The Summer of Almost-Dates

2 Sep

Each summer comes with its own theme. Well, at least in my life they do. This happened to be a particularly eventful one, as I split it between New York City and various cities in Israel. My overall theme would definitely have to be adventure. Every day brought something I did not expect, from bumping into my all-time favorite rebbi, Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet (!!!!) to watching a shooting star fly across the heavens…no wait, that was the Israeli air force…same difference 🙂

And under that main theme of adventure falls the sub-theme of the almost-date. I experienced this awkward yet entertaining phenomenon more times than I thought possible. This is because I was Divinely put into the most unique of situations, all of which I proceeded with as casually as possible. Was I hoping to get at least one standard, traditional date over the summer? Sort of. With a schedule as hectic as mine was, I understood that dating would likely take a two month hiatus, but I always keep my mind open. Look, if Mr. Right wants to make his grand appearance as I’m heaving a 5-gallon jerrican up the side of a mountain, that’s not my judgement to make. He can come whenever he darn well feels like it as long as he realizes that he might find me  footloose and fancy free, lip syncing to a Miley Cyrus song. It’s better that he knows what he’s getting himself into from the get-go anyway.

I thought I had been exposed to every kind of date there was, but that sure did change this summer. I experienced, and witnessed some unconventional tete-a-tetes which I will now officially categorize as Almost-Dates. If an outsider were to see this happening, they very well could surmise, “they’re on a date,” but in reality that is not the case.

For example:

The Ambiguous Hangout Date: What is this exactly? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it is when neither party is 100% sure of the other person’s motive, but they are almost sure they know. But not quite sure.  For example, Guy asks Girl out on a whim. They’ve known each other for a while but never really spoke much. Now, Girl isn’t sure if he is really asking her out because he’s leaving for a semester abroad in Singapore the next day. Guy also never showed a particular interest in her and not because he doesn’t socialize with girls or is cripplingly shy. Neither is true, so Girl does not know what his intentions are. He brought food for them to share but he didn’t give the traditional date gesture of offering to buy a coffee. She excitedly accepted his offer to spend the afternoon together, but she didn’t seem too enthused when he played her favorite song on the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz.  The day could have been the start of something new, but both their hesitancy to ask, “what exactly is this” kinda left everything sort of  hazy. Whoops.

The Backwards Date: It starts out in the most ordinary of ways. A family friend has a marvelous idea to set up the children of two of her most beloved friends. The hashkafas match up, the goals in life are aligned and let’s face it, they’re both drop dead gorgeous. So the match is rhedt right away! Ah, yes! Girls is so excited! Finally a boy who sounds like an actual mensch. He learns Torah and does mitzvos, and attends Princeton Law School in between. Beautiful. There is just one little detail that makes this scenario radically different from the typical date– Girl has to meet the entire family first. It’s wonderful. They wine her and dine her, and the amazing bachur-of-her-dreams is sitting right across from her–but so is Mom, Dad and his three sisters. Look, if that is what it takes these days to get a good guy from a good family, I won’t object. I mean, think of the positive. You get the nerve wracking meet-the-family part out of the way, right away. There is no wondering if you’ll get along with your mother-in-law. You’ll already be BFFs by the time you get engaged. Really, it’s not as strange as it sounds…but it doesn’t quite qualify as a date.

Deja vu Date: The reason it feels like this date happened before is because it did. Yup, Guy and Girl who once went out end up spending  X amount of time together for no other reason than because. Because? Yes, just because. G-d runs this world and there is no way of knowing who you will run into and how many times. It’s not a date but it can sure make Guy and Girl wonder if they should be one one.

You know what I’ve learned this summer? That there are many, many ways to find one’s RD. G-d is the Ultimate shadchan. He’s the one Who calls the shots. Very rarely does He send a list of people to a shidduch-searching Yid and tell him, “pssst! It’s one of these ones!!!” No, for many of us, it comes through subtle heavenly hints and trusting one’s gut. Not knowing who your RD is can be frustrating, but as you continue on the search, just remember the lesson of the Almost-Date: sometimes Hashem brings the most precious gifts into our lives when we least expect them.

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3 Responses to “The Summer of Almost-Dates”

  1. Shades of Grey September 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    It sounds like you’re learning the lesson of this mashul a friend of mine told me about dating: http://walkingthegreyline.blogspot.com/2010/06/hashem-ultimate-cabbie.html I met ASoG in a very roundabout fashion that involved having my ear talked off by a typical yenta shidduch seeker type, calling ASoG as a reference for said yenta’s relative, being dumped by the girl, who then called me back several months later to us up. So you never really know!

    • Shades of Grey September 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      that should be *set us up

      • Coral Cap September 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

        Thanks for the words of encouragement, Shades. I appreciate you telling me how you and ASoG met — what a super story!

        Though the “Ultimate Cabbie” mashal is completely valid (and the way I hope my zivug comes to me) there is an idea in Bereshis Rabbah of “one going toward one’s mate” (versus “one’s mate going towards oneself”*) In essence, there is no way of know which category I fit until I meet my mate and am aware of how I met him. In the mean time, the best I can do is keep doing my best– looking into the offers that com my way and/or trying to find him on my own.

        Just a cute side story– in high school, a bunch of my friends and I were having a conversation about meeting out zivugim and everyone had their own ideas about what was the “best” or “coolest” way. Of course, I had to be smart about my answer and said, “I want to meet him in a way that I could never think of on my own.” Well at this point it looks like I just might get my wish 😛

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