Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Shidduch Date

Sweet Rose long ago posted her thoughts on the shidduch date from a female perspective. I just found her blog, so my post will seem a little late. But better late than never I suppose....

I'll try to give the guy's perspective of a shidduch date. For those unfamiliar with the term, a shidduch date is basically a blind date, where an intermediary (shadchan) set the parties up. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

First phone call: In my circle (not quite sure what circle that is anymore), the standard procedure is for the guy, after receiving the go-ahead and phone number from the shadchan, to call the girl. Of course this phone call is completely forced and awkward. Thank G-d I'm not a nervous person, and I've developed the ability to speak with a complete stranger about whatever happens to enter my mind at the time. But it's not so easy for everyone. I've had friends ask me what to talk about, what type of conversation to have, what not to ask, etc. Before my first, first phone call I made a list of topics of conversation, but never got around to them. It's dumb to make the call any more rigid than it already has to be.

This phone call is supposed to last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If the two parties make an effort the call should last 30 minutes without a problem (I mean seriously, there's so much to talk about because they don't know the first thing about each other). It's not advisable to spend too much time talking, which is why an hour should be the cap. The parties haven't met, so why waste anymore time with a person you might reject once you see them?

Getting Ready: Ok, so girls have it much harder here. Guys have to shave (which is not fun) and shower, put on clean clothes, brush their teeth, and maybe polish their shoes. Some guys put on cologne or some fancy deodorant (Axe). No idea why people do that, but it's sure easier than makeup or hair straightening.

Picking the Girl Up: There are numerous ways to go about doing this, and it really depends on the rules in each community. I don't own a car, and my driving is not really up to dating standards (unless I want to see how she acts under severe distress) so I usually meet the girl. Generally the meeting place is the date location (a restaurant or hotel lounge or lobby) but sometimes I'll pick her up at her apartment or dorm. I'm lucky.

Some guys have to drive to the girls house and then meet her parents. That's always an awkward moment especially when either the father or suitor is not exactly a social butterfly. In these communities the girl is "fashionably late", which means he has to make chit-chat with her parents, which adds to the pressure of making a good impression.

And then the girl comes out.... Sweet Rose claims that guys look the girl up and down. I've never (intentionally) done that, but I'm sure many guys have. For many guys (yes, guys are superficial!) this is an important moment. Many a dates have been decided at this point.

The Date: The date is just as bad or good for the guy as the girl. Both have to talk, fill in awkward gaps in the conversation, not make a mess of themselves while eating, etc. I personally enjoyed most of my dates, since I can talk for hours. Some guys feel a lot more pressure.

Some guys also make quicker decisions. They know really quickly that the girl isn't for them. In that case, they usually try to wrap the date up quickly. That's rude. Even when I know the girl isn't for me, I still keep the date at the normal length, which is between two and a half and three hours.

Ending the Date: A great moment. The guy is always required to end the date. He has to say something like, "it's getting late" or "look at the time!" Always a fun moment, but not worse than the drop-off. When the guy drops the girl off (whether at home, dorm, or subway), he can't ask her our again. It's a gross breach of the dating rules. So the guy can only tell her he had fun and good night. That's it. Makes it very awkward.

Go out again or not? The guy has to make the quicker decision because he's expected to make the call first. If he says yes, the girl is asked. If he says no, she's informed of his decision. So he can't just say "whatever she wants." This part is really annoying because I've had many dates where I wasn't sure whether I wanted to out again, but would have been perfectly happy if she said no.

Dating isn't fun for either gender.

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