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May 19, 2011


Is the word that best describes my current stance and attitude towards asking a woman out.

Now, I don't go around asking out every woman I see or meet, and I may take time to come to that decision, but once I do... there's little that can stop me from popping that particular question. I've invited women to coffee, simply asked them to go out on a date with me, and a few other choice ways of doing so.

Neither a fake sneeze nor feigned ignorance can get in the way -and I'll do it however I can, usually as soon as possible once the decision is made. I've done it in person, on the phone, via text/chat, you name it I've probably asked a woman out that way (or would be open to, as long as it's not completely tactless). I much prefer to be in person more than any other mode of interacting, communicating and -in this case -asking a woman out.

I have to say, the most common answer I get is a woman saying she's busy, which is clarified by stating she's currently dating someone else. Often enough, once I'm sold on the decision to ask a woman out, I want her to know that I'm impressed and fascinated by her, so I'll add in response to the above excuse that I'd like to hear if/when she's available.

I admit, I've got no idea if the women I find attractive, impressive and fascinating, are just more often busy dating or it is a veiled attempt to let me know she's not interested. I'm not quite that fluent in womanese, which means I can't read her mind.

But seriously, I'd appreciate more honesty and less mercy. My feelings aren't that fragile, my ego isn't that frail and a woman may very well simply not be interested or not find me attractive. She does have every right to feel that way.

Personally, I'd rather hear that explicitly. But I'm a man of simplicity and clarity, a "straight shooter," as they say. I'd rather a woman trusted my emotional fortitude then assume it would be painful to me and try to spare my feelings. They don't need to be spared; I'm quite stable, thank you very much.

The world won't end, her lack of interest or attraction to me doesn't make me less worthwhile and I prefer simple clarity to roundabout excuses. So please, just tell me what you really feel. I'm sure can handle it.

Hey, if you can toss in a reason or two, maybe some constructive advice, then I'll actually get to learn something, and do better.


  1. The only problem with this approach is that the women you are probably interested in don't really ever dabble in this sort of approach, so it freaks them out a bit. I'm not sure how "modern" they are, but (as you probably know), most Orthodox women, from middle of the road and toward the right, are by and large not so into the direct-approach.

    I'm not necessarily critiquing one form or another, but I don't think you can expect different reactions that would really be yotzi min haklal with regard to standard dating procedues/behavior.

  2. I appreciate your point, particularly within the Orthodox Ashkenazi dating world.

    Personally, I have had a more mixed experience regarding Orthodox women, though I freely admit that while Halachah is paramount to me, the "yeshivish culture" has not been, particularly since such a culture grew out of Ashkenazi roots and I was raised in a traditional and observant Sefardi home.

    I was raised in the kind of home that invited cousins and relatives and non-relatives over all the time and genders were not segregated in the home, at shul during kiddush (clearly we had mechitzot for tefilah) or seating at weddings. Where socializing is a way of building community and segregating men and women everywhere (or anywhere other than during tefilah) seems cold, heartless and ridiculous. Where warmth (and, of course, tea) flows freely and the community families regularly go to the park together, not worrying about separating teenage males and females. In my community growing up, religiousness was never connected to segregation, and the idea never sat comfortably with me. A part of me will always see that as foreign, artificial and cold, even though I went to Ashkenazi private Jewish schools that have the same assumptions and expectations as you put forth above.

    I neither advocate a direct approach nor any other specific approach as the singular path to dating. I also don't think that these differences should get in the way of dating.

    It's all about flexibility and calibration.

  3. I'm with shades on this one.
    Most orthodox gals that I know (the term orthodox stems from modern to yeshivish) feel uncomfortable being asked out directly by the guy...UNLESS they already had a "friendship" relationship for quite some time.

    If the gal tells you that she's busy, she probably isn't interested. Unless she really is seeing someone. But usually...that's not the case. (I know because I've given this answer before. It stinks, but honestly, how am I supposed to know how frail a person's ego is? I'm not going to say "no you're old" or "no you're unattractive")

    If you really don't like the shadchan approach and prefer to do your own thing, then I'm not really sure how else you can go about it.
    I'd suggest finding out through friends, mutual acquaintances, the gal's rabbi, etc. if the girl is available. If she is, then have a friend or rav call her.

  4. Ish Yehudi - based on my upstanding and experience with FRUM (frum meaning keeping halacha...the husband davens 3 times a day, goes to minyan, wife covers her hair, keeps tzniut, etc.) sefardi communities, the "mixed setting" is changing...a lot.
    Definitely not with cousins and relatives, though. (That's the same even in yeshivish ashkenazi communities -- cousins of the opposite gender still see each other, spend holidays together, talk, etc.)

  5. @ Sefardi Gal,

    I have also noticed the shift. It feels, as I put forth above, lacking in warmth, artificial and foreign to me. While I'm aware of (and generally abide by) the cultural norms, I wonder about the long-term impact of these changes.

    Segregation was not my idea of religiosity growing up, and its integration into the observant community as a sign of religiosity deeply concerns me.

  6. I am not really referring to this sort of social norm as having anything to do with separation of genders in social situations in life prior to reaching the stage of dating. I know a lot of Modern Orthodox women, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, who prefer this sort of indirect initial contact via a middle-person because of emotional sentiments, not because of halachic/cultural reasosn. I wouldn't say there is a difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in this area, and I am not speaking from the perspective of someone yeshivish whatsoever.

  7. @ Shades of Grey,

    Fascinating, I really appreciate your insights. I was, perhaps, presumptuous and read into your distinction of Orthodox women ("from the middle of the road to the right"). I'd appreciate hearing more about what you mean by "emotional sentiments."

    My post had originally meant to be framed emotionally as well, as emotional impunity, not fearing or having concern for rejection.

    It was, in part, inspired by Thinking Jew Girl's recent post entitled "On girls asking guys out" ( and the comments there.

  8. I'm sure im repeating some of the comments above (I did not read all of them in depth). From personal experience, it can sometimes be uncomfortable to tell someone straight out that you are not interested (specially if you are asked out in person).

    If this keeps happening to you, maybe you should ask yourself if you are reading the "signs" properly and if those women are actually interested in you. I hope this doesn't sound harsh. It is possibly you keep going for the type that is just not into you. I think its important before you ask someone out, to get a sense if they like you too. It might also be altogether easier to get a mutual friend to ask her if she is interested--it is easier for the woman to say "no" to them than to you in person.

    That being said, I commend you for asking women out, though like some mentioned above, I think that most frum women do not expect that so it can sometimes come off as "too much"/done in the wrong way. I am not "Yeshivish" but I'm in Stern and I can tell you that I think it is weird when guys come up to me in YU. It is perhaps because of the assumption that the type of guy that I'm interested wouldn't do that...

  9. As Jews, we are (or should be) programmed to spare other's feelings. I find too many nowadays use the claim of "honesty" to really hurt other people.

    If girls are trying to be tactful in their rejections, I think that's laudable.

    If everyone operated under the premise "It's okay, they can handle it" that wouldn't be a good thing for our society.

  10. @ Sefardi Gal,

    You are right, a lot of women are not comfortable being asked out until there is a quasi-friendship, or more rapport.

    @ SoG,

    I recently heard that the friend-route is also a very common go-between. I learn something new every day.

    @ Princess Lea,

    There's a difference between getting constructive feedback and the person having intent to hurt my feelings. My OP was talking about what I can handle, in particular that I can handle the truth.

    I appreciate honesty because it gives me more feedback (to work on myself) than "I don't see this going anywhere" or "I don't feel a connection."