Monday, July 28, 2008

Chameleons

Sometimes, I forget how different my world is. At Kiddush on Saturday morning, I was talking to one of my friends, a girl who is about to be a Senior in high school. Although she and her sisters claim not to be "frum," they most certainly are. I think, maybe, by claiming not to be "frum," they are trying to say that they aren't too religious, but who really thinks they are? Anyway, she pointed at the back of someone's head and asked me who he was. I told her and explained that he was really nice. He turned around, I greeted him and he came over. Being a polite and social southerner, I introduced them, chatted for a bit, and then flitted off to talk to someone else. They remained chatting for a short time after which she came to find me again. "That was so awkward!" she exclaimed. "I just wanted to know who he was because he stares at me all the time. I don't want to marry him!"

Oops. It had never crossed my mind that either of them would want to marry the other. The male in question has had a crush on my friend for quite some time although it will never work because she is 7 years his senior and not interested. Plus, he's out of school and a pilot, albeit a young one. Once, Rabbi Dan suggested to me that I not be seen in public eating with Baker because people might get the impression that I'm converting for reasons other than a desire to be Jewish.

At lunch, Mrs. Hardon, the hostess and a friend, told me that she met another friend's girlfriend. It would be normal, except this friend is staunchly homosexual (he's not so observant) and has no girlfriend. I didn't laugh, but I asked why she thought he was dating someone. Mrs. Hardon told me that she saw him with the same girl twice -- once in his car and another time at someone's house on Shabbos. Trying to decide how to correct the rumor that my friend was dating without speaking Lashon Hora, I told Mrs. Hardon that my friend wasn't really interested in dating any girls right now and that I was absolutely certain that the girl was just his friend. In the back of my mind, though, I just kind of laughed because the idea of him dating right now is almost absurd.

I understand that the frum world is different from the secular world and that relationships between genders are much more regulated. However, sometimes I forget that everyone else is so different from me. It's as though I've blended so well that I forget what I know. I was introducing my friend to a guy about whom she asked a question because I thought maybe they'd be friends. He's nice, she's nice, they're both Jewish and of similar mindsets. Seems like a great friendship. However, clearly, their talking alone together at Shul indicates that wedding bells may be ringing in the near future. In my world, talking to a guy didn't do it. In fact, so many people have male roommates, best friends, etc., that you have to 1. announce that you're dating or 2. be all over each other in order for someone to think you're dating. Sometimes, it even has to be a combination of both. Not only do I forget that I think differently, but apparently I, and some of my friends, blend so well that others forget we think differently, too.

2 comments:

Michael Koplow said...

Right. Not only do we have a very low threshold before contact becomes dating, but we also assume that dating means that you're either engaged or checking someone out for engagement. Going out to see a movie and enjoy each other's tzniusdik company is considered weird.

Sammy Davis, Jr. said...

Have you thought about how (if and when it happens) being a ger may affect dating for you? Some may consider a ger (and BTs as well) "damaged goods" for shidduch purposes, assuming that they came from a permissive and promiscuous upbringing. If this happens, the dating pool for you may be limited to other gerim.

As gerim, my wife and I came as a package deal, so this was not an issue, but I've seen a little of the treatment in the "out of town" community we live in.

Of course, now that you've noticed the difference in mindset, maybe you should read more on tznius and other mussar seforim in order to get up to speed.