Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Knitted Boyfriend

I found this article quite disturbing and it got me thinking; what is this world coming to?

Are you longing for a boyfriend? Well, if you don’t mind your guy being a semi-creepy, life-size knit person, have we got the self-birthday gift for you.
Dutch designer Noortje de Keijzer has created a pair of cushion men, lovingly hand-stitched by her mother and grandmother and known collectively as “My Knitted Boyfriend.” Their individual names, however, are Artur and Steve and they both come with their own manly accessories, like mustaches, bowties, glasses and even tattoos (for those who like our stuffed men a bit on the wild side.)
There’s also an illustrated how-to manual for those who need a little tutelage on what to do with an inanimate object.
“My Knitted Boyfriend is a cushion with a story. A cushion with a personality. A cushion to kiss! Or, well… to cuddle, to caress, to hug, and to smile with. Because this man is always happy,” de Keijzer writes on her website.

“But most of all he likes to lay down next to you in bed. With your head on his chest and his arms wrapped around you. This way you will never feel alone ever again. With this man you can be sure, he will never leave you.”
While de Keijzer admits the idea started off as a bit of a joke, she was also inspired by the loneliness she felt for lack of a companion. "I could say that's a joke, but it is partly true," she tells i09.
An accompanying video to promote the product reveals that the Utrecht, Netherlands-based artist has a pretty good sense of humour about the whole thing, although try not to bristle when she carries the knitted skin suit to her bed and stuffs it with a pillow. For those who have never seen Silence of the Lambs, this is pretty much the arts and crafts version.
A little creativity is a good thing, however, and de Keijzer has come up with more of a social statement than a lasting work of art. No matter how busy our lives get, it reminds us of how deeply we as a species need to connect on the most basic, organic level.
It also puts the Japanese Boyfriend Pillow to shame. Because why settle for a disembodied arm when you can snuggle up beside an entire person-shaped replica?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness zt"l

My bestie Ruchie called me up to let me know that today was the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness. She went on to explain that there is an inyan of giving tzedakah and davening for whatever you wish/need, etc. Whilst on the phone I was thinking of our 'Rabbi Meir' tzedaka box. It has become very handy, especially since I lose things quite often and most people know that there is a 'segula' to give tzedaka and say the pasuk (which is on the back of the Rabbi Meir pushkas) and that the lost items get found. It has worked every time. Whether instantly, days, weeks, months and yes, even years! but we found the lost items.
Anyway, getting back to my point-whilst she was on the phone telling me Rabbi Meir stories & segulas it hit me. Tzedaka, Davening, having in mind and Rabbi Meir Baal Haness: I will put tzedaka in the pushka-daven for my inner most desires and say the pasuk to FIND what is LOST=My Future Husband!
I'll let you know when it works :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's all How You REact

There are times in the Shidduch world, when it's hard to understand a person you are dating. To me, dating seems mostly 'fake'. I mean, c'mon, how many married couples do you see having a 'date-night' (without having to make a whole official Facebook statement informing the world that they are out on a date night)? How many married men do you see rushing to the passenger door to hold it open for their wife to get in? And aside from the marrieds, dating is all about being on your best behaviour. Personally, unless you are a really intimidating guy, I'm usually comfortable being just 'myself' on a date. Of course, I'll be extra polite and make sure not to say any bad words or do something crazy like break out into song/dance, but mostly I can just be who I really am. The problem is, how can you tell if a guy is really 'acting' like himself, or just 'acting' on his best behaviour?

I've heard from people, and it does say in the Torah, that one way to see if someone is really acting or not is to get them mad ("בכעסו"). I've never actually gotten to the point where I've tried it out, but it IS true. I once remember driving into the Big Apple for a date. I had  been out with a guy I think twice before-he came to my hometown and now I was going to his. We had set a time when he would pick me up, but my ride was delayed due to travel issues, kids, gas stops, etc. I didn't want to worry him and/or make him rush for nothing so I would call every few hours to let him know where I was. By the time we arrived in New York, there was MAD standstill traffic=rush hour! I felt bad but what could I do? This was totally out of my hands, I had left on time, I was ready (albeit exHAUSTED from the trip) but we were stuck. It was Min Hashamayim as the guy called me up and was soooo upset that I got to see a whole other side of him. He must've felt comfortable being 'himself' and telling me off for the whole situation. Then he went on to explain that I should've known there would be traffic and now the whole night would be ruined and even if we would postpone the date about an hour, then the reservations wouldn't be held, and parking would be difficult, etc. To be honest, I don't remember the specifics. I only recall sitting in a squished van and being utterly disappointed. All the effort, the time, the travel-he wasn't worried about my trip, or me for the matter. He didn't even ask if maybe after such a long day I would be too tired or not have enough time to get ready-he just went on a rant. And that folks, is how I knew there wouldn't be another date.
That's what proved that it's not only how one 'acts' on a date, but also how one 'reacts'. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Is Common Courtesy Uncommon? Part II

In followup to my previous post, I'd like to 'get equal' vote on this topic and will therefore bring some examples about girls not having common courtesy, based on what I've heard/seen and experienced.
When dating in New York, there are numerous ways to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan, including bridges, & tunnels. Being an out-of-towner I don't really take this into consideration, after all, I'm not the one driving, so how we get there doesn't really make a difference. To me, I know that it's quite a distance, so there is time to talk in the car but I never really cared to take the time to notice the 'specifics'. From what I understand there are girls who will say 'no' to a guy based on the sole fact that he took the 'bridge' to Manhattan. This is because, the bridge is free and to take the tunnel it costs money. When I first heard this, it was actually from a guy and I couldn't understand how someone can make an entire life's decision based on this alone. He explained to me that the girls believe the guy is a cheapo, when he could've easily taken the tunnel and therefore 'dump' him. I gotta admit guys-I'm with you on this one, especially if you date often, the parking in Manhattan itself takes a toll, not to mention drinks/eating out, so if you want to save on a tunnel-who cares. C'mon Girls-cut the guy some slack!
Another example I'd like to point out-similar to my previous post, is making sure a guy eats. When a guy travels in to an out-of-town place to see a girl, unless he has family/friends or knows people in that city-odds are, he's gonna be hungry and needs to be fed. Truth is, most places have take-out/restaurants, but not always will a guy be familiar with those places, how to get there, Kashrus, etc. There was this girl from my neighborhood who was being set up. The guy came in for her and wanted to go out for supper. Being from a small town, 'eating out' means, 'making it official' and the girl was only on the first date and didn't want to start rumors. She was also embarrassed and didn't know what to do. Girls-be kind=what if you were the one in an out-of-town place, with no one and was starving. Solution=GET CREATIVE! There's always take out and places to EAT the take-out. I know a girl who was on a date, it was a Holiday so everything was closed, and they wanted to eat out. She called the restaurant from the car, ordered 'to go', the guy ran in, picked up their meals, along with plastic cutlery and they ate at the airport (the place is never closed). 
Lastly, the cellphone thing. This can be for both guys & girls, but since this post is about girls-let's stick with it. We do, after all, talk much more than men. So gals-listen up. It's rude to spend time/chat/text on your cellphone whilst on a date. No matter how bored you are, maybe the guy is having a good time. Yes, some times you just have to suck it up. Put your phone off or atleast on vibrate and DON'T check it, or make a call, or something. Unless there is an emergency, it is extremely rude.

Guys-maybe you could help me out on this one, if you have any other example you wanna share or point out so that the readers can learn to do better or be more aware-we would appreciate your input

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Is Common Courtesy Uncommon?

We've all heard many a dating horror story. Heck-I've lived some of them myself. But one of the most common denominators of the horror stories is lack of decency, or shall I see indecency on the guy's part. Now, I'm not doing this to bash guys-of course, I'm sure the same goes for some girls (but that'll be for my next post), but I'm just trying to cause 'awareness' on behalf of the girls so that in future-whichever guy reads this, might first think about the girl before hurting her/her feelings.
Here's an example: my friend Shaindy was supposed to date said guy, let's call him Moshe. So the Shidduch was suggested numerous times by different people. Finally they both gave the 'yes' and Shaindy was told that Moshe cannot come in. Then she was told, he would not come in. Even though he had relatives in her 'out-of-town' city and he worked for his dad, he refused to come. So Shaindy made all the reservations and did all the preparations. She called around trying to find a substitute. When she finally managed to track one down, she then prepared for all her classes. She then met with the substitute to teach her what she had to teach whilst Shaindy was gone. Then she called the airlines, the train and of course, trust Greyhound to see how she can travel. Of course the airlines were quite expensive, the train took forever and only left/arrived at the most insane hours. It was back on the greyhound bus, as was usual when she had to travel to New York for dates. Turns out luck was not on her side, the bus came late and then got stuck. All in all, the trip was 10 hours. She arrived and Moshe came to pick her up. He didn't ask about her trip, or care to ask if she was hungry (it was a date around lunch hour). Instead he drove to the city and they went to a hotel lounge. They sat around for many hours, she was starving, not to mention exhausted from not sleeping. He decided not to go back to the car but to walk around the city, being that she was from 'out of town'. So they left the hotel and went walking. Albeit, she was in 4 inch heels, trotting behind him. Oh-and get this-it started to drizzle. So her perfectly blowdryed hair now looked like an afro. Her beautiful material shoes were getting ruined by the rain. Her feet were hurting, she was starving, yet Moshe didn't seem to notice/care. Finally he dropped her off way past the typical '3 hour' first date. Needless to say Shaindy didn't go out again.
There's also my friend Rivky. The guy told her he would pick her up for a 'day' date but not casual. It was a Friday. She flew in the day before so she was able to have a 'proper' date. The guy showed up and walked to his car-which turned out to be a jeep-the ones with the heightened tires. Try getting into a car tzniusdikly whilst wearing a straight pencil skirt & 3 inch heels-that's what took Rivky what she claimed to be forever-whilst her date stood holding the door, waiting for her to be seated properly before closing it. They ended up going to a botanical garden. Apparently there was a storm the night before, so the grass was all wet and muddy. She was told it wouldn't be casual and was wearing her traditional 3 inch heels. They walked around for the entire date. She didn't know how to tell him nicely-that if this is what he planned he should've first atleast hinted that there would be a lot of walking/outdoors/dress properly. Instead she walked quietly, pained by the soreness in her feet, the mud/wet sloshy grass which now covered her heels which were walked off. He dropped her off within an hour of Shabbos-also not thoughtful. She got back to the host where she was staying, with less than an hour to call her family/shadchan, get ready, etc. It was frustrating and upsetting and ruined her Shabbos. Oh-and I forgot to mention, they set her up with a guy who looked to be middle-aged and was full fledged Chassidish (we're talking beird, gartel, bekeshe & bent up hat) when she was told he was a college, modern-orthodox type.

So to all you men out there bear in mind the following.
a) Girls don't like when their hair gets ruined. It takes lots of time preparing for a date/to look good. Most of it is spent on hair. So if it's raining/windy/snowing/humid try and avoid it at all costs, or pack an umbrella in case there is a chance of showers and it's always best to advise the girl if you will be heading outdoors-this way she can better prepare herself.
b) Heels are NOT comfortable-not matter what anyone says. Especially when you're spending most of your time standing/walking in them. When taking a girl out, try and keep in mind the amount of time walking and where you are going. e.g. boardwalks, hiking, nature outings are NOT meant for heels.
*side note: I once went out with a guy and on the way back to the car he noticed that to get to the parking lot we had to walk across a metal gridded plank. He looked back and me in my heels and realized my heel could get caught and asked me to wait whilst he got the car. Good call :)
c) Girls will not tell you they are hungry (atleast most girls I know) or thirsty. It's always good to ask, just in case. Especially if you are going out around a mealtime (breakfast/lunch/supper), it's always good to ask, but not when you're in the car or nowhere near food. A girl will feel bad saying she is if she knows you will have to go out of your way to satisfy her. If you're already in a place with food, she will feel more comfortable agreeing to get something to drink/eat.
d) If you are having an excellent time on the date, try and 'read' the girl and see if she is too. Most of the time, we fake it because we feel bad and don't want to be rude. Always ask if you're not sure. Ask if it's OK to stay out late, to go for (another) walk, or to just 'talk' in the car.
Lastly, honesty is the best policy. Be open and honest about your expectations and the date itself. If you're not sure ALWAYS ASK, put the ball in her court and let her speak/decide/answer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Pursue or be Pursued?

I'm usually the girl who gets stuck with the guys that are 'madly' in love and have 'deep connected feelings' after a date or two. It's very frustrating to be in that position, especially when I'm the one who's just getting to BEGIN to know the guy and he's already planning the wedding and after. I've even had a guy tell me flat out that he's ready to go ahead without me even having to meet his parents and that his Rebbi told him he should know by the second date (this was the third-oish, we were in overtime here). That's not the kind of line that would make me want to even continue dating. 
Don't get me wrong-you can't blame someone for their feelings, everyone has feelings and they have legit feelings. Some people feel quicker than others, some are more verbal about their feelings and some are more expressive. It's just after meeting someone for a couple of hours, HOW do they know?
In any case, there's this guy that was suggested to me. His name came up numerous times over the past few months and it sounded like he's really my speed. But each time it gets mentioned, I'm totally ready to go out (and 'unbusy' in shidduch terms) and he's 'busy' or 'working' or in middle of a conference, etc. Basically, he has legitimate excuses for not being 'available' that the point when it's redd and when I am. The people that suggested him and spoke with him get back to me with 'he really wants to go out with you but...' but is it true or is this a delay tactic or is he really not interested? At the same time, are there people who really want to go out with someone based on information alone?
In any case, I decided to take things into my own hands, after all, if I can't help myself who can? I called the last person who redd the shidduch and asked her to find out what he's up to. I have yet to hear back. In the interim, I was speaking to my friend Chani about the story and she told me not to bother pursuing the Shidduch. I must admit I was shocked, especially as Chani is a really close friend of mine. She went on to explain that if I call the woman and/or others who redd the shidduch over the past year to get them to find out what the story is, it just makes me look desperate. It might also push the guy away if he feels like he is being pursued as opposed to him being the pursuer. She told me that some men like to have the ball in their court, to make the decision as the 'Alpha Male' so to spoke and to be the pursuer.
Do I take her suggestion and wait or take charge?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Traveler or Trickster?

Should out to my friend Miriam, who provided me with the inspiration for this post.
I haven't spoken with her in a while but we caught up and traded 'horror' stories recently. Miriam told me, that being an out-of-towner, it just keeps on getting harder. For example: guys are constantly complaining about how much they have to spend on dates (e.g. driving, parking, dinner, drinks at a lounge, etc), but do they realize that for a single working girl to travel to NY, it costs a plane/train/bus ticket, plus the hours of actual travel time and then time taken off work?! 
Also, when the shidduch is that bad that you know within minutes it's pointless, it is the most disappointing feeling after all the effort/time/money spent, but that is part of hishtadlus, right?
In any case, one of her biggest frustrations is when she asks for a guy to travel to her first. She had some who were hesitant, some who came without any issues and others who give the ultimatums, such as 'if she comes to NY first, THEN, and only THEN, IF he is interested, then he will THINK about entertaining the idea of traveling to her town for the next date or two' which is quite frustrating. She also went on to tell me of her recent experience where she traveled to NY twice to meet the same guy. This one had an excuse and between work and college it was just impossible and she liked him enough that she traveled twice. When it was time for him to come to her he was very hesitant and eventually the Shadchan got it out of him that he could not make the commitment to travel. She was devastated-not so much that it was 'overs' but all the time/energy/emotion wasted and for what? If he would've expressed that sentiment in the first place, then she wouldn't have even bothered going out.

At the same time, some guys think out-of-town is across the globe. I must admit-I'm not a major traveler myself. I haven't been to that many funky places. I've been to Israel, sure, but hasn't everyone? I've been to a few cities/states/countries and Europe-I guess that's cool enough, but do I love traveling? Absolutely not, and especially for dating. There is no relaxation/rest or fun shopping, it's a frustrating job getting work done before/catching up after, then trying to find transportation, booking, cancelling, hours of travel, place to stay, hair/makeup, different weather/climate and clothing, etc. But we all gotta do our hishtadlus, so when it comes to that-I make the effort and travel.

So all you guys-if you're not interested in traveling or out-of-town scares you, please be honest at the beginning and no one will get hurt. It's better to be upfront and perhaps even risk sounding like a sissy, then getting involved with someone only to hurt them after.

Lastly, everyone needs a break now and then. Sometimes travel can surprise you. Sure driving can be a pain and long hours-but scenic drives are nice, and there are tourist places in every city-just get some friends and plan a road trip around a date, or better yet, set some up and enjoy the fun. Flying also has its downs-there can be delays/cancellations and being at the airport a few hours early, not to mention what you can bring on a plane and the expenses. But once you're up in the air, it's calming, there is no stress, no cellphones, free drinks and snacks :) get a good book/download some music/videos and enjoy the flight. I say the same for trains-especially the ones with WiFi.

Make the best of travel, don't make us out-of-towners sounds like aliens. Being an out-of-towner myself, I understand the hesitation in traveling but sometimes it just might be worth the trip :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Can you Describe How he Looks?

Happy Post-Pesach y'all. Hoping you're all back into the normal swing of work and non-matzah/potatoes. YAY for Shlissel Challah week :)
So now that Pesach is behind us, I am officially back on shidduch call duties, which means that any guy(s) 'redd' to me before Yom Tov, can now be looked into. Especially now with people answering their phones and not being busy with family/cooking/outings, etc. 
I was a bit nervous to get back into the swing of things, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? (or as my frummie friends put it 'we have to do our Hishtadlus'). I did some research and tried to call some people, but I wasn't getting anywhere. Turns out no one knew this guy and the ones who did, haven't been in touch with him for years, etc. I wasn't feeling comfortable about the whole thing, until one reference mentioned that the guy knew 'so & so', who also happens to be a relative of mine. Ding, ding, ding,-we have a winner. I thanked Hashem for that reference's moment of verbal diarrhea and quickly dialed my relative. Grant you, we haven't been in touch in ages, but 'bound by blood' is better than none, right?
Anyway unfortunately for me, the relatives didn't really know the guy at all, only saw him once, which was a pity as they couldn't really answer any of my questions, nor tell me alot about the guy. I was frustrated but then I realized-even if they only saw this guy ONCE, atleast they can tell me how he looks. So, I did what any girl would do in my situation-I asked if they can tell me how he looks?
The answer I got, and I quote you all 'he has two arms & two legs-he's a guy'
Was I disappointed? VERY
Should I be concerned? perhaps
Now, why is it that people can't just say 'short/tall, skinny/fat, hair/bald, etc.' I'm not asking for a detailed description going from eye color, to weight, to waste size. Just a small sum up. Sheesh! I know there are some men (& very few women) who canNOT for the life of them describe people-those I don't even ask. But I figured, both of these relatives saw him, just once, they knew who I was asking about-what is the big deal?
or maybe I should be happy the guy has all his limbs intact?
Should I have asked if he was a cross-dresser or do you think that's a bit too much?

Help me out here fellow singles, am I insane or is it so hard to describe how a guy looks?!?