Solely In Black and White: October 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Link: A Real Shidduch Crisis?

While it is often said that there is a(n arguable) shidduch crisis currently enveloping the frum community, it would appear that the real crisis is taking place in Israel. Whether or not there is a shidduch crisis in general is a debate for another time, or post. However, there is an undeniable and real issue currently brewing in Israel as chronicled in this post by Orthonomics. This isn’t exactly shocking news to me, in and of itself, as making shidduchim in Israel has been dependent on the girl’s side providing an apartment as a prerequisite to marriage. What I found fascinating about the article was the numbers! I guess this has been long in the coming though. I mean I even have Israeli friends who have come to the States to date just to avoid this issue entirely. Well… they also weren’t so keen on joining the army, but that is a side issue. So while people postulate and debate the woes of shidduchim over here in North America, keep in mind that in some places shidduchim is actually a real nightmare.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Disdain for the Dentist

New! Tooth holder Plush
I can’t say I was never afraid of the dentist because that would be untrue. I used to be terrified of the dentist! Well…. it was for a good reason.  He was crazy, (imho)! He loved pulling out teeth and filling cavities. I mean, the guy was trigger happy with a tooth-drill for crying out loud, literally. To give you some perspective: I think most of my baby teeth had fillings, no jokes. I still don’t understand the logic in that; why fill a tooth if it’s going to fall out anyway? That just seems like a waste of time and resources. 

I guess thoughts of dentistry permeated my mind as a kid. I don’t why, but for some odd reason I found it ironic that the fairy-god-mother of dentistry, the Tooth Fairy, is inaccurately portrayed according to folklore as kind and sweet. My dentist does look a bit fairy-like in his attire and he so happens to holds a metallic wand of sorts, but I don’t want him reaching under my pillow at night; that is so creepy. Come to think of it… having anyone stick their hand under my pillow while I’m sleeping is creepy! Especially someone who has the title fairy in his/her name! :-/ I guess that’s why I sold my teeth my parents when I was a kid. That way they can negotiate with this shady tooth fairy being, because seriously, I need my sleep. :-) Oh, and I was taught not to talk to strangers… :-P 

But as I matured, at least in thought, :-P, I came to appreciate dentists for the services that they provide. Not that my fears are unwarranted. I have heard my fair share of dental related mishaps and egregious malpractice incidents. But nonetheless, I also learned that dentistry isn’t supposed to be as painful as I remember it being. As an example, the accuracy of a dental hygienist who is performing a cleaning is crucial to one's overall experience. Or more succinctly, a little hand-eye coordination goes a long way. ;-) And in return, my gums will be very thankful and my saliva will not be as red. I also found out that some dentists are really good at giving Novocain injections, like totally-painless-good, while others suck! (To put it mildly.) But even going to the best of dentists is still annoying. I mean seriously, with the advances in technology and medicine, I am sure someone has discovered the cure to the common cavity, but is unable to publish the secret due to some ADA conspiracy.  

Dental X-rays: my left side teeth
The thing that peeves me the most about the dentist: I always get a mussar schmooze; no matter how well I brush and floss, I still have room for improvement. My dentist even commented once: “You know, we need to get you married so your wife can make sure you brush and floss properly!” Yup, that’s exactly what I was thinking! I think I could perpetually brush my teeth and they’d probably have some problem with that too! So until the days when we have a way to avoid going to the dentists, I guess I am will be going back for more. :-( Hmm… that remind me, I need to whiten my teeth! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Question: Just Dance?

Formal dance, Pomona College

Formal Dance, Pomona College via Flickr

I think I’ve noticed a trend from my dating conversations: females generally like dancing. I don't think the girls that I was conversing with were referring to the song in the title, although who really knows. I guess it's complicated. ;-) Well life is like this..., after asking one of the most clichéd questions ever - “what do you enjoy doing?” I got a lot of responses directed toward dancing. I can understand pastimes like writing (duh! :-) ), drawing (I play around in Photoshop ;-) ), and music, as well as some others common commonalities, but dancing was almost-always an instant conversation killer for me. I mean I understand the premise behind dancing and why it can, in certain circumstances, be fun. But I am dismayed at the notion of calling it an actual hobby or an activity of great interest. Maybe I am crazy to judge this avocation adversely, but hey, you can never say never... but whatever it is, please don't stop the music...  because that is magnificent!

Don’t get me wrong, as one of the boys I can have a good time dancing, and I do happen to do so on occasion, such as on holiday and whatnot. I’d even venture to say that boys might generally be more lebedik than girls (hey, I’m biased! :-p but feel free to disagree) . Also, I have recently been informed that girls have this whole hierarchy of who they must dance with and at what point in time. That doesn't sound like fun; that sounds like politicking or a circus. I’m not sure of all the exact nuances involved, but aren’t there also rules on whose hand you can hold and which circle you can join too? Blah :-/. Notwithstanding, I got a feeling that girls still enjoy dancing more than boys! ;-) So maybe you can enlighten me, do girls really enjoy dancing, and if so why?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Phone addicts….

Toilet Kitty
I am sure you’ve heard the story about the Chinese fellow who jammed his arm in a toilet (if not, click the link for the story and video) while trying to valiantly rescue his cell phone. That must have been a real sticky situation. Let just say he was in deep doo-doo. :-) Thank goodness it all worked out! :-P In fact, the fire department had to disembowel the toilet to free his arm! ;-) Although, I am still wondering if he was able to call 119 with his hand submerged. Now that would have been an impressive maneuverer! I just hope this guy doesn't decide to become a plumber now... All kidding and potty humor aside, I “really” feel bad for the guy. I’m actually debating what I would do if my phone got lodged in the can. 

On the one hand my phone contains so much of my life and maybe a little sentimental value too…. On the either hand, getting it back might not be so pretty, and even if I did manage to fish it out relatively intact: 1. It may never work the same again 2. I don’t know if I could hold it to my face! But the funniest thing about this entire incident is that it displays how we as a global society are extremely addicted to our phones… or perhaps how badly  our withdrawal symptoms push us to do crazy things. Especially when we don't have those little thing that have come to really on.... (a text capable anyone ;-) ) While on the topic of cell phones, it would be remiss to avoid stating the obvious sentiment: it's scary how cell phones have changed our lives, habits, and routines; but no matter how you slice it, this fellow takes the cake! (Well hopefully not literally). I am wondering something here, if your beloved phone were to accidentally fall into the loo, what would you do?

Also, if you haven’t already seen Microsoft’s ad for their new Windows Phone 7, titled “Really” I think you should defiantly give it a watch! Now that reminds me, I am now going to backup all the data on my phone, just in case! Hey, you never know… :-/

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Burring Question: Loyalties?

Let us try this again. In continuing with this post, which I was purposely and immensely crypt about the subject matter, there are now more details and facts that I can share with you and I hope that I can now present a clearer picture. For the record the reason the original post was so cryptic and convoluted was because I was worried perhaps one of the parties involved may stumble upon the post. But now that the post is irrelevant entirely, I can proceed with clarifying some details. 

Alright, so here is (was?) the situation. I knew a little secret about a friend of mine. In short: he smokes occasionally. Terrible, I know. ;-) Now I should clarify that. He isn’t a big smoker, but I knew he used to smoke with “boys” once in a while, vis-à-vis (because the French are notorious smokers :-) ) a social thing, not a dire addiction. If I had to guess, or if I were to ask the fellow directly, I am sure I would walk away with the conclusion that he wouldn’t smoke after he got married. Or so I would be lead to believe by his demeanor and personality. Also to confound the issue, this little secret is probably something that his parents probably don’t even know about and it’s probably something only a handful of his friends know about. Okay, we’ll that’s all fine and dandy… that is… until one day someone calls me up and asks me for Shidduch info on this guy. :-/ uh-oh…. :-( 

If you have ever been questioned by a mother in shidduchim, you know one of the primary questions she will ask is: “does he smoke?” and the response to that question is general of significant importance, as it should be. So the question I have, to which I am still very unsure, who should I be loyal to? The mother who is placing her trust in me, and to which I am one the few people who know the truth? Or should I be loyal to my friend who is also placing his trust in me and allow him to answer for his actions himself when the time is right?

Although I specifically used smoking as the primary example in the above scenario because that was the pertinent issue at the time, there are so many others issue that are synonymous. :-/ And don’t for a second think this doesn’t apply to girls either! ;-) Girls have been known to cover for their friends too! The few classic examples include neatness, tznius related issues, and nuanced shabbos observance or lack-there-of…. As an aside, this particular incident is now just a theoretical discussion because the aforementioned shidduch idea never came into fruition. I mean it was never even redt to begin with! But that is beside the point. So the question I present to you, the original question, who was I supposed to be loyal to: The inquisitive mother or my friend? 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What’s all this about Clothes?

Woman's clothing from the Army and Navy Stores Catalogue, Edwardian.
I’ve been contemplating Bad4’s posts (part 1 and part 2) about female attire in relation to men. She does make a compelling point. Shopping for clothes, or more aptly a lovely dating ensemble, is an arduous task that requires patience, time, and money. I do empathize with your, collective, plight as I have learned the same lessons about shopping in general. Oh, not necessarily in everyday clothing! Living “solely in black and white” ;-) makes most of my shopping comparatively easy! But I digress…

Anyways, regardless of one’s difficulty in ascertaining proper attire, I don’t believe that as a general rule boys care what color girls adorn themselves in! Do boys care how a girl dresses? Yes! Do boys care that a girl “looks” good? Absolutely! Do boys care about the minute nuances, styles, and intricacies of female fashion in relation to seasonality and moon-phase? Predominantly no! (There are always exceptions to the rules such as male commentors on blogs and werewolves :- ) ) Besides, we can’t analyze all the pieces of ones' outfit in 8.2 Seconds anyways! :-/

Case in point: Once upon a time, in flashback fairytale land, our main character SiBW went on a date with a girl who wore some interesting, funky, abstract, and colorful attire on a first date. Personally, I was not a fan of that “look” (hello! I think I might really be impartial to black and white! ;-) ) That’s not to say that this girl’s attire wasn’t pretty, it may have been, but personally, and subjectively, I think it made her looked more like a peacock, or some other exotic bird. Needless to say, I don't believe one can allow the way a girl dresses to severally impact their decision on whether this person is ultimately for them. (Assuming that the situation is within the realm of normalcy and halacha) And why should it? It's just clothes... pardon the 
cliché, but it's what's on the inside that counts!   

While relating this story over to a few of my female relatives, I was astounded to her how that “style” was at the time so funky and “with-it.” Furthermore, they lauded the girl with praise for her color coordinating abilities and flair. To this I was dumbfounded. Only recently, with some help from TAK, did I finally understand the disconnect at play. Girls and guys don’t evaluate clothes the same way. Not even remotely! Maybe I’m wrong, but girls maybe you can provide me with some perspective, when you choose your attire, whether it’s for a wedding or a date, are you making your selection based on what would be appealing to the tastes of a girl or a guy? 

Love at First Sight Quantified

Because I love you...........(EXPLORE)

Although I am not a believer in love at first sight, scientists have finally released a study stating that all it takes is 8.2 seconds! Now that is pretty quick to fall in love! Do you realize how how long 8.2 seconds even is? More or the less the time it took you to read those few sentences! Okay, so the study isn’t entirety based on love at first sight and all that. Basically, the researchers concluded that men who find their dates attractive will initially gaze into their date's eyes for about 8.2 seconds on average, while those who only find their date to be, umm… “less attractive” tend to gaze at them for a total of 4.5 seconds on average. Not surprisingly, this phenomenon doesn’t work the other way around… although I do wonder why…? :-/ Regardless, I would assume that publishing this research will only contribute to bolstering society’s fear of first impressions! Don't worry though, for better or worse that moment will be over in a blink of an eye... or at least a few....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

(redacted) IKEA projects!

Wulffmorgenthaler – Leather sofa from IKEA

Fair warning this might be a short post, my fingers still hurt. Ha… who am I kidding? I know how long this post is going to be already… :-) You see… today I was assembling some IKEA furniture. Oh no, it wasn’t for me or more correctly, our future humble abode, it was for someone else. This situation isn’t all that bad; he agreed to give me a hand (i.e. he’ll help me shlep stuff) so all is good and dandy. Besides, I had some free time on my hands anyways….

To begin, I have come to the conclusion that IKEA is really Lego for adults. It looks like so much fun, until you have to sort all the pieces and figure out why something just doesn’t look right as per the directions. And just like Lego, the instructions make it seem so easy! It’s also like Lego in the sense that there are always extra pieces, but you always wonder if perhaps the few pieces still sitting on the side are those crucial pieces that hold everything together. Oh, and like Lego, the feeling of accomplishment is astounding. It’s amazing how with some effort and the necessarily tools one can accomplish amazing things… (That statement wasn’t intended to be profound, but feel free to darshen it however you see fit ;-) )

Now this task wasn’t all fun and games. For one, it took a long time. Secondly, my fingers kill! I have learned a valuable lesson; don’t even think about undertaking a serious do-it-yourself project without a good Power Drill and a decent set of screwdrivers, oh an a pair of pliers wouldn’t hurt either! The other lesson I learned was that one should be exceedingly careful to watch their extremities, especially the digits! This was a rather painful lesson to learn. To make a long story short, or short story a post… ;-) I somehow managed to drop a cabinet on my finger! THAT (insert an expletive or yeshish imitation here) HURT!

So as the story goes I was lowering the cabinet on its side in order to attach the hinge assemble mechanism thingy and I somehow managed to get my finger wedged between the floor and some rather hard Swedish assemble-able material. I’m not a science or health major, but I think it has something to do with gravity and pressure (maybe a little toque too because it was falling?) not being conducive to one’s body. What I can tell you the equation is something like exceedingly large amounts of pressure * small fingers = immense pain. And then all of a sudden as the pain shot through my finger, neurons firing, adrenal glands secreting, and my sensory system processing the flood of information, my mouth formulated a lovely, albeit different plan. Subsequently as my eyes moistened and rolled slightly upward, I opened my mouth to loudly utter some rather uncalled-for profanity. Before I was able to breath a single syllable, I realized I was in the presences of a captive audience of children! And for a split second my eyes meet theirs, and I saw their youth, innocence, and purity, like cherubic angels holding lutes ( :-P ) and I just knew I couldn’t do it. My whimper trailed off into an audible, yet completely indecipherable, mumble. Although cursing is therapeutic, at least in the sense that it provides pain relief (at least according to one of this year’s Ig Noble prize winners), I couldn’t bring myself to corrupt those children’s virtuousness. :-( Or maybe its because I favor traditional medicine to alternative medicine! :-)

Yes, I know; cursing is quite bad for many reasons, but it seems that the only times I have been tempted to spew such vulgar terminology is in the midst of exceedingly trying situations. Granted, that is something which I am/should be/and will be working on correcting, but it also happens which appears to be something that is quite common nowadays. Surely, I can't be the only one like this! How about you? Do you happen to curse when the proverbial doo-doo hits the fan? :-P 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Question: Simchas Torah from a Woman’s Perspective?

Shalem Lev Helping Soferet Fix Sefer Torah I have been wondering about this for a while and being that there are a lot of females reading this, maybe you can shed some light on this topic for me. Basically, what do women do in shul all Simchas Toah? Okay, so I understand situations like bar mitzvahs where mothers dance and are misameach separately amongst themselves, but on Simchas Torah, at least in the shuls I frequent, the women don’t dance! While it may be the heartfelt moments or miracles that keep them there, but that doesn’t seem like very compelling reason to justify sitting in a (in some cases stuffy and perspiration scented) room for an inordinately long amount of time just watching others. I don't think its the alcohol, because that is reserved for bochurim who claim they need it to dance... ;-) So maybe I am naive or just missing something, but what is the allure of watching men dance for hours on end?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Top 10 People Whom I’m (We’re) not Inviting to our Wedding

ImprovEveryWhere: Black Tie Beach 

While this post might be an idiotic lament of engaged folks, I am sure this I (we) cannot be the only ones who have this issue. Mainly, the problem is whom to invite and whom not to invite. While I (we?) would love to invite the world, I doubt that would be possible. In retrospect, I think we collectively invited too many people as is. I mean, so much so that I hope there is room for me and TAK! :-P Anyway, so this week’s Top 10 list is a compilation of people who didn’t make the cut on my invite list. I use the term "my," because I don’t definitively know who TAK invited nor does she know who I invited. This would so much simpler if there was a way of mailing people an invitation with some little note that informed them that they don’t need to feel obligated to come. Really. But until someone figures out how to do that politely, I present to you this week’s top ten list. Granted, this list was created after we already sent out the invitations… :-)

1. Bloggers – Yes, I know that is hypocritical of me. How can I differentiate someone based on their computer habits, for lack of a better way of phrasing it? So what I mean is if you know me through the blogosphere, you’re probably not getting invited. However, I do wonder if TAK has some friends who happen to blog that I don’t know about… :-/ I guess we’ll have to look for posts post facto that implicate them. 

2. Anything past 2nd Cousin once removed- Does that even count as relative anymore? Alternatively, any relative whom I don’t know by name or even how I’m related to them... do we really need them there?

3a. Aunt and Uncles who didn’t give me a bar mitzvah present- I don’t even like gifts, “it’s the principle of the matter.” :-p This should be very self-explanatory. You know who you are! :-)

3b. Nephews and Nieces who can’t behave- Again you know who you are! :-( And don’t tell me it’s because you didn’t get a bar/bas mitzvah present!) :-p

4. Friends who the amount of times in a year that I have seen them is greater than the amount of words of our last conversation. Commonly: Hi, how are you? Followed by an unspoken agreement: This conversation will be repeated in 6 months…

5. Former, annoying, roommates – For one, who wants to be annoyed? Two, who wants to be annoyed at their wedding?!

6. Anyone who has ever taught me secular studies at some point in my life. It’s not that I have anything against my English teachers, but I can’t say they are the apple of my eye. Is it just me whose memories of Secular studies teachers are that they were always a bit strange??

7. Celebrities – What, you think I want someone else stealing the show?! I want the paparazzi all to ourselves, thank you very much! Hamodia and Yated photographers and their pictures not included in that one.

8. Former Dates – Yeah, now that would just be unnecessarily awkward. I guess I should broaden that to include people I was redt to, just for prosperity.

9.(From TAK) Persistent good shabbos texters - ....You know, those overly considerate people who texts good shabbos on Wednesday afternoon for the heck of it. I can picture dancing with her at the wedding, her remaining silent...only to find a slew of texts later such as "mazel tov!'...and then "where did you get your hair done" and then "do you wanna sit down? I think you’re a little tired from dancing so much!" and then "should I get you a drink?" Keep up the good work, but isn’t wonderful how you can text from anywhere?! ;-)

10. (From TAK) Shul members' children- If I don't recognize you when you’re not standing next to your seat on rosh hashana...I don't think I can invite you. Maybe there is an exception for children of close family friends since that would be another story… 

Those Bloody Telemarketers!

Blood Sponge Bag
I always marveled at telemarketers. The idea of cold-calling anyone and trying to sell them a product that they don't necessarily need must be a hard job, or at least require some innate talent. Then again, a job is a job. I guess what I marvel at is the services that are offered. For example, the last call I got was a chimney sweep service. I didn’t even know they still had chimney sweeps! And seriously, who on earth is going to trust some fly-by-night shady “professional” chimney cleaning company who calls you at random? While I am a big proponent of the National Do Not Call Registry, mainly because it has diminished the amount of telemarketing calls substantially, the fact remains that companies can still use creative tactics and loopholes to solicit their wares.

The purpose of this post wasn’t to lament about telemarketers, although they deserve to be decried about. But on the topic, I recently got a call from the Red Cross. When I answered the phone I assumed they would be fund raising for some worthwhile cause, like the Haiti Relief Fund, Emergency Preparedness Training, or providing support for Armed Conflict Overseas, but alas, I was mistaken. They wanted my blood. Now that was a new experience for me; vampiric telemarketing. Perhaps in the era of Twilight and our society’s infatuation with vampire paraphernalia this is a new fad I am unaware of, but that is bit creepy. Moreover, my blood type isn’t even all that special, relative to the rest blood type spectrum! Tasty? :-/ Maybe, I wouldn’t really know… Not my beverage of choice...

See, I am one of the many O+ people out there, the most common blood type, which makes me a bit less unique. :-( I always knew deep down I was typical! :-p While O+ isn’t necessarily special, (at least in the United States) I am happy with my blood type. For one, I know that I am not an “A+” person which works out fine, but that also means my blood type isn’t trying to give me advice on how to think about life. Or more specifically, I’m glad I’m not a "B-", because being negative is not a wise idea… ;-) So while I am not a universal donor or universal recipient, it’s nice to know I am wanted…. we’ll at least in pint sized bags once every few weeks…. 

Hmm… I usually don’t fall for marketing ploys, but I think I might donate again soon. Donating blood is a wonderful thing. As they say “it’s better to give than to receive” and I wholeheartedly agree. I mean, donating blood is wonderful in and of itself, but the feeling of helping someone else is amazing, especially when that something is an item which there is no substitute for! (At least until a viable artificial blood substitute is found.) Also it so nice to get that feeling…. I guess it can be described as something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and a bit high on euphoria. Or maybe that’s just the feeling I got from substantial blood loss…? And I forgot the best part, free soda and cookies! Seriously, how can I say no?! :-) Now I know why someone recommended blood donating as a "fun date" idea! :-P