My grandmother fell in love with my grandfather the first time she saw him. Turns out that isn’t the worst way to meet someone.
He was giving a shiur (class) at a synagogue in Toronto. Their fathers had been vying for them to meet for a while and finally my grandmother, a beautiful and vibrant 20-something year old, begrudgingly agreed to go to this class on a Friday night by some rabbi.
“Some old dude, no doubt,” she assumed. But when she walked into the room and saw a handsome, spiffy young man preparing to teach, she was blown away. She remembers making eye contact – who wouldn’t considering my Zaidy’s bright blue eyes and huge, happy smile. She remembers the green corduroy jumper she was wearing which she loved. She remembers how they walked towards each other after the shiur and my Zaidy walked my Bubby home that Friday night.
And then he went on to not ask her out for months!
Yes, they were in touch, but he dragged her along like a wet shmateh. But useful things, shmatehs can be. Among other things, he ended up asking her to help organize a camp for girls that she would run during her upcoming vacation from work.
And she did it. Was she a sucker? I mean, he should have asked her out on a date, no?
I can’t say I know…
He did finally ask her out. It was Sukkot – which to this day remains a special holiday for my Bubby – and they went on to lead what became a vibrant Jewish community in Kitchener outside of Toronto for 36 years, they parented five children together, they are grandparents to a number we seldom say out loud. Not to mention great grandchildren which my grandmother has had to enjoy herself, since my grandfather passed away quite suddenly from a heart attack when they were still deeply in love in their passionate and committed way, at very young ages.
So, was she dragged along? Would the ego of today’s modern woman allow her to go along with such shenanigans?
“Ask me out on a date or forget it,” one might say. And everyone around would nod and say, “Yes, it’s only right.”
But why? What is a date if not an expectation from a person we don’t yet know, and who doesn’t know us? If you think about it, really, why are we all dating? Could there be a more synthetic way to get to know someone? Is there any way to focus more on meaningless traits in others? Dating is a pretty perfect way to pretend something is something when really it isn’t yet anything at all.
I recently met someone who decided to stop dating. Yeah, he meets women, but he realized that conventional dating takes him to a very negative place of judging, feeling pressured, pressuring someone else… He realized he needs to be able to first get to know the woman he meets as a human being, and secondary is to ask himself if she might be the woman to carry his children. For the modern woman this might be a challenging way to get to know someone, especially if she really does like him. There is such a lack of control and lack of clarity…
But let me ask you: is the clarity during dating even real? Maybe the way my Zaidy did it or this man does it is the most honest and respectful approach.
And the plug…
My grandmother, the most romantic person I know, is one of the readers at the upcoming reading event (which is not only for singles!) on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at the iconic Tmol Shilshom cafe in downtown Jerusalem. People will be reading pieces on the topic of love and lack there of.