To the Shadchan:
I am recently married and living in New York. Remembering my days as a single, I have started setting up people. I’ve noticed that many men do not want to travel to date. These are mostly working guys, aged 25 to 35, who live in New York and have never been married. I have suggested women who live out of town, and their response was, “I will only date women in New York.” Some men go as far as to tell me that they will only date women who agree to meet them in Manhattan, where they work. They aren’t willing to travel even to Brooklyn, Queens, or Long Island. What do you recommend I say to these men who do not want to travel? It’s frustrating, because I want to help singles get married. Thank you.
The Shadchan Answers:
Kol hakovod to you for trying to fix up your friends. Yes, I agree with you that it can be frustrating to conclude a shidduch these days, and one can become very discouraged.
That said, I will try to analyze this situation and make some recommendations. I understand that all these men live in New York and that none of them has been married. Most likely, they have many years of dating behind them and are, to some extent, burned out. Another obvious thing that comes to mind regarding their unwillingness to travel is the “market logic” of supply and demand. With a surplus of women available for dating in New York, a man’s incentive to go out of town to date is much reduced. It is also true that some individuals do not want to live out-of-town for various reasons and fear that if they go with an out-of-towner, they may end up having to relocate. Although all these may be valid reasons for not traveling, the widespread occurrence of this phenomenon, as well as your experience of men who are not willing even to go to other boroughs of New York, is troubling. We seem to be losing an old value and “way of the world,” which says that a man travels to the woman.
I have come across men like this over the years. I define these people (there are such women, too) as “career daters.” They express a desire to get married – and do and say the right things – but they never commit. They will use any excuse in the world to avoid marriage, and refusing to travel is one of them.
Another problem is guys who think very highly of themselves and have an “attitude.” “My way or the highway” is their motto. Even though some of these men actually live in Brooklyn or Queens, they insist on the girl’s meeting them near their workplace, to make it of utmost convenience for themselves.
Some men might be hypercritical. There is a famous story of a man in his late forties who came to the Steipler Rav for a bracha, telling him that he was having a difficult time finding his bashert. The Rav told him that he had found her but her nose was crooked – meaning that he found faults in her and failed to see the positive.
All these factors contribute to why we see men in their forties or fifties who are still single. The only way this problem will be resolved will be when these men face the reality that they can’t get any dates because they always find a reason not to commit.
Before I make suggestions on how to handle your dilemma, I would like to add that I have also dealt with many men over the years who are courteous and respectful of women and do travel to meet them.
My suggestion is that you invite some of the girls you want to fix up to your home for a meal, saying that you have some friends coming. Then invite a few of these guys. Maybe, just maybe, they will become interested in one or two of the girls, and then they will not care what part of the city they live in.
I would also continue discussing the issue with the men. You never know; some of them may say, “Okay, I will listen to you,” and the next thing you know, they will call to tell you they are engaged. This has happened many times to people who had to be “hounded” about going out with someone. Once they met, things progressed, and in the end they got married.
I hope I have given you some helpful insight into your dilemma. You are not the only one this happens to, so don’t get discouraged, and keep on trying. I wish you hatzlacha in your endeavors.