Saturday, May 22, 2010

Take a number

A while ago, my friend went on a date with a guy, and although the guy was very nice, at the end of the date they both realized that they were not for each other. They felt comfortable enough sharing this with each other since they both could tell it was mutual. Being friendly, my friend offered that she had some friends that she would like to set him up with. The guy hesitated uncomfortably and explained that he has a whole list of girls to go out with. I think he may have offered to set her up, or maybe not, either way he never did.

(Side point: Why is it that guys rarely set up girls they went out with, while girls are always trying to think of friends for guys who they previously dated??)

Anyway, I had heard of guys having lists before, but thought it was one of those things you hear about as a theoretical, and that was my first time actually encountering it. Is it really true that guys have lists? Why is that? Why don’t girls have lists? Are there really more girls in the world? This is something that I don’t understand. My friend was bothered because she felt like a number, and I completely agree. Thoughts?


  1. I've never had a list, my older brother and most of my friends did though. It doesn't really matter if there are more girls or not, the fact is it's harder for a girl to get a date than it is for a guy, therefore advantage guys. I can understand why a guy would have a list, but to talk about it, especially to a girl, kind of makes him look like a jerk.

    As to your side point, I would set up a couple of girls I dated, if I had any friends who I thought would be good for them, which I don't. Even if I did, I don't think most guys would want to be set up with girls their friends already dated, maybe it's an ego thing.

  2. Yes guys do have lists. I am not sure why this is, but it seems like some shaddchan is always trying to throw a girl at an "eligible" guy. By that I mean if he is a good learner, or has good middot, or even better both, or if he is the son of a Rosh Yeshiva or Gadol, then he is likely to have lists.

    Some girls also have lists. My Havruta's daughter has a rather long list. Most of which her father and mother(as well as her) feel are not match worthy, so she has packed up and left for America where her father's name won't follow her so much.

    My daugther(2 and 1 respectively) have lists. My own Rosh Yeshiva's sons among them. My wife and I often chuckle about it. It has gotten to the point where my wife doesn't want to attend simhas with me anymore because she doesn't want to hear all of the potential matches for our daughters.

    From what I can gather, exceptional girls(like my own) or girls with exceptional fathers(like my Havruta's) have lists. Standard to exceptional guys, or guys with exceptional fathers will often have lists; all of whom somehow make the category of a "top guy" somehow which still baffles me, though I have a working theory that it is because Sem Rabbanim and teachers are less worried about the spiritual consequences of young ladies not getting married right away(as there is no halakhic hiuv to see them married as young as possible[see Even HaEzer 1])so they are more honest about the young ladies faults and failings during the vetting process. It seems to be all about a Shaddhan's reputation. Essentially if they can make the match a top guy or girl and be at the hatuna and say they made the match to all kinds of parents and desperate singles on both sides of the mehitza they get more work.

    I feel for your friend. This is actually why when I was last in Shidduhim I went rogue. I met a girl through an internet shidduhim site who lived so far out of town, that people were asking me if there were even Jews there. Rabbis were telling me I was making a big mistake and had lost my mind. If the people in Lakewood and BMG would do such a thing as gossip, I was there gossip. Nearly six years and three kids later, those same Rabbis tell me what a Tzadeiket I married and how lucky I am to have gotten a top girl. So all in all don't let it get to you and do what you have to.

  3. BJG- I agree with you that it is not nice for a guy to talk about the fact that he has a list. Good for you for at least trying to think of someone for girls you have dated. I think girls are also hesitant to date someone who their friend has dated, even if it is less so than guys. I think it comes from an attitude of "I don't want your leftovers."

    Mekubal- your daughters who are 2 and 1 have lists?? Can I ask why that is? I'm quite curious. Interesting point about women not having a chiyuv to get married. Except you would think that would make the world less desperate to marry off girls, while it seems people put more pressure on girls to get married sooner. And we are not even chayav. Interesting.

  4. Why my girls have lists... It has a multitude of factors. One they are well behaved... which in Israeli society is not always the norm and thus is supposed to reflect good middot and family. I am a Kohen in the Sephardi world which is huge. I have a fairly good Yihut. I am fairly pale for a Sephard, tending more toward a dark Yekke vs what most people think of as Sephardi. My wife is Ashkenaz so my kids are really pale, and one is a red-head which is huge in Israel. I learn in a prestigious Yeshiva/Kollel and have managed to find my way into the highest shiur despite only being in Israel for few years and having Hebrew as a second language. One of my Havrutot just became the Rosh Yeshiva of the most prestigious Yeshiva in the Sephardi world... I guess its a number of factors that ultimately lead parents to try and convince my wife and I that in 14+ years they would really like my daughters to marry their sons.

    As far as the hiyuv of girls getting married. The Sh"A in the same locale does essentially say that we are supposed to insure that a woman is married by the time she is 30-40(depending on your chosen commentator) to keep from whispers of immorality. However it also says that we are supposed to ensure that a young man doesn't pass 24 without being married for reason of Pru U'Vru, and "it is not good for man to be alone". So I guess ther is just a sense that the pressure is on more with guys or something.

    Personally I have serious issues with the current Shidduch system and think that it is more the problem then the solution.

  5. SternGrad, I agree with BJG, even if a guy has a list -- he shouldn't tell the girl that!
    IDK how common it is for men to have lists, but one possible reason can be because they say "yes" more easily than gals might. (This is a generalization)
    But here's my generalization:
    -MOST guys don't care what the lady specifically does (or doesn't) do for a profession
    -MOST guys don't care too much about age, especially if the gal is younger.
    -MOST guys aren't as particular about specifics that gals usually care about -- like height, family, etc.
    -MOST guys don't have a problem with a gal who is frummer than they are.

    This is all based on my opinion. I don't really have proof :D
    I've only noticed this based on my experience with guys who were offered to me. They see it simply as: is she more or less religious? is she attractive? can we carry conversation?

  6. My list of importance was this:
    1) Can we carry off an enjoyable conversation
    2) Middot: since I am not likely(B"H) to be in shidduchim anytime soon I will give away one of my secrets here. How the other person treats the wait-staff, servers ect.
    3) Family
    4) Looks

    Profession didn't really matter as I was willing to work... and frankly still do.

  7. SG: I agree in theory, the problem is in reality none of those things are true if the average guy anymore and there's one simple reason for it, their mothers.

  8. BJG - perhaps if the guy is a true mama's boy, but I've learned my lesson not to date anyone who needs mama bear to screen his dates before he does.

  9. SG: good idea, the problem is guys like me are not so common. JK.

    Seriously the only guys I know who didn't have their mothers screen their dates, found girls on their own, not through the shidduch system.

  10. Sefardi Gal- from my experience, guys are just as picky as girls when it comes to dating. It might be that different factors are important to each gender, but I don't think the reason that guys have lists is because they say yes to more girls. I think it's because it is harder for a guy to reach the high standard to be considered "a good guy" so those guys have lists, whereas it is much easier for girls to be considered good girls.

  11. Not so long ago, it was believed there were more boys than girls, and girls were wooed, begged for, and pursued.


    Someone came up with the idea that there is an imbalance, so people panic accordingly. It doesn't necessarily mean it's true. It's like many things in life, mind over matter. If you don't believe in it, it doesn't exist. Whereas if you do, it does.

    But I would like to think (positively) that maybe guys are more awkward in setting up their friends with previous dates than girls.

  12. I am pretty sure B4S did a post on this. you may want to see the comments.
    Guys do have lists for the simple reason that there are seemingly more girls than boys. Even if the number of births was 50/50 - since majority of guys will only date girls younger than them, bous can be more choosy and accumalate the list.
    As for why girls are more likely to set up than boys - this goes to the reality of who you are trying to help. Girls see a nice guy and realize it's not for them, so they set up the boy with their friends. This is because, it is much more dificult for a girl to get a date than a guy. The girl's real interest is in helping the friend, not helping the boy (not that they don't want to help the boy - but the interest has less to do with the boy and more with their friend as it can be any nice boy). Boys assume that their friends have "lists" anyway and are not in need of help. If they really think the girl is shayach for the friend they will try - but otherwise, since their interest, the boy's friend is not assumedly not in need, they will not "bother" their friend with another nice girl.


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