Diminishing Returns on Change

I found this in my drafts folder. I apologize if it’s already been posted. 

Far be it from me to believe that I’m perfect, or that every single single person out there is perfect yet unappreciated, like an artist before his era. Hey, we’re only human.

But the world abounds with people who look at us and immediately realize what the problem is. The range can be from “you’re too picky” to “your table manners stink,” but in every case the speaker is dismayingly certain. My favorite is when people presume to know how I behave on dates. (“You need to talk more,” “you need to ask more questions,” “you need to be yourself,” “you need to restrain your humor until he knows you better,” and so on.)

But sometimes the criticism is leveled at something personal or lifestyle-related. And that’s where it gets disturbing. I don’t mind criticism on my character, because it can always use input. But don’t you dare try to take my hobbies from me in the name of marriage!

That’s why I find this list by the Curious Jew disturbing. Let’s just take an example:

“You’re too well read.”

So, in theory, if she gave up reading, she would be married?

And what would she do then? Could she start reading again, or would that lead to divorce?

For that matter, if she very much enjoys reading, are you seriously telling her to abandon a great joy of her existence based on the theory that marriage will replace it?

If you take any item on the list and reverse it, it’s almost an immediate reductio ad absurdum argument.

“You need to smile more.”

“So you’re saying I could have married any of the guys I dated if I’d have smiled at them more?”

“Well no but what I mean is that…”

Yes, do tell.

(Then there are the alte newlyweds who suddenly perceive why it took them so long to get married. “I didn’t really want to get married.” “So you could have been happily married already to one of the guys you previously went out with? Yes? So where does your current husband fall in the spectrum of men you could have married: is he near the top or the bottom?”)

Look folks, I have no objection to hearing theories on why I’m not married yet. But first say them aloud to yourself and try to phrase it so that you don’t sound so silly.

7 thoughts on “Diminishing Returns on Change

  1. As my grandfather would say, “The mole mis gein” — the mouth has to move. It’s moving, and gibberish is pouring out. Like the same people who insist that a slab of red meat every day does wonders for the heart.

  2. I never understand what you mean when you say you “found this in my drafts folder”. Does your drafts folder have thousands of documents and you occasionally go through them and find stuff? Or do you have only a few things but it takes an hour to open each file so you never do?? What is the meaning of this “found this in my drafts folder”???

  3. If I write something, but want to check it before posting, I save it as a draft. Or if I write something and get interrupted in middle, WordPress saves it as a draft. Sometimes it saves drafts of things I think weren’t interrupted or didn’t plan to save. And sometimes I forget about a draft and rewrite the entire post from scratch. So, every now and again I go through the Drafts folders to clean it out.

  4. Aha, but then it’s pretty frequent so wouldn’t you know if you posted it within the past month or so? I mean it takes 12 seconds to go back and see the last month of posts, no?

  5. Agreed with Princess Lea that a lot of what is said probably is nonsense from people talking for the sake of talking.
    But the ‘alte newlyweds’ do have a unique perspective here. When they share their personal revelation perhaps what they mean is that G-d sent them the right person at the right time, and that if they would have met this person earlier in life it quite possibly wouldn’t have worked out b/c they had whatever issue it was. And/or that finally working out this issue caused them to change their dating strategy and that led to a successful relationship and marriage.

    I’m not quite sure why a person in that situation stating their feelings/insights bothers you, anyway – they’re not talking about *you*. I feel like lately this blog has taken a turn for the “LOL married people what do they know” which I find…odd, to say the least.

  6. Probably 30 seconds. But I only check the drafts folder every six months or so. It’s like a junk drawer – why would you go in there if you didn’t have Pesach cleaning to do?

  7. Sounds like a good idea to me . . .

    (BTW: Yesterday my sister calls me and starts to tell me this big secret – she found this amazing WordPress blog called Bad For Shidduchim, and the person who writes it is SO FUNNY. . . yep, sis, I know, both DH and I have been reading this site off and on for years. (And then she asked if we’d met thru your site. Nope, but it would’ve been hilarious if we had.) Just thought I’d say . . .)

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