The Uncomfortable World Beyond the Single Zone

The reason why I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks is because I and my little family moved homes, from Manhattan to Teaneck, NJ. Moving is never fun, and after a week in our new home we’re still in the unpacking and getting settled process. How do I like it here in the burbs? I love it. In fact, I wonder to myself why I didn’t do this years ago? The answer is simple: until a few years ago I was single.

What does my marital status have to do with where I choose to reside? I’ll answer that by describing my first Shabbat in my new neighborhood. The synagogue I went to on Friday night was packed with hundreds of people including loads of kids. All the adults with either parents or grandparents. More of the same on Saturday morning. I met and joined dozens of other parents with young kids in one of the downstairs rooms in the synagogue building used as a playroom. I fit in perfectly.

After services we had lunch with three other couples and their toddlers. There was plenty of nursing, diaper changing, and face wiping. It was great for us, but if I was single…forget about it! I would have rather been strapped to a chinese torture table and forced to watch Millionaire Matchmaker reruns.

There’s no way I would have ever chosen to live in Teaneck, or in any other suburban community populated by family units, while I was single because I would have felt different, odd, out of place…uncomfortable. But if I would have had to live there, I probably would have gotten married a heck of a lot sooner than I did. It just would have been too difficult to remain single.

Now don’t jump all over me and assume that I’m saying that I’d just marry any old gal just to fit in. I wouldn’t, and neither should you. However, I would have been a lot more motivated to give real potentials much more of a chance than I did instead of simply moving on to the next woman as soon as something wasn’t just the way I imagined it should be. I’m not just speaking to the guys. Same goes for the women out there.

As much as you might hate being single and living in a singles’ neighborhood (ie. UWS), you have to admit that there is a certain comfort level within the confines of the single zone. Almost everyone is single, just like you. There’s no diaper talk or nursing mommy’s, just dreams of pillow talk and … (you can complete the analogy yourself). If the party, event, or relationship isn’t going as well as planned, all you need to do is bounce on to the next one. Sure, it’s not all fun and games, and it can get pretty frustrated and depressing, but it’s familiar…and comfortable: in the singles’ zone.

I’m not advocating that you move to suburbia and feel out of place. It’s important to feel good about your environment and be at ease in your hood. But maybe, from time to time, you should place yourself in the married/family zone to see what you’re missing and get the motivation you need to make a relationship work ASAP. You don’t even need to travel to suburbia. There are family unit enclaves hidden away even in the big city, maybe even in your building. Make an effort to find and spend some time with them. Talk to them and find out about the reality of marriage and family life.
Or, you can come to Teaneck.

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