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May 20, 2011

How Jewish Geography Serves a Vital Purpose in Life and Dating

Following my recent post on asking a woman out and the discussion that ensued, I had a fascinating conversation with a friend and a small epiphany that I'd like to share.

The conversation, as is apt to be when I'm in the mood to delve into something I have not yet fully considered, revolved around how women generally take to being asked out. The impression, from what I heard, is that though being asked out may be flattering to a woman, it carries a lot of emotive-psychological push. In other words, it often comes as an unexpected shock and is "too much," leading the question to create an unwanted burden. The insight my friend shared is that nowadays, even when two people ostensibly "go out to have coffee and talk, it's never just to have coffee and talk." It's never simple anymore.

This attitude reminds me of the post on 10 Reasons Why Stern Girls Won't Date Me, particularly Reason #5, which states:
"I'm in the middle of something" (i.e. went on 1 date with someone else) - Let's clarify something! Going on one date with someone isn't being in the middle of something! Going out for a couple months is "in the middle!" Going on one date barley qualifies as "the beginning" because nothing of substance has even started yet! And for the record, it is completely muttur to go on a first date with multiple people at the same time...just ask your parents or anyone from the previous generation!
An unspoken pressure -"dating" -thrusts its own weight on the situation, bearing down with concerns and possibilities, questions and seriousness that surrounds the dating world. Just talking about it reminds me of the tremendous anxiety I myself recently unloaded much of, and every so often I have to remember to shake that stress and pressure off. I keep reminding myself that going on a date is not a big deal, I'm just getting to know someone (however seriously I take marriage, an initial date isn't and shouldn't be quite so serious).

Setting aside that I have a real issue with this perspective -and it is either a source or a result of the impending image of gloom and doom from the concept of a shidduch crisis, probably both, thereby creating a feedback loop -the result is a discomfort (call it emotional/anxiety/stress overload) that overrides any flattery. So while I'm still hearing complaints about why guys can't just "Man up," the resistance to taking real action -acting like a man -undermines the complaint itself. Why would a guy bother to develop his leadership and bold confidence with women when he can continue to have everything served to him on a platter? (I plan on exploring this further in separate post.)

And then a light bulb went on in my mind. I've had this question floating around in my mind for months, and never really got to a good answer until now... "what's the purpose of Jewish geography?" Click. It all makes so much sense now.

These connections -however vague -are avenues to reaching someone. Nobody plays Jewish geography when they know the person well. But when connections are few or nonexistent, particularly modes of finding the person or pursuing them (directly or indirectly) -whether dating or for other things like community or synagogue functions and volunteering opportunities -this is prime talking material. This is basic intelligence and reconnaissance 101, providing more ways of connecting, finding the person and getting in touch (perhaps specifically through indirect means).

A smack on the forehead is in order (SMACK!). Duh. 

Whether or not I take issue with this system, I have to say I think it's pretty cool that this meme developed and spread so readily through the community.

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