“O Honey, Are You Making Any Money? (That’s All I Want to Know) !”
The “schotchonim” ought to have a theme song. They are now announcing their business on the radio. Any evening you may turn on the dial and be assailed with “chugg, chugg, chugg . . . toot toooooot ! The Honeymoon Express is now leaving for Niagara Falls ! You, too, ladies and gentiemen, may one day be among the lucky lovers ! Don’t give up hope ! There is somebody waiting for you somewhere. Let us introduce you to him or her. We have a long list, etc., etc.”
The little verse quoted is suggested as a theme song. Take it or leave it. The story will prove that it fits like a glove.
Among her friends, the writer counts a charming damsel, who has reached the age of the dangerous thirties. (Her mother has long given up hope of marrying her off; maybe a widower with a couple of children-God knows!) She became disgusted finally, being constantly annoyed on the subject by her orthodox parents, and she was not a little depressed and panic stricken herself. So she decided to consult a marriage broker, or a “shotgun,” as she calls him. The writer accompanied her.
A FISHY ODOR
She chose a small place on the East side, where she would be least likely to run into any of her acquaintances, (you can never tell who may be in the same boat with you.) The pair climbed to the second floor of an old tenement house, a little the worse for wear, and smelling of “gefulte” fish. It was an inauspicious beginning for romance.
The door was opened by a young boy who seemed to know by the two embarrassed faces, exactly what was wanted. They were ushered into a stuffy parlor. A small bustling woman entered. She looked over her guests in a business–like manner, and singled the writer as the “prospect.” (Her countenance must have been particularly hopeless at the moment-the smells were getting worse and worse.) She was corrected, but not daunted, she began her questions: Name, age, occupation, where born, where residing, education if any, height, weight, parent’s place of birth, their occupations and so on and so forth–all went into a dirty fat book.
The “prospect” felt stripped to her skin, but the “schotchonteh” reassured her: The investigation was nothing compared to what the men had to go through. The women are more or less on their honor, but the males are submitted to a close scrutiny. Special messengers are sent to their relatives and friends, to make inquiries about them, their financial condition and their character. They do so under the pretext of a desire to go into business with them, or of lending them money.
This was a relief. Came the important question. It amounted to the crux of the situation. Have you any money in the bank and how much? The “prospect” bashfully admitted she practically was a pauper. You could see that this was an awful jolt to the “schotchonteh.” She bucked up though and asked hopefully if her parents could be persuaded to give her a little “present,” as she delicately put it.
MEN ARE PRACTICAL
It seems, she explained, that in B.D. (before the depression) love and looks had a “look in” ; now the men look out for the money. At least, so it is in most cases. You have to be just out of the shell, as it were, and startlingly beautiful to get a busband without hard cash. And when it comes to the professional man (when asked about her preferences as to husbands, the prospect had stipulated that she would prefer a lawyer or a doctor) well,–you might just as well give up before you begin, if you have no “nadin” or dower.
Those fish can only be caught with a heavy golden bait. A teacher, a civil engineer, even a business man is a fair possibility for a poor girl–but a professional man!–he is the “ne plus ultra” in the marriage mart.
The men most sensitive to the blandishments of a professional cupid, it was discovered, are jewelers, furniture dealers and restaurant owners. These poor fellows have no time to make social contacts on their own with the fair sex. Their work keeps them up too late. They avail themselves with relish of the succulent lists of female charmers on the marriage broker’s records.
Teachers are inclined to be a little shy, but are good customers. They are rather naive, and believe in love. They can be persuaded to barter looks for money. Strange animals!
A NEWSPAPERMAN MAYBE?
Well, the long and short of it was, the lady friend found that although love counted quite a bit, she must count her money before she could get what she wanted. If she would change her mind and take a teacher or a civil engineer, or even a newspaper man,–well, then, maybe they could make a “deal.”
At last, negotiations concluded, the “customer” put her signature to a paper on which she promised to pay the “shotgun” one hundred dollars when and if the latter made a capture.
It seemed like a conspiracy. That was not all, however. To make sure that this was to be taken seriously and not as an adventure, she had to pay a ten-spot right then and there, as payment for introduction to future suitors. She received instructions very carefully as to her behavior to the gentleman caller.
“Don’t fall all over him when he comes to see you. Don’t act as if a pair of pants are a treat in your life. Be polite and friendly, that’s all.”
She felt very much uplifted after this; after all, such advice must prove invaluable. She left cheered but a little doubtful. For the prospect has no money and no “present.” And these are hard times. . . .
RABBI GRAFMAN RESIGNS
Rabbi L. Elliott Grafman of Tremont Temple, the Bronx, has resigned his post, effective September 1. Rabbi Grafman is a graduate of the Hebrew Union Colleg and the University of Cincinnati. He has been active in civic and rabbinical circles.