Boys. Feh ...
See ya! We’re off to an Internet café to download some porn a special shiur on uh… middos. Yeah. That’s it. Middos.

I try to be open-minded and respectful, really I do. Occasionally, I slip into an area that I hope is perceived more of a loving lampoon than an angry tirade–just one of the “laugh or die” symptoms of being single, I think. I especially try to be open-minded to Jewish or religious ways and views which are not my own. (For instance, although I don’t choose to share her lifestyle, I linked to Nice Jewish Girl and could appreciate what she had to say. I thought it was incredibly brave for her to explore her heart’s desire in the context of her religious commitment. Others disagreed with me on the bravery front, but still…) I’d like to be that person who can get along with Jews (and in fact, non-Jews as well) of all religious stripes. It’s all good, and it’s all about love.

But today, I came across this list on, a website for religious teenagers to discuss various issues. The list (located in the “Long Skirts and ‘Platonic’ Relationships” forum of the site) is titled “71 Reasons Not to Talk to Boys.” And aside from the appalling spelling (and I mean, appalling), I’m a little frightened. I’m not saying this to ridicule the members of the list, God forbid. I just don’t understand how advocating a complete separation between the sexes until it’s courtship time can be a good thing.

Some examples (spelling and punctuation preserved)…

3) You risk getting caught by, and being thrown out of your school
Maybe because it’s not my community, but I don’t understand how talking to a boy leads to expulsion from school. In my yeshiva high school (which admittedly was co-ed), I was reprimanded for cuffing my friend Mark on the shoulder once (a rabbi saw me, and gave me a “you know you’re not supposed to touch boys” speech). But I never got the feeling that I was in any danger of expulsion.

6) You WILL NOT stay shomer negiyah [not touching the opposite sex], which is also assur [forbidden]-(a yaharog veal yaavor[a sin so grievous that you should be killed rather than transgress it])
Much discussion follows as to the exact origin of the prohibition against opposite-sex discourse, with some people disagreeing as to the character of the sin as yaharog v’al ya’avor.

7) The guy is 100% talking bad about you to his frineds in one way or another
I think this breeds a distrust of all men for all time. How do you go from being paranoid about all boys to trusting one man enough to spend your life with him? And it’s not like girls are never mean to other girls. If you can’t trust boys and you can’t trust girls, who does that leave you with?

9) Every boy is a liar, a pervert, a jerk, and you will eventually find this out
OK. I’ve got no problems with this one. I’m kidding.
I would say we can all be liars, perverts and jerks, boys and girls alike. And this one, like number 7, breeds a mistrust of all men that will undoubtedly follow the girls into their adult and married lives.

26) a guy will prob @#$% %** cus of you,, and thats like one of the wosrt averriois [sins], and im sure we get part of it
I’m guessing that missing word has something to do with self-love/abuse, but to me the concept that girls shouldn’t talk to boys because said boys might go home and think of the girls when they, ahem, you know, is like saying that we should stop producing peanut butter because some people are allergic to it. OK, so it’s not a perfect analogy, but that it falls to girls to prevent adolescent boys from pleasuring themselves? Please. As if they could.

And of course, there’s #34, the one that inspired my post here today:
How many “never”s is that?

I’m with Maidel123, who points out:

While I agree that there are many negative elements of guys and girls talking for no particular reason it is also important not to paint the opposite gender as evil or anything of that sort. Not just because it’s not nice, but because I’m not sure I understand how, for example, a girl would make the change from thinking guys are scum etc. etc. to thinking that THE guy is the one with whom you’ll share so many things-a relationship as a couple, builders of a Jewish home, builders of a Jewish family…so while members of the opposite gender may not be APPROPRIATE they are not inherently CH”V [that’s an abbreviation for chas v’chalilah, which means God forbid] evil.

Much discussion on the boards ensues, from both boys and girls (and I suspect there are some older men and women there too, as the spelling and sentence structure is vastly improved in some of the subsequent responses).

If I were still in my yeshiva high school, as constricted as I felt there, I know that this bulletin board/forum would have been way too right-wing for me. I just hope that these girls and boys don’t grow up so scared of each other that it creates marriages that are built on foundations of mistrust and fear.

(Hat tip for the list, even though he may not like what I’ve done with it: Seraphic Secret)

(Cross-posted to JDaters Anonymous)

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Esther Kustanowitz

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