Mega Singles Event for the Mega Serious
07/28/2010 - 16:12
Anonymous

“Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to get married?” read the invitation for a singles party in Jerusalem.

“If the answer is NO then carry on going to all those parties, Shabbat meals, lectures, supermarket aisles…”

Ahem! Supermarket aisles? Am I missing something here or is this some kind of veiled reference to that cheesy Dan Fogelberg song from the ‘80s where he meets his old lover in the grocery store, as in, “I stole behind her in the frozen foods and I touched her on the sleeve…”

But back to the invite.

“If the answer is YES then we’ll see you at the…” And then the details for a “mega” event for Anglo religious young professionals are given, “Young Professionals” being that ubiquitous term used for anyone usually unmarried even well into middle age.

According to Haaretz, the party promised “lectures about dating in the religious world, workshops, a musical performance and ‘games to mix people up,’” There would even be “professional matchmakers” on hand to assist "people who are naturally shy."

First off, I find it hard to imagine people paying for a party only to hole up inside listening to a lecture about being single when outside people are meeting and mingling. But maybe that’s what serious people who are really looking to get married do. They go to lectures in the middle of a party. How very intellectually festive!

I’m going to start inviting people over for a party and then when they get to my place, I’ll usher half the crowd into the living room and make them sit through a lecture about the “History of Parties in the Land of Israel: From Abraham to Modern Times” - while the other half will be in the kitchen, drinking and making merry.

But what I’m really getting at is that I agree with my girlfriend who forwarded the invitation to me and then wrote, “I find this offensive.”

Because it is insulting to suggest that singles serious about finding someone to marry are just dabbling by availing themselves of the singles parties, Shabbat meals, and of course, supermarket aisles out there. Because what else are we to do?

It’s humiliating enough to have to go to these parties. But being belittled for it just makes it even worse.

But the real reason why this invite copy is so ridiculous is because this party is no different from any of the other giant mixers and Mazo Balls and singles parties that they are dissing.

All I know is the last thing I need is to stand around a courtyard with 300 singles feeling self conscious. I did that already – 15 years ago.

Plus, the chance of actually meeting someone at one of these things is slim to none. And there is nothing worse than that deflated feeling of going home after a singles event without having met anyone.

But the real question is, if only those who are really serious about getting married will be in attendance, what are they going to give you if you don’t meet someone?

 

Comments

First of all, this illustrates the gulf between people from the USA (and sometimes Canada) and those from the rest of the English speaking world. Interestingly, the advert that you complain about went down pretty well with people from Australia, South Africa and the UK (as well as Germans and Dutch). They recognised its tongue-in-cheek humour (they always say that the best humour has an element of truth in it). Perhaps it's a cultural thing: but it seems that the Americans were more offended by it than the Rest of the World. I think it might have touched a raw nerve with people - one that they don't like to think about too much until something sends it off. You make some interesting points about what you THINK the event might have been like. It's nice to think from time to time - and that's one of the purposes of the event. It's not just to bring people together (something that you say you've done time and again), but actually to get them to think and consider what they could be doing differently or how to present themselves differently. The two aims are what made the even different and even special. You can knock it if you like and regard these events as "humiliating," "insulting" and all the other emotive epithets that you've used. They're not for everyone - and if they're not for you, you're not compelled to go. But for many people I think the aim was to give it a go and see what happened. With a bit of facilitation (as opposed to the random meetings you get at singles or young professional gatherings), people might exchange phone numbers and meet up. Now, what's wrong with that?
For the record, the friend who forwarded this to Abigail because she was "offended" is from New Zealand. I should know it was me. I also believe I have a good sense of humor but this is something you'll have to ask my friends and family about. Regardless, is seems clear that on the spectrum of being single from the state itself, to the events organized to remedy the situation, there are a multitude of potential tender points. It is no more than my personal opinion that Abigail's analysis of the ad and her column in general is a valid, humorous and honest approach to my reality, or perhaps you just touched a "raw nerve"?

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