Solely In Black and White: August 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Compromise: “I am so Happy for You.”

From a few various posts spread around blogosphere it would seem the IyHbY is still a highly debated and much talked about item. I must admit that it was “enlightening” to read some of the responses that people had towards the IyHbY. There’s quite a divide between how people view its use. At any rate, there is a reverse issue that should be address as well. The “I am So Happy for You.” (IaSHfY)

Like its IyHbY counterpart IaSHfY is a common phrase said by many people at simchas. It has become a social norm and is accepted as such. Being that the words are in and of themselves neutral, IaSHfY lends itself to become one of those phrases that can be uttered innocuously, nonchalantly, and even warmly. However, like the IyHbY, it can be used to convey other unpleasant and hidden messages. Furthermore, some people do not possess the requisite demeanor, or more aptly referred to as a “straight face,” to say the IaSHfY without bitterness and venom. Because you can tell! The clenched teeth, furrowed brow, overly fake smile, or a lack of direct eye contact are all “tells” that sort of give it away…

For the sake of burying this hatchet, let us make a fair comprise. There are always going to be people who say the wrong thing. That’s part of life and a given for any society. Furthermore, there are always going to be small subset of people who will say those wrong things intentionally just to be mean. However, that is not the majority of people; at least I don’t believe that most people are cruel. For the sake of creating peace or at least in an effort to foster it, maybe we can collectively create an agreement. Okay, not a formal agreement per se, but at least something said for purpose of informing everyone to be on the same page with regards politeness and etiquette. The exact wording can be amended but something along the lines of: engaged and married people should refrain from saying IyHbY unless they specifically know the other person will not be offended; singles should refrain from saying “I am so Happy for You” unless they truly mean it and they know the person they are saying it to will not misinterpret it.

Personally, the way I see it, this whole discussion can be summed-up as follows: Regardless, if someone does say either of those two lines, one should try not to take personal offense with it. Just write it off as a societal misconception and not a personal affront. At least that’s my take on it, but you already knew that. ;-) 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Schrodinger's Cat

Have you ever pondered Schrodinger's paradox? It’s basically a paradox which describes an unknown situation and brilliantly and simplistically defines it as: until we look at the actual outcome, both outcomes have occurred simultaneously. This ingenious paradox is one of the primary building blocks of quantum mechanics. Although this is not my favorite experiment produced by science, it is fascinating in its complexity yet simplicity. But what fascinates me most about the premise of Schrodinger’s paradox is its application to life. Quite possibly, if unchecked, our existence would be in a state of constant imbalance of an unknown, either content or discontent, wherein we are living in two parallel yet simultaneous dimensions. It is by choosing to see that we are happy with our lives that we actually see one side of the paradox and thus complete the observation revealing that the premonition was right. However, if the observer in the paradox looked inside the box only to find that the cat had actually died and his/her premonition was wrong, he/she lost nothing by assuming that it had lived, provided that the (what turned out to be false) hope didn’t cause the observer to become dejected.

On the other hand, viewing the paradox from a pessimistic point of view would set in motion the alternate parallel dimension to which the observation would only serve to validate the original disposition. But what were to happen if the cat was still alive; the sorrow would have been for naught. 

Alternatively, this could be applied to dating and engagements too. When one begins dating someone, the outcome of their dating can be either one of two possibilities, both of which are unknowns. Thereto, at any given moment the couple involved are both engaged and not engaged without any conscious effort due to the fact that until we know the outcome with certainty, at any moment, either outcome can occur (sans for “one and dones” and scenarios as such). This paradox can also be used explains what an "unofficial engagement" is. Basically, because the outcome has occurred, yet it is unchecked, we do not know what the ultimate outcome will be, but we hope for it to occur. Other than waxing philosophically, what exactly am I getting at?

Basically, we can determine the outcome of our lives based on our perception of occurrences which have yet to transpire exclusively based on our outlook. Therefore, we can determine our happiness and well-being by merely altering our perception and attitude. Furthermore, our perceptions and attitudes don’t just affect one moment in time; they transcend throughout a larger timeframe and affect many aspects of our being. And when they say happiness is infectious…. They really mean it! (And vice-versa of course.)

Just some (cat) food for thought…. :-p 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Indicators that You’ve been Dating too Long

Following in the theme started by BoSD (and Bad4), Top Ten Graphs to Simplifying the Shidduch Process, I figured I would write a post of similar interest, titled: Top Ten indicators that you’ve been dating too long. I've wanted to write this post for a while, being that it was in my blog to-do, but I've been busy with other matters of importance, like writing random blog posts and whatnot.Technically, I wrote the post before BoSD posted hers, but they seem to coincide with each other slightly, so cheers for that, and thus it was posted now on Top Ten Tuesday! :-o Yes, I know, dating no longer applies to me. But can’t one reminisce about those “splendid” times? 
8-| I remember dating as if it were just yesterday… we’ll okay, a few days ago… whatever, you know what I’m getting at! Anyways, enjoy. ;-) 

1. You can list-off five date friendly hotels lounges in midtown without blinking

2. You know every fancy restaurant in the city, and you have them ranked by service, food, and ambiance

3. People call you at least once a month for dating advice

4. The (Thursday and Sunday night) bartenders at the Brooklyn Marriot know you on a first name basis

5. The amount of shadchanim in your phone exceeds either your list of former dates or current friends

6. 90% of the time you can determine if your date is a “one and done” within the first 90 seconds of meeting them.

7. You’ve started a shidduch blog.

8. You’ve either posted on Mikomos, or know of better dating places that aren’t even listed.

9. You’re a girl and you give a guy either dating or venue advice while on a date.

10. You’ve dated the seemingly most interesting man/woman in the world… and you dumped him/her!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Tax on Personal Blogs?!

I knew many cities were, or are currently, on the brink of financial collapse, but a tax or fee on personal blogs?! That’s absurd! Nonetheless, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, is proposing to do just that. The complete article from Digital Journal can found here. Thankfully, I don’t live in Philadelphia, nor do I plan on moving there in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, I like blogging and I’m not knocking the community of Philadelphia; but If I did reside there presently, I don’t think I would fork over the amount of cash they are asking for. Okay maybe I would…. I really don’t know. Something about paying for a hobby which should be free seems maddening. Yeah, probably not. I'm not an accountant but there must be some legal loophole. Here's why:

Besides for the fact that bloggers can easily evade the system by using other mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, or even good-old email newsletters, how on earth is the city of Philly going to enforce this. Furthermore, the way I see it, anyone can incorporate out of state or even in a different country and no longer be bound by the jurisdictional control of any greedy municipality. Corporations have been doing this for years, I see no reason why blogger can't follow suit; I might have to run this by an accountant before I actually try it though... However, if one needed to form a corporation or LLC just to start a blog, that little detail might detract from the allure substantially and thus limit blogging to those with some deep-rooted dedication. Also think of all the paperwork! :-/ The only question that I am thinking about is: how long will it take for this brilliant idea comes to NY… ? :-( 

Quote(s) of the Week: Laugh

“Laughter is as intimate as you can get without touching someone.” 

-Judith Newman


“The only reason to be in a long-term relationship with another adult is to have someone to laugh with. That’s it. Because you can always hire someone to put in windows...” 

-Gina Barreca 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Question of the Weekend: Dissimilar Change

Time For Change

Here is an interesting question I received by email from a reader, although I apologize for not posting it earlier as it slipped my mind. Being that we are in Elul, this question might have practical aspect to it as well.

What were to happen if you decided to stop doing a certain activity in order to better themselves, such as: abating from watching movies, diminishing the amount of secular reading material they consumed, discontinuing their habit of listening to non-Jewish music, deleting their Facebook account… etc…. whatever this item may be, it is now something that you have chosen to no longer partake in, would you date someone who did? 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Surprise Warfare

TAK and I have just started playing this new little game called surprise warfare. At its inception it wasn’t really a game, more of a... well…. for lack of a better a word…. a surprise. Most of the surprises involve trinkets, emails, and letters, but that's the thing with surprises... you just never know what it is till you see it. Okay, it’s like this. TAK loves surprises, yet I do not like them as much as she does. I guess opposites attract or we complete each other or something cute and creative like that. It's either that, or it's one of those things which make us very different from one another. Whatever. 

Nonetheless, even with my partial aversion to surprises, I am starting to enjoy them, at least some of them… at least for the interim. But like Newton’s Law of Motion, there is an undocumented rule that states: for every surprise there is an equal and opposite reaction. It also commonly known as reciprocity. The nice thing to do is return one's favor. Thus, we have a little thing called surprise warfare. It's really not about who wins... it all about better the lives of the Iraqi people.... :-P

That also means USP,Fedex, and USPS are now both simultaneously loved and feared. Every time the doorbell rings I (we) wonder if it’s a surprise… or not… Although we can exchange these things in person, there is some allure in ordering something online or by phone and having a rough estimate of when it will arrive. It adds to the surprise. Conveniently, ordering things in such a fashion is also safer, because no matter how expertly one interrogates you, you won’t know when it’s stated to be delivered. :-) Ignorance is bliss… ;-)

It would appear that many of our blogging brethren have recently been infected by an engagement malady that has been spreading virulently throughout the blogosphere (may it continue to spread further… an engagement pandemic perhaps? ;-) ). I guess its a malady from a blogging perspective since getting engaged( and quite possibly more so when married) is a condition which may partially inhibit ones posting/blogging abilities. 

While I would love to tap the minds of the recently engaged for ideas on surprises, I won't limit myself to that, since doing so would limit the pool of innovative ideas. Being that you're a group of creative individuals, I  therefore assume that you must have some good ideas up your sleeves! So if anyone has any excellent surprise ideas handy please comment or email them over ASAP. Thanks. :-) 

Top Ten Pleasant, Yet Annoying, Surprises I Don’t Like

While on the topic of surprises I figured I’d write a Little Top 10 List. No, I am not referring to ill-fated or unpleasant surprises. That list would be easy to write about, although maybe I’ll write that one later…. That would be so much easier. First would be unexpected loss of internet, that’s always a very unpleasant surprise, especial when you’re about to click post. Wrong post…. Anyways, here is my Top 10 list, in reverse chronological order, of seemingly pleasant surprises, that aren't exactly pleasant and which I do not enjoy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Ire of “Im Yirtza Hashem by You”

I am starting to wonder if I owe a few people apologies. I never thought wishing someone the “Im yirtza Hashem by you” (IyH) would get me in trouble. According to folklore, it is the female who abhors the IyH. Some have even threatened violence against any sympathetic well wishers. Others, such as FrumSatire, have proposed a slightly more “civil,” but perhaps less couth idea, such as this t-shirt. Yes, it’s crude, but I’m sure it works; how could it not? I’m not saying I know why this happens, both why people say it and why people get offended but it’s a fascinating phenomenon. Perhaps it has something to do with shidduchim being harder for girls, as our expert panel of females have decided in yesterdays post.

The odd thing is, as I learned the hard way: guys don’t like the IyH so much either. The responses weren’t as exciting as one would expect them to be. Needless to say my nose remained untouched and I am not wearing an Irish eye patch, but I got some dirty looks and long ums… And here I thought Vorts where supposed to be fun events… Oh, wait, scratch that. I don’t think anyone likes Vorts, especially singles. Add an IyH to the mix, combined with an overall happy smile, and you’re just asking for trouble. Also, it’s super awkward when you tell it someone who isn’t “interested in getting married at the moment” something along the lines of may you find the right one soon. Let’s just say that didn’t go over so well…:-( B”H on the guy’s side we have some bottles of “L’Chaim” to rectify these little gaffs, because the IyH made on liquor is protect by some mystic unspoken binding covenant. o:) But it must be terrible for the girls. What do you say? “Can I offer you some chocolate, cookies, or cake?” Now, please don’t punch me…. 8-|

Look, I know what it’s like. I’ve gotten my fair-share of IyH, but can’t one just smile and move on, no harm no foul. That is unless you want to stoop to their level and retort in an equally saccharine flavored response, “thank you, but do you accept Kvitelach?”:-o That would be partially justified, and slightly amusing. I think it’s a tad immature to get angry and/or sulk every time someone wishes you well, esepcialy if said phrase is an accepted social norm. Just imagine what would happen if people had the same response for “have a nice day.” People would be walking around shouting “NO, I choose not to exercise my right to have a nice day; now bug off!” :-( Now THAT would be comical… :-P

In the interim I have started asking people: “is it alright if I wish you an ‘IyH by you?’” Now that has thrown most people off guard. But I don’t think that is a viable long-term solution. Alright, let us make a compromise; or perhaps let us devise a better solution. What can engaged/married people say instead of IyH by you in order to lessen the animosity? Also, or perhaps more importantly, is one ever justified in saying “IyH by you?”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Question of the week: Who has it harder?

A question, and something which I have been pondering about, is it harder, all-encompassing (socially, economically, physically, emotionally, etc…), being a single guy or single girl? And does your answer change when that question is asked with regard to older singles?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boy, she is Beautiful… Umm… What was I Saying…?

While digging through the recesses of my brain, filled under archives perhaps, I found some articles of interest. The first article of note was written by Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times and is titled, Women are getting more beautiful. This article, as it is aptly named, goes on to describe scientifically why women are getting more beautiful as time progresses:

Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors.
The researchers have found beautiful women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.
Over generations, the scientists argue, this has led to women becoming steadily more aesthetically pleasing, a “beauty race” that is still on. The findings have emerged from a series of studies of physical attractiveness and its links to reproductive success in humans.
In a study released last week, Markus Jokela, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, found beautiful women had up to 16% more children than their plainer counterparts. He used data gathered in America, in which 1,244 women and 997 men were followed through four decades of life. Their attractiveness was assessed from photographs taken during the study, which also collected data on the number of children they had.
In men, by contrast, good looks appear to count for little, with handsome men being no more successful than others in terms of numbers of children. This means there has been little pressure for men’s appearance to evolve.
click here for the full article

Accordingly, one would think that this dramatic evolutionary process would be good for men, or perhaps men would evolve in some way during the period in question. Then again, who really knows...? From a sociological perspective, perhaps this research is propelling the supposed "shidduch crisis" further, as boys currently on the market believe "younger" girls will be more attractive based on the logical conclusion drawn according the research material presented above. Well... probably not… However it is interesting to note that according to an article in The Telegraph by Pat Hagan, titled “Men lose their minds speaking to pretty women,” it would appear that attractive women are not good for mens' brain. Compounded with the first article, that the sheer number of attractive women is only increasing, we have a very interesting, and potentially disastrous situation on our hands:

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or 'cognitive resources' trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks. 
Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.
Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands carried out the study after one of them was so struck on impressing an attractive woman he had never met before, that he could not remember his address when she asked him where he lived. 
Researchers said it was as if he was so keen to make an impression he 'temporarily absorbed most of his cognitive resources.' 
click here for the full article

Call me a skeptic, but I think the research might be a tad off. I mean come on, maybe when one begins dating, or if one were an anti-social reclusive researcher who had never spoken to a girl before, sort of like an extreme version of the current day yeshiva guy, there might be some noticeable cognitive decline in the presence of a striking female the very first time the two came into contact, but constantly and forever thereafter? I think not. Consequently, if this research were true, I would imagine there’d be so many more great, or more appropriately coined, hilarious dating stories! Although, I have to say, this has got to be the ultimate dating excuse. If a guy ever says anything wrong on a date, he can plead cognitive deficiency due to preexisting, albeit beautiful, circumstances. ;-) What could go wrong with that? :-)

Now what was I talking about about...? :-/ Oh right.... :-P

What? Some People NEED to get Married!

Man holds mom hostage because she won't iron his clothes. Yes, you read that correctly. Hee hee,  maybe he needed those clothes for a date... :-p    

What exactly is wrong with society today? In further new, thank you mom for always ironing my clothes. I always took it for granted that motherhood was a safe occupation. Then again it didn't make it into the top 20 list of "most dangerous jobs" but oddly farmers/ranchers did, coming in at 3rd place? Who would have guessed....?       

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oh-No, Not Again; Get out of my head!

You know the felling when you have a song stuck in your head and it keeps playing over and over again, like replay or something. We’ll now I have two songs stuck in my head and I can’t get them out. :-( I’ve tried everything, but they keep going round and round. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good songs, but the sheer quantity and consistency is making me crazy.  I think I tried to use the second one to dislodge the first, but now I confounded the problem further. It’s like if one isn’t playing, then the other one is, and occasionally I’ll even get a twisted composition of both them play together! Now that is a bizarre melodic experience. I tried playing some Sesame Street, but that just made me smile at the nostalgia…. or humor… :-) and was quite short lived. I guess it’s just a hard knock life after all…. So any suggestions or known cures to this little harmonious problem?

Modern Day Prince Charming?

If one were to take a date or fiancé to a baseball game and a foul ball is coming directly at both you and your female compadre. Do you:

A) Man up and attempt to catch the ball before it hits your lady?
B) Shield her, thus “taking a bullet” to protect your lady?
C) Choose the better part of valor and dodge the approaching projectile?

Click the "read more" link to see what actually happened... 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weddings are So Strange Nowadays!

Weddings have gotten really strange as of late. And no, I am not referring to the proliferation of Lady Gaga songs being played, that’s a whole different can of worms. Does anyone else find using the intro of “Bad Romance” (or something like that) for a first dance to be a bit disturbing? Maybe it’s The Catalyst? ;-) That rant aside, it’s really strange attending a wedding when you’re engaged. 

Most importantly, the best part is, you can show up whenever you want. Because if anyone asks you “where have you been?” you calmly say, “oh, I was spending time with my Kallah” or “busy with something or other” and people will nod complacently. Also, if you get bored with your tablemates you can always look at you phone and say “I’m sorry; I really need to take this call.” Of course this works best if your phone vibrates immediately before uttering that phrase. If not, then you have to start convincing people you can communicate through telepathy, but you don’t have good reception underground or in the presence of deafening ensembles. (We’re still waiting on Verizon to fix their towers ;-) )

But the two thing that are glaringly obvious is the change in perspective as well as what we daven for while standing during the chupah/wedding proceedings. Instead of standing by the chupah and pondering “when or will I be up there?” You starting thinking “that’s going to be me up there” “that’s going to be me soon!” And then a nice and slow “wow” coupled with a slightly nervous, yet happy smile. Then the guilt starts creeping in as you start to feel bad for all the people you know aren't having such an easy time with shidduchim... But all these thoughts and moments are fleeting, at least for the males. I have yet to see a stupefied zombie-like engaged guy. I think there was one once, but according to urban legend he was abducted by a UFO; because come on, he was spacey anyway! :-/

I think being engaged also gives one perspective into others' engagements and weddings and it becomes easier to share in their simcha when you understand what it’s like for the other person, at least on some basic level. I also think that’s why it’s very common for the newly engaged (and married) to say “IyH by you” so often, since they want to share their happiness with everyone, although more on that topic in a different post.

Monday, August 9, 2010

On Engagements, the Future, and Other Stuff…

Back to work. Seems TAK is cool with the blog (who knows… maybe she’ll even post something one day…) and the conversation wasn’t even that awkward! We’ll maybe a little; it’s not like an everyday occurrence that I pull over random people and say “do you know who I am?” Although maybe I should try it just to see what people would say back to me! :-) Remind me next time we're in Time Square.... :-p

I guess that means I shall continue blogging. That kind of puts me in a weird genre of blogging: The Engaged, Former Shidduch Blogger, not yet Married Group. That should be an interesting experience I guess…. Because engagements are so weird! But more on that topic later… Of course I still plan on posting shidduch related topics and posts; how could I not? Shidduchim, for better or worse, has played an important role in my life and it is something I never want to forget. Granted, there were so very trying moments, to say the least, but shidduch has made me who I am. Furthermore, without the shidduch system I wouldn’t have met TAK, and that, in and of itself, makes the journey worthwhile. Also, TAK and I hopefully plan of sitting down one day and seeing if we can be matchmakers too! (It’s like socialism, spread the wealth :-p ) In that case, maybe I’ll be able to write what it’s like being a shadchan and then someday some shidduch blogger will blog about me…. :-/ (Oh-uh; why do I think being on the other side of a post isn’t going to be as fun…?)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breaking News!

SiBW is “officially” engaged! :D 

(Insert witty and cute post here)

So much to do now! For one, I might have to change my name to something other than “Solely.” Maybe “Together in Black and White” has a nice ring to it, assuming “The Amazing Kallah” (TAK) chooses to join me in my blogging endeavor. Secondly, does that make me SiBaW because I found my “and?” :-) Oh, and that reminds me, now that I’m engaged…. I need to tell her about this blog…. :-/ I wonder how that conversation is going to play out…. 

Anyway, sorry for the brevity, but I have some other pressing matters that need attention, such as fielding and returning phone calls and what not (also my mind isn’t really in a post producing state at the moment either). ;-) 

To all the single readers: Im Yirtza Hashem by all of you! And to everyone else: may we share many simchas together in the future! In lieu of gifts please donate your time and effort to the aforementioned Blogger Tehillim Initiative. All the best! :D

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