Single Due to Demographic Genetics

Back in my younger days, I once came across a dating profile where the guy put “slim” first on his list of “looking for.” It was also underlined. I immediately threw it out. In the high-minded idealism of youth I disdained such blatant shallowness, such unabashed superficiality, such emphasis on the thin cosmetic veneer of our physical interface with the world.

Also, I was fairly certain I wasn’t pretty enough for someone like that.

Back in said youth, it was rare to come across a profile where physical traits were mentioned, let alone emphasized. Yes, we all know why people ask for pictures. And sure, I heard about guys who added an addendum for the shadchan detailing their preferences. Oh the Shabbos afternoons, comforting the girls who accidentally saw the “for the shadchan only” entry on a SYAS profile! “He wants a buxom wife, only he didn’t say it quite so nicely,” or “He requested ‘plump and proud.’ Seriously?! I’m not proud—I’m on a diet!”  But none of these were purposely stated to the female party herself.

Recently, as I date older and older guys, I’ve noticed a shift. Now I get profiles where “Looking for” begins with the usual “Kind, caring, sweet, nurturing” but then moves on to “petite blond with blue eyes, who I can carry across the threshold of our first apartment. Giggling a must.”

Actually, the last profile I got skipped the “kind, caring, sweet, nurturing” and went straight to “pretty, well-dressed, outgoing, shorter than me.”

Far from offensive, I find these profiles to be a relief. Usually I give anyone who sounds reasonable a fair shot. But thanks to these profiles, I now know that I don’t have a fair shot. We can debate how sweet I am, but factually I am not blond, not petite, not outgoing, and I have never in my life giggled.

So I quickly return an email to the would-be matchmaker explaining that while I am shorter than the  5’6” gentleman, I haven’t got a single pair of dress shoes with heels less than 2” high. Thanks for thinking of me, but I guess not this time.

People will protest that I’m aiding and abetting in a  typical older-single tactic: eliminating options rather than being open  to them. “If everything else is right, he won’t mind that you have bouncy hair instead of swingy hair.” After all, everyone’s hair looks the same after the wedding anyway. You can get a blond sheitel, blue contacts, wear ballet flats, and learn to giggle. If everything else is right.

First off, it’s unlikely that everything else will be right. And you’ll never be given a chance to find out if you don’t pass the Looks Test.

And let’s not downgrade the importance of that test!

Maybe the guy really has issues with brunettes. They just look so much smarter and more bookish than blonds. Have you ever seen a blond librarian? And what color is the hair of all the evil women in the movies? Hm? Dark, maybe?  And let’s not start with redheads. Oy vey. Since when is red a Jewish hair color? It’s downright prust. And it smacks of intermarriage. Where do you think Dovid Hamelech got his hair color from? I bet you it wasn’t the Jewish side of the family.

Maybe curly hair horrifies him. Why can’t it just go straight? Pick a direction and go with it! None of this zigging and zagging like a target dodging potshots. There’s something inherently dishonest about curly hair. Have you ever seen a truly aidel maidel with kinky locks? Do you know what“kinky” is a synonym for? Q.E.D.

Brown eyes are boring. Grey are depressing. Green are weird. And hazel eyes? What the heck are hazel eyes anyway? That’s just another way of saying you’ve never been decisive about your eye color. If you can’t decide something as simple as that, how are you ever going to choose a baby name?  Stick with blue: it’s heavenly. It’s pure. It’s good and right and true. And you get a little dizzy gazing into blue eyes. That’s a good thing.

Or maybe none of the above apply. Maybe these guys just aren’t attracted to anyone they can’t keep in the china cabinet. It’s a handicap, and you should pity them not judge them. You think they want to be single? It’s not easy being so limited!

Anyhow, the way I figure it, if a guy puts that requirement in black and white on his profile, he wants the girl to see it and he wants her to self-eliminate. He’s being kind, saving everyone a lot of wasted time and money getting together, having a pleasant time, and then racking their brains to come up with a plausible reason to break up so they can get back to blissfully date-free Sundays.

Or maybe I’m just looking for ways to eliminate options rather than be open to them.  Am I getting to be one of those older singles?  Maybe, under “Looking for” on my profile I should put “Six-foot tall, broad-shouldered man with commanding but gentle personality, a uniform, and a secret second job as a spy.” It will help drive away the riffraff. And then I can enjoy those blissful, date-free Sundays.

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10 thoughts on “Single Due to Demographic Genetics

  1. When folks ask me what I’m looking for, I just say “a girl”. If pressed, I’ll usually go into what hashkafic qualities are important to me. I think its silly to box yourself in with physical attributes. Sure, every guy has preferences, (mine being brown hair and brown eyes,) but it really doesn’t matter in the long run, and I’m just as likely to be attracted to a redhead or blond with perhaps a few extra pounds. Every person needs to be judged as a whole. Looks are important, but only so far as attraction. Its just part of the package, and the part that’s most likely to fade quickest too. As it happens, the last two girls I went out with I knew nothing about their looks until the date actually began (and surprisingly they were both my ideal look). Perhaps its because I’m a younger dater! And guys naturally become more picky as they get older?

  2. I don’t necessarily find the men being more ridiculously shallow; there’s usually the “pretty” tacked in somewhere between “middos” and “outgoing” (everyone thinks they want “outgoing,” whatever that means). I think I came across only one who had a specific age and height range. Oh-ho-ho, and want to bet MONEY who he’s going to end up with (sotto voce: not what he says he wants).

    Especially when they reach a “certain” age, and they decide to have a Hollywood meltdown, and simply seek a girl 20 years their junior. That seems to be the only criteria.

  3. Do you really think it’s just the guys?

    I can’t tell you how many times I have girls who insist on “handsome”, “athletic build”, “broad”, a narrow spectrum of acceptable careers, a 3″ acceptable height range, or a minimum of 10 inches (I kid you not!) taller.

  4. Who ARE these people?

    When I was younger than I am now, I dated a man exactly my height (I’m called “the shorter end of normal”, and I’m female) who was at least 60 pounds heavier than me and didn’t have a handsome face. I dated him because I thought he had character. It ended when his lack of character came out.

    When I decided to find someone new, I decided that they had to be attractive to me, because while character is difficult to judge looks are easy to judge, but none of this “X inches taller, Y color eyes” stuff.

  5. I LOL’d at the “hazel eyes” line. It’s so true — I’ve been hoping for years that mine would finally pick a color and stop changing shades! Of course, one’s now mostly green and the other mainly brown…you just can’t win :)
    (How’s that for a first-ever comment?)

  6. Not bad, as first comments go. I have hazel eyes myself, which is another way of saying I’m not really sure what color they are…

    Nope, I can’t recall ever giggling…

  7. It’s your post, so I know you get first dibs. But if you find a second gentleman who meets your last paragraph’s description, please feel free to send him my way.

  8. There’s something kinda creepy to me about people (and I’ve heard this from both men and women) saying they have a (physical) ‘type’. Really? Like, if the woman looked exactly the same but dyed her hair from blonde to brown you wouldn’t be attracted to her anymore? Besides making me wonder what is going on there subconsciously- how do your preferences even get that specific? Have they really never found anyone attractive who didn’t have hair color x/eye color y?

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