Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Game of Life

Ever since I joined the B"Y like school system, I have heard that when in shidduchim people should not look for love, but rather, they should only concentrate on compatibility. In order to avoid being "blinded by love" the schools teach that a huge amount of referencing should go into the shidduch to determine whether or not it is even worth "wasting" time on. And only after all the spying is done, and ok'd by a source (usually parents), can the two persons go out. I found (through socialization, I am in no way part of this wacko shidduch system), that in order to be "ok'd" one must really really "play the game".

John Locke was an English philosopher, and he said that children are born "tabula rasa" or "blank slate". In the frum community, the kids are born in a "game state." And with a status already. If their parents are "modern" they are on the bottom, and need more room to grow. While, Locke meant, "blank slate" as in behavior or good/bad of the child, the frum community, tends to label the child in the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" slate. As in, the behavior of the child, is already pre-determined by parents, schools, camps and bungalow colonies the parents will choose, as opposed to the natural curiosity that encourages children to ask questions, which encourage them to act in their own matter, based on the responses they are given to these questions.

The "game state" the children are in, has multiple parts. The first part ends with "marriage". In order to "win" or "complete" this part, one has to finish school (all grades up to 12th) with good merit (no suspensions). Then, the child needs to complete one year of study in Israel, or an institution somewhere else with an Israeli name (such as Ma'alot) so that one can conveniently forget to mention they were not actually studying in Israel. After the year of seminary is completed, that is when the game begins to enter bumpy waters. In order to get married, one must be referenced. Referencing determines if the girl/guy went to the "right" school, for the potential shidduch to go through. If what the parents determined as the "right" school, bungalow colony, camp, seminary/yeshiva, and shul with the "right" hashkafa does not "fit", then the shidduch is deemed not shayach and is thrown out the window (probably literally with all the pollution in frummy neighborhoods). Making sure everything is "right" is also part of the game, and unfortunately for many people, it's the parents that make these decisions for them. Some girls, in Prospect for example, may "frum up" in Israel, and come back deemed "wrong" for the type of guy they now decide they want. Or a girl from B"Y of Boro Park, may develop brain capacity, and realize that kollel isn't for her, and then be deemed "too frum" for the guys who are actually not yeshivish. The "game state" does not take into consideration that life, is after all, NOT a game, but rather tends to ignore that very interesting scenario. If a girl, for example, from B"Y decides she does not want what was deemed "right" for her by her school, which her parents chose, she then has to marry a guy with the same background (ie, went to all the "right" schools, and decided kollel was, infact, not right for him) as well. This method is very simple, because it all adds up to an easy matching game. This method also prevents frummies from really looking at life, as more than a mere "game." The occasional free-thinkers, that actually would marry BT's or those from different backgrounds, are those who tend to be seen as the "meshugas" in the system. They are unexplainable, or just "settlers" (people who were "desperate", and had to look "outside")

The ultimate end of the game, is death. The game is like this never ending cycle of children, shidduch, grandchildren, shidduch, great-grandchildren, etc. The game is almost pathetic to think about, but unfortunately, it is the the unspoken existence of the frum community. While, I do feel that marriage should be an important goal in life, I feel it is more than just a game of "match" in "compatibility" that parents put their children through, but rather, a "match" that should be taken seriously, and not just about school and seminary information. Life is more than just a game, and until frummies realize it, they'll be blaming their problems on "crises" that do not exist. Sorry, but your kid is probably NOT at risk because they were friends with their secular neighbor, but because they don't want to find themselves in a loveless "compatible" marraige, where the only thing they have to discuss is finding the "right" schools for their kids...

12 comments:

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

ה יאיר את עיניהם בטוב

the girl whose blog is gone said...

mm, eye openeing..

whoops said...

*opening

Anonymous said...

are you saying that you don't agree with the whole shadchin way of dating?

frumskeptic said...

anon: I have nothing against being "set-up", I have something against the retardedness of referencing, and parents picking schools, camps, bungalow colonies etc, specifically for shidduchim. its pathetic.

Jessica said...

i wish i didn't agree with you and could deny that there was such a ridiculous issue in the frum community, but... well, there is and you've written down exactly what the problem is. the shidduch crisis isn't that there are still single people that are pushing 30, but that there are opinions being formed of people based on what happens to them and not based on what kind of person they are.

"What really matters is what you like, not what you are like." - High Fidelity

Anonymous said...

Referencing is very important...maybe some do go a bit over board...but overall it is very important...from a girls perspective, which im sure u can relate to, knowing what kind of people the boy grew up with is important. and plus it makes life so much easier...

frumskeptic said...

anon: i totally disagree with you. It makes no difference, if the person setting you up is reliable, not some random rabbi who got your "resume" theres no reason you cannot trust that person. Not only that, referecning won't get you anywhere. Whats it gonna prove, the lady that HE chose to write down on his resume likes him? And if you call his neighbor (who lets assume is NOT on the resume) you may get completly useless information, what if they neighbor just has a childish grudge against the guy. Its terrible to subject yourself to gossip. If you want referencing, I recommend FBI screening him or s/t. Then atleast you know the responses you'll be getting are unbiased. and, they'd stick to important things as well...because they do not care one bit what color tablecloth he uses or if he wears loafers or shoelaces (unless he has a shoe-collecting hobby)

Anonymous said...

ok... i hear what u r saying...but let me ask u...what way do u prefer since u don't like the referencing way...what other ways do u have in mind...

frumskeptic said...

I recommend either one of these, or both of these ways...

1) use a shadchan you actually knw and trust. not just someone that wants to get paid and couldnt care less if you get divorced 25 minutes later.

2) FBI check the guy. If you choose to go to a random shadchan, your references will be baised anyway. Why not go straight to the source...government files. No criminal record or mental/emotional issues on his file, you're probably in good hands. Because, look at it like this... Maybe you like guys that are opinionated and like arguing (ofcourse he may like arguing and not be opinionated, but u get my point), and when you reference him by calling a teacher you know who taught at his HS, the teacher may exaggerate the midda, to make him sound like a stupid jerk who just wants alot of attention so he talks to much...
While he's just opinionated (maybe a tad overboard on it, but something you can handle) it will seem like he's worse, adn you'd reject him, while possibly he ist he right one for you...

while I do not literally think anyone would use the FBI, I really see that as practical if you have acquintances in the legal system who are able to get this type of information.
But i just really highly qualify getting your friends//family to set you up, and you know they're trustworthy.

frumskeptic said...

anyway...my point was, that while referencing with the teacher, you'll be looking at character traits, which is s/t you should just leave for the date. Because if the person setting you up knows both of you, they already took the personalities into consideration. Therefore, referencing may actually harm the "shidduch" in this case, while the FBI probably has nothing on personality, unless state tests also have secret personilty tests in them (like they do with IQ).

The Babysitter said...

I agree with you, its hard having gone to a B"Y school and then college, it seems strange it people's eyes and they start to ask questions. Then its a question of where you fit in because of that.
The elementary school is usually your parents decision so it has nothing to do with you choosing it. Then high school sometimes you stay in the same school cause you liked it but it doesn't necessarily define you.