Dating as Told by a Millennial and an Orthodox Jew
Discuss Torah and chill? ;)
With legs casted in itchy nylons, skirt hem brushing the floor, and a neckline that wouldn’t dare dip below my collar bones, I was in full disguise for our annual trek up to visit the cousins in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve always been jealous of girls with cousins who double as best friends, turning distant relatives’ wedding receptions and dull holiday dinners into long anticipated reunions full of advice on bras and boys and taking advantage of the free booze.
My cousin Maya and I were born three months and one state apart and our relationship consisted of one conversation per year at the annual Hanukkah party. As the years went on and her siblings multiplied, our interactions only became more and more shallow as everything new and exciting in my life consisted of people, places, and things she would never be exposed to.
As I wiped off my nail polish and buttoned my blouse to the chin each December, it was evident that this pseudo relationship with my Ultra Orthodox cousin would never be anything more than my pretending to be a part of her world, and her feigning ignorance to the fact that I came from a world where women wear pants, have fewer than eight children, and touch boys long before the wedding night.
However, this year as I started my new life in college and I assumed she’d began the husband hunt, I figured now was as good of a time as any to try out a relationship, and maybe even learn something about this lifestyle that I’d spent so many years dressing up as.
Through long and detailed emails that I now constantly refresh my inbox for, we’ve been able to teach each other about our vastly different lives. Our favorite topic: dating. Let’s just say the casualness of the hookup culture was not a complaint we had in common regarding the dating scene we’ve both recently entered.
How do you meet guys?
Me: Class, mutual friends, frat parties, bars.
Maya: My parents help by networking, finding the guys, and weeding through all the suggestions to choose ones that seem to be what I am looking for, at this point I am not going through a specific matchmaker.
Describe your ideal guy:
Me: Sense of humor, nice teeth, above six foot (this is ideal, OK!), texts me back, has read a book in his lifetime, does not own a single wife beater.
Maya: I actually do not want tall, I want to be able to see my husband ;) A caring boy who can responsibly take care of me and our children, sense of humor of course, a very positive and happy person.
What does a first date looks like?
Me: Does getting hit with a “Wssup” at 12:24 a.m. count?
Maya: I’m taking a more “mainstream” route, but for the extremely religious the couple speaks in a private room, they do not go out, and then they get engaged.
Oh, yeah, same.
Kiss on the first date?
Me: If he’s cute, why not?
Maya: We do not have any physical contact before marriage. None at all. The wedding date is the first time the couple may touch, which makes the marriage and wedding day even more special.
Views on birth control:
Me: It’s for my bad skin…obviously.
Maya: It’s generally not used, large families are the norm but the couple also knows their limits, and only does what they are capable of.
A lot of guys I’ve dated have been…
Maya: Boys have very minimal interactions with non family females, so they can be a bit awkward. Last guy was a disaster! Apparently he has lots of personality, but I didn’t see any of it, and if he didn’t have the confidence to at least overcome that a little bit for one date, then he was not for me….he really liked me though, so i felt kind of bad.
The last time I got turned down by a guy was because:
Me: I wanted to stop hooking up with other people and he didn’t want that.
Maya: Our [religious] backgrounds were different and he didn’t want that.
What does FOMO look like
Me: I had a Friday 8:30 a.m. both semesters, so Thursday night snapchat stories were to be avoided at all costs. Or I’d take one for the team and be a little buzzed for AM French class.
Maya: One friend who is 23 is dating someone seriously. Another close friend is engaged, getting married in June. Another friend is married with a baby but that is just plain weird!
10 years from now…
Me: Graduate, maybe grad school, find a job that makes me happy. Would love to be married by 28 or 29, have a baby after a year or two of marriage — if my job allows for it. I do really want to have a family, maybe two or three children.
Maya: Family is first and career comes only after that. At this point I’m dating so you never know how fast things will go. Even if I were to get engaged, I would finish with school. Most girls work after they get married, once they start having children, some stay and some go. I think I will probably work part time.
And thus, a relationship was born. Maybe we’ll never giggle over how bad of a kisser last night’s hookup was or hire male strippers for each other’s bachelorette parties (especially since I’m guessing Maya’s would have to be booked within the next few months), but I’ve been able to learn a lot about how different, and similar, we are in our ideals for life, love, and the pursuit of a single guy on this earth with a decent sense of humor.
Originally published on FlockU.com