Shidduch date breakdown from a mans perspective

I found this article while searching for something yesterday- it was written by Martin Bodeck who is one of the people who run The Knish an online Jewish newspaper similar to the onion.

Date Jitters

By Martin Bodeck

The Call: Here is where it all begins, you have to call. Mind you, we never call at the right time. After putting you on hold, you start talking. Now you need to come up with a phone manner. You try to sound smooth yet aidel, bold yet sweet. It never works, in the end you act like yourself (which is how you should act anyway). You both finally decide on a date for the date and you start psyching yourself up.

The Shave: This comes first. It takes about a half hour. Minimum. You shave for fifteen minutes, making sure your chin is as bald as Gandhi’s head. Of course, you never get every spot, so you call your Rebbi to see if he found a heter for razors yet. He always says “no” so you continue shaving. A half hour later you’re done, so you take a comfy shower, brush your teeth, and freshen your breath.

The Breath Test: You ask your sister how your breath smells, so you expel everything you’ve got in your lungs into her face. She always says (after grimacing) “no good.” So you try a different mouthwash and repeat the lung exhalation procedure. she says “no good.” After 8 mouthwashes you smell like a toothpaste bomb and suddenly you don’t care about your sister’s opinion. You think that your breath will fade anyway by the time your pick up the girl, so you don’t much care.

The Cologne: You have no idea how this is applied, but some idiot friend convinced you that you gotta wear it. So you go raid your father’s cabinet looking for something that’ll do. You find something that’ll be just about right. You screw off the lid and pour it all over yourself. Suddenly you realize (due to the overpowering stench) that this is not how you put on cologne, so you wash and scrub the stuff off and reapply a new one. It gets in your eyes, so you wash it out and reapply. In the end, you smell like a Chernobyl perfume factory. You think that the smell will fade anyway by the time you pick up the girl, so you don’t much care.

Leaving: You make it to the front door and suddenly your mother is picking lint off your suit, your sister is straightening your tie, and your father is laughing his brains out, tossing anecdotes of his dating experiences at you while you’re being primped on the bochur-on-a-date assembly line. Your mother tells you that you missed a spot shaving, so you run back in and retrieve the shaver. The family finally lets you go.

The Drive: After plopping the shaver in the glove compartment, you drive carefully, distractedly, worriedly. To get your mind at ease, you play your favorite song LOUD (mine is “Sharp dressed man”) to psyche you up. No matter what, you always get there 15 minutes early, so you park about 2 blocks away and flip through the radio dials. Finally, it’s 2 minutes to your scheduled arrival. You spruce up your face with the shaver, pull out of your spot, and rumble up to the girl’s house.

The Arrival: As soon as you get to the front of the house, you have to act quickly. This is because the girl’s mother is watching you between the shutters. You suddenly realize that your breath is still kooky and your cologne is still funky. NOW you care, but there’s nothing you can do about it, because mom is watching you, and you have to MOVE. So you hop out of the car, gingerly step up to the doorstep and put your finger on the buzzer. The door suddenly swings open as if you said, “Open sesame” instead of actually ringing the bell. This happens because of the mother-father-door-opening system. The mother, who’s watching your every move from between the slats, signals to her husband that you’re here, the father then places his hand on the knob and twists the millisecond your finger touches his bell. His reaction time is quicker than Michael Johnson’s out of the box. Boys know this, it is the only pre-date procedure that the girl’s family does that we are aware of.

The Interview: That’s what it is, an interview, the family sits you down and grills you (albeit gently). But it doesn’t last long, because sooner or later the mother disappears, and the girl appears. The moment the girl emerges, all confidence is shot straight to dust. “Do I look good?” “Am I worthy?” “Will she like me?” The girl always looks like a million bucks, while you’ve just hastily run from the car to the house with no preparation time in between. You feel honored to spend an evening with a lady.

Opening the Door: This is the strangest dating procedure known to man. You don’t know whether to open the door and let her close it herself (because of tznius) or if you should be a chivalrous mensch and close the door for her. Either way, you always think that what you’ve done is not what she wanted. So while you’re crossing the back of the car, this is what you ponder.

Crossing the Back of the Car: This is where time stops for bochurim. This is where you form opinions about the girl, determine whether you’ve acted like a mensch, and worry about the girl’s opinion of you. It is the longest part of the date, because it lasts for an eternity. You finally slo-mo into your seat, and you’re on your way

The Car Wash: No girl in the history of dating has ever mentioned to her date that his car is impressively shiny and well manicured. Yet, we go stone bonkers crazy making sure our vehicles are spotless, and I DO mean spotless, for our date. Why? Because we’re crazy.

Car Door Practice: When we get home from the carwash we usually fish out our keys and start practicing our rapid-door-
opening techniques so we don’t embarrass ourselves when opening the door for our dates. For those of us with modern cars, there is the key entry and the bop-wop entry (ya know, those beeping thingamajigs all boys love?). For those of us with yeshivish cars, there is the crawl-in-from-the-trunk-to-get-to-the-half-broken-button-so-the-door-can-open-nice-and-creakily entry and the oops-I-set-the-alarm-off-oy-which-one-is-the-right-key-oy-vey-I-broke-off-the-door-handle entry. After that’s done, we do the Passenger Seat Arrangement and go back into our houses for our fifth-to-last shave.

Passenger Seat Arrangement: You don’t want your date to wind up too far behind you in the car so that you get whiplash from simple conversation. You also don’t want to put her too far forward so that you’re looking at her back. So you multiply her height by the seat width, divide by leg room, add her height, and subtract car size to figure out just where you should position her seat. It’s quite simple actually.

The Parking Conspiracy: It is a known fact that every single dating girl (and every dating single girl) on the planet has a pump right in front of her house. That eliminates the coziest possible parking spot. The rest of her block consists of driveways and garbage that’s spilled over into the gutter. This is the Parking Conspiracy. The fact that we find spots when there are no spots available is generally known as the Parking Miracle.

Conversation: What DO you talk about? Nothing. You talk about the beauty of trapezoids and the marvelous talents of giraffes. Around the third or fourth date, you usually think to yourself, “Gee, this trapezoid and giraffe stuff is fascinating, I like her.” This is the way we think. Girls get married because everything is so right; guys get married because nothing is so wrong.

Lounges: The earth is flat, Bill Gates is broke, mice have good vocabularies, girls love lounges. Got my point? We hate lounges too, so why do we take our ladies there when we should all be taking them to dinner? That would be nice, but that brings us to the dread of the knife.

The Knife: Ladies, ever notice that look of terror on your date’s face when the waiter sets down the meal in front of him? This is because now he has to use the knife and he has no idea how. What IS this contraption? Which sadistic terrorist invented it? How does it work? We do not know. I prefer to use my fork and knife like chopsticks. I think that’s how it works, no?

The Stalking Point: There is a point at which, when dropping off your date, you can no longer accompany her. This is the Stalking Point. Do not cross it. The Stalking Point for girls who live in houses with no steps to the entrance is five to ten feet from the entrance. If the girl requires steps to enter her house, you may not advance onto the steps. Stay away from the steps. I’ve warned you.

Sefer Torah Protocol (STP): When your lady enters her house, you must stand patiently at the Stalking Point until she enters and closes the door behind her. In essence, she becomes like a Sefer Torah. You cannot turn your back until the “Aron” is closed and the “Sefer” disappears. Careful when you back up though, you could fall over the pump.

Driving Home: You loosen your tie, you blast the music, you drive at 150 miles per hour to get all that stay-at-the-speed-
limit-to-impress-your-date out of your system, and detour through various parts of the tri-state area. You finally make it home after meeting all your just-back-from-a-date friends at Ma’ariv in Shomer Shabbos and tell your mommy (who seems to have been sitting at the kitchen table since you left) everything. She helps you decide whether trapezoids and giraffes make for a good or bad shidduch, and in the morning you call the Shadchin (or your friend, or your aunt, or whoever was kind enough to work with G-d for your benefit) with your answer.

Robbing the Bank – This is usually the first stop on a boy’s itinerary for his date preparation. You have to fatten your wallet with as much cash as possible, because – like a Boy Scout – you have to be prepared. After holding up your local ATM, you convert half the stash into singles, because you’re gonna end up tipping half the planet. But it isn’t really necessary to “download” so much cash, since most of us are equipped with credit cards, personal checks, the address to the nearest Western Union, and Mommy’s phone number.

The Fragrance Wars – Epic battles are waged the minute you follow your toothpaste with mouthwash. Mouthwash usually wins this first of combats. The next battlefield features Cologne vs. Deodorant. Cologne usually emerges victorious because the deodorant is hidden away beneath layers of clothing, and because cologne stinks. Cologne relishes its victory until you enter your vehicle, where Cologne fights a brave-and-bloody, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners duel with the Tazmanian Devil Air Freshener. They’re still duking it out when your date enters the car brandishing perfume. Cologne and Taz then make peace, and start beating up on Perfume. There are so many volatile chemicals jockeying for position in the car, it’s a miracle a date has never spontaneously combusted.

The Snapple Bottle Mystery – Ladies, ever notice that distinct clink-rattle coming from the trunk? Those are Snapple bottles. For you, the mystery has now been solved. For us, the question still remains: How did they get into our car to begin with? Do they grow in there like fungus or Chia Pets? Does the Snapple Fairy put one there every time we drive nicely? Who knows? The mystery continues…

The F.D.R. (Fanatically Demented Roadhogs) Drive – When boys hit the FDR Drive, we become the Morality Monkeys. Ladies, we cannot see you, hear you, or speak to you. The reason we can’t glance over at you is because we must concentrate on dodging the lane-changing freaks, random fallen debris, and menacing potholes. The reason we can’t hear you is because the adrenalin rushing past our ears into our brains has rendered us temporarily deaf. We can’t speak to you because we’re busy muttering Tehillim. By the way ladies, if you think you heard your date say, “That was some meal, huh?” then you misheard. What he actually said was “Shomeah Tefilo.”

Asking for Directions – This is the most humiliating and emasculating experience of a man’s life. We would rather do barefoot cartwheels across fields of broken glass and razors. Besides, in Manhattan you technically can’t get lost, because no matter which direction you drive, you’ll always hit water. Once there, you can check the water current, wind direction, and position of the moon and stars to determine that your destination must be…THAT way!

The Parking Ticket Revelation – I’ve done careful research and have discovered that you may actually SAVE money if you get ticketed once every three times you park illegally, rather than parking in a Manhattan garage or lot. Of course, the odds that you WON’T get ticketed two out of every three illegal parks are approximately nil to none.

The Pace Problem – Boys walk faster than girls do. This is because we’re usually taller, we usually have stronger musculature, and we usually don’t wear straight skirts and high heels. Great care must be taken to ensure that your date can keep up with you, or you may end up walking alongside either someone else’s date, a stray pit-bull, or the lamppost your date just smashed herself into when she was trying to catch up.

Time Check – Checking your watch is sometimes necessary but always subliminally insulting to your date. There are several methods you can employ to ensure that she won’t notice. The first method is wearing a digital watch. This ensures that the swiftest glance will give you the exact time. Analog watches won’t help, since most of us still don’t know if the shorter or longer hand is the minute or hour hand. The second trick is to point behind her, and yelp, “Look! Tom Cruise!” and grab a peek while she searches in vain. Method number three is to glance at HER watch while her eyes are on her food. This way, only your eyes tilt, instead of your entire head.

The Tip – How much should we tip and how do we figure out the amount? Some members of my species have been so confounded by this, that they’ve actually produced pens, calculators, and abacuses to figure it all out. Behold, the answer: It has been generally accepted across this great blue-and-brown planet of ours that a waiter or waitress is tipped 15% of the cost of your meal, 20% for a meal exceeding $100. But what about the mathematics? That’s simple too. Forget mathematics. Just note the tax on your bill, and double that. Voila! If your date is peeking, slip in a buck to impress her. If she’s still peeking, go ahead and slip in another bill. If she’s STILL peeking, yelp, “Look! Our Shadchan!” then bury all your bills in the checkbook (manufactured in black only) and shove it to the side of the table for easy pickup.

Ma’ariv – This is usually the last stop on a boy’s itinerary before he heads for home to discuss his date with his mother. Depending on where you just dropped off the girl, you end up in either Shomer Shabbos in Boro Park (Ir Hakodesh) or Landau’s in Flatbush (Chutz L’oretz). During Shma Koleinu, you pray that your experience tonight should work out for the best. While you’re at it, you pray that your dating friends that will arrive to daven here until the wee hours of the morning – and the ladies they shared company with – will find their basherts B’koruv Ub’naikel, B’nachas V’loi B’tzar, B’eetoi Ubezmanoi, Ooh-mine!

Phone Call Transition – There’s a point during the initial shidduch call when you have to actually set a time and day for your date. This is the closest most of us will ever come to actually asking a girl out. There are three categories for this procedure. The good: “You live right next to Shop Rite? Oh, your house should be easy to find. What evening would you be available?” The bad: “Finals shminals! What evening would you be available?” The ugly: “You got mugged, your house burned down, and your goldfish died, all in the same day? That’s nice, what evening would you be available?”

Scout’s Run – Many guys perform a “Scout’s Run” of the girl’s block in the days preceding the date. This is an attempt to arrive perfectly on time for our date. We research where the fire hydrants are located, where the neighbor’s tend to pile their trash, parking signs, and driveway accessibility. If the girl lives on a dead-end street, a Scout’s Run is not performed because if you have to exit the same way you entered, you’re stalking. Girls don’t like stalkers. It annoys them a little bit. A Scout’s Run is usually performed by jittery date-rookies who try futilely to eliminate the Fifteen Minute Question.

The Fifteen Minute Question – Guys usually typically generally almost always show up for a date fifteen minutes early, park by a nearby fire hydrant, and twiddle their thumbs until it’s pickup time. So if guys usually typically generally almost always show up fifteen minutes early, how come they’re usually typically generally almost always fifteen minutes late? The answer is because of the phenomenon of the “First Pass” and the “Doorbell Conspiracy.”

First Pass – This is the self-explanatory procedure of first passing the girl’s house, then having to keep driving because there’s no spots available. So we round the corner and come back for a Second Pass down the block again, looking for a spot earlier in the block. We never find one. We then perform a Third Pass and finally find an illegal spot – which is the only kind of parking every available for a date pickup. By this time, we’re at least seven minutes late.

The Doorbell Conspiracy – At least eight more minutes are added when we find ourselves at the doorbell trying to read the illegible handwriting, nonexistent last name, or rain-drenched mishkebable. One of the many dating miracles that occur frequently is that we usually typically generally almost always guess right!

Radio Tactics – All men blast their radios in their cars at ear-splitting volume. Ergo, all men would LIKE to blast their radios at ANY volume while they’re on their dates. Men have employed two methods for procuring such date-utopia. Method number one is leaving the radio on before you go pick up the girl from her house, then when you start up the car and the music comes blasting in, your date has the option of saying, “Hey, you can keep the radio on.” This method can always lead to conversation about music preference, which can kill chunks of time! Method number two is leaving the radio on real real low, so she’ll suddenly notice when it gets quiet, then she has the option of saying, “Hey, you can turn it up if you’d like!” Woohoo!

The Compliment Conundrum – To compliment or not to compliment? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of misplaced praise, or to take arms against a sea of self-consciousness, and by opposing end them? No. That is the answer. There isn’t a compliment in the world you can give your date that won’t make her feel self-conscious. Compliments are best left for your 47th date or 3 seconds after you get engaged, whichever comes last. The exchange can go something like this: “Will you marry me?” “Yes.” “Alrighty then! Say, our 2nd date? Killer manicure!”

Close Encounters of the Dating Kind – A “Close Encounter” is a situation where you run into an ex or a friend of yours while on a date. Apparently, girls don’t have a problem with this because their friends are usually polite. It’s a problem with guys though. Our friends like to wink and give thumbs-up thumbs-down signals behind your date. What can be done to alleviate the tension? For Close Encounters, I’ve invented “Friendspotting.” The rules are simple. Each of you get 1 point for each friend you see, 2 points if they’re on a date, 3 points if you know both parties. Loser pays for dinner.

Fortune Cookies – They never say what you WANT them to say, do they? When you’re sitting across from a girl you’re not interested in, you’re hoping it’ll say something like “See boy across from you? He not for you.” But it’ll end up saying, “See boy across from you? Catch him, get him, he good find.” When you’re sitting across from a girl you’re interested in, you’re hoping it’ll say, “Prince Charming will meet you tonight.” Instead, it’ll say, “Run, as fast as you can, get out, get out NOW!”

The Red Umbrella – The savior of conversation pieces. When all else fails, and you’ve discussed the weather to the point of boredom, you can discuss The Red Umbrella. I’m sure you know what it is. If you don’t, you have never dated, and you have no business reading this article. For those of you about to venture into dating, The Red Umbrella is this BIG neon sign on the West Side Highway (Now the Joe Dimaggio Highway) on the way back to Brooklyn. You can discuss what it is, what it was, and the fact that it’s a conversation piece. This can buy you 20 minutes of conversation time. After that, good luck!