She paused and then blurted out: “You’re only young for so long, and you should really find someone while you’re still reasonably attractive!
” Then there’s the media: Endless news stories and op-eds in the Jewish media panic over the “shidduch,” or matchmaking, crisis of unmarried women outnumbering men.
And in the Orthodox Jewish community, that complacency can baffle others.
“Tova, you have so many guy friends — how can none of them be prospects? An older divorced woman I know talks to me about the bleak pool of prospects that awaits women each year they grow older and remain single.
The secular media parrots similar concerns, concluding that lopsided gender ratios mean men hold all the power and feel no pressing need to couple up and settle down.
The matchmaking game is even more complicated for single mothers in their 20s; men in my social circles and relative age bracket lose interest almost as soon as they hear I have kids.
It has become an almost enjoyable game: When I go to social or religious events on the Upper West Side — with its huge community of single Jews and where many of my single Jewish friends live — and I meet a man who might be interested in me, I’ll engage him in conversation for a little while and then watch what happens when I make an offhand reference to my kids.
Usually, it’s a matter of seconds before he stammers some excuse for ending the conversation. It stung just a little at first, but then I started to shrug, too.
At a recent Jewish singles mixer, I made the requisite small talk with the men assembled, but it was only when I met another single mom at the event that I found an instant kindred spirit. I’m blessed to say that, between my two exhausting and hilarious children, ages 3 and 6, a mostly amicable relationship with my ex-husband, my full-time job and a circle of close friends, I’m feeling pretty rich right now (despite what my bank account says).“Hey, Tova, you’re talking to the wrong gender,” my friend running the event chided me as she walked by the two of us deep in conversation. When my children spend nights with their father, I feel no palpable sadness at spending the evening alone, sprawled out on the sofa in my pajamas watching Netflix. ” — she responded with a look of pity and a whisper.