By Mr. Imperfect
I am happy to see the response that my controversial article (“The Illusion of the Perfect Guy: One young man’s perspective on the shidduch crisis,” April 19) elicited. I would like to address the many letters that came in. First, I would thank all of you for your comments and feedback. The responses to the letters will be addressed in the order they were published in last week’s Letters to the Editor.
Regarding the first letter, I am respectfully apologizing to the young woman who was apparently hurt by the example using her profile. I would like to address her feelings and her statements. To begin with, neither of the two profiles I quoted was identified by any name or website information; they would be recognized only by their authors. I made great efforts to make a real-world example without identifying any person-specific information. Once again, I am sorry that she was hurt in the process, as that was not my intention.
This person’s profile had a list of requirements for her “Mr. Perfect.” I decided to use the entire profile to illustrate what an actual real-world profile looks like, with a laundry list of requirements. This is not to say that the laundry list was not a good list of wants. Generally, men do not like seeing the requirement list they will need to pass to date someone. This is what the men I have talked to like to see when reading a profile: what one is passionate about, what one enjoys doing, what makes one happy, what that person’s hopes are, and then maybe a general type of guy one can see for herself—not just a laundry list of requirements.
The general list of what was being looked for in the profile was reasonable, but a few items on the list are contradictory and maybe hard to find in a real person. I understand that the author of the profile would like someone who is good-looking, understanding, outgoing, who can laugh with you, who is educated and will have—or does have—a job, and who davens. These are reasonable and desirable attributes in a future spouse. The hard requirements are to find a guy who works enough to help support the family while making time for learning. In today’s economic times, a guy may have to work longer hours or have two jobs to help support the needs and wants of the family. My feeling is that ultimately people want someone who cares about them, makes them feel special, lives a Jewish lifestyle, and can help support a family. I don’t think that this is exclusive to people who learn, though. The contradiction would be regarding being sensitive (but not too sensitive, as it was put). It is important to realize that people are people and they make mistakes. There are few who have the perfect level of sensitivity.
To the girl who has a list of requirements for her “Mr. Perfect,” I sincerely hope that you (with the help of Hashem) find him soon, and wish you the best, and thank you for sharing your opinions.
To the person who signed her name “Ms. Representation,” I would like to say that I am not stereotyping any group of girls. My article was directed at those girls for whom it applies. If someone felt as if the article might apply to them, they might consider revising their priorities (for their perfect guy). According to Helene Frishman, the guys are not much better, and I would agree that some men are too picky as well. I can only refer to myself, but I am not looking for a perfect girl, just someone who would make a great life partner.
I would like to address the comments of Baila Sebrow. I think she had a lot of insightful information and I thank her for her thoughtful article. I would first like to address her statement regarding girls being shy around guys because they have not talked to guys throughout high school. It is my opinion that during the process of dating, both men and women need to learn how to communicate. I think that if someone is interested in dating, it is important for people to open up and engage their date. If girls or guys don’t feel comfortable talking to the other gender, they should try to take classes in college that would push them to learn how to engage people (such as public speaking or acting classes). If this is too intimidating for them, I would recommend trying to talk to the opposite gender in class (even if it’s just about the lecture). This will help people get used to talking and engaging people, especially on a date. My opinion is that educators should not restrict their students from talking to the opposite gender as much as they do currently. When educators make the opposite gender appear taboo, it inhibits people from getting close to one another when it matters most.
My goal was not to preach to the choir, but to express some of the ways we need to change, to find that special person and not let them be overlooked. Thank you all for the feedback, your comments, and insightful words. I hope that some of the information shared in this extended dialog will benefit the singles community (including myself). v