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Monday, May 12, 2008

In Defense of Shidduch Lists

This post was triggered by a conversation I had over Shabbos. A common complaint among Orthodox Jewish females who are doing the shidduchim thing is that guys have "lists." It's not fair they say. There are usually two kinds of complaints: 1. They hear of a great guy, they want to go out with him, but are told that you're going they're going to have to wait their turn because he has a list of names a mile long. 2. Guys are always getting calls with shidduch ideas while girls sit at home waiting for the phone to ring.

These complaints are misguided.

If a guy has a list, that simply means that he is being redt more girls than he can go out with. It's a little like Lucy at the chocolate factory. You keep dating, but the names keep coming in. So a guy has two choices; he can tell the shadchan that he doesn't want to hear any more suggestions, or he can take down the info and add to the list.

I don't see anything wrong with adding to the list. When you're ready to go out with a new girl, then you go out with the one that seems the most appropriate. The "list" isn't like the waiting list to get season tickets to Jets.

As for the complaint that guys are always being redt shidduchim, while it's All Quiet on the Shidduch Front for the girls- the way the shidduch system is set up, one side has to be the first to be contacted. The shadchanim will call me first, but more often than not, it's not worth a date for whatever reason. But plenty of time is wasted figuring that out.

While the phone doesn't ring that often for the girl, when t does ring, the guy has already agreed to go out. One side has determined that it's worth a date. Odds are, it's worth a date for the girl as well. The guy is basically acts as the filter. If the gender roles were reversed, then girls would probably be complaining about all the awful ideas they're being suggested.

Now I know the shidduch system has many, many problems. But lists aren't one of them.


Fair points. I hear what you're saying.

Lists aren't so much of a problem as a built-in feature that doesn't seem to please either side of the equation.

Ladies, your witness...
Ok as a modern orthodox guy who is not in the yeshiva world at all I have a list. Prior to dealing with the list I would just go out with 3 or 4 different girls at the same time. This is not conducive to getting married, when you call up one girl and think its a different one- its time to consider a list.

I wrote about this and everyone agreed that I should go out with one at a time- hence the list. I do not follow the list in order because some sound more interesting then others.

Its kind of like waiting for a fancy club- not everyone gets in at once- but the order is also not nec in order.

Agreed 100% good post.
There is a waiting lists for the Jets?

Seriously though, nothing wrong with a list - but there is something wrong with not even giving an answer (saying I'll look into it and never saying a final yes or no).
Aon- I disagree. Very often there is no final answer. I may not go out with their shidduch idea now, but often it will happen months later.
LWY - So if you are not interested now - tell the shadchan to contact you in 3-4 months. It seems today that a girl is appproached first in an unofficial mannner about a boy. Only after tentative yes, do they redt it to the boy. (This is done because people don't want to upset the boy with a possibe no - or she's busy so you must wait.) So a girl could be waiting anxiously for an answer, possibly saying no to other opportunities, and waiting in limbo.

Also, ask yourself why won't go out now? If it is because you have a list then say so, and that it may happen in a few months. If it is because something doesn't feel right, then will it feel right later or will you keep making up an excuse to just push it off until you run out of excuses, go out for one or two dates and call it off?

All I am saying is give some sort of answer, don't just leave a girl/shadchan hanging with I'll look into it.
That hasn't been my experience generally. If the girl's waiting, then, yeah, I'll give an answer quickly, or tell her not to wait around.

As for why later and not now- plenty of times a name will come from someone who doesn't really know me or the shadchun doesn't do a good job "making the sale". But names have a tendency of coming up again and it sometimes sounds better the second or third time around.
LWY- how about what YOU mentioned on shabbos that the reason is because there are less "good, mature" guys out there, and more "good, mature" girls, who are dating- did you forget that one?
I said that to explain why girls have more shidduch date horror stories than than guys.

Though it helps explain lists as well....
Actually, what often happens as mentioned by a commenter above, is that the girl is approached unofficially and than the guy is asked if he is interested--however, the shadchan rarely gets back to the girl if the guy says no. I don't know if they are too embarrassed, feel bad to give a no, or just assume that you will figure it out on your own. I can understand that it is uncomfortable to get back to the girl and say, "oh that guy I told you about, well he isn't interested/available" but it doesn't seem very menschlich not to (not to mention, not very mature).
I know lots of other girls who say the same thing happens to them repeatedly, so it's not just my personal experience.
That's the problem I see, not "the list" per say.

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