Wednesday, July 28, 2004

WORD "FRUM" BAFFLES CASUAL SEX SEEKERS ON CRAIGSLIST

Yes, I know there are about a million things wrong with that headline. But as it turns out, apparently frum people need casual sex, too. At least in New York. This is excerpted from Anna Schneider-Mayerson's article in the NY Observer.  For the complete article, click here and scroll down to the second story, titled "Hot! Sex! Live! Frum!" Visitors trolling for casual sex on Craigslist.org last week were left scratching their heads over an unfamiliar reference that has surfaced in a flurry of recent postings. To the posters’ disappointment, frum (pronounced "froom") is not shorthand for a kinky new posture or adventurous attitude. It’s a Yiddish word that technically means "religiously observant," but for all intents and purposes is used by men and women who identify themselves as Orthodox Jews. Jeff, an events planner who grew up Catholic in the Midwest, said he kept seeing requests from frum men and women seeking frum sexual partners. "The only thing that was in my mind was fru-strated, m-arried … ? I had no clue what it was," he said. "I didn’t realize it was an Orthodox Jewish person. From what I understand, they’re supposed to put a sheet between them when they have sex." It turns out that the deeply religious have sexual tastes as mundane as the rest of us. "Single frum guy for single frum girl for fun!" wrote one 24-year-old. "Married, frum guy looking for a frum girl (married or unmarried) for some NSA [no strings attached] fun. We can have good time ‘learning’ together," a 31-year-old posted. "Frum married guy looking for frum guy to explore," wrote another, continuing: "I am a frum married 28 yr old guy … during the summer my wife will be upstate and I am looking to explore having sex with a man … please be frum." There's more to the story, so check it out on the Observer's website, link above. My comments? It shouldn't surprise you to know that I have a few. I wonder how long it's going to be until this article catches the attention of a group of rabbis who contact these people offering not sexual exploration, but an opportunity for repentance. It also may point to a need in the frum community (a term that is far-reaching and includes many subgroups of different observance levels, I understand) for something similar to the Amish rite of rumspringen, in which teenagers leave their home environment to experience the world-at-large (now being explored in a UPN reality show, where we discover the answer to the age-old question, Are the Amish Hot?). In some modern Orthodox communities, after yeshiva upbringings, a teenager will go to a secular college, and encounter the "outside world" there, with challenges to their observance of kashrut and Shabbat, among other things. It can be a bit of a culture shock, and so many yeshiva grads opt for years in Israel or for an education in safer environments (YU/Stern, JTS, or even Columbia/Barnard or Brandeis) but I think it's often important for individual growth to realize you're part of a minority, and that your view is actually quite separate and different from the consensus of what is appropriate, or right, or accepted. Maybe the whole frum experience of living apart, unquestioningly, in a modern world is too much for some people to handle. The ad looking for a frum guy to engage in sexual exploration with another frum man indicates that they know they're living in a culture that doesn't approve of their sexual identity, but that they still feel a need to explore who they are, within the safety of the company of someone else who will fully understand their conflict. The popularity of the outstanding documentary Trembling Before G-d seems to indicate that there's a real need in the religious community to explore sexuality, and ways to be more inclusive of people who are different and who still want to live Jewish lives. The issue of sexuality--casual and committed, homo- and hetero-, pre-marital and even extra-marital (Newsweek ran an extensive cover story about how women are the new face of marital infidelity)--is one that we continue to struggle with in our own lives, and for the religious among us, it's sometimes even more layered with difficulty, as these Craigslist ads reveal. [Esther steps off soapbox.]

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who can verify that they are realy Frum. maybe they are pranksters tryining to give frum people a bad name

Caryn said...

very interesting topic

Frum Chat said...

Craigslist should publish a FAQ on it.