The term “the shidduch market” makes some people think of cattle markets. A more genteel connotation would be the stock market. OK, it’s just as noisy and crowded, but it’s less smelly and all the men are wearing suits and ties.
I never realized how similar it was, though, until I stumbled across the dating page in the Jewish Press again. It holds the same horrifying fascination as car accidents and medieval torture methods, so I read it even though I know I shouldn’t have.
One columnist was saying that we approach marriage in a mercenary fashion not unlike they did in, well, medieval times. Everyone assigns themselves a net value based on the combination of their pedigree, their net worth, their appearance, etc, and then tries to marry someone with a similar to higher net value. This makes splendid sense. After all, who wants to “marry down” (a phrase that shouldn’t really exist in an egalitarian democratic society)?
So I decided to tally up my net value. I figured the equation would look something like this (thanks Eli for the graphic version):
Where f(a) stands for the function representing appearance, f(m) the function representing monetary worth, and f(f) representing the importance of one’s family. Personality style (f(p))will be given as a subscript of the sum, because it isn’t a value so much as a description.
i represents a series that runs from most external to most internal. For example, the first i in the appearance series would be physical appearance, the second i how well they dress in public, the third how well they choose accessories, the fourth how they dress in private, and so on until you reach things like positive self-perception, optimistic attitude, and genuine warmth toward strangers, which add an attractive glow to even the ugliest hags.
The range for f(m) will likewise series through inherited/liquid wealth, invested assets, business value, current incoming salary, projected incoming salary, and life insurance policy (which is about as internal as you can get, I think).
The range for f(f) is from a person’s extended family, eg: are they second cousins to a senator or posek or the owner of Chap a Nosh?; to their immediate relatives, (the offspring of a gadol, a millionaire, or divorced parents); to themselves (ba’al teshuva, ger, different color yarmulke than parents, etc.).
f(p) will just be a number assigned based on a personality test. There are a few personality systems out there, from the FFPI to the Enneagram; our experts are working on which one will best suit the needs of the orthodox community.
When properly summed, a person should end up with a net value ranging from 0x to 100x, which will make it really easy to compare and contrast the value of potential matches. The individual values for Ʃf(a)i and Ʃf(m)i and Ʃf(f)i should also be made available, in case someone is a gold-digger, bloodline snob, or trophy wife/husband seeker.
Along with one’s fat potential, I believe this will become a mainstay of the shidduch resume in the future.