Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shidduch Spiel

The other day I came up with a great idea for a post- it's a shidduch spiel based on the twisted questions people ask when it comes to shidduchim.

My sister has a friend who's father is diabetic. Diabetes is kind of a normal accepted thing today and is very liveable in most cases. It means a different diet, being careful, and some insulin. Maybe I'm making it more simple than it really is, but it's out there and people cope with it every day.

My sister's friend's parents kept it a huge secret until one day her father collapsed in shul when her mother was away and no one knew what to do for him. Then the secret came out.

Originally, they kept it quiet because they were afraid that people wouldn't do shidduchim with their kids if they knew that the father had diabetes.

I think that's stupid. I mean, yeah, this stuff can be genetic- but that's all the more reason not to keep it a secret- so that people who get involved with this guy's son should know what they are facing. And even if it weren't genetic, anyone can get this at any time in their life and face it, you gotta live with it. You don't divorce someone because they have a sugar problem.

Unless we're talking about my brother who eats way too much and gets hyper and then sings Tradition on the roof of my parents house.

But anyway, this is the shidduch skit, or at least the outline of it as it came to me in the car the other night. My mother and I were talking about keeping diabetes a secret (we both agreed that diabetes is nothing compared to a sibling who can rinse his mouth with Coke and then go skiing down the basement stairs...) we agreed that in the end everyone dies anyway, so what does it matter as long as you are happy with who you are and the way you have to live your life. (We were on the way home from being menachem aval someone...can you tell?)

Here it is...

MOTHER OF GIRL: Hello, I'm calling to find out some information about a boy you might know. I understand he's your cousin's mechutan's nephew. Fishel Weiss?

INFORMER: Sure, I practically raised the boy. He's the redhead?

MOTHER OF GIRL: No, I heard he's dark.

INFORMER: Oh, sure I knew that. What would you like to know?

MOTHER OF GIRL: Well I was calling to ask, would you by any chance know if there is any history of illness in his family?

INFORMER: His mother's side or his father's?

MOTHER OF GIRL: Both, I guess.

INFORMER: Let's see. Well on his mother's side I know his aunt Betty had Breast cancer and that his Uncle Henry had Hodgkin's and that his Grandpop had an ingrown toenail.

MOTHER OF GIRL: Ingrown toenail?

INFORMER: Oh yes, it was a doozy too. And then on his father's side, there was Grandma Lucy who had Lymphoma and Great Uncle Melvin with Melanoma, and then the cousin with the tumor.

MOTHER OF GIRL: What kind of tumor?

INFORMER: Oh, I don't remember exactly, it was benign anyway, but his cousin made such a fuss that it didn't matter. The whole world plus a few neighbors knew every little detail.

MOTHER OF GIRL: Every little detail? Like what? Because this is very important for me to know of my daughter might one day marry into the family.

INFORMER: Oh, I don't remember all the details, but don't worry, your daughter would fit in so well there! Can she cook for a diabetic?

MOTHER OF GIRL: What does that mean? Why would she need to do that?

INFORMER: Well you see Fishel's mother is diabetic and since his father is suffering from his eighth nervous breakdown she will need someone to look after her once he is put into an institution for good. Someone who knows how to count carbs and sugar and give insulin shots.

MOTHER OF GIRL: Doesn't Fishel have other siblings?

INFORMER: Of course he does! But you know how it is...

MOTHER OF GIRL: No, please, tell me how it is!

INFORMER: His older brother has a heart problem, he has high cholesterol and his blood pressure is through the roof. His wife and his mother are always at each others throats- at least they were ten years ago when they were still talking, and I know that if his mother came to live with him and he had to hear those two fighting, he would for sure drop dead of a heart attack. The first two didn't kill him but the doctor said the third would definitely work where the others had failed.

MOTHER OF GIRL: Heart Attack?

INFORMER: Sure, and then his next sister has thirteen kids, and she's not a coper at all. She's the one you see in the grocery with the screaming kid and the mismatched shoes. But it's really such a nice family and you shouldn't think twice about marrying your daughter in.

MOTHER OF GIRL: But with such family history!

INFORMER: Lady! You mean to tell me you have no family history at all?

MOTHER OF GIRL: (stiffly) My parents are Holocaust survivors and my husband and I are only children. Our parents may they live and be well, are exceptional and my husband and I have taken care to only set a good example and to be the Model Jewish family. We have no history except for that which we created on our own. There is no history before our parents as their entire families have been wiped out. We are our own history and we have no secrets to hide.

INFORMER: Don't worry! The Weiss' have no secrets either! How do you think I know all this stuff??

MOTHER OF GIRL: I'm not sure all this talk of illness in the family is making me feel any better about this shidduch. I don't want my daughter exposed to this, and IY"H one day when she will have children of her own, I dread to think of these awful genes running through their veins.

INFORMER: Ach! Don't let that bother you at all! Genes aren't the things you should worry about. How are his middos?

MOTHER OF GIRL: I don't know, can you tell me anything?

INFORMER: Not off the bat. But you know what they say about redheads...

MOTHER OF GIRL: I thought he was dark?

INFORMER: Right. But you know what they say...

MOTHER OF GIRL: Yes, of course.

INFORMER: But really, don't worry about all the genetic stuff. It won't come through your daughter's kids anyway.

MOTHER OF GIRL: How can you be so sure?

INFORMER: First of all, have you studied genetics? It's like 10% chance he won't be able to have children to begin with.


INFORMER: Everyone knows that. Nobody has more than a 90% chance of having kids at all- so add him with your daughter's 10% and there's a 20% chance they'll never have kids to pass on those genes to anyway. Then again, if you add his 90% and her 90% there's like a 180% that they will have lots of kids with ingrown toenails and crooked teeth.

MOTHER OF GIRL: Crooked teeth? I didn't know it ran in his family!

INFORMER: Oh, it doesn't! But don't think the whole world forgot what your daughter looked like before she had braces...

MOTHER OF GIRL: !#)@#U%$#@%

INFORMER: But anyway, really, rest assured, there is nothing to worry about from either side of the Weiss family. I know for a fact that Fishel is adopted.

MOTHER OF GIRL: WHAT?!?! ADOPTED? How do you know?

INFORMER: Well it's not every day you see a Schvartze yingel in the Weiss mishpacha...


anon#1 said...

You're hysterical! You should put this on for one of those chinese auction places that keeps asking you to speak for them! This will be good compensation for all the help they gave you long ago.

Thanks for giving me a good laugh!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hilarious :P But so so true!

little sheep said...

i'm not sure if i should laugh or cry...but i have enough reasons to cry, so i guess i shouldn't use this as my excuse! :-P

curious said...

Can I ask you a question? All this talk about diabetes, can you tell me this. People say that the teacher in your book that had diabetes was made up, others say she had some other issue. Can you clarify that for me? Did you have someone you are close to that had diabetes?
(BTW, I have diabetes-type 1-and I think you are mixing up the types a little, as does most of the world.)

Your spiel was really funny. You didn't go into the mental health problems enough though....LOL

The Babysitter said...

That is funny, surprising ending.

J.A.P. said...

Curious, here's the answer to your question:

No, my teacher that I was close with did not have diabetes. Her "problem" was changed for the book for a few reasons. One was to protect her identity, and the other reason was to protect the other people involved in her situation. With Diabetes it was a personal problem with her real story it would have involved telling about too many people that would for sure have given out her identity and have made a lot of others very unhappy.

Mixing up Type 1 and Type 2- where did I do that? I never went into detail about what form of diabetes she "had" in the book so I don't see how I could have mixed it up.

For this post I was generalizing- I was just listing the typical things most people know about diabetics- sugar carbs and insulin.

I do have a close family member with diabetes, so yes I know something about how it works though probably not enough to really make any sense in a conversation that you were there to overhear :-)

I would have written more about the mental health parts because I thought a lot of readers could identify, but I didn't want to offend them LOL

curious said...

Sorry if I sounded mean about the types thing. I actually think you did a good job of portraying type 1 diabetes in the book. So good in fact that I was totally fooled. Like when you wrote that she brought you a milkshake and she had one herself, most people think that people with diabetes can't have any sugar. WE CAN!
If I sound defensive, it is because people think everybody who has diabetes has type 2 and therefore they got if because they ate too much. I mean, I am slightly overweight but gosh! I didn't cause myself to get diabetes!

Btw, I am your biggest fan. I never buy any books but yours jumped out at me and I "happened" to have a gift certificate. Once I picked it up I was hooked... I think I read it four times!

J.A.P. said...

No way Curious- you weren't mean at all- the truth was that I didn't know much about diabetes when I wrote the book and even now I still get confused with type one and two.

And neither type has to come from a specific reason- not type one ro two! Either one can come from such a variety of factors that you have to hate these people who talk like they know everything.

Its like the people who used to tell me that I probably got cancer because of ...(insert ridiculous reason here...)I mean WHAT?!?!

itsagift said...

You are hysterical!! This one is just tooo funny! I love it!!
I think that after your next book comes out, you should write one with all your funny/inspiring/touching etc. writings that you wrote - on this blog and the ones not publicized!!!
It will be a real hit!!

curious said...

The difference is that type 2 diabetes is very strongly linked to obesity and poor lifestyle choices (bad diet, no exersize) while type 1 diabetes is autoimmune which means the body attacks itself for some unknown reason and it CAN NOT be prevented. Sigh.
Thanks for your honesty. I loved your book and I enjoy your blog. It has made me think of starting my own. A diabetic girl facing the idiots in the cookie cutter world of shiduchim.... Makes for interesting

(As for the difference between the two, they are actually OPPOSITES. Type one diabetes is where the body stops producing insulin (for no good reason ;) and type 2 diabetes is where the body overproduces insulin, causing resistance to it, which causes the blood sugar levels to rise. Type 1 diabetes MUST be treated with insulin and type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with diet, exercise and pills. Sorry if I am giving TMI)

Anonymous said...

"I would have written more about the mental health parts because I thought a lot of readers could identify, but I didn't want to offend them LOL"

A lot? How about all? You'd have to be mentally deficient to read the blog ...
It's OK, Hashem loves us.

Thing is though--I don't get it--we're being bred here--perfect with perfect--
Anyone who's imperfect-- They need bitachon!

Moshy shi said...

You're hysterical!!

couldnt stop laughing

getting better by the day
keep it up!!

itsagift said...

Anon - no one is perfect and we all need bitachon! A perfect person wouldn't be alive on this world anymore!!
We all have our deficiencies and our imperfections but that is what life is all about! Life is about working on yourself to grow and change from the challenges that you face!!

Zeeskeit said...

OMG! ROFL! =) I think I have to stop reading this at work....My boss wanted to know what was so funny!?!? I could just see this in those Chinese Auctions - Leah Foster and all!

BTW, Curious, no that wasn't TMI at all! It was actually very interesting! I have a close friend with Diabetes who was told by the family's Rebbe to keep it quiet until a Shidduch starts getting serious. She told me a while before she got engaged. I don't like to probe and ask her nosy questions, even though she is really open about her stuff and everything. I never got a chance to read up about it, so thanx for the clarification!

J.A.P. said...

Curious, the family member that is diabetic is right now still finding out what type they are. In either case he has to take insulin until his levels get to where they should be. Once they are his lifestyle will depend on what type he has. At least that's what I understood- correct?

Also- while Type 2 is mainly linked to bad lifestyle choices, someone can be genetically more prone to getting it- right?

You're right- diabetes is so out there but no one really knows all that much when it comes to specifics.

little sheep said...

i have a relative who's a type 1 diabetic...some reactions he got while he was in shidduchim were pretty pathetic! one girl he told (and he didn't tell until a few dates in!) asked if he could please take her home!!

it's really sad that so many issues cause problems in shidduchim-some of the most amazing people have had medical problems, and you'd never know...because they are not the problem, and their problem isn't them!

anon#1 said...

Just a comment on medical problems in shidduchim. In shidduchim in general, there is nothing right or wrong. It depends on what a person can handle. While each person should consult his own rav when it comes to giving out this kind of info, it is my own opinion that if it's told before the actual dating begins, it will lead to a lot less complications. Everybody has to decide what he/she can handle, and if they won't be able to handle this type of situation, why put them through the hassle of going out?

Something Different said...

(I started ANOTHER blog, lets see if this one lasts...;)

Zeeskeit, that is really hard for someone. I have a very good friend who has diabetes and none of her friends know and it really makes life tough. I am starting to see the upside though, after 9 years of diabetes, because shiduch offers are frankly insulting. (I guess that's why I was drawn to this book and this blog.) I don't regret letting good friends know though, they really are so helpful...

JAP, is this person young or old? Are they overweight? You are a hundred percent right that there is a genetic predisposition towards diabetes, just as there is a genetic predisposition towards being overweight. (Contrary to what some people believe you don't get fat ONLY because you eat to much...) There are various tests they can do to figure it out. Are they trying or just taking a laid back who cares kind of approach?

Some of the myths about diabetes used to really get to me, like people telling me that I will outgrow it cuz I have "juvenile diabetes" (lol) or telling me to loose ten pounds and not have diabetes anymore (NOT lol)Either way I am kind of past that. I just figuer that whoever is bashert to marry me is not gonna hear of these dumb myths....
Anyway, you can check out my new blog. I don't really know what it'll be about but if you like surprises....

Something Different said...

anon, let me explain why this is the advice the rabbonim usually give to people with diabetes. (Of course, each situation is unique and this is not a blanket rule.) If someone knows I have diabetes before we meet, they might not give me a chance. If we go out and I tell him on the third date, he had a chance to get to know me first and his opinion of me is not soley based on "she has diabetes" rather, it's "she has diabetes but she is a great girl and she has so much to offer.

Little sheep-look at that! Having diabetes saved him from having to spend an extra minute with some creep who is so shallow and brainless..

anon#1 said...

Something Different, I definitely agree with you. My brother-in-law did not let us know about his medical condition (not diabetes) before he and my sister went out, and I'm not so sure my parents would have said yes if they had known.
But for myself, I'd rather know beforehand and not be surprised on a date and have to make a decision then.

little sheep said...

anon-the beauty of finding out later on is that it doesn't cloud your vision of the person's personality. you then have the time to take a break and research the condition and decide if it's something you can live with.

you should know that telling later is actually harder on the person with the condition than it is on you. he has to put himself out on a few dates knowing that he will give over this information and possibly (probably?) be dropped because of it.

besides, better the people who tell you after the first few dates than the ones who don't say anything at all...(and yes, i have experience with those too!)

Shira0809 said...

I just want to tell you, I was 200 lbs when i got married. my weight was a big issue, and my husband hacked about it for a long time! B"H after 5 years, I finally made a life decision to be healthier and thus far have lost 70 lbs. But in the same way I am sure that my weight stopped a lot of shidduchim, who cares? If something "is out of the ordinary" for one person, may be someone else's besheert! Hashem created a besheert for everyone,and it may take you a little longer to get married, but THEY ARE OUT THERE! Have Emunah and DONT DESPAIR!

Something Different said...

I just wrote a blog post about diabetes, in case anyone is actually interested. I explained what diabetes is, but it's about type 1 only so don't get confused if you read it. (one day I will post explaining the differences between the two. They are actually opposites.)

Anonymous said...

Not to detract from the important convo here, but I'm trying to imagine a darkly colored bochur with blond/red hair....LOL

J.A.P. said...

I know! That was my mistake, I should make him dark haired. Originally the punchline was supposed to be that he was adopted, but then at the last moment it came to be that he can be "schvartz" and I didnt change his red hair to match...

Anonymous said...

I'm actually getting nervous for the shidduch world. (I mean, I'm onyl 16, but...) You see, I have severe food allergies (which is something I can't exactly keep from a guy before I go out on a date, because I can't suddenly rush off to the hospital without a word of explanation if I couldn't ask about nuts in the food). Also, my mother has cancer, my father has serious cholesterol, blood pressure and migraine problems (and I get migraines, too, though I'm not sure if that's an issue or not). My father is also hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and I'm going to see an endochrinologist (I did NOT spell that right) soon, because he thinks I might be hypoglycemic, too. I also have really bad asthma. How thrilled do you think a shadchan will be with me when I tell her that I'm not a "problem" person? Why can't we just abolish the whole "problem" system? If you're meant to marry someone, then you're meant to marry someone. WHAT ON EARTH IS THE BIG DEAL WITH HEALTH PROBLEMS? The ony people who "don't have health problems" are the people who really do but don't know it yet, or haven't gotten them yet. At least the people who DO have them are better off because they know they have problems, and are more likely to deal with something abnormal because they're already more tuned in to what their body is telling them.
Also, some people can be really idiotic. Some of my nieghbors have issues with what they should and shouldn't say. Tzipi, I, like you, have a big mouth sometimes and I've let some people really have it. I mean, what nerve to comment on how I deal with my mother's problems when I haven't slept in days because she keeps me up, am behind on all my schoolwork because she never leaves me alone, and deal constantly with the fact that we don't know how much time she has left? I mean, don't get me wrong; I know very well that if she's meant to live, she will and it doesn't matter how many bumps she goes through on the way, but give me a break, people! My mother's been sick for two years! I basically became an adult at 14 (I'm the oldest of two children. My sister is a year younger than me), and you have the nerve to tell me that I'm still a "lttle kid" and I "can't possibly know what I'm doing"? Actually, my favorite one was when one of my neighbors told me that she "didn't think I realized how sick my mother really was". Well, escuse me, but I was the one who stayed in the hospital with her for almost 48 straight hours when I was like 3000 miles away from home (I was in Seattle and I like in NY). I'm the one who deals with the knowledge every day that anything can happen, good or bad. Why can't people learn to be normal and not say stupid things or ask stupid questions???

Anonymous said...

hysterical! you have some sense of humor!

Shades of Grey said...

this is hilarious.

Chavy said...

What about someone that gets married and finds out soon after that their spouse is not healthy (Mentally, emotionally, or physically) Is that any better? The result would be much worse than if the boy/girl would let the other one know before!

evanna said...

OMG this was HILARIOUS!!!!!!! so true, and soooo sad how people think too much....