Monday, August 15, 2011

Shidduch Tumult

The photos in Hamodia intrigued me, and I scanned them carefully, hoping to see my son. I found the concept of chavrusa tumult fascinating. The photos show thousands of boys milling about outside of the yeshiva, and somehow, by the end of the week, most of those boys are paired up with a chavrusa.

The system is pretty simple. Anyone in need of a chavrusa participates. If Chaim needs a chavrusa, he would talk to several people and describe what he's looking for. Someone he approaches might have a suggestion for him. So if, say, Shimon was suggested, he'd seek him out, they'd talk for a bit, and decide if they are right for each other. If they are, a match is made. If not, Chaim would move on and try again, until he finds the right match.

Kind of like speed dating.

I'm sure others before me have suggested shidduch tumults. But, of course, that can never happen. We can't have the boys and girls milling about on the streets of Lakewood now, can we?

There's another way to go about this, though. We can have the thousands of boys and thousands of girls in need of shidduchim milling about - separately. And then the parents would be the ones asking the questions, listening to suggestions and talking to any potential matches. Give me five minutes with a boy, and I can tell whether he's a good possibility - or not even in the ballpark.

I'm not sure what would happen when we find one, or even several, good possibilities. Realistically, we can't get the boy and the girl to talk for a few minutes, although I like that idea. We'd probably have to give the names we have to a shadchan and then go the regular route.

So what do we gain? For the boys and their parents, probably not very much. But for the girls, a lot.

Anyone with sons in shidduchim knows how often the phone rings. They know about the lists of girls. They don't need any changes in the system. The system will work for them.

But for anyone with daughters in shidduchim, the experience is usually very different. The phone doesn't ring as often, and when it does, you can't imagine how anyone could have come up with something so wrong. When an appropriate suggestion finally does come up, your daughter becomes a name on someone's list.

And that's the problem.

A shadchan once called me with a name that sounded promising. I asked her to talk to the boy's parents first, and I will do my research if they are interested. They were not. There was some issue they couldn't get past.

Several weeks later, the shadchan called me back. They changed their minds. They're interested now.

I was confused, and wondered about the issue.

Apparently, it was no longer an issue for them. The mother had seen my daughter somewhere and she liked what she saw. My daughter went from being a name on the list - on paper - to being a real, live person. And suddenly, those minor "issues" didn't matter anymore.

And that is why a shidduch tumult seems like such a good idea.

It would be kind of like the cattle sales, where a mother comes to a wedding to check out a girl, only this would be like some mass cattle sale, with hundreds of mothers participating.

Can this actually work? Probably not.

Would I want it to work?

I don't know.

Just a short while ago, I objected to sending a picture of my daughter to a shadchan. I caved on that one. And then I even allowed the cattle sale. Now this?

I guess I'm not desperate enough yet...