I always take very good care of my appearance, even when I am just running to the store on a rainy day. I am a fashionable, trendy dresser and everyone considers me beautiful.
The “shidduch crisis” is not the problem I am facing, as I am a 21-year-old girl and still get plenty of dates. The problem is that every time I get close to an engagement, I back out. I am scared that after I get married and the guy sees me wearing glasses and without makeup, he will be repelled.
My close friend recently got divorced because her husband always wanted her to look good. He even made her sleep in a sheitel because he hated how her real hair looks!
My parents think I am crazy; they say I look beautiful all the time. My friends say, “We should all have your problems.” But I am really scared. How can I be sure that the guy I marry will still like me when he sees what I really look like?
By Baila Sebrow
The first thought popping into the heads of most people reading your query will be that your concerns are frivolous. And it can easily appear that way. Girls who are not getting dates might even take offense. They can say what your friends do—that everyone should have such problems.
But your need to consistently look as though you are being judged at a pageant, and worrying that it might backfire on you the day after you are married, is a serious problem indeed. You are experiencing a situation that is holding you back from marriage. That is your very own “shidduch crisis.”
Is it not enough that girls go to extremes to place themselves at the top of the list for boys? Do they also have to worry about being found out as not being the beauty queen they pretended to be? Girls who start out seeking a shidduch are so terrified of rejection that they seek unconventional ways to make themselves most marketable. They may go from buying clothes that are above their budget to starving themselves to be thin. However, it is less common for the fear to extend as far as yours.
I do not know if your fears about your future husband seeing you without makeup came about as a result of your friend’s divorce, or if you had always felt that way. If the onset of those fears came after her sad experience, be aware that you may not be privy to the full details of her marriage. I am willing to bet that there is plenty about the relationship your friend had with her ex-husband that you know nothing about.
I am not discounting your friend’s version regarding the breakup of her marriage, but just know there are apt to be various pieces that she left out. This is not to say that husbands who expect to find a “Barbie doll” lookalike waiting at home for them every evening do not exist. There are all sorts of stories circulating about men with unrealistic expectations regarding their wives’ physical appearance. How much of that might be truth or exaggeration no one can say for sure.
However, I am happy to say that typically husbands do not divorce their wives because they are not all dressed up for them 24/7. The complaints I do hear from young husbands is that they are not happy to find the person they are married to no longer showing interest in cleanliness and grooming. If a husband sees his wife wearing the same unclean robe day in and day out, then I understand how that could cause disruption in shalombayis. It also points toward a lack of self-respect and is probably indicative of a more serious problem.
From the way you depict yourself, it does not seem likely that you will make a drastic negative turnaround in that area. However, it is natural to relax a bit, as you do now when home with your parents. And there is no reason why you or any wife should not feel comfortable doing so when home with your husband. However, your fears of a negative reaction in that situation are holding you back from marriage.
You should never have to worry that your husband will one day see you with glasses and no makeup. A healthy, normal man who marries for the right reasons will not go running away from his marriage because of it. Please believe that.
The tabloids frequently feature actresses and models caught on camera when running quick errands. Oftentimes they are even cuter in their more-natural look, although there may be some who are barely recognizable (and not very attractive) without their “war paint.” But their male companions or spouses see them that way too, and still stand by them. They do not walk out on these women for appearing as they do in those candid shots!
When I am in the position of mentoring a girl whose relationship with a guy appears to be getting serious, I usually advise her to start being more herself rather than someone she is not. Oftentimes, it is aspects in her personality that I am most concerned about. If there is a certain element about her that might bring out something in the guy that he might not be able to handle, then it is best to know that before an engagement takes place.
My advice to you is the same. I cannot take away that fear you have of the guy feeling turned off when he sees you after marriage as you truly are. Therefore, my recommendation is that the next time your relationship with a guy is getting serious to the point where an engagement is in the air, relax your external glamour a bit.
Before you panic, understand that I am not recommending that you wear a ratty outfit to disturb him. What I am suggesting is for you to tone down the trendiness a bit so that you can observe the guy’s reaction or hear his feedback. Then, if all goes well, take it a step further, and break your self-imposed rules by wearing glasses. And if he is still not turned off, you can really “go for broke” and try wearing little or no makeup on that next date.
Do you know what I predict as the outcome of that experiment? The guy who is so taken by you that he wants to marry you will barely notice any change. If he does notice any difference, it will not turn him off one bit. He might even appreciate you more.
And if perchance it does upset him, then you will know that he is not the guy you want as your husband and the future father of your children. It is a win-win on all accounts. In the final analysis, it is always the profound qualities of the husband and wife that facilitate the endurance of a marriage.
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. v
Questions and comments can be submitted to email@example.com.