chapter one: the drive

with one comment

I’m not even going to try to justify this. Here’s the opening chapter of A Shidduch Tale, my first foray into shidduch-lit, a genre, incidentally, that I created.

Shmiel’s hands were shaking, bad enough to make turning the non-power-steering wheel even more difficult. He had borrowed the car, a 1985 Buick Roadmaster stationwagon (his old and very cool chavrusa Dave called it a pimp-mobile, but Shmiel had only the faintest idea what that meant, and suspected that Dave didn’t really know either), from his Aunt Bracha. It was obscenely wide and loud — a driver and shotgun-passenger could only converse with shouting.  He hated driving, especially on streets he wasn’t familiar with; it made him nervous, and he couldn’t help but feel childish and irresponsible. He ran his fingers through his hair, as he did whenever he was nervous, but he couldn’t get any really satisfying or effective hair-through-finger flow: Dave had convinced him that great dollops of hair gel was like donning cool, and that the girl — Shmiel’s first — would be instantly and thoroughly impressed. Shmiel didn’t feel cool, though, and Dave’s very slim-fitting faint pink Zara shirt wasn’t helping one bit. Dave (whose real name was Dovid, and had only recently anglicized his name, to his parent’s consternation) watched television, was learning to play guitar, and had pointy shiny shoes. Dave knows cool, right? But Shmiel didn’t feel cool.  He felt nervous. And besides, the shirt smelled of Chinatown cologne.

Argh, no time for this. Be shtark, Shmiel thought to himself. No one wants to date a loser. Shmiel drove on, the houses getting bigger and more ornate — though taste was inversely proportional to size and detail — as he went deeper into Lawrence.

Shmiel wondered how he had gotten himself into this. Shmiel didn’t know the shadchan, nor did his parents, but the shadchan seemed to know everything about them. He had happened to be home when she called.

“Hello?” Shmiel’s mother answered the phone.

“It’s perfect,” a Yiddish-tinged but businesslike voice cooed.

“Sorry..? What’s perfect?”


“Who is this?”

“Your best and quickest hope for grandchildren.”


“Do you have a pen? Write these details down: Family: best. Beauty: the most. Money: lots. Brains: she aced chumash class in seminary. Siblings: healthy and fruitful and very normal.”

Shmiel’s mother, very very excited, started writing this down.

“Sorry, how’d you describe her looks again? My Shmiel isn’t into such things of course, but he can certainly afford to be picky, if he wanted to…”

At this, Shmiel choked on the leftover kugel he was eating. Shmiel’s mother took the info — all of it vague and happy — said the perfunctory “We’ll look into it” so not to appear desperate, and hung up. She turned to Shmiel, who was still trying to dislodge some stubborn noodles from his throat.

“I always knew you were going to be a catch! You need a new belt, right?”

Things moved quickly from there, none of it propelled by Shmiel, and about 71 hours after that phone call, Shmiel pulled into a driveway of the gaudiest, largest house he had ever seen.

Written by menachemkaiser

2 October at 17:02

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] a comment » I realize it’s been a while since the first chapter, but that doesn’t mean I’m not committed to this thing. Shidduch-lit shall be […]

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