“She was upset,” the shadchan told me.
My crime: I asked her to meet me at the location of the Shidduch date. She was offended that I didn’t offered to pick her up at front door of her home and drive her to the spot where we planned to meet.
When I attempted to explain myself to the shadchan, he told me that it was “unheard of” and he would “never agree to that.” He said a boy should be driving the girl and “that’s how its always done.”
I’m not against the shidduch system, or the general concept of chivalry, for that matter. This is really not about either of those. It’s just that, especially after a certain age, girls are more mature and independent and understanding with regard to their expectations from the guys they date.
Single people who are over the age of 25 –like both of us are– already have jobs, a place to live and a life. We often go on Shidduch dates because we want to move to the next stage in life and have a partner and a family.
If you are above the age of 25, chances are this isn’t your first date – so why are we treating it like a sacred novelty and much fanfare?
The expectation that a guy must pick a girl up from her house, even when he doesn’t own a car, is pretty absurd. Such a date can cost more than $100 – and this is just the first date. But it’s really not about the money. It’s just easier for both sides to meet somewhere. It takes the edge off the date. It’s less stressful and more casual.
This whole arrangement is a relatively new invention. And it’s a pretty ridiculous one. This is definitely not how they did it in the Shtetl and it’s not how it was done in more recent history either. So there’s no real reason we should be so set on it.
I understand that some people prefer to use this method, and that’s great. If a guy owns a car and can pick the girl up, it’s a really nice thing to do. If he feels like spending the time and money to rent a car, then he should go for it. I’m not suggesting a total ban on the practice. It just shouldn’t be required.
And this is not just about another guy crying about his responsibilities. This is about something bigger – and more important – than that. We have people nudging us to date (“What do you have to loose?”) but if its a whole production just for the first date, many of my friends just don’t want to bother.
It’s about realizing how annoying and frustrating dating can be for both guys and girls (young men and women actually), and finding a way, any way really, that will make it easier for all involved. And acting like adults is definitely a good start. Let’s try.