| LifeTakes |

Save the (Secret) Dates

It’s nearly impossible for a girl in shidduchim to leave home for an hour at a time without a “Hatzlachah!!!!!!!!” text

With friends, relatives, and random acquaintances all completely one-track minded,it’s nearly impossible for a girl in shidduchim to leave home for an hour at a time without a “Hatzlachah!!!!!!!!” text and some very (un)surreptitious winks. Dating out of town brings the complexity up a few notches — if slipping out of your home in heels for three hours is hard, skipping town for nine hours is infinitely more complicated.


Between the Coworker...

I work remotely, keeping a water bottle, chocolate bar, and charger with me for company. The occasional camera-off Zoom meeting spices up the day. The best part of the setup — besides the slippers and oversized sweatshirt — is that I can be in Timbuktu and no one would know the difference! Which means I can travel in and out of Lakewood for a date with no one the wiser. (I thought so, anyway.)

When the time comes, I get into my car — heels, laptop, and all. If I need to participate in a meeting, I slide into a rest stop, glad I have the whole thing under control. Only to log on at 9 a.m. the next day to this message on my screen. Not to be nosy or anything, but you’ve been out quite a bit recently. Anything I should know about? 😉

I slam my fist on the table, peek at my messaging platform, and rue the little bubble next to my name that apparently turns from green to gray when I’m offline.

And the Passenger...

I debate this every single time. I’d love to take passengers, especially when I’m driving late at night; having someone to yap with keeps me awake, alert, and less nervous. But I don’t exactly want to post on my grade’s chat group: Looking for a passenger to and from Lakewood on random day and random time. No, I don’t know my exact schedule, and no, you won’t be able to contact me once we’re there because I won’t have my phone around.

I usually wait for someone else to post that she’s looking for a ride, so instead of the entire grade knowing my life’s goings-on, only one person will, and maybe she won’t figure it out. That fleeting hope goes down the drain when we’re driving home and an incoming caller’s name pops up on the screen. Yup, it’s from the shadchan, whose name is familiar to every female between the ages of ten and 120.

The Brunch Buddy...

I don’t go out for lunch often, but every so often, Mimi asks if I want bagels/ice cream/coffee. “Let’s do Sunday brunch at eleven!” she says cheerily on Friday afternoon.

“Eleven is so early!” I grumble, hemming and hawing before finally settling on a breezy, “There’s a bunch of stuff I was planning to get done this Sunday.”

She snorts, and we hang up. As I set out bright and early Sunday morning — at eight to be precise — I get a text. Hatzlachah and safe travels! 😉

I’m stumped; there are so many other things I could be doing on a Sunday. Housecleaning! Exercising! Clothing shopping! Even making up missed work hours. (Contrary to popular belief, my flexible work schedule doesn’t mean I get a bunch of free hours to prance around the Tristate area. All it means is that I’m not penalized for not working during business hours… as long as I make it up at midnight. Or 5 a.m. Or all-day Sunday.)

And then I remember that I’d boasted to Mimi just last week that I exercise Sunday mornings at nine, and that in the past six months, whenever she suggested brunch, I excitedly agreed. Somehow, I never had “a bunch of stuff I was planning to get done.” Okay, Mimi. You caught me red-handed.

The Cousins...

There’s a very special place in my heart reserved for The Cousins. These relatives live in Lakewood, and they graciously offer to host me every time I’m headed their way. I’m very grateful to them and yes, every question they ask deserves a straightforward answer. Don’t you agree?

They also reserve the right to stare out the window and comment on every move Mysterious Boy makes, pepper me with questions as soon as I walk in the door (and kick off the heels), and report their findings to my mother. Sometimes they also fill in other cousins, neighbors, and long-lost acquaintances.

...And the Neighbors

They’re the only ones who lose out with this arrangement. Dating out of town means no spying on the gray Camry in my driveway, or trying to figure out what number date it is based on my attire.

Tip: If you’d like to be in the know before the l’chayim, redt me a bochur who learns in the local yeshivah.

And then text “hatzlachah!” every time I leave the house.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 900)

Oops! We could not locate your form.