An Endless (Not Bottomless) Market

Every now and then someone in a gaggle of women will kvetch that all the good boys are already taken.

Everyone else in the gaggle will sigh in agreement because none of them have met any single good boys either – if they had, they’d be married. Not that any of them would agree on what constitutes a ‘good boy,’ but they all know that there aren’t any.

Then, a month or so later, the kvetcher has morphed: she’s now an NEF. No good boys, huh? You don’t even have to vocalize it. She’ll sheepishly defend herself without prompting. “I got the last good one,” she’ll say.

Some people take offense at this line. “So what’s she saying,” they’ll huff. “That there’s no hope for me? Gee thanks. With NEFs, who needs enemies?”

But I always saw it as something with encouraging implications. Here is a young lady who had thoroughly worked her way through the season’s line of available men. Her conclusion? It’s hopeless. And yet, just when it seems that the bottom has dropped out of the market, she unearths a decent specimen!

Who knows? There might be another one hidden out there. Keep looking. It’s really more of a flea market than an outlet  store, anyway.  Keep sifting through and you’re bound to find a hidden gem.

17 thoughts on “An Endless (Not Bottomless) Market

  1. No good guys, and what am I, chopped liver?

    In all seriousness, I don’t think girls who say that are being intellectually honest, I think they’re just looking for empathy. Or maybe they just want to take the blame off themselves, how many of those girls can honestly say they’ve given every guy they dated a fair chance?

    I have a theory about guys. If you take any group of guys, I think you can divide them into three categories: Jerks, followers (drawing a blank on the word I’m thinking of) and the real good guys. You know who the jerks are, they are a relatively small group, about 5%, and they’re usually the first to get married. The followers are by far the largest group, probably about 80%, and they enable the jerks. Either they’re afraid of the jerks, or they look up to them, either way they will not do anything to upset the jerks. The followers are the second to get married, b/c they pretty much do what they’re told and they probably seem like good guys and many will even become decent guys at some point, even if they’re not good, they’re too average to seem bad on a date. The good guys are the remaining 15%, there are all types of good guys, some of them do get married pretty fast, but a lot don’t b/c they’re looking for a good girl. I’m not saying that anyone who gets married early, is marrying a jerk or a follower, but chances are…. It’s not so bad to marry a follower, chances are most girls are the same way and if a good girl marries a follower, she can turn him into a decent guy (it’s unlikely that they can turn one into a good guy, b/c to be a good guy you have to have a backbone). So if you’ve been dating for a while, chances are you’re going to start dating better guys. If you’re thinking that I’m completely crazy, you may be right, but look around at any frum community. You have a handful of “community leaders” (admit it, they’re mostly jerks), a whole bunch of people who worship the ground these people walk on and a group of people who have little to do with the “community leaders” but who actually do lots of good for the community and are also somewhat respected in the community (although you won’t find many people kissing up to them like they do to the jerks).

  2. Bad4, I really sympathize here! It’s “funny” actually — I posted about the lack of gentlemen nowdays. Seriously, where are the good guys??

    BJG, that’s an interesting theory. Jerks (and rude gals) often do get married early on, but I don’t buy the “nice guys finish last” theory. If I found a guy who was nice, frum, attractive, passionate, and intelligent, I’d probably marry him right away.

  3. I don’t think all the good boys are already taken, considering that I know a bunch who are not yet married (and if I can be allowed a smidgen of arrogance, I’ll include myself). Girls who say this are either a)exagerating or b) speaking the truth from the very narrow range of acceptable guys – I am very willing to bet that a number of really good guys are written off before they are ever even given a first date. Hence the experience of girls’ dating is automatically limited, and the guys they thought were great, may very well end up being jerks.

    Just because a guy isn’t absolutely outstanding in every single quality, but he may have a particular emphasis that makes him worthwhile. Take learning for example: he may prefer regular chesed activities over daily chevrusas, or say he’s a Tanach genius but doesn’t learn as much Gemara – for many girls, that makes him untouchable because he’s not typical. Despite the fact that he may be seriously devoted to halacha, have proper hashkafas, and have a good head on his shoulders – but because he doesn’t fit a typical mold, he’d rejected. I think that girls may need to consider these things more carefully and then the “invisible” good guys will magically appear before their eyes.

  4. As an occasional commenter here who is also newly engaged I have to agree.

    When I danced in my younger brother’s wedding 2 months ago I sure didn’t imagine I would get engaged so quickly. I was pretty much in the ‘all good guys are taken’ camp, with a vague idea that some rather decent leftovers might be unearthed if I pray and persist.

    Sometimes we need neither a new strategy nor a new haircut – just a bit more faith will do. And yes, I am pretty sure I would smile cynically if told this in my pre-engaged days. But it’s true all the same. It’s not that all the good guys are taken, it’s just that G-d is the judge of when it’s best for you to receive your own good guy.

  5. SG: I don’t think nice guys finish last, but nice guys are not going to marry a girl who is not nice so they may have to date longer. Also not all good guys are attractive so you’re complicating things 😛

  6. I use thoughts like these as my inspiration when one of my friends gets engaged. If SHE was complaining with me three weeks ago, and she is now happily engaged, there is hope that it can happen that quickly for me, too. Yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayin totally holds true in shidduchim.

  7. I found this very enlightening and when i read our post it brought this to mind, so allow me to share;


    Here is the dating paradox: Why are all the good guys already taken? Why are my friends’ husbands all such wonderful people, and the guys I meet all seem to be missing something?


    It’s not that the good guys are taken–it is that a “taken” guy is more desirable. Loving and being loved brings out the best in us. So a guy in a relationship does have something that the available guys are missing–someone to love.

    A painting will always look better once it is framed and hung on the wall. A couch is far more attractive in a home than in a showroom. And people are more beautiful when they have found love. The human soul is only truly itself when it has opened up to someone else.

    When we love someone, we are more alive. Our feelings are more vivid, our sensitivity is heightened and our personalities flourish. When we are loved by someone, we feel more confident and free, content and complete.

    We can share love with our family and friends, but until we find our soulmate we are only half a person. It is when man and woman come together that they are the image of G-d, they are complete.

    You can’t go furniture shopping in someone else’s living room. And you can’t compare the guys you date to your friends’ husbands. A complete person doesn’t need you. A half seeking their missing half does.

    Feel your halfness, and recognize the halfness in another. Then you’ll find there are plenty of wonderful guys out there. One is waiting for you. Without you, he’s only half the guy he could be.


  8. Most of the good guys really are taken. They were taken long before proving themselves by women willing to take greater risk and willing to mold unfinished product. Women who wait for a finished, proven product find none left.

    That is the taboo that dare not be voiced in the frum community.

  9. I think Israel Frac hit a certain nail on the head with their comment.

    The younger the guy is the more you’re dating them for their potential not their accomplishments.

    As boys get older the differences in quality start showing more.

    I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard girls end things with guys because of where he was in life. Fast forward two years and many of those guys were above and beyond the requirements of that the girls had.

  10. But we have raised a generation of daughters who purchase shabbat meals from caterer rather than start cooking Wednesday. The Chofetz Chayim was not the Chofetz Chayim when he married at 16. This lesson is completely lost on our daughters, and it is we who are to blame.

  11. Oddly enough, when I was in the pool, a large fraction of my class/friends/machzor did not get married right away, and we were indeed all “good boys.” I didn’t like hearing the line of “all the good boys are taken” then, and I don’t believe it now.

    No theory is complete, but here’s my corner of one:
    1) Just b/c you’re in a shadchan’s rolodex doesn’t mean that you are a “good” anything. Your parents think the world of you and told the shadchan all the nice things. It is only later, on dates, that the potential other discovers things that are less “good.” (No, I don’t mean that all singles who deal with shadchans are sub-par, but rather there is little to no weeding out of “not so good” – thus lowering the proportion of “good” ones to date.)
    2) And dare I say it, but individual taste matters (Gasp!). To one girl, a fine young man, proud of his learning and his new job comes off as arrogant but to another he is self-confident. Another’s humor sounds crass to one but funny to another. Grounded and normal may be seen as boring, and caring and interested may come across as nosy and emptyheaded. I know this from my own (and from my wife’s) experiences. She dated some of my friends, “good guys” all, and didn’t click for one reason or another (some reasons are in the list above). Could she say honestly “There are no good guys left”? No! Those she met just didn’t work for her.

  12. Guys and gals seriously seeking a mate first ought work on improving their looks their appearence ,their manners and their personality traits then feel free to opinionate and criticize

    Physical good looks,pleasant personality and proper manners hit the opposite sex with the same beautiful bang or brutal blow! You hear angels sing or you ‘see stars’ when
    you go out on a date.

    Look at yourself in your mirror.
    Listen to your ideas when articulating them.
    Then decide whether you would choose to spend your lifetime with yourself!

    We must constantly work on improving ourselves.

    Yes…work seriously on improving yourself no matter how terrific you are. No one of us is the greatest.. No one of us can be THE GREATEST

    Working and improving on ourselves can IYH help make it more so.

    Think about it …. and let the bullets fly where they may.

  13. @ Israel FRAC – I don’t agree with you. One is not supposed to marry a boy (or girl) with the hopes of them changing. You have to reallllllly like the person as is; any growth/change after marriage is just icing on the cake. If he is ‘unpolished’ in a girl’s eyes, either they aren’t a match or it isn’t the right time for the match to happen.

  14. Is there an absolute good guy?
    If you’re looking for a full time learner, is a man who knows shas by heart, a big ba’al chessed, and works and learns in their spare time a “good guy”. Or if you’re looking for a worker is a learner a GG.

    Quiet is good, but you want a guy with spunk. You don’t want a wimp so a m’vater is not a good guy.

    What’s good for her is not good for you.

    Think about Bad4, she’s not in the mold of her classmates and seminary mates. But she’s looking for a mate from the same shidduch pool. Either the person will have the same demographic and be a little bit “off” or she’ll switch pools. But from her (your) description of Bad4 one would expect the shidduch process to be lengthened.

    I experienced this with a number of my friends who were the blackest hats one could think of internally . However, on the outside they did not look the part of any particular “type”. So it took them a little longer to marry. They all got terrific girls who also did not fit the mold.

    The problem is that in the process there was a lot of hurt as people told them they were unsuitable for various really dumb reasons, and held their being single against them.

    The process angers me on so many levels because I feel it is a relatively recent creation in this society and those who created the system don’t understand it and don’t pay the consequences for their advice and guidance.

    This is not the mythical European shtetl, the dating pool is not full of people who are without hope, resources, expectations, and either a real of imagined sense of entitlement.

    All of them are educated beyond the pre-war Europeans. All of them know that they can survive on their own economically. All of them have options for their life so they (the women) don’t have to settle. So they’re more picky. The guys know that it’s a “man’s world” so they’re more picky. And, we all live in a competitive society so we know that we only want the “best” mate.

    As Herb Simon pointed out (Nobel in Economics) it is more efficient to satisfice than to optimize. Young folks today want to optimize. So we have a lot of unhappy people.

    Bad4 you’re getting more bitter in your posts. You are proud of your differences, work, and attainments. That makes you stand out. You’re not one of the Women in Black at the Weddings so you’ll either have to be lucky and the next guy will be the right one or it’ll take a little longer.

    I’m still on your side.

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