Do You Keep Fictional Shomer Negiah?

I was talking to one of my friends who had recently got engaged, in the middle of the conversation I piped in “by the way you guys are totally not shomer right?” There was a brief pause and then he responded with a nervous, “what are you talking about?” Then he said that they were sort of shomer. Which in my experience means that they were completely shomer until they got engaged which is SUE- shomer until engaged, and then they started holding hands etc…

I have had this conversation with many friends of mine who were engaged. Perfectly normal frum guys who never even touched a girl prior to getting engaged have all admitted that during their engagement they broke the rules, usually just a bit, although I think its usually more then just a bit based on human nature to want more when of something when its darned good, and what could be better then getting all touchy feely with a girl your about to marry.

For some reason I left this category of Fictional Shomer Negiah out of my post listing all the different types of shomer negiah levels. FSN is probably one of the most common practices that I know of. Even I went through FSN when I was engaged.

I remember asking a good friend of mine how the hell he managed to be shomer negia during his engagement because while I lasted a pretty darn long time I could feel my heart breaking every time I wanted to reach out and touch my women. He laughed in my face and said Ha- I wish we were shomer during our engagement. Of course I was shocked because this dude was such a yeshivish guy who learned all day, and that is when I learned about fictional shomer negiah.

FSN can be spotted on a regular basis, next time your eating somewhere for shabbos and there is a newlywed couple present be sure to catch the action going on under the table. Or if you see them on a couch and they aren’t instinctively moving away from each other for fear of touching they may be practicing FSN.

Within FSN are two common sub-categories. There are those folks who play 100% FSN and those who’s friends know the truth while their family, Rabbeim and other surrounding folks may think all is honky dori, when in fact their newly engaged children are getting busy at all times when no adults are present.

I think that the latter is very common since I can pretty much tell if a couple is keeping negia. The comfort levels are one way as well as their willingness to sit together on couches and how close they get when passing things and so on. A true negiah keeping couple is very careful against accidental touching that occurs when sitting close or walking side by side.

Furthermore, most guys- I cannot speak for girls, but most guys I know- are much more likely to divulge that they couldn’t take it any more and broke negia. First off it spurs great conversation, because no male can fight off the urge to talk about their friends sex lives, no matter how trivial. In the engaged scene, holding hands is almost interesting to talk about- especially if the friend is like the “40 year old virgin” and prior to this hand holding had never even brushed up against a girl in the grocery store. So while the girl may think the guy is keeping his mouth closed about their secret negiah escapades under the shabbos table during the chopped liver course, the guy almost never keeps quiet, its in our nature to flaunt our sexual experiences, although many folks do in fact refrain from the details until after marriage- the details of their engagement negiah will eventually come out over some beers and leftover cholent.