I’ll be the first to admit that I am an amateur shadchan.
Contrary to what many believe, it seems that matchmaking is a serious skill that needs to be honed and nurtured.
As I muddle through the earlier stages of “shadchaning,” I’ve been taking notes for myself on the mistakes I make and how to avoid them in the future. I figured that it can’t hurt to share them with my three or four millions of undying fans out there…
So here is Tip # 1, below.
Feel free to disagree with me – I am very open to other opinions in this arena. More to come…
Lefty’s Law # 1:
Always suggest your shidduch idea to the side which is more likely to say “no” first.
Intended Audience: Shadchanim
Convention dictates that the shidduch be suggested to the boy’s side first. This is because the boy is more likely to turn it down, due to his notorious “list.” (Excellent case in point here.) Although 95% of the time I adhere to this rule, I have learned to adapt it somewhat depending on whether or not there is reason to believe that the boy gets turned down more often than the average girl.
For example, a “perfect” (:gag:) 24 year old girl is being redt to a guy whose parents just went through a messy divorce (or any other medical/psychological/familial/social issue that is considered “baggage” for shidduch purposes). In such a case, I’d call the girl first to find out if this was something she’d consider. Chances are, this guy has a hard time getting a date, so why hurt him further unnecessarily?
If the aforementioned girl also has an “issue,” I’d stick with the original rule, because then they are “even,” and at the pre-dating stage, the boys always have the upper hand in normal situations.
Basically, the point is to be as sensitive as possible to all parties involved. Sometimes this takes extra thought and effort, but in my experience, people really appreciate it.
Everyone knows that married people are boring.
For some inexplicable reason, the minute the sheva brachos are over, an individual’s perceived personal intrigue level takes a nosedive.
And I’m OK with that.
Who wants to hear about diapers and Shalom Bayis, anyway?
As you may well know, there are quite a few shidduch related blogs out there.
Many of them are insightful, some are humorous, and most are pretty interesting.
I have learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of matchmaking, and I like to think I learned a lot about the sensitivity, professionalism, and tact that matchmaking requires.
I have just one honest question.
Why is the shadchan the enemy?
Yes, I said enemy.
You know, the woman we don’t want to see, the one with the creepy stare and malicious intent.
The one who thinks she knows us when she really doesn’t, the one who makes our lives miserable, the one who makes us dress up when we want to dress down, the one who makes us conform when we want to fly free, the one who is deceptive, and judgmental, and greedy.
Even I am horrified to read about Her – let alone meet her! – the Woman in Black.
Until I realized that she might be me. I might be her. (I sure hope she is always middle-aged. I need some time to figure this out!)
Is she, perhaps, a metaphor for all that is wrong with society? Does she represent an idea?
Or is it the fact that her existence makes us all feel vulnerable? You know, singles, parents of singles, parents of potential singles – we’re all victims…
(You’d better toilet train him already! What if the shadchanim find out? He absolutely cannot take Ritalin! What if the shadchanim find out?)
Oh, the things she might find out. The way she always judges. The unsolicited advice. Who does she think she is anyway?
She’s the devil, you know.
I don’t know. She just is.
So I’m asking – why DO we hate her so much?
She’s concerned, she’s sharp, she’s thinking of others and actually doing something about it!
There are good ones and bad ones everywhere – doctors, rabbanim, social workers, eitzah gebbers, chessed volunteers – in any field, at any location, and in any society.
How is she different from any other person who is in a helping profession?
I’ve had shidduchim on my mind for the past while.
Wait, let’s back up a second.
I always have shidduchim on my mind.
Call me whatever you want – a romantic, an idealist or just an old-fashioned yenta, I don’t care. (Well, at least anonymously I don’t.)
I’ve always loved people, and psychology, and I guess this is how I get my fill of both.
Maybe it’s just my selfish need to feel like a good person. Either way, shidduchim is just the form of do-goodery that is right up my alley.
So sue me.
Anyway, I am currently in the middle of a couple of shidduchim, and things occasionally get sticky.
Without getting into too much detail lest someone involved puts things together, let’s just say that things like future plans, finances, hasty decisions etc. make this whole matchmaking thing a complicated affair on many fronts.
When I need advice, a second opinion, or just want to “talk shop,” I call the person I trust the most in the field. She’s an experienced shadchan(te) with all the qualities such a person (and any person) should have. She is kind, she is patient, and she is extremely professional. Oh, and she is also my mother.
Lately I’ve been noticing that although we both come up with similar shidduch suggestions and ideas, we have a very different method.
When I come up with a prospective shidduch, it all starts with the actual guy and the actual girl in question. She is a close friend, he is a frequent Shabbos guest, they have similar goals, they are hashkafically on-par, and it just seems like a good shot. I can see them together already…
Similar backgrounds are a really really nice plus, and it is something I definitely consider, but to me the main thing is where each person stands now. When I hear of a great shidduch of the “why didn’t I think of that” variety, it is because the couple themselves is such a fantastic match.
When my mother thinks of an idea, it usually starts off like this:
“You know my slightly-heimish friend Malky Pfeffermeister? The one who owns the uppity kitchen-wares store? Yes, she is the one that went to the bungalow colony with us 10 years ago, but now they are in one of the fancier summer home kinds of places…Anyway, I ran into her at the Mushkevitz vort the other night, and it seems she has a daughter in the parsha. So I was thinking, maybe it’s for Shevy Heimowitz’s son? The families would go so well together! Her husband also wears a gartel on Shabbos, and I think her sister sells those hundred-dollar cakes in Flatbush. The girl is supposed to be very geshikt – she would fit right in!”
My mother can already see the two mothers-in-law hitting it off, swapping pictures of the adorable einekel.
And if someone else makes the shidduch first, she’d be smacking her head saying “Malky and Shevy! How did I miss that one? What a perfect shidduch!”
I’ve been on and off about whose way was the right one. Mine still makes more sense to me, but my mother is way, way more successful than I am.
But my grandmother solved it for us both.
When she recently heard of a friend’s granddaughter’s engagement, her instinctive reaction was “Who would’ve dreamed that Zeldy would take a Poylisher for a grandson. The grandmothers won’t have anything to talk about! Who thought of that one, anyway?! ”
It’s all about perspective, I guess.