Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How should I respond?

An acquaintance from college, Mottel, contacted me recently on Facebook. I didn't recognize him -- in fact, I didn't even remember him. I believe he was a grad student when I was a freshman, and when I knew him, he wasn't wearing a fedora and a beard. In other words, he's gone Lubavitch. He wasn't particularly religious when I first met him, so I don't feel so bad for not recognizing him.

Anyway, he and his wife apparently love to make shidduchim, Gd bless them, and after asking me a few questions about myself, he sent me the names of some guys he thought might suit.

Two of them looked a lot like him. There is no tactful way to say this, so here goes: I'm not attracted to the Lubavitch look or lifestyle. I admire and respect -- even love -- several of its practitioners, but it is just too machmir and chassidic a lifestyle for me. I watch TV, I go to movies, I don't learn Tanya, and I cannot deal with straggly beards. I don't even really like trimmed beards, although I can more or less cope. But untrimmed beards just really turn me off.

I felt pretty bad telling him that I found his friends -- and by extention, him -- unattractive. (Yeah, I know, Mr. Fox is hot, but to be honest he's the only Lubavitch guy I've ever thought was hot, and he is hotttt. Any woman with a pulse would think so.) Fortunately, Mottel wasn't offended.

"So that leaves Steve, or Shalom (SOS)," said Mottel. "He lives in Cleveland. He's either 32 or 39, I can't remember which." Physicists. They're more comfortable with calculus than arithmetic.

"If he's 39, that's great," I said, "but I doubt he'd be interested in me if he's 32." I sent Mottel the essentials of my new and improved Frumster profile, and he forwarded it to SOS. SOS wrote back:

Mottel -- Thanks, again, for thinking of me! I'll be 32 y.o. this coming Friday, IY''H, and will date up to 40 y.o. -- and I have a strong preference for women who don't already have children... regards, SOS

Look at that. Ayelet qualifies! I noticed that SOS looked at my profile on Frumster as well, so I looked at his:

Grew up in: New York City
Consider relocation? Maybe
Wishing to make aliyah to Israel? No
Jewish Education: yeshiva/seminary
Secular Education: Masters
Languages Spoken: English
Political Beliefs: middle of the road
Occupation: Marketing Analyst
Hobbies and Interests: Spending time with friends. Reading (from "Touched by a Story" to Tom Clancy). Cultural activities (symphony concerts, museums). The outdoors. Keeping in touch with family (my parents & relatives live outside Cleveland). Exercise.

What Modern Orthodox Machmir means to me: Living a committed Frum life, while maintaining a career and enjoying numerous secular activities.

This is how I describe myself: I've lived in Cleveland for over eight years, and am thankful to be part of such a vibrant, supportive, and growing Jewish community.

I'm a Marketing Analyst with a large consumer-products corporation. While I enjoy my job, and take my career seriously (along with the responsibility of supporting a family), I don't allow it to dominate my life... I learn with a chevrusa several nights per week, which I value greatly. At the same time, I enjoy many secular activities -- strolling through a Metropark, attending an Indians baseball game, going to Starbucks with friends, or simply relaxing at home with a good book... Although my schedule's often tight, I try to make time for chesed -- whether it's helping a friend with his resume or visiting someone who's ill... Please drop me a line if you'd like to learn more!

This is what I am looking for in a mate: I'd like to meet someone who is stable, in Yiddishkeit as well as emotionally. She must be a ba'alas mi'ddos, and should have a good sense of humor, but know how to be serious when necessary. She should have various interests & hobbies. We might share some, but others can (and should) be independent of my own... I believe in the cliche that a person's friends are indicative of who they are, so she should spend free-time with sincere, "normal" people (involvement in chesed is a definite 'plus')... She should be committed to, but preferably not obsessed with, her profession... And she should believe that life is the most precious gift of all -- especially when it's spent with the right person! My instinct says I might be asking for too much here. Perhaps you're the one to prove my instinct wrong?

In a word? Wow. I told Mottel to give SOS my email and phone number, and within two hours I had an email from SOS:

Ayelet, how's it going? I'll keep this short until I'm completely sure I have the correct address... anyway, Mottel speaks quite highly of you and -- if you don't let it get to your head (hee hee) -- I'll admit that I found your Frumster profile to be both thoughtful, funny and unique. hope to hear from you soon... have a good evening!

Double wow. Funny, articulate, and likes my profile. Excellent start! I wrote back:

Hey SOS, nice to hear from you! Mottel spoke highly of you as well, and I must say I am impressed with a man who's comfortable dating older women ;) I liked your profile too, and I don't think you're asking too much. You sound very genuine and giving.

Not too eager, not too aloof. He responded (at 11:55 a.m.):


Good morning! I hope your day is going well so far... I'll admit to being "comfortable dating older women", so long as you don't regard me as the next Dustin Hoffman (ever see "The Graduate"?) ;-)
Seriously, I appreciate the kind words in your e-mail... Mottel sent me your phone #, so I'll give you a call later this week.

regards, SOS

PS: You may be the first person I've spoken with that wears only skirts, but is still deciding whether to cover her hair. That's an interesting "hashgafic" combination! :-)

This is what I wrote and thought about sending:

Hey SOS,

I work 12-8 on Tuesday, so my day has been fine so far but is still quite young.

I loved "The Graduate," but I don't see myself quite as Mrs. Robinson. I must say she has great legs. (In real life Anne Bancroft is only 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman, so the comparison is somewhat apt.) But I do find myself dating more younger than older men. Not sure why. I do look pretty young for my age -- it's amazing what getting your beauty sleep and a good skincare regimen can accomplish -- and I have a lot of energy (again the sleep factor).

Part of the reason I only wear skirts is that it is very difficult for me to find pants that fit. I am very hourglass-shaped, so pants that fit my hips are too loose on my waist, and it's tedious to get everything tailored. But I also think it's more feminine. In terms of covering my hair, I put "unsure" because I really don't care. If it were important to my husband, I'd cover it fully and not have a problem with that. If he didn't care, I'd probably just wear hats to shul. To me it's an external thing that I'm willing to compromise on because it's nonessential.

Talk to you later, Ayelet

Then I decided to seek your input, dear readers. I probably shouldn't put in that last paragraph about not being able to find pants that fit, right? Or address the covering hair issue? According to The Rules, I probably shouldn't respond at all, and just wait for him to call me.

Last week I had a strange dream that I was trying to get on the subway to go home, and instead ended up going to Cleveland. Coincidence?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Say what you feel, be who you are.

    He sounds like a great guy, you're a great girl, this one has potential. At worst, you'll have met a mentsch who's not for you. That should give you hope that there are other mentschen out there in the world.

    No need to be negative, but I don't think saying you have an hourglass figure is negative. You're not saying you're "fat" so you're not putting yourself down, if that's what's concerning you.

    Let it be :) and best of luck.


  2. Before you reject the lubavitch guys out of hand, there are a lot of them who are 'modern lubavitch', so to speak. For instance, Bina's husband.

  3. This looks very promising.
    I think if you say that wearing skirts is not a religious issue for you, but about comfort and what you think is flattering, I think you can avoid any physical details that would reveal more about you than you want someone to know. Although, I have to say, as a man not in the market and in a position to be objective, that you sound very attractive and I am sure are a wonderful catch.
    Without getting into too much halachic detail, hair covering is really up to you, and is about your personal practice. Often, husbands want to put their two cents in, both lahachmir and l'kulah, but really, they are not entitled to, as my wife reminds me all the time.
    Good luck!

  4. S., as always, you're awesome :) But I ended up going with something very basic:

    "Hey SOS -- so far so good, although I work 12-8 on Tuesday, so it's still early ;) Look forward to hearing from you!"

    Jordan, thanks for the compliment ;) I decided to elaborate my reasons for wearing skirts in person, if possible, or on the phone if not. I don't think it's best explained via email. I understand that covering my hair is my choice, but it's something I'm willing to do if it's important to the person I'm with. Call it a strategic negotiating factor.

    DYS, I'm aware of "modern Lubavitch" guys, but they're probably still a little too Lubavitch for my comfort zone.

  5. I like the response you sent.

    Your initial one was good, but a little too heavy on Anne Bancroft's legs and on your body type. No need to be so detailed yet.

    He's reading your skirts-only designation as a religious thing; so you'll correct him whenever.

    Good luck!!