Everyone talks about how difficult girls have it in shidduchim today. But guys don’t have it that much easier. We also experience a lot of rejection. Take me, for example; I am a successful and good-looking 32-year-old guy working in my own business. I earn more money than most professionals my age, and can financially provide very nicely.
My drawback is that I don’t have a college degree, nor did I ever attend college. Girls who are not looking for a learning boy only want to marry a guy who is a professional. They don’t seem to be concerned with the college loans that many newly married couples have to pay. And friends tell me that a bachelor’s degree isn’t good enough for these girls.
I think that people should recognize that guys such as me are out there in large numbers, and we put in much hishtadlus in finding our bashert, but everywhere we turn ends with rejection for us.
The Panelists Respond
There is a strong misconception in the world of shidduchim that only girls face difficult challenges. Many boys, for either similar or different reasons, struggle in finding their bashert.
The situation you are describing is very common today. Years ago, girls who came from Bais Yaakov-type of backgrounds, for the most part, were not permitted to attend college. Schools went out of their way to discourage their students from attaining higher secular education, and parents forbade it as well. The logic behind this prohibition was that these girls, who are so strongly immersed in ruchniyus and dressed the part, would become infiltrated by the modern way of life.
That was a time when higher education meant that students of every gender, race, or religion studied together. In addition, every so often, parents would hear frightening stories of frum girls who either became more modern after attending college, or completely shed frumkeit and married boys who were less frum, or not frum at all.
Society has come a long way since. With the advent of frum professional institutions, higher secular education has become the normal process of a girl’s education. Meaning, after a girl’s post-high-school experience in Israel where she obtains college credits for her Judaic studies, she is then easily guided towards her degree of choice. Most very frum high schools for girls offer a vast array of AP courses as a means to encourage their students to pursue higher education and eventually become a professional in their chosen field.
The professional world today is filled with halachically dressed females whom secular society respects. That, in a nutshell, explains why many girls today do not take meager jobs to help pass the time until they get married.
As is with most up-and-coming advantages in life, unfortunately a dark side may lurk and in your case—shidduch rejection. There are so many incredibly good guys out there who have chosen to go into businesses or vocations in lieu of college. The theory being—and correctly so—that for what they are doing, a college degree is not necessary. However, a percentage of girls who are formally educated do not see it that way. They clearly state verbally, and in their résumé, that they will only date a boy who is college educated. Their belief is that financial security only comes in the form of a college degree. Never mind that there are many professional guys who are unemployed and working pro bono to keep their résumés active. These girls still seek what they assume to be their educational equal.
So where does that leave you and the many outstanding guys in your situation? Believe it or not, in a better position than you can imagine. Despite how it appears, there are a number of amazing girls who share similar notions as you in their matrimonial attitude.
When you speak to a shadchan or a girl you meet, home in on your business dealings with confidence. Describe humorous situations and use anecdotes when talking of serious matters. Impress her with your self-assurance. Do not focus, and do not give anyone else the chance to focus, on your lack of a college education. At 32 years of age, you are a handsome and successful entrepreneur. And that is the way you need to market yourself.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com.
You claim that you are in for rejection by the girls. But how do you know? You produce no evidence. You speak ad lib, from the hip.
To me, it sounds counterintuitive. A frum fellow who is in business, making good money, and looking handsome while doing it . . . is hardly a candidate for rejection. Unless, of course, you have some personality issues that you’re suppressing. But let us put this possibility aside; it is too large a subject to handle within the confines of this discussion.
The other possibility is that you have some pipe dream about who qualifies to suit you. But my reflection and experience tell me that someone who is wildly unrealistic about the requirements a girl needs to meet in order to be deemed appropriate and acceptable viscerally lacks the preparedness to enter into a shidduch situation. It’s like you don’t even understand what it’s all about. You have certain deep-seated inhibitions, and to conceal them you prop up a list of unrealizable and groundless expectations.
So, for example, you claim that girls will reject you because you are not educated in a profession. But what girls are these? Are they your everyday girl? Hardly. Your everyday girl is just as intimidated by the highly educated as you, who fear rejection, are. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, you imagine that the girl who is right for you needs to come from the class of girls who, by their nature and circumstances, are destined for doctors and lawyers. How fanciful!
But these baseless imaginings serve an unconscious purpose: to shield you from the pressure to act affirmatively toward becoming engaged. They serve as excuses, as rationalizations, you can hold up for everyone to see, so that you’ll be absolved from blame. All I can say is, you had better find a way to overcome your inhibitions. But how? You could probably benefit from counseling, because your whole perspective needs to undergo a bottom-up transformation.
Yehuda Koppler has written articles for various publications and is actively involved in shidduchim. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. v
In each installment of the Five Towns Jewish Times Dating Forum, a question pertaining to contemporary dating issues will be addressed by our diverse and experienced forum panelists. Questions and comments can be submitted to email@example.com.