The other day, my mother met a Jewish woman I’ll call “Nancy.” Nancy saw that my mother’s luggage tag had a logo from my college and introduced herself. After a brief chat, this woman realized one of her sons is around my age and is moving to the same area. My mom told me about this interaction with utter disbelief. The other woman said her handsome son needed a “back-up girlfriend” while his non-Jewish girlfriend was in Europe. I started to laugh. A back-up girlfriend?! Me?! Never. I have a backbone.
What, exactly, entitles someone to two significant others? Or rather, who has the time and energy to double dip? I classify having two girlfriends as cheating, and I thought such practices were generally frowned upon.
To be frank, I’m quite tired of people trying to sell me on their son, nephew, grandson, or cousin. My mother says, “You are a catch on your own right and deserve to find someone suitable to your own tastes.” I appreciate this because…
- I am not desperate
- I don’t feel as though having a significant other defines me, or makes me any more or less of a person.
- I have never been set up as a back-up girlfriend. The mere suggestion sent me over the edge.
There’s a woman at my hometown temple who is subtly hostile toward my mom the majority of the time. I’ll call her “Sally.” My mom was surprised when Sally warmly greeted her at the grocery store. Apparently, Sally is trying to marry off her sons and is worried there are no grandchildren in her future. Sally suggested that she and my mom should set their kids (both around 25) up. My mom and sister cracked up. “Of all the people I don’t want to be related to,” my mom joked.
I feel as though this set-up culture is much more prominent among my Jewish friends. To make matters more comic, both my sister and I know the boys on the other end of the setup. In my case, the feelings are mutually, “No way!” I think parents mean well, and they try to find someone who looks good on paper (or via word of mouth). Truth be told, everyone’s mom thinks their son or daughter is amazing and fabulous. However, these good-intending mothers, grandmas, aunts, and friends, don’t necessarily know what goes on among the twenty-something crowd. I want to do my own bidding, and I am lucky that my parents know that and respect me for it. I don’t always get lucky on JDates, but at least I get to pick my dates for myself!