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Pink Shirt Shidduch

Shuli Meyer

“Crazy! Who ever heard of a chassidishe meidel arranging things with a shadchan by herself? Her parents know nothing — she just goes ahead and meets a boy? And to a what? A moderne lawyer who wears a pink shirt, probably! You can forget it, Rikki. You — can — for — get — it!”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

pink

Photo: Shutterstock

It was true what they said; she looked good in turquoise — it brought out the indigo of her eyes. She fingered the teal-fringed top and the straight skirt. He hadn’t seen this yet. And straight skirts were always flattering. A Moschino chiffon scarf, marbled in teal and turquoise, was draped carefully over the hanger. 

Always wear your best colors, her mother’s voice rang in her head. Makes you look more sophisticated. Although where Shlomo was concerned, her parents wouldn’t care whether she looked sophisticated or not. To them, Shlomo Frankel was a nonstarter, beard notwithstanding. First of all, there was the tie. And the short jacket, and the bent-down hat — when he wore those. And what… a lawyer? For a Radvitzer einekel? The rebbes would turn in their graves. 

Downstairs, the front door banged shut. Her mother must have gone to her Bikur Cholim meeting. Good — there would be no awkward questions. Rikki absently rubbed her finger around the beauty spot on the side of her chin and then stopped suddenly. Don’t do that, Rikki. It looks weird. Duvid, tell her how weird it looks when she does that. 

She liked Shlomo. And with him, she could actually talk about things that interested her. Books and politics and personnel management. Real estate and writing and why did you have to marry a shtreimel just because your father wore one? 

She was sick of meeting bochurim who drove fast just for kicks, and who — still in learning — bragged about landing management jobs before they’d even set foot in the workplace. “Why should I marry a leidigeier empty-head just because he’ll put on a shtreimel after the chasunah?” she challenged her parents. “So you can walk down the street with a chassidisheson-in-law?” 

Her father was losing patience. “Why does he have to be a leidigeier? All chassidish bochurim are leidigeiers?” 

“No, of course not! But come on, how many suitable ones are still around? I’m 27, you know, not 19! I need to marry a mensch — an intelligent mensch — even if he doesn’t fit your image of the perfect eidem.”

Photo: Shutterstock

Rikki smoothed down the teal top and held a choker against her throat. Did this go? 

She hadn’t yet told her parents about Shlomo. Motti knew — she was comfortable sharing everything with her older brother during their frequent phone chats. He merely cautioned her to check whether she and Shlomo shared the same life goals and hashkafos. She couldn’t share the information with any of her other siblings. Although she was close with Sruli — two years younger and single (her parents wouldn’t “listen” until she was safely engaged) — she sensed his breath on her heels and felt awkward discussing her shidduchim with him. Sorele, the eldest, and her mother’s confidante, was still pressuring her to meet the Schiffer boy. 

“He’s chassidish but really normal, and so put-together,” Sorele had said. “You know, he wears a beige raincoat.” She and Motti laughed every time that description came up. 

“You know Sorele,” Motti said. “All that interests her is whether someone has green eyes or blue.”

“Yes, and how many rebbes you can count on each side,” Rikki added. “That’s the real criterion for all of them. Tatty and Mommy are hanging on for the biggie. Why do you think I’m still waiting?” 

“We… ell, it’s not just about Tatty and Mommy. You’ve said no yourself.” 

“Okay. That’s because most boys I’ve met were just not right. I’m not marrying someone I can’t respect simply because he’s got yichus stretching back to the Baal Shem!” 

But Shlomo was different, and it was getting serious. The worry chipping at her now, as she slid the scarf around her neck and appraised herself critically in the mirror, was how was she going to break it to her parents? She didn’t think it should come from the shadchan. She twisted her dark hair into a large clip, teased it into curls, and grimaced. Her parents didn’t normally ask about her evening schedule, knowing that she sometimes went back to work — not unusual for the real estate office she managed — or met with her small social circle. She didn’t think they suspected anything, although her mother had expressed surprise only the week before at her elegant attire. But she’d have to tell them soon. Her stomach clenched at the thought of the eruption that would follow. How could she move ahead without their support? They would never accept such a disgrace.

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