Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm sorry, who are you again?

Bad4 always manages to make my Mondays interesting. Today she has a posting up in which she discusses the use of first names during dating. Included is this statement:

Now, it is generally considered a faux pas to use your date’s name on a date. This is because, I guess, you’re not supposed to be on first name basis yet. I would think that by the fifth date or so (in the S7D sequence) this would no longer apply, and you ought to be able to act like you actually know each other (which one hopes you do).

Let me see if I get this right. You and your family have spent weeks researching all the minutiae about a particular person who was redt as a shidduch. You probably know as much, if not more, about this person as the government does. You know where his/her great grandmother went to school and the dates that said great grandmother had measles, mumps and chicken pox. You know who this person's best friends are and what those friends think about him/her. You know the dish clearing habits in his/her house, and what his/her mother likes to do in her spare time. You know what size clothing this person wears, and what type. You know when he/she was a bit chutzpadik in 3rd grade and the morah/rebbi had to call in the parents for a conference, but it worked wonders and what a baal/baalas midos this person is now. You probably know just how much money the father makes and the likelihood of his sharing that money with you and his child after marriage.

But you don't know this person well enough to be on a first name basis with them until a fifth date?!!!! Yes, dating has truly changed since I was a girl. Back in those days a boy had to call a girl and ask for a date. When she got on the phone the opening was something like this:

He: Chani? This is Moshe Smith.
She: Hi Moshe. How are you?
He: Fine thanks. Chani, I was wondering if you would care to go out this Thursday night.

Today, in most/many cases, the shadchan sets up the date and the boy first sees the girl and speaks to her when he comes to pick her up. And he doesn't address her by name because that would be too familiar and awkward this early in the dating process?!

I could really write way more about the way I feel about this, but I'll suffice by saying I find it shtuss, plain and simple. You want to know about why there is a shidduch "crisis"? Maybe we should start by looking at the fact that being on a first name basis with a date is a no no until later on in the process.

What say you readers?


Anonymous said...

I would say that the popularity of Rabbi Falk's Oz VeHadar Levusha book has driven some mores off the edge of normalcy.

Leahle said...

Thankful here to be married already and not have to work under these crazy rules. Can't understand why anyone bothers dating at all if using a first name is too familiar. Why not just have the shadchan shuffle the questionnaires, pick one and thyen tell the guy and girl what time to show up for the chupah?

Anonymous said...

Not quite as extreme as you are showing it to be. Plenty of daters who are on a first name basis by the third date or fourth date. Yeah, I know. Third date doesn't make any more sense then fifth date does. Are we sure that these people are really dating and want to get married? Seems like a pretty stupid way to go about it.

Another one here who got married a long while back and am grateful not to have to be dating if this is what passes for dating today.

G6 said...

You got me.
I'm still trying to figure out why a boy holding a door for a girl was considered a MUST a few decades ago (ladies first... be a gentleman...and all that) and NOW it's a huge NO-NO (not tznius... you might see her behind... torah first.... yada yada...).
What is this world coming to.
I think your choice of the word shtuss was particularly appropriate!

Ruth said...

Right on G6! Wasn't all that long ago when holding doors, and opening car doors and waiting for a girl to be seated before seating yourself was par for the course for a guy. That's untsnius just how?! He might see her behind? So he just walks three steps ahead of her all the time? The Talibanization of frumkeit. The name thing really gets me, and yes shtuss is the right word. The whole dating process today is shtuss, and yes I'd blame it for the shidduch crisis.

Aryeh said...

Thanks for this post. I'm somewhere in the middle between MO and Yeshivish and I do call my dates by their name from the first date. I've gotten some funny looks and no second date doing that and never really knew why. Now I do. Can't believe it but it adds one more thing that I'll have to ask a shadchan, whether the girl objects to being called by her name or not.

Personally, if she objects I'm saying no to the date. IMHO, if she objects she isn't mature enough to be dating for marriage and she sure isn't for me.

Toby said...

Prof, I think you're going to see this get argued along age lines. Those of us older are going to look at this name business as off the wall crazy. Some of the younger ones have never known anything but the crazy dating rules in place today. Personally I don't think this has added anything to dating and not to being frum either. And it sure hasn't helped people to get married and stay married either.

Orthonomics said...

I hope daters aren't trying to carry these rules over into the (non-Jewish) workplace! People like to hear their name. Simple as that.

In the Jewish workplace, such rules are commonplace.

Rafi said...

In a certain few cultures people have public names and private ones that are never used outside of their family. They are worried about the equivalent of an ayin ho'rah. If you know and use their private, first, name you could control them and their fate in a bad way. Never got taught anything like this in yeshiva so I don't think you could make a case that this is the Jewish way.

This has to be shtick more to the right because I never ran across it while dating. What do they say if they want to get their date's attention? Hey you! So does not work for me.

Anonymous said...

Who makes up these rules?! Seems like most of the commenters on b4 know about the rules and follow them. But really, where did they come from? They weren't around when I was dating, but then I'm not ultra frummy either. Just what is the benefit to daters in having these rules? I don't see not one.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:32, I think the point is to encourage better tznius. But as I said in my first comment, the normative text for tznius is extremely rigid and restrictive.

According to the author, even an engaged person may not address a letter to his bride "Dear Kallah" or "My Dear Kallah". It's suggested just to start with "Kallah".

Anonymous said...

So tesyaa, it's common procedure in business of all kinds to address a letter "Dear X" but you can't use a kallah's name on a letter or start it "Dear Kallah" because that wouldn't be tsnius enough? My coworkers and I are all on a first name basis but I can't call the girl I'm going to marry by her first name? This goes way beyond restrictive and rigid. Someone has a real hangup, wrote a book and published it and now his fetish is the standard we all have to go by? Not in this world!

Zush said...

So there is nothing untsnius about going on a date, about getting into a car together, about going to a lounge and sitting and talking about everything else but names are where we draw the line? The whole thing is illogical. We don't give magic power to names and using them signifies nothing more then we actually know who we are out on a date with. When a boy comes to pick up my daughter from the house either I or my wife introduce him to our daughter and her to him. And we expect them to do their part and use each other's name in saying hello.

There's enough to do in keeping all the mitzvos without someone adding in a chumrah topping that shouldn't be there.

ynot said...

sorry tesyaa, but you're wrong. Against a (married) friend's judgement, I read Rabbi Falk's book on chosson and kallah during their engagement. I like it. He RECCOMENDS to the chosson that he uses terms of endearment in addressing his kallah (even *shock* use first names)
~Check it out, before misquoteing..

Anonymous said...

ynot, I stand corrected. Yes, he may use terms of endearment if he thinks they're necessary and they "do not overstep the line".

Click here for link to google books result

Tamar said...

I can give you a reallly good reason for knowing that first name and using it. Lots of Jewish last names that are common like Cohen and Shwartz and Klein. So I'm meeting my date at a lounge and I know he's going to look yeshivish black hat and when the right time arrived I look around and spot someone who looks like he should be the guy. And I ask if he is Cohen and he is so we sit down and have the date. No first names used. Yes you got it, it was the wrong Cohen that I sat down with. My Cohen figured I wasn't showing up and left because all he saw was couples sitting there. The guys date also left when she didn't see any guy waiting there. Only found out what happened when I told the shadchan I'd go out again only she was mad at me because I didn't show up on the date.

profk_offsping said...

I have never ever not used a date's first name from the start...and I've never had an instance where he didn't use mine. And I've dated everyone from very Yeshivish to very modern. If a date called me by an honorific and my last name, I'd think him off the deep end (or something out of an Austen novel...and not in a good way). We certainly wouldn't be going out on a second date.

And the idea that such a thing has to do with tznius--I don't buy that at all. It's just another level of behavioral control exercised on a willing--and ignorant--population. Sheesh. (See, Ima...I am totally your daughter ;)

Anonymous said...

I realize that I'm commenting VERY late (considering this post was written almost 2 years ago) but I think there's another reason why people don't use first names right off the bat. I mean, obviously you'll encounter those who avoid it due to "shticky" reasoning, but in my opinion, using first names makes things very personal. I, for one, have experienced a level of discomfort upon being addressed by name on a first date with a guy that I just met. Something about using a person's name to their face evokes a sense of familiarity, and I'm not all too comfortable with a near stranger exercising that familiarity with me. You know how they say that remembering and using a person's name in business forges a connection and makes the person more likely to go along with your proposition? Well it can have the opposite affect on a first date when the 2 parties are just meeting for the first time- the girl can feel extremely uncomfortable with a boy using her name, to the point where it feels as if he is invading her privacy, in a way.