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My Poorly Arranged Marriage

Dad seeks soulmate for daughter: Will settle for just about anyone who can sire grandchildren

Seeing as it was Father’s Day in the United States, it is only fitting that I post something about my dad to prove that just because I haven’t called him yet does not mean that I don’t love him or his ability to pay my credit card bill.

I did talk to him yesterday however, or rather I woke up to find an email from him. My dad doesn’t email me too often (perhaps because he is embarrassed that he still has an aol account) but when he does it is always for one of two reasons: to send me Youtube videos about Chanukah or to inquire about the state of his future grandchildren. “Anyone special in your life?” He might ask, “Men? Women? Surrogates?” He has gotten a little desperate.

I have two older brothers, but for some reason my dad treats me like I am the last hope for carrying on the family name. I know this because he keeps trying to set me up with relatives and second cousins. Presumably to keep our family name alive and full of Tay-Sachs disease.

So I wasn’t too surprised to see that this new email involved a blind date of sorts, although I was a little surprised to find that it wasn’t incestuous. There was no fluff either. He went straight to the point. Instead of asking how I was, if I was even still alive, or if I wanted to see another music video featuring a singing dreidel (incidentally I did not), the subject line read: interested?

The body of the email was equally blunt. It was copied from a Facebook message between my mother, my father, and my father’s friend who lives in Canada (who, to give my dad the benefit of the doubt, we will assume is not also my uncle).

As I learned from the email, this family friend has a son who is also in Israel, is also single, and is also suffering from a lack of Jewish children. To plagiarize directly from the message (is it still illegal if I change the font size?) my non-relative asks for my contact information as I am “clearly looking for a soul mate”. He then writes that if I meet up with this said non-cousin that we might “meet and fall in love” and then my parents will have an excuse to come visit.

It seems that now my dad is not just using me as a way to pop out grandchildren that will tolerate his jokes, but also as a way to keep in touch with distant friends and as an excuse to travel. This would explain why just last year he tried to set me up with a Jewish law student in Brazil.

Dad: There are other ways to travel to South America other than arranging my marriage. You can just fly there, after this month you should have enough frequent flier miles from my credit card purchases. You’re welcome.

I should point out now, that although my dad insists that I find a rich, Jewish husband before I graduate so that I can make babies and sandwiches in our kosher state-of-the-art kitchen, he still believes in my academic professional abilities. He has said on multiple occasions that he wants me to go to grad school; he just also wants my husband to pay for it.

I should also point out that my having gone on Birthright and traveling to Israel for the summer has gained me immunity for a while; as the very prospect of my falling in love with another Jew has made up for the $300 shekels I spent on iced coffee and 20 years I spent alone. Insert old lady cliché cat joke here.

So I can’t get too mad at him when he tries to set me up, or when he asks me how my M.R.S degree is coming along (badly: but I am getting an honors in M.S.) So instead of chiding him for his pushiness, or turning the conversation to women’s rights, and complaining about the injustice of my grade in my Women Gender Studies class, I humored him.

“Hahahahahahahahahaha!” I wrote back in response to his inquiry.

Okay, I didn’t really humor him, but he was still confused and asked if this was a yes or a no.

“It’s a clear yes,” I wrote, I thought that my font choice of Arial successfully conveyed the irony, “does our lawyer do prenups?”

“I’ll send him your information after Shabbat” he replied, catching my sarcasm but then choosing to ignore it.

He did. I can still imagine the joy on his face while he sat at his computer 5,000 miles away and arranged my marriage and his flight to Canada. He probably also checked online for Canadian baby names and deals on cribs sold in bulk at (he’ll want to stock up).

I feel bad setting him straight—but not that bad that I won’t do it online. I’m not ready to be set up, tied down or married off. It’s too many prepositions for me.

I’m too young and— as proven by this Father’s Day gift— too immature. I don’t want a genetic disease and more importantly my dowry is still too small; it needs to collect interest before anyone will want to marry me.

Might I remind you I have two older brothers who are both debatably more mature and more masculine than I am.

And no. I am not recommending that you set me up with them.

About the Author
Nicole Levin grew up in California and now studies government at Harvard University and writes for the Harvard Crimson
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