Visual Incentive

The post below reminded me of the last time I was asked for a photograph. I don’t really have a picture of me. At least, not an official one. There are pictures of me at my birthday party, or presenting a research poster, wearing a Purim costume, and climbing a tree, but that’s not really the sort of thing I imagine you send along to prospective dates, as illuminating as they might be.

My cousin’s mother-in-law has taken into her head to marry me off. So, having located a single young man who sounded vaguely right, she contacted my mother with the stats and asked for a picture. My mother forwarded me the email (in which the guy sounded just like everyone else) and asked if I could reply with a photo. I sent the profile photo that serves as my avatar on WordPress. I happen to like it. Others give me mixed reviews. My cousin’s MiL was just bemused.

At the next family get-together, her son accosted me and asked about the photograph. “Why didn’t you send a real picture?” he asked.

“I did,” I replied. “It’s very real. It took me a half-hour to take, also. It’s very difficult to get a photo like that.” (Though, granted, it was taken to illustrate an article entitled “Bad Hair Day.”)

“You should send a nice photo, like how you look now,” he said, throwing in a compliment as incentive. “Men need a little visual persuasion, you know.”

“I don’t have a photograph,” I said.

“You should take one,” he pressed.

I said I’d think about it. I guess it was one of his friends. No rush.

When I mentioned this to NEF #11, she told me that when her BFF’s mother asked for a photo, she sent one of her with a snake around her neck. (Am I giving away her ID here? How many people have pictures of themselves with snakes around their necks? Hazard of the friendship, I guess.) They went out, he proposed, she accepted, and I began to wonder if the off-beat photo might not be a bad idea.

Then, one day, as she logged into Facebook with him peering over her shoulder, he exclaimed, “Hey, awesome picture!”

“You’ve seen it already, haven’t you?”

“No, why would I?”

So, young single women, don’t walk off with the lesson that snakes charm men. Chances are the photo won’t get past the shadchan.

13 thoughts on “Visual Incentive

  1. Agreed. The shadchan (or mother) is usually infinitely more interested in how the girl looks than the guy is. Provided the girl is not hideous, which most aren’t guys generally don’t care. Yes, I am aware there are many people who operate as exceptions to this, but I believe the basic tenet is true.

  2. ditto to frum cynic.
    but i still never send pictures… why should i? so the mother can judge me and decide if im right for her son? and i definitely dont need boys looking at my pic to decide if they want to go out with me or not.
    anyone who will only consider me if they have a picture, isnt for me.

  3. I’m confused again – so if the pic isn’t for the guy anyway, and he may not even know that the request is being made, and he may not even ever get to see the thing…yet it is still going to be held against him and cause a reaction of “well anybody who asks isn’t for me anyway”?

  4. See, and I’m like, you vant info – here’s info, you vant pictcha, here’s pictcha. Take it all…

    But, it’s definitely invasive and disconcerting.

    That’s just part and parcel of *dum dah dum* THE PARSHAH.

  5. I still haven’t figured out the two sides of this issue from the last discussion. Perhaps you’re writing from a NY perspective, but personally I would be *much* more intruiged and interested in a “candid camera” shot of the prospective Shidduch climbing a tree than a posed formal picture (or Heaven forfend – a yearbook picture!). And just for the record – my sister (who’s probably reading this) has a picture with a snake around her neck. (I only dared wrap it around my arm).

  6. Snake + female = Original Sin. I did a whole paper in college based on the Canterbury Tales that the secret worry of the medieval man is that their woman will team up with a foreigner (the metaphorical snake) and betray him.
    Not a good way to start a date. “I will betray you!”

  7. well i learned in greek and roman history that archeologists found a statue(s) of a woman with a snake wrapped around her and historians say it means that women had dominance in that era and political standings. so don’t only think britney spears… lol

  8. Bad4, on the subject of pictures of prospective dates, I think you (and your readers) will appreciate the following from my Parshas Vayeitzei archives:

    A young yeshiva student was once in the house of the Tchebiner Rav. The Rav began to tell the young man about a certain girl whom the Rav believed would make a good match for him. At one point, while discussing the girl’s family and her numerous strengths, the boy asked if it would be possible to see a picture of the girl before rendering a final decision about meeting her. Overhearing the conversation from the kitchen, the Tchebiner Rebbetzin demonstrated her quick mind and remarkably sharp wit in rebuking the boy for his suggestion by calling out, “לא יעשה כן במקומנו לתת הצעירה לפני הבכירה!”
    Literally, Lavan was defending his actions in switching his daughters under the chuppah against Yaakov’s accusation of deceit by maintaining that the local custom was that the younger daughter may only get married after her older sister has been married off. However, saying the verse with the Rebbetzin’s native Polish pronunciation (which is critical to the punch line), it can be reinterpreted to mean, “Our custom is that we don’t give a picture (the Hebrew word for picture, צורה, was pronounced by her the same as the word צעירה, referring to the younger daughter) before you meet the girl (the word for a young girl, בחורה, is pronounced similarly to the word בכירה, which refers to the older daughter)!”

  9. Pingback: Objectification of Me « Bad for Shidduchim

  10. Pingback: Hide Your Shidduch Profiles in Shame « Bad for Shidduchim

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