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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, December 31, 2003


The topic of potential has come up and I have a few thoughts on it. I guess the big question is whether we are obligated to fulfill our potential or not. I feel like if I followed the direction that my potential leads, I would end up in a field that I care extremely little about. Just because I am good at something doesn't necessarily mean that I enjoy it. But is it fair to have talents that we don't make the most of? And what about people who have so many talents, and unlimited potential, how can they possibly fulfill everything opportunity that they have open to them? I guess I want it both ways, I want to be able to use what I have to the best of my abilities but I want to enjoy doing it. And I don't know if those go together. I have a real talent for math. But I don't enjoy it the way that I enjoy so many other things. So I have turned away from calculus and engineering and being an actuary, because I can't handle the thought of devoting my life to something so clear-cut and dry. But I have come to love literature, even though I don't feel like I could go as far in that field and I don't think I have as much innate talent for it. So do I go for what my potential dictates or my passion?

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Plato's Crito

I started writing about Plato's Crito last night. I am having a lot of trouble with the idea that unwise equals evil. In the dialogue Crito, Socrates asserts that “the opinions of the wise are good, and the opinions of the unwise are evil,” to which Crito agrees. First, why must the opinions of wise people be good? I think we need to first determine who is considered a wise person. A wise person, according to Socrates, is “one man who has understanding” in a certain area of knowledge. This understanding seems to be a comprehensive collection of insight into a specific area, to the point where a population would acknowledge this person as an expert. This person would be trusted to give advice and guidance in his specific area of knowledge. According to Socrates, this person alone should be turned to, and we should disregard the advice of any others who try to lead us in that area. It is assumed that a person with this vast breadth of knowledge in a specific area will lead wisely; they will only give instruction that will yield the greatest benefit and help people develop themselves in this particular area of expertise. But is the unwise necessarily evil? Could it not be simply ignorant? I feel like someone who is unwise does not definitely do everything bad, they could very often make the right decisions by accident, and things could turn out for the best. Even if being unwise means being absolutely devoid of any knowledge whatsoever, I still feel that an unwise person could make some right decisions by chance. The word evil has a sinister tone to it, as if the doer of evil is purposely giving advice that will cause others to be harmed. Unwise does not seem to have the same negative connotation, it just indicates a lack of understanding of a particular area. So what is the connection between wisdom and good and evil? I think what Plato is trying to imply is that if you want to be led in the correct direction, without the chance of harm, then you must pick a person to lead who is renowned for his knowledge, who has little chance of leading you astray. Why takes chances when you are listening to another’s guidance? Socrates seems to feel that listening to one person who is acknowledged to be the wisest in a certain area certainly is much safer than listening to a crowd whose knowledge is questionable.

Monday, December 29, 2003

More on The Twelfth Night

Have been reading more of The Twelfth Night by Shakespeare. The more of Shakespeare I read, the more I wonder about his life. I am sure there is a lot of information out there about Shakespeare and his life, but I feel like a lot of it is a lot of speculation. The truth is, I find his plays, even the comedies, sad. So many of the characters is his plays are pretending to be someone they are not. So many feel the need to deceive, to trick, to kill. Love is complex, often causing tons of pain and doubt. The thing that I find scary is, I feel like Shakespeare really did have insight. Maybe he was exaggerating real life, because that was what sold plays, but I feel like he based his plays on something real. Maybe the simple, everyday love of marriage and friendship wasn't interesting enough to write about, maybe that is still the problem with what we see on television and in the movies. Maybe we want to lose ourselves in stories that we feel we can never be a part of. Because I sure wouldn't want the life of any of Shakespeare's characters. Even the characters who fall madly in love with each other at first sight - I don't believe that passion like that leads to a couple being happy, look where it got Romeo and Juliet. But again, I guess meeting someone, finding that you respect them for many reasons and deciding to make them a permanent part of your life doesn't sell. So I guess my point is, while passion is something that a lot of people hope for, I think I would rather forgo passion for trust and security in the people who surround me.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Day Off

I have the day off and don't feel like thinking too hard, so no book reviews for me today. I have been playing with the colors on my blog, and I know that they look pretty bad right now, but I have been having fun. Thanks to Josh for giving me a quick tutorial on what the color codes mean. As good Jews are wont to do, I had chinese food and went to the movies last night. I went to see the movie Mona Lisa Smile. I enjoyed it, though I wish movies would learn to be a little less predictable. I found the premise interesting. A happy-to-be single female professor in the mid-50's teaching at an all-girl's college (Wellesley) and the challenge of letting girls know that there is a life beyond marriage. Hmm, something to think about, maybe. In other news, my apartment is becoming so pretty and clean, it looks almost new. I am in the middle of making challah, which I just love. I begged my friends to let me make it for Shabbos dinner, I guess I was feeling the need to take out my frustrations on some flour, water and yeast. No really, I just really enjoy putting effort into something that turns out so pretty and yummy. Have a good Shabbos!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

From the Mouth of Fools

I started reading William Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night. Shakespeare has an uncanny way of making the most profound thoughts come from the most unlikely of characters. In Act 1, Scene 5, the Clown says: Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel will amend. For give the dry fool drink, then is the fool not dry. Bid the dishonest man mend himself: if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he cannot, let the botcher mend him. Anything that's mended is but patched; virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin, and sin that amends is but patched with virtue. I guess you could apply this formula to almost anything. Give a person what they are missing and they are no longer what they were before. When reading Othello, we talked about whether you can really know another person, maybe the answer is that you can't because they are always evolving and changing. And if you define someone by what he does or doesn't have, and that status changes, then all balance seems to go. Like a poor person who wins the lottery, are they going to be the same person after gaining all that money? It depends on how important the lack of money is to the definition of that person. It amazes me how much Shakespeare seemed to know about people.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Permission to Believe

I had a debate with someone the other night about the existence of G-d. I felt that neither of our arguments were especially convincing, and this was very discouraging. So I decided to do some research on good arguments for the existence of G-d. So, I decided to read Permission to Believe by Rabbi Lawrence Keleman. Rabbi Keleman offers four rational arguments for the existence of G-d. He starts out simple and gets more complex, but even with the more complex of his arguments, he writes in a very clear, straight-forward way that makes his arguments accessible to anyone who is reading. Just to extremely briefly summarize the four arguments: Rabbi Keleman's first argument is that no person can possibly know everything that there is in the universe, so no person can possibly rule anything out of existence either. Therefore, no person can rule out the existence of G-d. His second argument is that if we accept certain moral obligations as being absolute, then G-d must exist because there is no human or group of humans that could have been chosen over time to decide what is right or wrong, because then it would be arbitrary and the morals would change over time. His third argument is that by mathematical proof, scientists have found that the universe is expanding. If the universe is expanding, then it must have started expanding at some point, and therefore, there must have been a beginning to the universe, which necessitates a Creator. His final argument is that the mathematical chance of the universe coming to an existence in the form that it has is so infinitesimally small that it is ridiculous to have any kind of faith that it could occur. His arguments makes more sense than my synopsis of them, so please read the book for yourself. It is a quick, easy and eye-opening book, and I recommend it highly. Next on my reading list: Dr. Gerald Schroeder's Genesis and the Big Bang Rabbi Keleman's Permission to Receive

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


I read Plato's Crito last night. It is definitely an interesting commentary on justice and the role that law has in society. Breif summary: Socrates is awaiting his death in prison. One of his followers, Crito, comes to him and pleads with him to make an escape. Crito explains that money has been raised and the appropriate people will be bribed, and Socrates can escape to a place where others have been set up to make sure he is not discovered. Socrates refuses to escape. His argument is that by not adhering to the law that is now demanding his death, he is denying the attributes, such as his birth and education, that he has been given under that law. I have to say that I admire Socrates' refusal to save his own life in order to uphold the principles for which he has always stood.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Old Friends

I had a friend come visit me this weekend. We met six and a half years ago in Israel. We hadn't seen each other since, had kept up primarily through periodic phone calls. It was so interesting, because we got along great, but in a lot of ways, I felt like I was meeting a completely new person. There was so much I had never known about her, and I was really impressed. There are so many dimensions to a person that it really takes major quality time to find out about. She was really interested in a lot of the things that I have been learning about recently. She told me she had minored in philosophy in college, I never had any idea. She kept picking up the books that I have been reading, that all my friends have been making fun of me for reading, and she was really into them. We had some really deep discussions this weekend about our views on religion, people and what is right. I felt I could be really honest with her about the questions I have been thinking about lately. We really talked things out, not that we came to any major conclusions, but it gave me a lot to think about. I feel like I am going to be thinking about a lot of stuff for a long time. It was good to get together with someone who isn't part of what has become my normal, extremely homogenous world. I really like hearing other viewpoints and perspectives. I feel like it makes me into a more well-rounded person.

Friday, December 19, 2003


I got my first official grade from this past semester, and it is an A. Yea! Hard work paying off. I also got these comments from my professor: You are an enthusiastic, clear, concise, and penetrating thinker, and I am certain that you will greatly succeed in whatever you choose to do. You'll be a great student without even trying, though I know you'll try anyway. Don't ever sell yourself short. Know who and what you are now, and when you know who you want to be, aim for that. I have to admit, that made me feel very good. Tonight is Chanukah. I have to admit that I love seeing all the flames burning, they are really pretty. But it is more than that, I think. Chanukah is a holiday that we always celebrated growing up, and the majority of Jews still celebrate. Maybe it is because it is around the same time as other holidays and parents don't want their children to feel left out. But to me, even though it is not such a big holiday religiously, it means a lot that so many Jews are celebrating the holiday. It is what the holiday is all about, the tenacity of the Jews, even when they are being ravaged by other nations, they stick together and stand out from the crowd. It really is a beautiful message and I hope that even those Jews who celebrate Chanukah with a menorah alongside a tree will continue to hold onto that special spark that resides within each of us. Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Finals Week

During finals week, I acquired: Two bruises on my leg A twisted ankle Numerous (that means too many to count) paper cuts A sleep deficit Soup stains all over my skirt (and the floor) Incredibly short fingernails (I have to cut them off completely when I am stressed) I went through: A printer cartridge A LOT of paper Way too many e-mails to my professor Lots of band-aids and ice Three (one each night of finals) panic-stricken moments when I felt that I knew nothing about the subject I was being tested on And what do I have to show for all this? I am now a senior at the University of Baltimore

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Declaration of Independence

One of the questions on my exam this past week was: Must one believe in the Christian God to accept the rights claimed in the Declaration of Independence? Why or why not? My answer was (I know it is a bit clumsy, but I was at the end of my brain cells while I was writing the answer): The Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” At the end of The Declaration there is mention of a “Supreme Judge of the world,” and “the Protection of Divine Providence.” While these phrases imply that a person owes his life to a higher being, I don’t think it necessitates a Christian God. I think that someone who believes in a Jewish God or Muslim God or Hindu God, as long as they believe that their God embodies the above-mentioned characteristics, can accept those rights. I also think that it does not necessitate a belief in a God of any religion at all. I think that even an atheist can accept the rights claimed in The Declaration of Independence. I believe that as long as a person accepts the words of The Declaration in a generic sense, he can accept the rights they declare. If a person agrees that each man is created equal, and he is willing to fight to secure the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for every person, then I don’t think he has to believe in a God. I feel that as long as a person accepts that there should be justice for all and a protection of the unalienable rights mentioned in The Declaration, and again he is willing to fight so that every person can take full advantage of justice and protection, then he does not have to believe in any God to accept those rights himself. I think that any person who believes that all men should have the right to make a life for himself without having to answer to a tyrant can lay claim the rights mentioned in The Declaration of Independence.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Book Review

I spent the weekend writing a paper on the book Emotional Intelligence by Dr. Daniel Goleman. Goleman describes emotional intelligence as having the qualities of empathy, impulse control and optimism. He goes into detail about how these traits can greatly influence a person's success in life, and can be a greater determination of that success than intelligence. I found the book to be interesting, but I felt that it didn't offer much in the way of constructive suggestions on how to better your life. I felt that it spoke well about the attributes of a person high or low in emotional intelligence, but it didn't give the reader a way to assess where they currently stood or how they could grow. Maybe this is due to the fact that emotional intelligence is largely a qualitative rather than quantitative characteristic. I felt that emotional intelligence could be summed up fairly well by describing someone who is likeable - a person who gets along well with others, looks on the bright side of things, and is a generally happy, well-adjusted individual. While I definitely agree that these are an extremely important part of being successful in life, I think that changing these attributes in yourself would take more work than the average individual would care to put in. Especially someone who is inherently low in the characteristics already. Anyway, that is the gist of my paper, now I just have to get through my final tonight and I will be done with Interpersonal Relationships!

Friday, December 12, 2003

It's Friday

I just read a very interesting dvar Torah for this week's parsha at Aish.com. School is almost over for the semester - what a ride it has been! I had no idea that one semester would make such a difference in my life. In the matter of sixteen weeks, I feel like I have learned an innumerable amount about statistics, literature, human nature, personality types, and oh yeah, myself too. I am proud of the fact that it looks like I will receive A's in all of my classes. I am more proud of the fact that I really feel like I have earned those A's, that I have worked extremely hard for once in my life and gained so much from the effort I have put in. I feel like this semester has made me a better thinker and writer. I think it has taught me to critically question the world around me and the things that we are asked to take for granted. It has taught me that there are so many different people out there, but at heart, we have so much in common, and those things in common have not changed over generations and generations. I feel like a whole new world has been opened to me, and I think I am, in many ways, a new person because of it. I have decided that it is good to expose yourself to new thoughts and perspectives. In doing so, I believe your own views and beliefs can be reinforced and enhanced in so many ways. I thank Hashem for teaching me so many lessons this semester, inside the classroom and out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

My Reply

I want to say before posting this that these are my thoughts and that no one should take them as any kind of halachic statement or formal Judaic stance. I know that my understanding of Torah is at best shallow and I hope that I am not misrepresenting it too badly, but I don't want anyone to take my word for anything more than my opinion. The statement from yesterday was: If G-d does things because they are good, then G-d answers to a higher power (the Good). But if G-d decides what is good, then it is arbitrary (whatever G-d says IS good, no matter what you think about it or your reason tells you or your experience reveals). My reply was: We know that everything that G-d does or commands us to do is for our good, whether we understand the reasoning and meaning behind it or not. I don’t think we can rely on our reason and experience to tell us what is good, because everyone has different experiences and sees things in different ways. For example, take stealing. Say a person walks into a store, takes an item off the shelf and walks out without paying for it. The person does not get caught, nothing bad happens to him. He ends up with a free item. Sounds like stealing is good. But if you look at it from the perspective of the storeowner, he has been deprived of the income that item would have generated and if it happens on a large scale, he will go out of business. So, if we decide from our experiences what is good, then good is relative and no one ends up gaining anything. So we have to rely on G-d to tell us what is good. Is what is good arbitrary? In Jewish tradition, there are certain things that we are commanded to do that we accept without questioning. These commandments are called chukim. We can come up with logical reasons for these commandment, but we admit that we do not know the actual reasons behind them. An example of this is the prohibition between wearing garments with both wool and linen in them. We have no idea why G-d tells us not wear this combination of fibers, but we know that there must be some reason for it or the rule would not be there. And we know that the reason is for the good of those who follow the rule. So does G-d have to answer to a higher power, that of the Good? If all acts that G-d does or commandments that He gives us are good, and can’t possibly be bad, then aren’t we limiting G-d? Maybe it is a matter of choice. G-d could choose to do that which is bad, but He doesn’t because He loves us and only wants the best for us. Another possible answer is that G-d’s universe is quite different from ours. I was looking in a book called The Way of G-d by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato. The book says that one of the things we must accept about G-d is His simplicity. There is no way for us to understand the world as G-d does. It is out of our conception. Maybe in G-d’s world, there is no bad. There is not even a capacity for it. The only thing is good, therefore G-d is not bound by anything in His world, He only works with what he has, which is good. I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this, I am not completely satisfied with my response but am having a hard time grappling with the question.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Something to think about

I was given this statement to think about today: If God does things because they are good, then God answers to a higher power (the Good). But if God decides what is good, then it is arbitrary (whatever God says IS good, no matter what you think about it or your reason tells you or your experience reveals). I have some thoughts about it, but I need to form them better before I write them down. Any thoughts out there? E-mail me and let me know.

Monday, December 08, 2003

One Year Older, One Year Wiser (I hope)

Ok, so today is my birthday and I am definitely one year older, and hopefully I have grown a bit this past year as well. Some things that I have learned in the past year: - You never know what is going to happen. Life likes to smack you in the face at times and remind you that you are not in charge, so don't try to act like you are. - Having good friends really makes a difference in your life. I cannot count how many times in the past year my friends have been there for me and I am not sure I could have handled the past year without them. - Never look down on or dismiss anyone. You can learn major lessons from every person you encounter if you keep an open mind. - Go for what you want. If you find that you love something, attach yourself to it with all your might. - It might take a lot of effort to reach a goal, but when you put in the effort, it is so worth it in the end. It is interesting, I was thinking about where I was in life 10 years ago (high school) and I realized that even if I had tried, I couldn't have guessed where I would be today. My life has taken such a huge turn, back then I didn't even know what the word halacha meant. I think I thought I was going to be an engineer, probably living in Alabama. Weird. Then I thought about my life one year ago today. Even one year ago I thought my life today would be quite a bit different. I thought I would be living somewhere else, married to someone who is no longer a part of my life. I didn't think I would be in school, loving every second of it, now dreaming of possibly getting a Ph.D. It is amazing what time does to a person. I was talking to a person who has become one of my close friends yesterday and she was saying that a year ago she didn't even like me. I hope I am being honest with myself when I say that I really think I am more mature, more self-confident and a more open-minded person than I was last year. Anyway, happy birthday to me!

Friday, December 05, 2003

Sense of Accomplishment

I had a sense of accomplishment about a few things yesterday and I wanted to share them. I had an appointment yesterday to discuss the paper I have been working on with my professor, who also happens to be a writing tutor. He went over it with me, and pronounced that he couldn't help me with it, that I might as well turn it in as it was, it was an A paper. He asked me to e-mail it to him so that he could read it again, and he sent me the following e-mail: "I'm sorry if my feedback wasn't helpful about your paper; it really is a wonderful, interesting, well-written paper. And thank you for the copy; I want to read it a few more times and think about it. Do you mind if I leave comments on it and send it back?" I have to admit that it felt really good to get such positive feedback about something I worked really hard on. We also sat and talked about what I want to do with my life. He suggested that I go to law or medical school, neither of which I have any interest in, but my new consideration for grad school is the school that my professor actually attended, St. John's College. It has a very unique teaching style, and from hearing about it from a couple of people, I really think I would love it. Of course, the degree you get from St. John's leads inevitably to teaching, but I think I could handle that. I might even decide to go for a Ph.D., you never know. My next accomplishment was that I baked a batch of challah last night and it smelled so good and looked so pretty when it was done. I don't know what it is about homemade challah, but it is such a cool feeling to take a few eggs, some flour and yeast and mix them together; beat out your frustrations kneading the dough; and end up with this incredible smelling, beautiful challah that is all kavod Shabbos kodesh. I really love making challah and I need to start doing it more often. I decided yesterday that I am going to, bli neder, try to focus this blog on positive thoughts rather than griping at the world. Sometimes it is good to get my frustrations out, but I am going to try my best not to do it in this forum. I want this blog to be a outlet for improving my writing skills and expressing the thoughts that I think are interesting and enlightening about life. Good luck to me! Last note. It is snowing! This is actually the same day that it first snowed last year. I have to say it is very pretty. And a guy in my court actually helped me clear off my car this morning, it was really nice of him, and I really appreciated it. Have a good Shabbos everyone!

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Science vs. Philosophy

In class last night, we spoke about the differences between science and philosophy. The truth is, when you look at it, the focus of science and philosophy is the same - both strive to find answers to questions in order to benefit and improve society. I thought it was interesting. Oh, here's a quote that I really liked - "I know that Hashem wouldn't give me anything I can't handle, but sometimes I wish He wouldn't trust me this much." By the way, if anyone knows how I can legally get money to attend school full-time and not have to work, I would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The Republic

I have been working on a paper based on a excerpt from Plato's Republic (The excerpt I have been working from is the beginning of Book 7). The excerpt I have been using is a parable about people being chained inside a cave, seeing only shadows and believing the shadows to be real life. These people get used to looking at the shadows, identifying the shadows and using the shadows to predict what will next occur. Plato then goes on to describe someone being unchained and taken from the cave into the real world, now being exposed to the sunlight and the real world. This person's eyes take quite a bit of time to adjust, and at first it is painful. After the adjustment takes place, the person then comes to realize the beauty of the world around him, and begins to see what he has been missing. This story is a parable for the process of education. (The exact nature of the education is a source of debate that my paper focuses on.) The impact of this education is such that a person who has been educated typically reacts in a variance of ways. Some people use their knowledge for evil. Some decide to sequester themselves away and focus on their education exclusively and choose to block the uneducated from their lives, drawing a very tight circle around themselves. And some reach a high level and see the education for the incredible good it can do, and are subsequently forced to go back down into the cave to use their education to help those who are stilled chained. They become the leaders of society, albeit reluctant leaders, which Plato posits are the best kind. As Plato says, they are the best leaders because they "are truly rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and wisdom, which are the true blessings of life." The reason that these people who are reluctant to lead will do so anyway is because they will understand that they have a responsibility to share the knowledge and wisdom that they have been fortunate enough to have been given (Sorry, I know that was an awkward sentence). Reading this parable (over and over and over), I was struck several times by how relevant this story was to my life in becoming a baal teshuvah. The exposure to the outside world being the exposure to Torah. I see a lot of parallels in the fact that this exposure did at first cause a lot of pain, but after some adjustment (and I am still adjusting), I have to say that it enriched my life remarkably. And while I don't aspire to be any kind of leader, the introduction of Torah into my life definitely came with a lot of responsibility. The responsibility of treating others correctly, of following mitzvos, of being a kiddush Hashem in my daily interactions. I feel like it would be a waste to take that knowledge and never have anything to do with those who don't also share the knowledge. I think it is important to see how that knowledge can fit in with the world around us. How it can work with, rather than against, and hopefully benefit, others who have not been so "enlightened." It amazes me how much insight Plato had. I think those who believe that humans are getting more advanced as time goes on show how little they know.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Random Thoughts

Okay, have to do this every once in a while to clear out some of the random things that have been going through my head. - I know I am biased, but I have to say that one of the cutest sights I get to encounter on a regular basis is my cat curled up on my lap, trying to take the attention away from whatever I am reading. If I think my cat is this cute, I just don't know how I am going to be able to handle having a baby. - I need to get more focus while I am driving. Twice in two weeks now I have hit stationery objects, and while I thankfully don't care so much about the dents and scrapes that my car is acquiring, the person whose car I scraped last night might have more feeling about it. Haven't heard from them, but I don't think I am in the clear yet. - I was talking to a very close friend of mine last night. I feel like she might have been in an unusually argumentative mood, but she was trying to convince me that when I find a guy that "can put the kids to sleep at night," that he is the guy I should marry. Forget about intellectual stimulation, I can get that elsewhere. I don't know if she has been spending too many hours with babies or what, but I corrected her and told her that, no, I need to know that my husband is capable of higher-level, abstract thinking. While I understand that not every conversation we have will be on a lofty, philosophical level, I want to know that my husband has the capacity for it, or else I might really have trouble looking up to him. - I was reading "The Apology" by Plato last night, the transcript of the defense that Socrates gave when on trial in Athens. I have to say that Socrates was quite bold, he actually attacked his accusers from the stand. I think the piece might be a bit inaccurately titled. But I found this line that I loved: "Life without enquiry is not worth living." I have a lot of respect for Socrates in this piece, with his life on the line, he absolutely refused to back down from what he believed in. I think it took a lot of courage. It reminds me of Rabbi Akiva and the many Jewish martyrs throughout history who would not abandon their faith in the face of death. - I noticed a large gash on my arm that I have absolutely no recollection of inflicting upon myself. Will I ever manage to grow out of this five-year-old boy habit of coming home scraped and bruised? - Finally, the word for the day is "BRRRR." It is so cold out and I hate it! And the word snow has been tossed around for the weekend. Here's my forecast. Hope yours is balmier than mine.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Anatomy of a Shidduch Date

I thought I would expound upon why I hate dating so much. So you know what a girl has to go through every time she goes on a date... The first dilemma is what to wear. Have to find the right combination of tznius but flattering, make sure your collar bone is covered, but you want to look attractive and show off your assets at the same time. And make sure whatever you wear is a good compliment for the activity that you will be participating in. Each date has a different level of formality: first date you have to get really dressed up, next date a little more casual, each date after that according to what you are doing, or how comfortable you are with the person. The next dilemma is hair and makeup. You want to look nice, but not overdo it. Many girls get their hair straightened for each date - I say forget that! Way too much effort, and I like my hair curly. I hate excessive make-up, try to go for a nice look that says I have put in a bit of time, but don't want to look like Michael Jackson or anything. Then you have to run around your apartment fifty times, bothering your roommate about whether you look good or not. She will give you suggestions, tell you that you look fine, and roll her eyes over and over. Then you sit and wait for the guy to arrive. I usually spend those moments nauseous, wanting to do anything but go on the date. I try to distract myself reading something or bothering my roommate some more, but it usually does not take my mind off the impending date at all. Then the doorbell rings. You open the door, the guy always looks you up and down (hate that part!). You try to act like you didn't feel like throwing up five minutes ago, and you make small talk as you walk to his car. The rest of the date is usually pretty boring. You try to have fun while determining if this is the person that you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Most of the time it is like pulling teeth just to spend a few hours with the person. You try to engage in witty conversation, half of which you don't remember five minutes later. You try to act like you are having a good time, because you don't want to hurt the other person's feelings. The end of the date is the worst. Because you can't touch, the guy can't kiss you, and you can't tell from that whether he likes you or not (though the guys usually went for the kiss when they didn't like you anyway). You never tell the person whether you want to go out again. It makes things incredibly awkward. And if you are like me, unless it is completely obvious, you stress about what the right decision is: do you go out again or not, is it worth it? Do you go out one more time to make sure he is not for you, or is it even worth going through all the stress you have just gone through? Is there potential, should you let the person have more time to grow on you, or forget it now? Ah, the fun of shidduch dating.