I shared most of my story with my confused shidduch reference friend and our friendship survived unchanged. So I told two more friends


“Um, I got a phone call,” my friend and shidduch reference began. “They wanted to know what your medical history includes.”


“Strange question,” I responded casually, my heart flip-flopping.



Dear Mrs. Fine,

You assured me that you understand the sensitivity of a medical shidduch. I want honesty with my future spouse, but we live in a frum society... Does this boy have frum parents? Don’t they understand that friends can’t know everything? Please tell me my secret is still safe.





Dear Shira,

I’m so sorry this happened. The boy and his parents are frum — and open with their community about his challenges; they did not realize you are not. This won’t happen again, don’t worry.


M. Fine


Oh. It existed? People were open about their challenges and weren’t rejected by their community? This was astonishing.

The shidduch was over before it started, but the consequences of my first shidduch hiccup continued. I shared most of my story with my confused shidduch reference friend and our friendship survived unchanged. So I told two more friends. It felt awesome to have some people know the real me.



Dear Shira,

I just met the most incredible boy. He’s smart, mature, and has amazing simchas hachayim. There are two things I want to run by you before I suggest it. He is 22 — a year younger than you — and he wears two hearing aids and lip-reads. His speech is a little unclear, but when you get used to it, you’ll understand him perfectly.

I hope you will consider it; he’s just right for you.


M. Fine


I knew all about medical stuff making people more mature, age didn’t bother me. Abnormal body… I thought about it for a day. I could relate —maybe I could hide my back, but it was still there in all its twisted glory. I responded yes.

Date one. Topic of discussion: “Marfan’s doesn’t really affect my life much anymore, I go to chiropractors and that’s about it.” I tried to be as honest as possible, I had had enough of lies.

Date five. I had accepted his slightly unclear speech, and gotten used to turning his way when I talked, and was beginning to walk around with a big grin on my face. He had been through different experiences but he understood mine so well, he understood me like no one in my life ever had.

British Unspoken Rule (BUR) Five: eating in public is not recommended. We settled into our seat in a quiet restaurant, chatting innocently. Suddenly we were interrupted. A man walked over and plunked himself down next to my date.

“Hi, I’m Jake Pearl from Montreal. So… you guys on a date?” Um.