Shidduchdater.com has a section called "I hate shidduch dating" with short blurbs (most of them funny in a tragic sort of way) and gives people the option to vote "one-and-done" or "give it another go" in rating how they'd respond or react to the situation.
One male user posted the following:
"This madeil takes says we should go to this really nice park she knows even though she knew i was starving. The park was dark sketchy and full of not tznius things going on and a lot of people just smoking. The so called park was also just a pile of dirt and some benches. IHSD!"The responses voted by users (thus far) are divided thus: "That's a 1-and-done!" = 16, "Give it another go" = 78. An overwhelming 83% felt like the guy should give her another chance. And of the three comments, two of them defended her, giving reasons why the date might unfold that way. I personally appreciated seeing a story like this from a guy. It made me laugh. But then I got to thinking... What if it were a woman posting the same thing? If it had instead read:
"This bachur takes says we should go to this really nice park he knows even though he knew i was starving. The park was dark sketchy and full of not tznius things going on and a lot of people just smoking. The so called park was also just a pile of dirt and some benches. IHSD!"Would people respond the same way? Would YOU?
Here's the juxtaposition - it seems we have a recent story with some interesting and similar elements. Bad for Shidduchim wrote about the warning signs of dating a nerdy "Mama's boy" two weeks ago. For her, the revelation came with his insensitivity in the one choice he made to continue walking after she reminds him (presumably more than once) that "my feet are cold." Comments almost (if not entirely) unanimously bashed the bachur's behavior. Some commenting on his resume's information gave much credit for his deeds to his mother's direction and force.
Disclaimer: I'd like to be clear that I do not intend to berate or bash Bad for Shidduchim here, particularly since I enjoy her blog and writing. I am not questioning her character, even as I present a different way of thinking about the situation. I'm just noting the discrepancies in how the stories are treated, and how we respond to situations differently.
I have a few confessions. For one, as thoughtful as I may be and as much as I work on being sensitive, I've not had an easy time dating. It has been a struggle for me to take strong leadership and do so with sensitivity. I should comment that leadership generally feels very natural to me. Maybe it's just something about dating.
That aside, we men are often very explicit when we need something. As Bad for Shidduchim's story reads, I recognized that as an observer I was much more privy to how her toes felt than the guy who was out with her. When I'm cold, I may say so, but if they are practically frozen solid and I need to stop and sit down for coffe to warm up I'll say that too. And until I do, I don't expect someone to make accommodations just by saying that I'm cold. It is, perhaps, a male/female difference.
If I'd only heard a woman say she's cold or that her feet are cold, I might ask and probe, but I'd have no idea that she really needed to stop and warm up. If she does, why not tell me what she needs so we can stop and warm up! (I already hear the sensitive/feminine voice in my mind saying "if she didn't need to stop why would she say she's cold!"). Certainly if I'm worried about something like how long the line is, where the next coffee shop might be, or a million other thoughts my preoccupation may very well get in the way being sensitive. I do sometimes get wrapped up in the logistics or other things going on in my own mind. Forgive me, for I am human.
Part of my mind was screaming when I finished reading the story: "Wait, so she didn't dress appropriately for the weather (ladies, guys really don't care whether you are wearing fancy boots in the snow, we'd rather you are warm than wearing nice shoes), didn't tell him she was ill equipped -regarding her boots -and blames him? Seriously? How much of her mind does she expect him to read?"
But nobody would have suggested she try going out with him again -heaven forbid, he is a spineless, insensitive child! There is no hope for bachurim who do such things! Or at least, that's what I gleaned from her experience of him and the subsequent comments.
I just thought that's interesting.
Repeated Disclaimer: I'd like to be clear that I do not intend to berate or bash Bad for Shidduchim here, particularly since I enjoy her blog and writing. I am not questioning her character, even as I present a different way of thinking about the situation. I'm just noting the discrepancies in how the stories are treated, and how we respond to situations differently.
P.S. I do believe in taking strong and sensitive leadership in dating/relationships -that's my responsibility and the role I take as a man.