If you can’t tell by now, I go to a secular university, but one that has a quite large frum population (around 300 including both undergrads and grads). The community is very Modern Orthodox, so shidduchim don’t happen around here so much. We’re all stuck on this campus for four years, and thus if anyone is dating, it is usually another person from within the Penn community. And although 300 is a big number, that means there are about 150 frum people of the opposite gender, and if you take out the people who are taken, and then the people who you would never date, and those that would never date you, it turns into a very small number, which may or may not be equivalent to 0.
I’ve concluded from this analysis that my bashert doesn’t go to Penn. Which is alright with me, since I’m only 20 (almost 21) and still have to graduate. Of course, that also means instead of having a “normal” dating life, where you meet someone you like, decide to date, have a relationship for a while, and then get engaged and married, I probably will be thrown into the scary world of shidduchim. And as someone who still isn’t so comfortable with the idea of being judged by a first meeting, indeed it is a scary concept.
So this still has nothing to do with me being a BT. Or does it? I’ve noticed that in the shidduch world, or even the dating world, BTs have a disadvantage for multiple reasons.
1. They don’t have an array of frum friends from growing up who can introduce them to their friends or friends of friends, who might be dateable. My FFB friends have this resource, and sometimes it has led to relationships and engagements.
2. They don’t have parents who can set them up with people. Ok, my dad once tried to set me up with the one Orthodox guy he knew that was around my age, but it didn’t work out, and that exhausted the reserve of Orthodox guys my parents can set me up with.
3. The stigma of being BT. Not such a big deal in my community, or in the Modern Orthodox world in general, but at the same time, I think there might be something underlying. Part of me wants to marry an FFB, so I can be part of a frum family where I don’t have to be in charge of running the household. When I want a break from Shabbat, we can go visit the in-laws. I can’t help but wonder if other people feel the same way. Maybe FFBs want another in-law family like their own, with Torah values and yirat Hashem.
This only states problems, and not solutions to go with it. I don’t have those, only thoughts. My main thought is the misconception that you need to be in a place with a large number of guys/girls in order to find your bashert. [And the same would go for needing many friends of friends]. You only need to find one person in order to get married, and that person has to be the right person. Me being at Penn with my 150 guys hasn’t brought me any closer to being married. I could perhaps say the same thing about living in Washington Heights for the summer. I hate living in New York (no offense to anyone who loves NY) and I’d like to think my bashert does, too.
Any amount of things that may “hurt your shidduch opportunities” may in fact be helpful ways of narrowing down the dating pool. For example, I once was told that my nose-piercing hurting my chances of a shidduch. I would say that any guy who was bothered by it probably isn’t the type of guy I want to marry, and any community bothered by it isn’t the type of community I want to live in. If guys don’t want a girl with a BA from an ivy-league university, they are probably guys who aren’t worldly enough for me anyways. It can go in both directions.
So don’t get discouraged. People may say things may hurt/help your chances of a shidduch, but in the end, it’s all in the hands of G-d.