Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Somehow Knew This was Coming

I'm not actively redting shidduchim any longer, but my name still appears on a number of shadchan lists (can't seem to get it off those lists) and people still call me about shidduchim. Two weeks ago I got one such phone call. And frankly that call left me speechless.

A male in his early 20s called me from OOT. He was looking for a shidduch and knew precisely what would be suitable for him, having, as he put it, "tons" of dating experience. However, he offered a new twist on dating. He would not be coming into NY, if a girl were from here, for the first few dates. As he put it, those dates are about "elimination," not about choosing. To spend hundreds of dollars on plane fare to go out on a date and find out that the girl was not really shayich for him seemed insane. Instead, what he wanted was for me to arrange the first dates as Skype dates--they'd get to see each other and talk, but the cost would not be prohibitive.

Okay, there may be some positives for an out of towner in dating this way. But what would you like to bet that if this goes into practice for the OOT, it will soon catch on with those who are in town. It certainly would cut down on the cost of dating. And I can see some rabbis being in favor of it, because there would be no actual face to face meeting, getting into a car alone, being faced with temptation. Heck, even the environment would benefit, as less gas would be used, reducing air pollution and petroleum dependency.

As it is a whole lot of people are already replacing face to face socialization with online substitutes. I suppose it was inevitable that dating would find itself heading online. Still, I am already missing the "old-fashioned" way we used to socialize. Note: for those who don't have the Internet in their homes as yet, I'm sure the Marriot will jump to their aid. Instead of a lounge where real live people sit across from each other and talk, the hotel will provide a "lounge" with Skype-enabled computers for "dating" people to use.

Purim Torah? Sigh, I don't think so.


Allen said...

You may not like to hear it, but this is really great for those oot. You have no idea just how much it costs for oot boys who are set up with girls who aren't in their city. I could have bought a luxury car and then some with the plane fare money for my sons when they were dating.

Wouldn't want to see all dates as Skype dates, but why not for the meet and greet first couple of dates?

abba's rantings said...

i'm not sure this is terrible.
a) i know a number of people who met in online forums. i don't mean dating database sites, but jewish chat forums, etc. their initial contact (or rate flirting, courting, etc.) was all electronic . . . and this was even less sophisticated than skype, which has cameras (or maybe the visual dimension makes it worse?). so really, how is skype dating any different, except that the initial introduction is made by a shadchan rather than by individial initiative?
2) don't some people speak on the phone once or twice before meeting anyway? is this really that different?
3) let's be honest. most of the first (and second, third, fourth) dates of the typical shiddcuh arrangement are boring dinner dates. maybe even less. nothing exciting going on for the couple to actually have a good time or to see how the other acts in a setting other than the standard formal restaraunt. so practically i really don't see the difference between a dinner date and a skype date.
3) i fly once a month for work. relatively local, but still very expensive. i don't pay for it, so it doesn't matter. but don't dismiss the costs for an OOTer flying back and forth for dates every week.

the fact is that various factors make it more difficult for OOTers in the parsha. the fact is that plenty of local girls don't have luck with local guys. if skype can facilitate shiduchim that would not otherwise happen anyway, why not?

Miami Al said...

Yeah, not sure why a first date via Skype is unreasonable. It's no different then a phone call with visuals. The idea of hopping in a plane to meet someone you've never seen/talk to seems creepy to me... in the secular world, such a first date would have large "expectations" built into it.

I see no reason why a Skype date, a chance to meet and chat, couldn't eliminate the "obvious not" people and move from there.

Anonymous Blob said...

I flew around for the last person I dated. After the first time, the other side offered to chip in for half the airfare, since I was the one constantly flying (they never flew for practical reasons).
First date was in person. After that, we skyped for a little while until I flew out again.
Skype works once you have met each other at least once, as we knew what the other person generally looked liked and already had a sense of the person. Using it in between flights is a great idea so that it doesn't get "stale" and feel like a first date all over again. It worked for me.
Side note: if he won't even chip in for the first flight, how can he even think he will be able to afford to support a family?!
Purim Sameach everyone.

Mark said...

This is occurring in every segment of society as online dating services become more and more popular. Where mingling used to be the main way to find people to date, now online methods are taking over.

tesyaa said...

if he won't even chip in for the first flight, how can he even think he will be able to afford to support a family?!

Because it's likely he'll have to go on many dates, making many roundtrip flights, before he finds his beshert.

If he knew in advance that he would find his mate on the first or second try, you'd have a better point.

Melech said...

See this article about a similar initiative:

african girl said...

Skype dating is fun and there's no reason for it to be boring. I tried it once and it really works.

When we met personally we really feel comfortable with each other because we tend to chat and have a video call everyday through skype.

So isn't it good?