Monday, January 14, 2008

Plastic Tablecloths and Shidduchim pt. 2

See first part here. In the first post, I noted that the shidduch question of whether the family uses plastic tablecloths on Shabbos was ambiguous; that there was some likelihood that the interpretation of the question people mocked accorded with their own usage; and that there is potentially some use as a rough sociological determiner.

Someone pointed out that there is actually a third interpretation of "plastic tablecloth." There is a mock-linen made of white plastic. It looks like linen, but is plastic, and is quite a dirt-trap. Thus, one would possibly not be so quick to toss it out (as it is somewhat expensive) but rather reuse it, but it can get dingy since one cannot wash it.

I can see some value of the question as part of a general picture. There are plenty of attributes to the boy/girl and his/her family. It is silly as a question which makes or breaks the deal -- one is not dating the tablecloth. But so are many other questions about a potential shidduch. It might be one thing to pay a little attention to, amidst 10,000 other things, and be weighed together with them, when evaluating the person as a person.

The problem with such questions is that often there is a single "correct" answer, and there is a checklist of such questions; also, that these questions are asked before any meeting, to vet potential candidates. The result is that people are trained to look for conformity is silly superficialities and externalities. And these superficialities and externalities are elevated to the level of quasi-halacha, for one does not want to "passul" his, or his children's, shidduch. Simultaneously, since everyone is doing this to conform and be able to answer the shidduch question "correctly," the possible information that could be gleaned from the externality is lost.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin