The Liberating Ring


I don’t make it a practice to play the part of the paparazzi, but I did once find myself at a black tie affair with the mission to get a photograph of a notable. Said notable was in the midst of an adoring crowd, and the only way to get a shot would be to clamber up on a chair and take an aerial.

I looked around at the tuxedos and evening wear and said, “Uh uh. No way.” It just wasn’t the time or place. My companion and friend misunderstood the cause of my hesitation and snatched the camera out of my hand. “I’ll do it,” she said. “I’ve got the ring already.”

Once, I naively thought that Touro students dress up because they have full-time jobs during the day and need to look presentable. Then I began noticing how differently they appear after engagement.

One friend got engaged and suddenly she was, well, dressing down a bit. Not very much, but she began wearing long skirts – nice ones, of course, but still unusual – and being less fussy about her hair. Then another friend – one who blew her hair every morning, rain, shine, and no matter her mood – began wearing ponytails! Then I caught the first friend running out to do errands in… (sit down folks) denim. I had thought she swore that material off after seminary, but hey, you think you know someone and then they get engaged.

Of course, this interesting trend reverses itself temporarily after marriage. No woman ever dresses better than she does a few weeks after her wedding.

The chart below is based on an entirely scientific study of the amount of care orthodox females put into their appearance. As you can see, it remains fairly steady during the shidduch dating period, takes a bit of a tumble during engagement, but spikes shortly after the chupah, before slowly subsiding again to pre-dating levels.

Shidduch and dressing up


22 thoughts on “The Liberating Ring

  1. Your scientific study is hilarious! I have to admit, most of my friends relaxed a bit when it came to their appearance post-wedding. However, I am actually thinner and my hair looks better than it did when I got married, if I do say so myself. See, one thing not mentioned in this peice is how men ALSO let the appearance go a bit. My husband is a bit .. um…chubbier since we got married, no doubt due to my Shabbas baking. =) But, he has given up on the 5am trips to the gym, because (though he would never say it) why bother? He has a lovely life, he’s comfortable and well fed! Meanwhile, I feel better than ever (no doubt to running around PREPARING the Shabbas baking). haa haa!

  2. My husband got chubbier after marriage. He barely eats during the day now (one bowl of cereal, maybe six rice cakes for lunch and a very small dinner_–as part of his diet–and even does a sit ups and push ups every evening–but nothing comes off. He thinks its because he sits all day–at work and then in Yeshiva. I love him no matter what, but he’s frustrated.

  3. Well, since the commentators are bringing up the after-marriage phase… Though I can’t say for sure about dressiness, I have noticed a trend: Ten years after marriage, the ladies may look slightly more mature but basically the same as they did when they got married: Sheitel looks pretty much like their hair, makeup- check, weight varies but most are about the same. The menfolk, on the other hand, whose wedding pictures could pass for bar mitzva pictures, have grown paunchy at best, have gone gray, and exchanged a good portion of scalp hair for chin hair. Furthermore, the women invariably have learned a great deal of new skills, be it in childrearing, hobbies, or profession, while some hubbies are still doing approximately the same thing all along.

    Maybe I should conduct one of those studies someday…

  4. Seriously. Unittelligent, unmotivated AND they depreciate at a higher rate, it’s a wonder anybody would see the value in this marriage thing from the woman’s point of view.

  5. Hrm… my level of dressiness on an average weekday probably does not quite make it to that level. I’m a little more casual here in Australia (denim skirts most days and even on, shock horror, a date or two. Daytime ones obviously.). I’ll have to amp it up for my trip to America next year I suppose. Or if I maintain the ‘casual but nice’ standard it probably wouldn’t affect your average too much 😛

  6. Anonymous –

    The problem with your husband is that he isn’t eating often enough and when he is eating, he’s eating the absolutely the worst things for maintaining a low percent body fat level. Have him stay away from cereal, juice, bread, pasta, and any other gound grain product or simple sugar. Concurrently, have him eat cottage cheese, plain yogurt, raw nuts & seeds, fresh fruit and vegtables throughout the day and he’ll lose weight. One of my Rabbeim had a similar problem and asked me, an ex-personal trainer & university strength coach, to solve his weight problem. I told him to eat six small meals a day of the same structure I just mentioned. My Rav did this and he lost ten pounds quite easily.

  7. Hmm. See, because I don’t operate in The System, I don’t care who sees me wearing what, so I wear long skirts (even the occasional long denim skirt!) and ponytails and loafers and whatever else suits my fancy and falls within the bounds of tzniut. I don’t look sloppy, but I don’t dress as if it’s Shabbos every day.

  8. The problem with your husband is that he isn’t eating often enough and when he is eating, he’s eating the absolutely the worst things for maintaining a low percent body fat level. Have him stay away from cereal, juice, bread, pasta, and any other gound grain product or simple sugar. Concurrently, have him eat cottage cheese, plain yogurt, raw nuts & seeds, fresh fruit and vegtables throughout the day and he’ll lose weight.

    I assume she doesn’t want to kill him. 🙂

  9. While I tend to dress casually and comfortably, I can understand why some girls feel they should dress up a lil when they go out in public. However, I don’t understand why these girls wont dress casually when its NOT public. For example, I went on an ALL girls birthright last January, when we went hiking, even though the girls had no choice but to wear sneakers, they still wore tights, black skirts, and MAKE-UP!!!
    do they really think shadchanim roam Ein Gedi?? seriously, did the picture a random lady approaching them and offering to set them up with a boy she knows?

    Btw…Awesome post !!!

  10. guess what? I dressed like a garbage heap before having a guy and I still pretty much do. he likes me to be presentable (read jean as opposed to rags) so i respect that and make sure not to embarrass him in public. every so often (try a coupla times a month) I try to look decent and for special occasions i can compete with the best of them but why bother otherwise? my other pursuits are far too time-consuming to be bothered about what other people consider to be dressy or otherwise. it seems that as much as you all claim to push the envelope, when push comes to shove, you are just not bummy enough! 🙂

  11. My husband has only lost weight since marriage…although he says it’s because he no longer goes out to eat so often, and not an insult to my cooking.

  12. Every so often there’s the exceptional case, who is not into her looks at all and never really gets the hang of the whole fashion thing. Those sort of young women usually start looking much fancier when they get engaged.

    One person I know was famous for her trademark frizzy bun. Come engagement, and the frizzy bun was gone.

    But yeah, that’s the exception. The chart is hilarious.

    I have another friend who I saw at a wedding shortly after she got engaged. She was in a pony-tail at the wedding, and even made some comment like, “I love that now that I’m engaged I can do this sort of thing.”

  13. scraps – spot on. way out of the system here but as you say, don’t need to look sloppy.

    not that am a fan of long skirts – but what makes them ‘less dressy’ or too casual (if it’s not denim etc)?

  14. Haha! Love the poll!

    Re: Fat hubbies- Not all men let themselves go after marriage. This one is still rockin hard 😛 Although now I don’t feel too bad about losing my hair prematurely.

  15. In case you are secretly breathing a sigh of relief that after marriage all the “dress” nonesense will stop, it only does so for as long as your children are not in the shidduch parsha. And then it starts again, because, of course, how the mother looks impinges on whether a person is suitable for a shidduch or not. They don’t even try that with the men–there the criterion is are they making enough money to support another mouth if needed. I believe that when you become a babi the craziness finally ends.

  16. lol. I was actually going to blog about this- I noticed that three of my engaged friends have started wearing ponytails to school, and dress much more casual than they had even a month ago.

  17. Pingback: The Price of Being Marriageable « Bad for Shidduchim

  18. But shouldn’t a person be dressing up more *after* she gets engaged? I mean, she’s finally found the love of her life.

  19. Pingback: Friday Repost: Analysis of the Dressing Habits of the Orthodox Jewish Female of Marriageable Age | Bad for Shidduchim

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