There are many crises happening around the world right now — coups and civil wars, Spitzers and Weiners and what-have-you. But the real serious crisis involves the old Jewish maids crying their eyes dry because no nice Jewish boys will marry them.
The yeshivish Orthodox world has been embroiled in the so-called “shidduch crisis” for years now. This crisis involves a complicated math of too many bachelorettes for too few bachelors. Traditionally, 20-something boys marry 19-something girls, which leaves 20-something girls with no options but to grow old and give up on their dreams of diapering babies and baking challah. Or, as some ardent male critics argue, the crisis stems from girls being “too picky” when it comes to choosing a mate, while young boys would tap anything.
A recent YouTube video produced by NASI, the North American Shidduch Initiative, suggests that young boys can and should marry older girls — even if the girl is four months his senior, or, God-forbid, one year and three months older (what a crisis!).
The three young yeshivish men in glossy lips and giddy smiles talk about their own reservations about the age difference — we are talking one to two year gaps, not the shidduch crisis of 40-year-old Yitzchak marrying 3-year-old Rivka. But, as two of these three men excitedly demonstrate, listening to the matchmaker paid off and they now have little wiggly toes to show for it.
“Take it from me,” they say while holding their precious proofs, “don’t let age be a factor. It’s her qualities that count.”
The video ends with this clever punch line: “Next time someone suggests a shidduch, please remember ‘age is just a number,’ because the precious qualities of our daughters are AGELESS!”
Yes, I err, my qualities, are ageless!
On a serious note, though, what are desperate Orthodox Jewish girls to do about this crisis? And hello, where are the Jewish George Clooneys when we need them? Here are a few of my suggestions to end this injustice once and for all.
First, polygamy. Why, if boys are such a commodity, should they not be shared? I am not talking serial Warren Jeffs polygamy, but rather two girls to one boy. Throw in the biblical example of Yaakov marrying two sisters, and it makes this arrangement all the more appealing. Sharing, ladies, it’s one of our precious and ageless qualities.
Stop dating and start doing shidduchim Hasidic-style. Instead of the boy and girl being compatible, the parents should be matched up. Everything about the family — from yichus to the respective mothers’ headgears to the minivans the fathers drive — should be carefully examined. Everything, but the personalities of the prospective bride and groom. Hasidic matchmaking is successful vis á vis the abovementioned video, as it produces many cutesy toes in lilac bows.
My third and final suggestion is to end the matchmaking madness and allow nature to take its course. Boys and girls, you are free to court whomever you like. But that may lead to mixed dancing. So — on second thought, nah.
Too Many Orthodox Bachelorettes?