The target audience of YUConnects, Yeshiva University’s matchmaking website, is those young marriage-hungry singles who, due to religious reasons, wouldn’t be able to meet on their own accord.
Let me explain. A few younguns gather around a Shabbas table, three guys and three girls. What transpires? Total gender segregation. You see, as Orthodox Jews, socializing in natural settings (such as meeting at a party or, say, at a Shabbat meal) is almost a freak phenomenon, due to the fact that speaking to members of the opposite gender for reasons other than finding a prospective spouse is generally considered inappropriate. Thus, matchmakers are heavily depended on for such spousal findings. And today, in the age of the Internet and microwaved MacN’Cheese, it is online matchmakers that save the day.
Online matchmaking: We have no idea who thought this up, but it combines two of the most awkward ways of dating– online dating and being set up by a matchmaker– and combines them into one glorious concoction of being set up online. Now this dating approach has a brilliant new innovation: Meeting in natural settings. That are forced. Forced natural settings.
This strategic new concept is called DineNMeet, and is set up through a separate party by the same name. YUConnects is a partner of the project, and recently sent out an email advertising the “brand new concept.” Revolutionary! Until now, meals have been full of awkward silences and men and women avoiding one another’s existences. We simply didn’t think of speaking to each other. Thank heavens for YUConnects.
But wait! This is no willy-nilly casual meeting! This is planned. This is strategized. Every aspect has been considered to take even the remotest possibility of spontaneity from accidentally occurring. You will fill out a “short profile” that will somehow manage to pin down every aspect of your personality necessary for discovering which 6-12 other singles you would enjoy a Shabbat meal with. Meals, of course, which are “pre-screened and exclusive.” I’m not sure what they’re screening for, but I hope it includes weeding out normal social skills and a sense of humor.
Finally, should all go well, you might worry that dating would progress along a natural timeline, without any structure. Well, worry not. A “[p]rofessional connector will assist with potential follow-up dates.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this shouldn’t be stressful at all. No, that pre-screened, profiled, exclusive, equally men-and-women, professionally connected meal will be an assuredly “relaxed environment.”
Ladies and gentlemen: the end of the Shidduch Crisis is at hand!
To be fair, for the group of people for which natural meetings are frowned upon, this, I believe, can be a step in the right direction of making natural meetings more acceptable. Maybe now, at the Shabbat dinner scene I proposed earlier, those on opposite sides of the table will be able to make eye contact with their other-gendered-peers. Maybe even discuss a little philosophy or music together. Or, at the very least, remark on how weird the weather has been.
And for that, this concept may actually be radical.