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Remote Matches

We present a list of shidduch rules and systems, and explain how to apply these for the world of shidduch Zoom dates



ith social distancing the call of the moment, we’ve seen many industries moving online — and the shidduch system should be no different. But it’s important to remember that while the setting for dates may have changed, our holy shidduch traditions do not.

For the uneducated or uninformed, we present a list of shidduch rules and systems, and explain how to apply these for the world of shidduch zoom dates.

Rule: The boy picks up the girl

Application: The boy must host the meeting and send the meeting ID. Some people are of the opinion that the shadchan should create the meeting and send the meeting ID to both parties. Other than the very young and very yeshivish circles, this practice is discouraged. Boys, please remember that girls want to see you take the initiative.

The boy must be the first one on the call. The girl is expected to log in fashionably late, a few minutes after the scheduled time.

For those who do not have their own Zoom accounts and do not want to have their own account, using your sister’s school account is strongly discouraged. Should your internet connection fade, you really do not want your sister’s profile picture appearing on screen.

For those who feel that it’s not pas to have their own account, there is a gemach of Zoom Pro accounts that can be used by boys in the parshah. Please remember to change the password once you log in so no one else can access your meeting. Please also remember to rename the account so that your first name appears. (Obviously the girl will not call the boy by his first name, yet it is disconcerting to meet someone you think is named Moshe and see a title under his picture reading Reuven.)

Rule: Meet the parents

Application: At the start of the date, the girl’s parents should appear on screen to meet the boy. This is even more awkward than in-person dates, without the ability to offer stale cookies or ask about traffic on the Garden State. Parents are discouraged from asking if the boy had trouble logging on, as many feel that there is no right answer — boys do not want to appear overly familiar with internet technology but do not want to appear inept. Keep this meeting short, then move on.

System: Siblings peek from the window

Application: Be smart and resourceful! Kids can be very, very creative. Many shadchanim are suggesting that daters utilize headphones for this reason, but some girls have complained that AirPods do not match their accessories. To meet this pressing need, some frum fashion companies are designing AirPod silicone covers in a range of trendy colors.

Setting is important, too. Try to choose the most soundproof space in your home. Many have found closets to be the best option, but be mindful of the background and what your date is seeing behind you.

If at any point it seems that any siblings are eavesdropping or have planted a listening device, seek parental involvement immediately. (Sorry, parents, but you’ll need to end this immediately, even though it was actually successfully entertaining the children.)

Rule: Don’t be cheap

Application: Be very conscious of your drink. Generic brands of water bottles are an absolute no, as is coffee in a basic Styrofoam cup. Clear tumbler-style cups are recommended for water and soft drinks with ice. (Don’t forget your straw!) Hot drinks should be in a brand-name mug, but make sure not to use the mug you painted while on a different date. Similarly, knockoff AirPods from AliExpress are unacceptable.

Rule: The girl should not chime in with directions.

Application: If the boy’s face is not fully on screen, his microphone is not at the right volume, or the connection is weak, do not offer your technical assistance. He will figure it out… eventually.

System: The boy’s fashion sense can be determined by his tie.

Application: The Zoom screen allows for just a small view window, and most daters opt to use that to show their faces. The exact width, colors, pattern, and brand of a boy’s tie will be unknown to the girl, her parents, and any siblings who have figured out how to spy on the date. Boys wishing to show off their true sense of style may wish to don a bowtie.

System: Girls fix their hair constantly while on a date.

Application: With no walking and no wind, Zoom dating seems to be the ideal choice for the hair-conscious girl. However, people tend to watch themselves constantly while on a video call. Girls, turn off or hide your view of yourself, so you’re not constantly checking your appearance. Remember that that screen is typically off to the side, which will give your date the impression that you’re not looking at him (as is the case).

System: The mid-date bathroom break

Application: Just like in person, either party can initiate this by saying, “Please excuse me for a minute.” We recommend that you turn off your video and mute yourself, so your date does not pick up any of the background drama in your house.

Rule: Daters must play a game on the third date.

Application: Unfortunately, Zoom does not offer game plug-in options. Daters can hold a separate device and use an app to play a game together, but for those who do not have internet available on another device (or would like to appear as if they don’t), the former managers of the BMG dating game gemach on the second floor of the dorm have contacted top web designers to utilize their services to create games with a direct Zoom plug in.

System: Say “Do you think we should get going?” to end a date.

Application: When there’s no need to travel back home, ending the date is even more awkward than usual. Some suggest keeping the free Basic account, which limits meetings to 40 minutes, for this reason. This is the preferred mode of action for those who “meet for coffee” instead of having formal first dates, but is not recommended for those still following typical shidduch protocols. The good news is that it’s far easier to check the time on the corner of your screen than checking your watch during a date. The boy is reminded to initiate this with an “I think we should both get going.” In response to her relieved nod, simply say, “Thank you, have a good night.” As soon as she says, “You too,” you can hit “Leave Meeting.” Both the girl and boy are reminded to say their lines on time without prolonging this awkward exchange.

Girls: Be wary of filling out the end-of-meeting-experience feedback survey. This information will go to the boy if he was the meeting host! Contact the shadchan directly with your feedback.

Community Service Initiatives: Our frum community is known for its resilience and constant shidduch initiatives. The following projects have recently sprung up to help singles trying to navigate the parshah of shidduch by Zoom.

Machi’s Makeup will host an online tutorial on how to adapt your makeup routine to best achieve an understated natural look still apparent on Zoom.

Brachi’s Interior Design will host a session on how to best set up your home with the ideal background for a shidduch Zoom date. Featured topics will include how to give your home that elusive classy appearance, best home accents, and how to avoid that obvious fake look when using Zoom’s virtual backgrounds.

Shalom Date Force will host a series of workshops on red flags to look for in shidduch Zoom dating. Daters who won’t allow a co-host, who mute your microphone, and who start recording the session without your consent should be discussed with a dating coach or mentor.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 690)

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