Miss Special, Meet Mr. Best

My brother was complaining about the huge amount of special girls out there. He says he gets a small amount of information about each proposed match, and too much space is wasted on how special she is. “They’re all special! There are too many special girls and too many best bochurim.”

At first, I wasn’t sure why he cared about the best bochur business. Then I realized. Being a best bochur himself, he resents the flooding of the market and the dilution of the name.

Not that being a “best bochur” should be such a big deal. One Shobbos in Israel I ate with an entire yeshiva. Yep, all four students. It can’t be too hard to be the best bochur in that place. In fact, they can even rotate it, depending on who’s dating that week. “Best” is a very relative term. Who cares?

And what’s with this ‘special’ business? It’s gotten to the point where you’re most conspicuous if you’re not special. And I’m afraid I’m not. If anyone has ever called me “special” they need their head checked. I assume that “special” is a way of saying “aidel” without saying it. Or else it’s a way of saying “there’s more to her than meets the eye.”Which is another way of saying, “she looks incredibly boring and ordinary, but since you won’t go out with an ordinary and boring person, let me assure you that she’s really got something more to her. Just don’t ask me what.”

“Special” sounds slightly vaguer than “sparkling.” Someone once tried to set me up with a fellow who, in his long list of must-haves in a mate, included “a sparkling personality.” My personality doesn’t sparkle, glitter, twinkle, or coruscate. It just plods on steadily, day after day, except when it decides to sleep late and then you don’t want to meet me. I can count on exactly one finger the number of definite sparklers I know. She was engaged a few months out of high school, broke the engagement, and was engaged again a few months later. Which should let you know how in-demand those sparkling personalities are. Shucks for the rest of us.

(By Mr. I-Want-a-Sparkler’s list, he seemed to require a butterfly who would flutter solicitously around his flame and “help him achieve his full potential.” Aside from having a husband who has achieved his full potential, I couldn’t see what was in it for me, so I said no thank you. He is now happily married and I am still happily single. Life works out very well if you give it a chance.)

Back to my point, if I had one: does anyone know what “special” actually means? And does “best bochur” have any meaning at all?

17 thoughts on “Miss Special, Meet Mr. Best

  1. Ugh. I hate guys who say they need a wife to “achieve their full potential.” That’s just hogwash thrown at them by teachers who don’t realize how stupid 22 year old guys sound saying it. An older man can look back on his life and realize what a help a wife was to him. A young man cannot look to the future and predict what he needs. Plus, what about a wife’s potential? It’s not all about him, ya know.

  2. Special = there’s no way to sum up a person using vital stats, yet that is what I have tried to do; therefore I reassure you with the word “special” to let you know that she is indeed an individual, not just a conglomeration of the schools and camps she attended and the job she is “going for”.

    That would be my guess, anyway.

  3. I actually went to a singles event and the speaker was saying that “special” and “best” are completely meaningless. He made the exact same point as you did in that the words are overused.
    He actually discouraged any form of referencing until about the 3rd or 4th date, just so if anyone gives over any information that may make the other party seem “not special” or not “the best” we could atleast decide AFTER we already know him.
    He was right, afterall some traits that we’ll learn about through referencing may prevent us from meeting at all, because they’ll seem absolutely awful, and we wont agree on a date. But if we meet first, these same traits which would turn us off to begin with may just seem like personality quirks, which really wouldn’t bother us.

  4. it surprises and astounds me that someone being “special” would be anything other than the kiss of death to a shidduch in our conformity obsessed world. Being special means by default that one is not normal, and isn’t it bad in the shidduch system not to be normal?

    but be comforted that this is most certainly not a strictly jewish complaint, actualy its quite the problem in the secular world as well. Everyone has to be special, g-d forbid they should be percisely normal.

    but no, I’m not sure that it usualy means much of anything anymore.

    and marriagenewbie, I’m not so sure that it is true that a bochur cannot look forward and acknowledge that he needs help, but that the sense of a his asserting that his best potential is to sit all day and learn while his wife does his job in addition to hers is quite offputting. That isn’t the kind of “help” the torah meant. (in case he doesn’t know, the world is sustained by children who learn torah, not by kolleleit, at least according to the shulchan aruch and talmud anyway.)

  5. how does that song go? “I’m speeeecial, so speeeecial…”

    I guess any such platitude depends on the one saying it. If my closest friend would tell me that a really special guy ate at her table, and she wants to set me up with him, then maybe i’d believe her. But if some lady at a random simcha tells me she bumped into this really special fellow and she thinks he’s a great match for me… well, thanks for thinking of me, but drop the special.
    I’d imagine the same goes for the guys in relation to the girls…

  6. he’ll decide if you’re special when he meets u.
    untill then remember what special means nowadays…think abee rottenberg
    not too great

  7. Well you do need to “sell” the boy/girl..but I agree that people overdo it. I once gave information about one of my friends and when I hung up the phone I realized that I made her sound way better than she really is.. she had many issues but I just raved about her as if she didn’t..I’m not saying that I would give negative information but this mother came away thinking that if she doesn’t snatch her, she’ll be losing out on something out of the world while in reality she is a very tough person to deal with. It’s hard though cuz if you don’t rave, then why should they want her..it’s a tough world.

  8. I think “special” and “best” both have essentially the same meaning, the only difference being gender application. When one describes a girl as “special” the implication is that she has something no other girl has=extraordinary=best-you-can-wish for=don’t miss your chance.
    “Best” is a much simpler term and its implication is too direct and unrealistic, so I don’t think it’s used too often by the experienced salesperson. Labels such as “top guy”, “very choshuv”, “moyredike bal-kishron”, etc. are more common.

  9. To be special is to be different, to be singled out in a positive way. But when everything and everyone is referred to as “special” then nothing and no one really is that way. Instead, “special” is now “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  10. Special means that the girl has a unique blend of attributes all wrapped into one that would usually be the following:
    frum, sincere
    sweet/kind–perhaps extra giving
    smart in all things academic
    intelligent in secular matters (maybe that’s just when it comes to the “special” girls I am talking about)
    very pretty

    I do use it sparingly, but I do use it when I feel it is warranted.

    Best is a word I never use nor hope to hear. It is a stupid word. No one is the best and very few are superior in the learning world. Best is just plain dumb. I will say that my cousin is “the real deal” in Lakewood. A “top Bachur, but unassumingly so.”

  11. LOL wen i hear special i think of how it used to be used like ppl who need “special ed” or “special” as in developementally disabled…but thats me…

    Thank g-d im looking for a working boy…i find there is much less b.s. as with the learning guys- although it is still very hard and all that

  12. If it’s a technical definition you’re looking for, I understand “special” to mean exceptional in any way. Exceptional as in, deviating from the norm, for better or for worse.

    There’s always going to be a buzzword — once the rest of the world realizes how meaningless and cliche “special” has become, it’ll be something else. If anyone tries to pass one of these phrases to me, the first reaction is, “Why?” If they’re like, “Um… why?!” then you can write it off as a meaningless superlative. If they have an answer, replace “special” with the real deal.

    – Bas

  13. Pingback: Friday Repost: On Being Special | Bad for Shidduchim

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