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Engagement fever: It’s more contagious than H1N1

Let’s see here… in about the last 12 hours, I’ve found out that seven friends/acquaintances just got engaged. That’s seven friends, 4 engagements.

Sorry, check that… Make it eight people… just found out about another…

Actually make it 9 (I’m dead serious!, well even though that last one happened a little over a month ago, I only found out about it now…) So now it’s 9 friends, 6 engagements…

All this makes me wonder about the nature of announcing engagements in the Jewish world and with keeping up with them, especially with the medium of the internet making it so much easier to spread the word. And with that, here are a few observations I’ve compiled about the whole shtick:

First question: Tis’ this the season to be engaged?

It would definitely seem so. Those 9 friends are addition to the 4 other friends who got engaged (two pairs) literally at the same time earlier this month – and then subsequently updating their Facebook statuses simultaneously as well.

I’ve been trying to find stats that reveal the times of the year when engagements are more frequent than others but to no avail. But I think it’s safe to assume that there are at least some obvious times during the year when engagement announcements are more prevalent than usual.

Here’s what I think:

  1. Right after Tisha B’Av– That’s an obvious one. For 3 weeks, you can’t really announce engagements and be too happy about them. So even if you found a loophole why bother? And besides, the 15th of Av (Tu B’Av), is pretty much the unofficial wedding and “lucky day” if looking for the true match.
  2. The summer time weeks before the Three Weeks (That would be around mid-June to about mid to late August depending on the cycle)- Duh: Gotta get it out there before you can’t do it for three weeks. And it’s summer, so why not? The weather is nice, people aren’t as busy, the leaves are growing and the flowers are blooming/blossoming (just like your relationship!)
  3. Just after Shavuot- It’s pretty much the same time as #2 and for the same reason as #1. For 49 days (Sefirat Ha’Omer), you can’t really do things like engagements and be very happy about it, even if you had a cop out.
  4. The time between Simchat Torah & Hannukah (aka: Now): You’re too busy during the High Holiday season to really plan anything and concentrate on another event you have to dress up for. And for time preceding the holidays, you’re probably busy getting ready for them anyway. But once the last of them (Simchat Torah) is done around mid-October; we begin the super-long stretch of days where nothing really happens until Hannukah in Mid-December. I guess it only makes sense to make the grind a little less difficult for yourself and others if you have simchas to think about planning or attending. It kind of makes up for the weather getting cold.

You could also apply these times to weddings too I guess.

But back to the nature of all these engagements: I tell you, if you’re the one getting down on one knee and putting a ring on your finger, it can be hard to stay on top of all those people you who are doing said actions.

(Not to mention the annoying sense that makes you feel a little pressure to get your act together since it looks like you’ll have no more single friends left… but that’s another post 😉

But here are a few things I do to keep up:

  • Keep a list of Engaged Friends on Facebook.
  • Keep a list on my Google Desktop Sidebar of all engaged friends, and potential wedding dates. I’m at 20 engagements and counting! (And this list only includes those announced as early as last summer – 2o09)
  • Then of course for all you Jews there’s OnlySimchas, the unofficial source of finding whom from your big circle and network of Jewish friends popped the question, tied the knot, welcomed a new addition, cut a bit off the tip eight days later if it was boy, redeemed it after living for a month, became a man (or a woman), finished a certain year of education allowing you to pursue it elsewhere, and any other celebration that comes to mind. We used to joke around a lot with OnlySimchas back in yeshiva days because of how absurd and silly people were about spreading the word about it. We used to make fake announcements like yours truly getting an Upsherin – when a boy turns three, he gets his first haircut. It makes you wonder whether some people care more about the engagement (and it’s planning) instead of the publicizing…

Example of that mindset:

f) Respond to the posts.

Oh my gosh, I’m engaged! Oh, joy!

Now I should:

a) Be happy with my future spouse for the next few minutes, basking in the joy, which will probably never have for the rest of live (aka: seizing the moment)

b) Call Mom & Dad.

c) Hug the friend who helped plan the engagement while hiding in the background (or in plain sight) and taping the video/taking the photos – which are bound to go up on Facebook, YouTube, OnlySimchas and maybe even Twitter as soon as possible.

d) Change my Facebook/Twitter status immediately.

e) Watch my Facebook wall grow with posts wishing my fiancé and me a mazel tov or congrats on the engagement.

Certainly, this diatribe isn’t meant to mock anyone specifically but I think you get the point of how absurd the thought process might be.

  • In fact, I don’t really need OnlySimchas to find out who’s engaged… Facebook is good enough. I did a little search on Facebook of the word “engaged” and besides Groups named “engaged,” and what resulted were all the instances where Facebook friends wrote the word “engaged” on Facebook. That includes in Wall posts, comments, comments on wall posts, status updates, photo album names, and probably a lot more other ways that a Facebook stalker could find dirt on people. I discovered three of the six engagements mentioned above by doing that search.

It also used to be easier because a while back you were able to search for people based on their marital status, which pretty much saved you from doing the background work. But they stopped doing that because many complaints came up about people being targeted by advertising companies based on their status, resulting in massive spamming etc.

Actually, it may even be easier to search the phrase “Mazel Tov” and you’d probably be more likely to find more results. The only inconvenience I can find in that process could be that there could A LOT of results you’d have to sift through. That’s because it’s a proven fact that besides your birthday, the only other time your Facebook Wall is flooded with posts is when you get engaged. Prove me wrong.

And don’t even try comparing that with when the wedding happens. Sure, the posts will be coming but by then the couple will have probably made a joint account and that decreases posts. And that depends how much publicity of the event is conjured… The only other competition would probably be when they have a baby. That’s because photos are fun thing to do when a baby comes out. Hmm… Makes me think about that very same mindset when the baby comes out… (No, I won’t re-post the previous mindset rant, but replace a few words and it’s pretty much the same absurdity going around…)

But what can I really say? In all honesty, I’d probably be the first one to go PR crazy when I get engaged. And why not? You too would be super happy about being engaged and would want to spread the news. There’s no denying Jews love boasting about their simchas.

So in conclusion, here’s a mazel tov to all those soon-to-be married couples!

And don’t forget my invitation 😉

Nuff’ said.

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3 thoughts on “Engagement fever: It’s more contagious than H1N1”

  1. I think that in addition to the reasons above, it might be that people get engaged now because they want to accomodate the school year to a certain extent (ie. get married either in February over reading week, or when school ends in May). Thus, if you want to be engaged for 3 months and get married in Feb, Nov is the right time, and if you want to be engaged for 6 months and get married in May, Nov is the right time, too. I’m basing all this, of course, on the assumption that 3 month and 6 month engagements are the most common lengths, which is totally not based on any fact…but thats what I’m thinking.

    Whatever the reason, though, this is a very exciting time! Mazal tov’s all around!

  2. I don’t know if I’m ok with living in a world where you are forced to decide the moment you change your life forever by your work/school schedule.

  3. Well when you put it that way, it sounds ridiculous, but i don’t think it’s being forced, i think it’s just choosing a convenient time.

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