I am a single young woman involved in the dating world of the Orthodox Jewish community. I accept dates through setups from friends as well as through shadchanim and Jewish dating sites. Imagine my shock upon reading the article “The Illusion of the Perfect Guy” on the cover of last week’s 5TJT and seeing that some information taken verbatim from my profile on one of said dating sites was used to highlight a point—that women are too picky. To see my profile in your paper, presented in a negative way, was not only shocking and offensive, but was also a violation of my privacy and dignity.
Beyond irresponsible journalistic practices, the use of my profile in this article shows a lack of derech eretz both on the part of the author and your paper. Though I do not consider my requirements for a husband unreasonable, I also would not imagine that they would be subjected to public scrutiny and ridicule. If my standards offend “Mr. Imperfect,” I would suggest he click to the next profile and find someone whose requirements he feels to be more realistic than someone looking for a bright, kind, sensitive person with a good sense of humor and Torah values.
He finds fault with my profile in that I did not explicitly state my preference for someone honest, trustworthy, and who will love me. In my opinion and the opinion of my single friends, both male and female, these positive midos are intrinsically valued and are implied without specification. Unfortunately, the limitations of a dating site are such that we must all reduce our personalities and preferences to a few brief sentences. I would hope that before someone saw fit to pass judgment and make public assumptions, he would attempt to understand that there is a person behind the profile.
I am sorry that “Mr. Imperfect” has so far met with difficulty finding his partner, but that is an experience shared by all of us singles. You won’t find her by allowing other singles to bear the brunt of your frustration. Employing the compassion and honesty you claim to hold so high will serve you better in the future.
Not Your Scapegoat
Well, this is awkward. Being a proud female, the natural reactions I felt when reading Mr. Imperfect’s op-ed were “ouch” and “oy,” respectively. I will address my remarks to him.
The “ouch” was in response to what shows you have clearly and understandably been burned on one too many occasion to avoid stereotyping an entire gender. While I won’t speak for the girls you have dated, I personally take responsibility for my own inexactness in relationships, and so does the vast majority of my extended group of friends. We are growing, mature, intelligent, spiritually connected women who value our individual, unique qualities. We all have something wonderful to bring to the table. When we consider a date, we are flexible and open-minded with the lifestyles of the men we are suggested. Learning, earning, both . . . it all depends on where and who he is as a person.
So why is it that you assume we all act the same shallow way, as you lump every individual female into an amorphous blob of surface-level girls you have dated?
It seems like you must have had some seriously uncomfortable dating experiences. That’s a huge bummer. Like all other people in the dating trenches, you have my unwavering soul support and respect for not punching a hole in the wall, but I have to ask: Are you sure that you’re giving yourself enough responsibility here?
This is where the “oy” comes in.
You mention that you consider yourself a great catch, and therefore a whole lot of girls would be lucky to date a guy like you. How many wives are you looking to find, Mr. Imperfect?
I know it must be tough to receive a sea of well-meaning suggestions and feel overwhelmed about the myriad choice, top-quality girls who are all very close to what you are looking for (are they?), but you only need to be enough for one girl. Just one.
You don’t need to “be” any kind of guy for your zivug rishon; you just need to be your best self.
Although I am not as seasoned as you appear to be, as I’m only at the ripe age of 23, I think it would be wise for you to expand yourself as well as your horizons. It strikes me as ironic that you are all too unsatisfied with dates that are bereft of depth, yet when you described yourself in your writing, you made heavy mention of the surface-level things you have accomplished. Are you looking for something deeper, or aren’t you?
I have a close friend who holds of a theory that we tend to date those who are on our emotional level; meaning, if you consistently don’t like what you’re seeing on your dates, it means it’s time to step it up. Of course, that would entail looking inward, utilizing every challenge (especially in dating) to refine your character and middot, and exerting a grand effort to better yourself. I know it seems daunting, but I think you may find it extremely gratifying.
The bittersweet aspect of dating has been shockingly overwhelming. As much as I dislike everything about dating the wrong guys until meeting the right one, I have found that every single person I’ve dated has provided a profound stepping-stone for my growth as a person and eved HaShem. Without proper self-awareness I wouldn’t be serving G‑d as I am now, and I believe I owe this catapulted growth to the sheer, in-your-face pain of dating. Whether it’s a one-and-done, or an I-like-you-so-much-but-I-don’t-want-to-marry-you situation, I have found a wellspring of opportunity to improve not only myself, but the quality of guy I end up dating afterward. Simple things, like asking myself why it didn’t work out, thinking about why he was thought of for me if he wasn’t what I was looking for, or noticing a pattern in the things that I dislike yet continue running into, all make for subtle, important personal changes, all in a positive direction.
I hope you find your soul mate soon. Until then, I think utilizing the stage of dating as a venue for unbelievable growth and positivity can take you very far. You owe it to yourself and your future marriage.
This is something we can all implement and benefit from.
The Guys Aren’t
To “Mr. Imperfect”: I read your article and I totally agree with you. The girls nowadays probably wouldn’t know the “perfect” shidduch if it fell on them. I am not talking about all girls, but there definitely are girls out there who do not know what they want. The other problem I have encountered with the girls is that they must get approval not from their parents but from their friends. If the friends don’t like him, then it is off.
Nobody is perfect; everyone has their own “stuff” they bring to the table. Look at the good qualities. On the other hand, there is also the other side of the coin. As a shadchan, I can tell you firsthand that the guys aren’t that much better. Again, this does not mean all guys, but a good number of them also do not know what they want. The priority list starts off with a gorgeous model-type girl size 2; she must be smart, have a good job, and will pamper him to the fullest as well as take care of the house and kids.
From personal experience from my kids and singles I have dealt with, some of the guys out there need a lesson in midos. My daughter had a date whom she met in the city, since both she and the boy were working there. She got into his car—and that was the end of the date. She wasn’t good-looking enough for him, so he just did not speak for the entire night. Is that right? Obviously not! So as far as you blaming the shidduch crisis on the girls alone, maybe you should look at the boys’ end as well.
I think it is time for all the singles to take a lesson from generations past. When I was going out in the ’60s–’70s, the entire mindset was different. If the boy or girl was nice, with good midos, you gave it a try. None of this “What does the mother wear when she goes shopping?” or any other stupid questions that come up. Just look at the person, not outwardly but inwardly. You will be surprised how many great singles are out there if you just give it a try.
Hatzlachah to all those looking for their bashert. May Hashem grant you the z’chus of finding that right person, sooner than later.
The article regarding the shidduch crisis was spot on. As someone who is dating and doing some shidduchim, I can sympathize with the author. Girls are very picky about the smallest things—height, family, background, etc. Meet the guy and see what he’s like. That’s not to say girls are the only problem. Guys are picky about those things as well. If people stopped looking for the “perfect match,” we would probably have many more simchos in K’lal Yisrael.
The Real Shidduch Crisis
“Mr. Imperfect” writes about the problems he and his friends have with finding women willing to settle and marry a fellow who is not perfect. While I agree with him that nobody is perfect, isn’t it a tad early for 25-year-old Mr. Imperfect to press the panic bar? That people are 25 (or 24, as in the case in last week’s Dating Forum) and still single is not only not a crisis, but for those in the centrist-Orthodox camp it might even be a good thing. The true “shidduch crisis” is that many in their late teens and early twenties in the Orthodox community are obsessed with at least being engaged to be married before they are graduated from college. Maybe it’s good that women are now taking a step back, making sure that they are mature enough to get married, and being confident they are marrying the right person. Although some young adults are ready to tie the knot today, I find it hard to believe that all college-age women and men are mature enough to wed now.
Gabriel Alan Metzger
Below is an essay written by my granddaughter, a student of HALB. After the recent events in our country, it is more than uplifting.
What the American Flag Means to Me
By Sarah Meira Weissman
Of course, when I look at the American flag, I think of the original 13 colonies, and the 50 states we established, but I try to seek a deeper meaning in the simple piece of cloth hanging on a wooden stick.
Seeing the red stripes reminds me of how grateful I need to be to everyone who helps protect this country. The red depicts the bravery of those who fought, and the myriad of people whose blood was spilled while doing so. We must be so appreciative to these people who risk their lives trying to protect ours.
The freedom of our country is shown in white. As a religious Jew, I’ve heard countless stories of other Jews who have been tortured if they practice their religion. I feel so lucky to live in America, a country that lets me practice my religion freely. Without fear, I can go to a Jewish school, a synagogue, and keep kosher, many things which Jews in other countries must hide to be able to do.
Seeing the American flag comforts people, whether it’s a Holocaust survivor who can now practice Judaism, or an innocent person heading to court, knowing that their case will be handled with justice. The flag brings motivation to soldiers on the battlefield in times of suffering. It unites the people, and represents a safe place for all to live in.
It is flown when we are proud. It is flown when we are mourning. It is flown when we come together as one nation, with many people from divergent locations, cultures, religions, and races. After the horrible terror attack on the Twin Towers, Americans, no matter what race or religion, raised their flag high in the air. We were united: one people.
Now, when I salute the American flag and call America my home, I will try to think of the millions of people who wish it were their home too. I am so thankful to be living in a free, safe country, indivisible with liberty and justice for all!
Bennett Is Misaligned
In my opinion, it was very poor judgment having Naftali Bennett featured as part of the community-wide Yom HaAtzmaut celebration.
Regardless of one’s opinion towards the drafting of yeshiva boys, his aligning himself with Yair Lapid, a rabid chareidi-hater, is inexcusable. Unfortunately, this political union will cause much harm to the Orthodox/chareidi community in Israel. Mr. Bennett should not be honored by our community, but rather chastised.