Family & Education

‘I’m letting Booba find dates for me!’

Dating in a pandemic isn't easy - so Summer Goodkind's grandmother is lending a hand


As a 21-year-old Jewish girl, dating in today’s society is replete with opportunities. Dating apps have become a go-to for young people to meet each other; it’s as natural as online shopping. Before lockdown I had never really used any of the typical sites such as Tinder, Hinge or Bumble. I’m about to graduate from the University of Nottingham, self-proclaimed ‘Jewni’, and so there has always been an abundance of young Jewish suitors. However, when the pandemic hit, I needed to find other ways of meeting people.

As restrictions have started to ease, the dating scene is gradually opening up again and I’ve begun to find myself back out there. Nearly a year later, and I’ve become an expert on all the dating apps: prompts, photo selection, red-flags to look out for — I’ve perfected it all. A lot of the apps also allow you to select certain preferences such as religion, so I’ve been able to create a filter to find other Jewish boys. Despite this however, it still didn’t bring me any closer to finding my perfect match.

One afternoon I went out for lunch with my booba and zeida. We were waiting for a table outside when they ran into an old friend. We all began chatting and it didn’t take long until their friend and I started playing a game of classic Jewish geography. He started running through his grandchildren in chronological order, until he hesitated on a grandson who he generously described as an “Adonis”. This adjective quickly caught Booba’s attention, who eagerly requested that her friend tell us more about this so-called Greek god. Next thing I knew, he was being sold to me. “He’s a gorgeous, lovely boy” I was told. “You should definitely meet him”.

Of course, with a pitch like this, I couldn’t say no. Within minutes his grandfather had connected us on Facebook and told me to keep an eye out for a message from him. We said goodbye and made our way to lunch and I didn’t think much more about it. When I got home, I had a proper social media stalk of this so-called Adonis and was delightfully surprised to see that not only had he messaged me, but that his description was quite a fitting portrayal.

First dates are usually a bit awkward and the unknown is the scariest part. Yet because of this shared experience (our grandparents shidduching us off) we clicked straight away. There was immediate conversation and it just felt more relaxed as we shared similar family backgrounds.

Although the Adonis didn’t stretch longer than a few dates, I found the overall experience quite enjoyable; especially going back to Booba with post-date updates.

A few weeks later, out for lunch with Booba again, I told her that I was going on a date with a new guy that evening whom I had met on Hinge. I told her his name and her eyes automatically lit up with excitement: “That’s Sandra’s grandson!” she exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it had happened again.

This coincidence had me thinking. Here I am hopelessly scrolling through dating apps, when Booba is so well connected, she’s better than all the dating apps combined. So that’s it! The idea of “Booba date” was born. I suggested that she and her friends compile a list of single eligible grandchildren. They create a “profile”, let’s call it, for each single grandchild — a photo, a short bio with information such as their age, education and job. They pitch our profile to their friends (because honestly, who better to?), and then set us up.

It seems as though her criteria will be hard to match however, and no grandson will get past her easily. “I must know they’re kind”, she told me. “A mensch” chipped in Zeida, and, as Booba admitted cheekily, “I don’t mind good-looking.” I asked how she would describe me, she said: “Gorgeously beautiful, long brown hair, full of life, fun to be around, and the kindest soul… but I wouldn’t go over the top.”

Next comes logistics; a bridge night would be perfect, she told me. All her friends in one place to discuss the all-important topic. Matches will be formed, and then out comes her sparkly notebook and her shiny pink pen. My Booba doing the matchmaking for me instead of some automated algorithm is the best possible outcome I could have imagined. “Let’s get started”, she told me.

For any other boobas reading this, if you think you may have a grandson suitable for me, please get in touch with Booba. She will be handling all of my dating affairs from now on.

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