I still recall the feeling I had during my first Simchat Torah on the UWS. It was a great many moons ago, but I’m pretty sure I was turning the corner of Columbus and 95th St. when I saw a scene that literally took my breath away for couple of seconds.
The area in front of OZ (Ohab Zedek), stretching almost the entire block, was jam packed with Jewish singles. I mean…jam packed. For a first timer, I must admit, it was totally exhilarating! The prospect of meeting so many new people (in my case, women) got my adrenaline surging. I was on a high…a Simchat Torah social high!
The thing is, the energy rush I experienced wasn’t really connected to the prospect of actually meeting someone in particular. It was all about the thrill of socializing, for its own sake.
How do I know is? Because when I lived on the UWS many years later with my wife and children and I saw the same Simchat Torah scene outside of OZ, I felt that same initial breathlessness and excitement even though I obviously had no intention of socializing.
The thrill of socializing with crowds of new attractive (and not so new) people was unrelated to any serious soulmate search. It was like a recreational drug. And it was addictive. (It might be different for you…right.)
That’s the danger of a mass singles scene like Simchat Torah on the UWS for someone who truly is only interested in meeting that one special person. You can get so caught up in the thrill of the chase, that you can forget your true objective — to meet ONE person you want to get to know better.
The scary part of all of this is that you can spend years of your life engaged in the process of socializing without ever reaching the ultimate objective of a committed relationship (that could lead to marriage).
So should you totally steer clear of the social scene this Simchat Torah and hang with just a few good friends? No way! I mean, seriously, you have to dive into that sea of singles at least once to get your energy rush and hopefully get it out of your system. Of course, you mean even actually meet someone!
But you also need to balance that social rush with some serious one on one face time with a few good women or men whom you might be interested in building relationships with. These interactions are more likely to occur in small meals or get togethers with friends who bring people you don’t know. Heck, you might even light a spark with someone you already know!
The message here is balance. Enjoy the social scene, but make sure you set aside a significant portion of your time to meet and get to know people in smaller more personal venues.