Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shidduchim Of The Future: A Short Story

“Thank you for tonight,” she smiled.

“Thank you for accompanying me. I had a great time.”

“Well… I guess it’s time to say goodnight,” she replied, nervously glancing downward.

“I guess so.”

“Bye, then.”

“Goodnight,” he meekly called after her as she closed the door.

Yossi, all of twenty-two years old, remained standing there on his date’s doorstep for a few moments, deep in thought. His concentration shattered as the door suddenly swung open. Startled, Yossi recoiled to a safer distance. Two gleaming orbs peered out from the blackness within.

“Master, that was awfully weak – notwithstanding your significant Shidduch Code violation,” a smooth, silvery face jutted out from the darkened doorway.

“H2, I think you’re being a bit harsh-”

“Article 4, section 18 very clearly states, ‘Shidduch daters may not comment regarding how well the evening’s proceedings went to his or her date in person. Rather, all reactions and feelings are reserved for communication via the predetermined intermediary-'”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember,” Yossi lazily waved his hand in the air to ward off the citation.

“If there was no malfunction in your memory core, why did you breach the established rule of conduct?” The humanoid automaton stepped out from the doorway, the gears comprising its joints whirring softly.

Simulated Humanoid Interactive Dating Droid/Computerized Holographic-generator Mach 2 (SHIDD/CH-2, or H2 for short) simultaneously rotated and tilted ‘his’ head into an inquisitive stare. Yossi didn’t reply and looked off in the distance to avoid making eye contact.

“I am quite concerned for your performance in an actual dating situation. You’re lucky my rejection-levels were dialed down. Care to see what would have happened had you acted in such a manner during a more realistic scenario?” H2’s optical ports brightened, his equivalent to a human’s raised eyebrow.

“Not really, but I don’t think that’s going to stop you,” Yossi sighed.

H2 straightened, and the multitude of holographic projectors located around his lanky frame began to hum to life. The air around the robot shimmered momentarily, and his metallic form was immediately replaced with the exact duplicate of Rachel, Yossi’s “date.” Standing at five feet, five inches, with shoulder-length, light brown hair and dazzling green eyes, “Rachel” was a perfect digital copy of a girl Yossi’s mother wanted him to go out with.

“Shall we try this again?” H2’s tinny intonation gave way to Rachel’s softer, somewhat bubbly voice. Yossi sighed again and nodded. ‘Rachel’ shifted her stance to appear more natural and clasped her hands behind her back.

“Thank you for tonight,” ‘Rachel’ smiled.

“Oh, it was entirely my pleasure,” Yossi unleashed a cheesy grin. ‘Rachel’ frowned slightly.

“Well… I guess it’s time to say goodnight,” the simulation repeated and glanced downward, as before.

“Allow me,” Yossi deftly side-stepped his ‘date’ and opened the front door. ‘Rachel’s’ eyebrows furrowed, as though confused. Yossi waved his arms in an exaggerated, doorman-like fashion, beckoning ‘Rachel’ to enter her house.

“Why… thank you.” With a small shrug, she awkwardly maneuvered past him.

“Oh, and one more thing,” he called after her. ‘Rachel’ paused in the doorway.

“Yes?” She turned to face Yossi. Unexpectedly, his hand shot out and grabbed hers. He lifted her arm and planted a small kiss across her knuckles. ‘Rachel’ gasped in horror, and a blue spark emitted from her wrist, jolting Yossi into releasing her clasped fingers.

“Master, that was entirely uncalled for!” H2 broke character, his flustered voice sounding from ‘Rachel’s’ lips. “How dare you violate the ban on pre-marital physical contact…!”

Yossi grinned mischievously.

“I’m going to fulfill article 34, section 13. See ya.” Yossi bounded into the darkened foyer.

“The post-date refrigeration unit foray followed by binge comestible consumption?”

“That’d be the one,” Yossi’s voice echoed from the kitchen. Disengaging his digital projection with a two-toned boop-bip, H2 became himself again.

“I honestly wonder how female organics put up with this…” H2 closed the door behind him.


  1. Not sure if this is totally facetious or you meant some mixed-truth in this.

  2. I LOVE this post. It's perfect. If you ever make a list of top posts, this should definitely be somewhere in the top five.

  3. I was actually rolling from laughter as I read this post - it's great! Shidduch dating is sometimes such a fake reality - imagine what it would be like if we had a chance to "practice"! Very entertaining...

  4. Love this post!!! Seriously, this is not a date in the future; this is right now. Why are we so bound in our shidduch system. It's time to break away. Who's going first?

  5. (Not) the girl next door, I never heard of any "rule" where you can't comment to your date on how it went. So, there are many guys that are not "bound." I frequently comment about the date. I guess I have not gone out with you :)

  6. The concept, as it has been explained to me, is that you can say "that was fun" or something like that, but nothing that indicates what your decision for a next date would be. Presuming that someone is honest, they won't say to their date that they had such a wonderful time, when they are actually lying and will turn them down when they call the shadchan. It also puts pressure on the other person, who may then feel bad dumping them if they see the person really likes them. Hence it's better to remain positive, though neutral.

    I am not agreeing with that, per se - it's just a convention that I'm parodying in this story. I personally have found it a but frustrating not to express that sort of sentiment, and when I have done so (as of late) I end up being rejected for a subsequent date. I have no clue if my remark had anything to do with that decision, though.

  7. :-D
    I usually say I had a great time if I did. I don't usually have a lousy time, but I wouldn't say I didn't if I did.

    ...but you know, in the cases where I did have a lousy time, I think a little robot to help the guy practice might have helped matters. :-P

  8. Great post! And great idea! There should be a Gemach for them.

    A fellow Asimov fan? I see I'm not the only one to venture into the chareidi sci-fi realm.

  9. Which stories have you written that were sci-fi? I'm not doubting you, but want to be directed toward those stories to read them :). I've read some Asimov (and even took a sci-fi lit course here at YU, which was fantastic), but I am more into a certain saga currently popular in the pop-culture world.

  10. Ha ha. This is why I thank G-d every day that I was able to move to Israel where I was free, and meet my husband and behave however the heck I wanted to (within halacha) without anyone telling me what to do! I wore sandals on our date! Talked Torah! Talked about how we wouldn't be good for each other at the end of our first date! (but then changed my mind and ended up marrying him later)


Comments are welcome, and greatly encouraged! I certainly want to foster open discussion, so if you have something to say about anything I've written, don't hesitate! I also greatly enjoy comments/critiques of my stories. But please, no spam.