
Especially now I'm a borderline internet addict, what with Twitter and all, Shabbos is the time that forces me to stop and smell the roses (on the way to Shul), and saves me from slipping over the edge into the abyss of cyber space no-return. (e.g. "What's that big yellow thing in the sky? My desktop doesn't have one")
Shidduch Dating- Another one of my favorite rants, but at least this way I don't fear bringing up the "M. word" on dates, and don't have to figure out how to get a man to commit AFTER he's been living with me for a couple of years. Plus, I have all these middle aged Shadchans doing the dirty work for me, and finding me suitable escorts, instead of me needing to hit the bar scene and the wallflower fears that entails. Bring 'em on!
Shmirat HaLashon- It's nice to know, that even if you do something really, really, stupid, you stand a chance of that fact not being broadcast to the entire world, since people do try on a whole to watch what they say, and guard their tongue, and be nice and all that. It doesn't stop the gossip, but it does slow it down.
The Animals- or rather the lack of them. I don't have to fake adoration of any suitor's dog, or cat, or pet snake. It's much easier to admire his black hat. (Although this benefit is only true to the Ultra Orthodox)
The Kids- Such as my six year old niece, who came back from Kindergarden knowing how to read, and now insists on reading out the entire Benching, after every Shabbos meal. She sits there with my Illustrated Gadi Pollock Bencher, and loudly pronounces decibel after decibel , staying at the table long after we have finished clearing up. She does more for my faith than any Shiur. And I love sitting on the edge of their bed, and singing Hamalach Hagoel to them, the same way it used to be sung to me. They don't even mind my useless voice.
Letters to the Editor- What can the secular world offer, that beats the Letters to the Editor in Yated and Hamodia? Advice on how to get your Challah to rise better, tips on applying a gasoline mixture to shoes instead of polish, warnings on how to avoid the Evil Eye. Comedy can't compare.
The Blessings- Random strangers stopping me on the street and blessing me. OK, they are usually blessing me that I find my spouse ASAP (is my desperation written on my forehead?!), and OK, they are usually asking me for money, but still, a blessing is a blessing, right?
All in all, I love being religious. What would I have to complain about, otherwise?
5 hours ago