Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Words We Use

I was considering leaving this to be covered perhaps by one of the blogs more dedicated to discussing shidduchim, but I've been persuaded otherwise, so here goes.

I had occasion today to meet with an ex-colleague who heads up a student services department in one of the CUNY branches. I'm the only frum Jew that she knows well, and so if she has ever had a question about Judaism she asks me. Today was no exception, but oh my, the question she started out with.

She started out by asking me if it were still true that religious Jews did not believe in pre-marital sex, believed in chastity before marriage. The short answer--"yes." She then explained why she was asking.

She overheard a conversation between two young women who were sitting outside of her open office door. Obviously she had them pegged as religious Jewish girls.

Here is the gist of what she overheard:

Girl #1: I'm so tired of dating! I wish I were married already!

Girl #2: Yeah, I'm really tired of spending nights at the Marriott Hotel with guys I really don't want to be there with.

Girl #1: But if you don't go to a hotel what else is there to do on a date?

Girl #2: Maybe we need to find a different hotel to go to instead of the Marriott.

Okay, anyone who is frum and in the parsha would have a very clear idea of just what is being talked about. But we all of us have been known to have conversations in the public arena, an arena that may have people in it who are not knowledgeable about Jewish dating practices. To an outsider, to someone not Jewish, this conversation is going to be taken at face value, and oh what a strange bit of information these people are going to be getting.

My friend laughed when I explained what these girls were really talking about. But what if she hadn't thought to ask me? Perhaps what is needed is some kind of code word for dating at a hotel lounge, one that could not have a double entendre. I'd really, truly rather be discussing thematic elements in Virginia Woolf than having to act as translator for the uninitiated in shidduch speak.

26 comments:

G6 said...

Oh, I really needed a good laugh tonight and you sure provided one!
That is the funniest thing I've heard in quite some time!!!!
Perhaps this is how "Jewish rumors" get started.....

E. Fink said...

Hilarious. :)

Knitter of shiny things said...

Or people could go on dates somewhere besides hotel lounges...

mother in israel said...

Reminds me of Ahashverosh, lehavdil.

nmf #7 said...

Oh, that is too funny!!

Dave said...

Go somewhere else? Surely you jest.

Ever since Rachel and Jacob met for cokes at the Haran Marriot, that has been how things are done.

Temmy said...

Lol!!! Your friend and I must know the same people 'cuz I've heard this conversation before. Bowling anyone?

Anonymously said...

Not just the non Jews who find this one confusing. You should see my mom's face every time that someone tells her that one of her einaklach had a hotel date. For the really older generation going to a hotel apparently had nothing to do with watered down cokes and lousy conversation.

Ruth said...

You made my day with this one! I'm never going to be able to keep a straight face when I hear Marriott again!

JS said...

Oh my God that was so funny. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Shhhhh, don't laugh too loud or someone will notice and go tell some rabbi that hotels past nit for dates and they'll be forbidden and then what will we all do?

Tuvi said...

Very funny. I'm so grateful that none of my kids are old enough to date yet. Maybe by the time they get there someone will have changed things for the better. Think I might just kill any guy who told me he was taking my daughter to a hotel.

harry-er than them all said...

awesome!

efrex said...

*frantically mopping up tea from his keyboard and monitor*

That just made my day... thanks!

N said...

this is hilarious!

Evan said...

Can't stop laughing long enough to type this right--great lines!!!!

Chana said...

Extremely funny and very true! Been guilty of saying pretty much the same things. Just never thought of who else might be hearing it and thinking strange things.

Shmendrik said...

I was having a conversation at school with a frum friend and two non-Jewish classmates of mine. He casually remarked that in the last year he had gone out with dozens of girls. It was clear that the two non-Jews assumed he was boasting about his sexual conquests, although he seemed completely oblivious to it.

observer said...

That really is a riot.

I would never have considered myself highly naive, but until I read the context and the question your colleague asked you, I would never have thought of how it might be heard by someone who is not familiar with what goes on in our circles. Now I wonder what I've said that could be so mis-interpreted.

Shades of Grey said...

Absolutely hilarious! Having gone to a secular, preppy high school (though now at YU) I can attest for several instances where people have mis-interpretations about Judaism based on stuff like this.

daughtersintheparsha said...

Here is my snippy two cents:
lounges in hotels often have bars. which is where the rest of the world goes on first dates.

The difference with shidduch dates is sitting on couches instead of at the bars and ordering coke and seltzer (doesn't stain when spills, but who sees spills on black, anyway)instead of scotch and margaritas. And wearing all black. And having boring conversation about stuff your mother dug up and found out already.

Archie Bunker said...

When I was in Brooklyn law school, classmates of mine would go to the Marriott nearby, to watch frum couples, and marvel at their way of dating.

ProfK said...

Daughtersintheparsha,
The rest of the world is not going on dates to the bar section of the Marriot Lounge. Hotel lounges are not the favored venue for non Jewish dating couples in the age groups of our frum dating couples. Check any of the major websites that deal with favorite dating places in NYC and only two hotel bars show up on the list, both of them with lounges on the top floor and beautiful views of NY through their expansive windows.

One site makes the comment that hotel bars are pick up joints usually for older people (at least older than their early 20s).

Frum N' Flipping said...

Reminds me of the time I was on a date in the Sheraton Plaza (Jerusalem's equivalent of the Marriott), and the waiter asked us if we had a room there. You should have seen my date's face.

Milhouse said...

Frum N' Flipping, they have to ask whether you've got a room there, because if you do, and you have a foreign passport, then they don't have to charge you tax on your meal and/or drinks.

Anonymous said...

A jewish coworker told me to read this post and it would explain something I've wondered about--it did. Like your friend I've been thinking something else when I heard the younger girls talking about all their hotel dates. In the non jewish world going to a hotel means something other then what these girls use it to mean.