I think the “What I’m Looking For” section of a profile is more telling than the “About Me.”
Continued from previous post reviewing ‘How to Create the Perfect Wife’ by Wendy Moore: Designer Bride I
If you know what kind of life you want, and you know what kind of spouse it will take to make it happen, why shouldn’t you insist on exactly what you need? Such hubris led our hero Thomas Day to attempt to create the woman he could not find. He adopted a 12-year-old orphan and raised her himself, inculcating her with his doctrines.
Sadly, it did not work.
At the age of 14 she rebelled against the heavy burden of housework he put on her. Also, she wasn’t enjoying being pricked by pins and shot at with a pistol to develop her stoicism. It seems that even meek, grateful orphans have their limits. So he banished her to boarding school.
Lesson 1: You can’t force people to fit your mold.
Day went back to dating women of his social class who were out of his league. One had to be dumped because she was too attached to her earrings. Another returned his proposal-by-contract with a point-by-point rebuttal, saying things like “Equality is essential for a happy marriage,” and “I couldn’t imagine being subservient to a husband in all things.” Yet a third suggested that she’d marry him if he became socially presentable, like by brushing his hair and wearing clothes that fit and weren’t rumpled. (Lesson 2: The most deficient are the most demanding.)
In despair, he went back to his orphan, who was finished school. He gave her strict orders on exactly how to dress for his proposal. But something small was off (record doesn’t say what, but friends agree it was a trifle), and he banished her forever, furious at her disobedience.
Lesson 3: You can’t demand perfection in your spouse. They’re only human.
Unbelievably, lesson 4 is that every pot, no matter how dented and warped, has a lid. There was a woman who wanted to marry Mr. Day. And she did. It was a rocky marriage though, between Thomas Day and Esther Milnes. A marriage full of his tests and trials. A marriage full of verbal spats. A marriage from which Esther stormed off at least twice, moving out of the cottage in the woods and in with her mother-in-law. See lessons 1 & 3.
Which brings us to lesson 5: If you’re pretty sure that the reason you’re single is all the fault of the opposite sex, the fault is probably in you.
Continued in next post: Designer Bride III
I just finished a great book called How to Create the Perfect Wife. It’s a non-fictional account of Thomas Day, a Georgian-era gentleman, and his attempt to, well, create for himself the perfect wife.
Thomas Day knew exactly the sort of life he wanted to lead. He wanted to retire from the shallow, frivolous contemporary society and live in a small cottage in the woods. He would spend his day reading philosophy, writing poetry, dispensing charity, and trying to make the world a better place. And he knew exactly the sort of woman he needed as a life partner.
She had to be smart and educated in all the same interests as he, but not so ambitious as to write her own novels or poems. She had to have simple tastes and spurn the frippery of the times. She’d wear her hair loose and unstyled. Her neckline would be high, her sleeves long. She would not own earrings or, preferably, any jewelry. She would be strong and capable, willing to endure his difficult life of privation and philanthropy. She would not engage in trivial pursuits like music and dancing, and she must have plump white arms.
Crazy, isn’t it? I mean, what kind of guy dictates the way his wife does her hair or what she does her spare time? Oh wait…
I once met a guy whose first criteria for a potential date was “doesn’t have Facebook.” His second was “will only cover her hair with a scarf or hat.” It only got more detailed from there. Another guy had a list of acceptable college degrees for his wife-to-be. I asked what he’d think if I found him the right girl, but she came with her own list, like how many times a week he has to learn, and maybe something against the way he asks random girls like me to call him by his nickname. His response was that if their lists didn’t match, clearly they weren’t meant for each other.
This is how many of us date. We have a dating pool of perhaps a few hundred candidates, but we still reel off detailed criteria down to how many years he should want to learn and what he can do bein hazmanim. And heaven forbid he should show up in a pink tie.
But if you know what kind of life you want, and you know what kind of spouse it will take to make it happen, why shouldn’t you insist on exactly what you need? Such hubris led our hero Thomas Day to attempt to create the woman he could not find.
HT to the Kansasian
HT to O:
I had a teacher who said her mother-in-law picked her out on the F train. But how awkward is a train car where everyone is sizing each other up and Czeching each other out?
Why worry now when you can worry a decade ago?
This story from A Contributor:
Ten-year-old lad successfully negotiates pet as a Chanukah present. But type of pet is up for debate.
The dog gets a double parental veto.
the python gets a single-parent veto.
Vetoer is the Mother. Mother unconditionally refuses to drop live mice into a tank, so son unconditionally promises that he will do all the feeding all the time always no matter what really I promise promise promise pleeeeaaaase?
He gets an okay.
The chatty salesman then recommends that the kid pick out a handsome one, cuz pythons can live 30 years, so he’s gonna be sharing his room with it for a very long time.
At which boy furrows his brown and says, I quote:
“What will this mean when I start dating? I’m going to have to find a girl who isn’t scared of snakes because the snake will still be alive. She will have to be willing to live with a snake. Will there be girls who want to date me if I have a snake?”
This one is so short I can’t in good conscience make you follow the link. But this was a real live exchange on a date. Well, I’m told. I wasn’t actually there. But my friend-in-law was.
He: “So, do you like animals?”
She: “Only ones that are small enough for me to run over with my car without damaging it.”
I started on a shidduch reading list many years ago:
And now I’m going to add another two books to the list.
This past Shabbos I finished Seven Blessings by Ruchama King. This one is an astonisher. Written by a frum woman about frum women, the characters are actually real people you could potentially meet on the street. This may be why it was not published by Artscroll or Feldheim. Pick it up at your local library. Or support a good religious writer and buy it instead.
The second book I literally couldn’t put down. I read it in one straight sitting, finishing in the wee hours and tottering off to bed. Data: A Love Story presents a paradigm shift for the serial dater. Sick of bad dates with lousy guys, Amy Webb sits down to crunch the numbers and find her husband the 21st-century way: via algorithm.
She then proceeds to prove that you don’t have to date everyone every suggested to you “just in case.” Oh, and that wisdom about how you shouldn’t make a list? Throw it out. You need a list.
Naturally, her parents freak out. She’s being too picky. She’s being too hard. She may be letting someone great pass her by. But she perseveres and, wouldn’t you believe: finds a guy who matches her list! Who likes her! Who proposes!
So you see, it can be done if you do it the right way. So excuse me now. I’m off to compile my List.
Just jumping on the “epic fail” video trend. Thanks to BB for this compilation:
You’re told that you’re perfect for a guy, and then you’re given a list of qualifications you need, none of which describe you.
Woman in Black (WiB): I have a boy – I think he’d be perfect for Bad4!
Good4: Great! What’s he like?
WiB: He’s smart and funny.
Good4: That’s just what she needs. How old?
Good4: That’s in her range.
WiB: Perfect! Ask her if she’d be interested in a snorkel equipment manufacturer.
Good4: Sure, I’ll find out tonight.
WiB: The family is very well connected, if you know what I mean. She can dress well, right? And be very social with strangers?
Good4: We-ell, yes…
WiB: Polite and diplomatic?
WiB: Charming, outgoing?
Good4: So… why did you think this was perfect for Bad4?
Sometimes the moral is obvious. Sometimes, not so obvious. But always, when it is not happening to you, highly entertaining.
Bad dates get all the fame. They’re the most fun to retell, and hamming them up is the best way to compensate for having experienced them. But good dates happen too. Even amazing dates. So today I’m going to focus on really good dates.
Obviously, the best dates are the ones where the company is joy. However, since “He was just an amazing guy” is not much to talk about (especially when he’s the one who got away), I’m going to focus on the more shallow features of a date.
In Search of
Urban scavenger hunt – fun! Also something I’d always wanted to try. The experience was somewhat marred by the fact that I had to call it quits early for fear of losing my toes (it was cold out) and the fact that I kept finding the landmarks before him. (In one case: “Do you think it refers to the mosaic map that you’re standing on?” “Oh. Cool! How’d you see that?”) To his credit, he wasn’t the faintest bit perturbed by my scavenging skills (I shall forever respect him for that), and nor did he hesitate to head indoors when I conveyed the distress signal from my furthest digits.
This might have qualified as a bad date if it had happened a few years earlier. But I got such a kick out of it that it makes the bottom of this list.
A very nice OOT gentleman, unfamiliar with local mating rituals, took me out to a Boro Park ice-cream store that shall remain nameless. The very friendly man behind the counter saw two single people of opposite gender visible, together, in public, and jumped to the logical conclusion.
“Mazal tov! When did you become engaged?”
“Um… We’re not…”
“Well, maybe soon anyway. Do you want to sample something?”
Meanwhile, in the front of the store, Good4’s friends watched, snickered, and texted her.
“I hear you had a good time on your date,” she greeted me when I got home.
I’ve only been on two dates to high-end restaurants. The company was fine in one and offensive in another, but the presentation was always fantastic. When your food looks like a piece of elegant sculpture, and eating it becomes an exercise in artistic deconstruction, you can forget that the guy opposite you just corrected your grammar or checked his watch. You’re too busy trying to figure out if the green stick thingy is garnish or food or both, and if it’s not edible, how can you move it out of your way without using your fingers?
When I came home from one of these dates, my father met me in the kitchen. “So, how was it?” he asked. “So beautifully turned out,” I gushed. “Elegant but thoughtful, well arranged, and delicious too!”
“Delicious?” his eyebrows quizzled. “Are we talking about the same thing here?”
“Oh, you want to know about the guy? I’m thrilled that I’ll never have to see him again. But the food! Wow!”
On a small boat plowing its way through the waves. Wind in my hair. Dolphins leaping alongside us. Everything is wonderful when you have wind in your hair and dolphins nearby. Well, everything except your hair. I was truly horrified when I caught a glance in a mirror afterwards.
Sea Meets Sand
My favorite habitat is in bed under a down blanket surrounded by books and a laptop. But after that, I’d be happy in anything sufficiently wet. (Yes, sometimes I go splashing in rainstorms.) So a date that includes wading in the surf searching for fossils was just up my creek. (Pun intended.)
Play a Little
It was late and dark. The weather was that invigorating Autumn crispiness that makes you want to run through fallen leaves and yellowing grassy hills for sheer joy of existence. Except there weren’t any, because we were in the urban jungle surrounded by monochromatic metal flora.
So instead we went to a playground and ran over the play structures, sliding down poles, slinging ourselves onto slides, and finally, panting, flinging ourselves into the swings, where we chatted for another hour until I couldn’t conceal my shivering any more.
After a recent date, I mentioned that a guy had really impressed me, and the parents asked why.
“Well, he planned the date. Really thoroughly. And he led. I was able to just sit back and relax and let him take care of everything.”
The parents exchanged glances. Back in their day, this would have been expected. But since an inordinate quantity of my dates ask me where we’re going, take me to museums that are closed, or even forget what time the date was called for (yes, I’ve been texted by a guy asking when he was supposed to show up), this seemingly nominal showing of competence was a Big Deal.
I frequently promise myself that the next guy who asks me where we’re going when I’m already in his car is going to be taking me to Orchidea or some other super-expensive Boro Park restaurant. But so far I haven’t be able to muster the nastiness to actually do it.
But here’s a fond recollection of some of those earlier disappointments.
Consider that in the 1930s the marriage rate was higher and the divorce rate lower.
On that fact, I present to you (courtesy of DualMoniker), Love Advice from the 30s.
I had a weird dating experience.
The dude requested a photo, and, as usual, I didn’t provide one until I got one.
The photo I got was of a fellow who looked a lot like an accountant. Thin, glasses, many lines rippling out from his huge, endearingly dorky smile.
So when I opened the door to my date, I wasn’t entirely sure who was standing there. I stared for slightly longer than is normal. Could this possibly be the same guy? If he gained weight, trimmed his hair different, took off the glasses… No way. It still couldn’t be.
After the date with Date Guy, I immediately fired up my laptop to compare him to Photo Guy. No resemblance to my forensically untrained eye. Was it possible that someone could change their appearance so drastically in a few years?
I emailed the shadchan, just in case she’d maybe mixed up the photos in her files. But she insisted that she’d forwarded the exact photo that Guy had sent her.
Naturally, I began wondering. Maybe Photo Guy hadn’t felt well, so he’d sent Date Guy in his place? Maybe Date Guy felt self-conscious about his appearance and preferred to use Photo Guy’s photo? Maybe they were twins, and didn’t realize how unidentical they were? Maybe Photo Guy had undergone an extreme makeover and become Date Guy? I had to discard the last one. I mean, they must give you an “After” photo for those things.
I let it slide because I didn’t go out with Date Guy (or Photo Guy) again, so, whatever, you know? But then he showed up as a SYAS suggestion. Photo Guy, I mean. With Date Guy’s biography in his profile. I stared at it again, trying to find some resemblance between Photo Guy and Date Guy. I might as well have had prosopagnosia.
So I did some cyberstalking. Of Date Guy. And although I found out that Spokeo thinks he is somewhat (a lot) older than his profile claims, I couldn’t find any picture of him that wasn’t Photo Guy.
Okay. So Photo Guy and Date Guy are one and the same. How old is the photo?
I’ve got photos of me that are five years old. I look pretty much the same. Even ten years ago, I was thinner, but basically me. Heck, we once had one of those baby-photo-on-a-paper-bag-over-your-head thingies at school, and the teacher didn’t even have to think about mine. I haven’t changed much since I was three, I guess. Just grew more hair.
Even so, I don’t use the five-year-old photo for shidduchim any more. Even though my face is more or less the same, I don’t have the same look. And by “look” I mean the combination of accessories, styles, and physical appearance that most immediately catches people’s eyes.
How often do you replace your photo? Is there a recommended replacement period, like every five years or 100,000 miles as recommended by your Dealership?
If there isn’t, can we create one?
Is no place sacred? I mean, is there any place on earth that you will not be approached by someone asking “what are you looking for?”
Match.com posted this in honor of Halloween, but everyone benefits from hearing that someone else has worse dates.
Thanks O Former Citymate of mine.
Here’s a post for the folks in the Northeast who are sitting at home watching the rain whip their windows.
You know, one thing I’ve missed since high school graduation is snow days. Somehow, when you work, you’re expected to be there no matter what. Now y’all have a rain day and I’m jealous.
Anyway, for those of you who are getting bored sitting around watching trees fall down, or sump-pumping out your basement, here’s an article about politics and dating. (For those of you without electricity, this is not for you. Go play Settlers or something.)
Apparently, some people think that members of the opposite party are so inherently different, it’s like they’re another specie. No inbreeding, please. Seems a little extreme to me. I recall one election where my parents came home and compared poll choices and were horrified.
“You voted for her? What were you thinking?”
“Are you kidding? I can’t believe you voted for him.”
They both stared, shook their heads, and then thanked the good Lord that they’d canceled out the other’s vote.
They’re still married.
HT to O
According to Pizza Hut, just having a bite of their new pizza will get you engaged.
HT to O.
Chuck Schumer, it turns out, is a very successful shadchan. One notably thing about this article is how many of the names of the couples sound Jewish.
Can we get him more involved in the greater frum Jewish community?
Thanks, Relarela (or should I call you NEF #17 now?) for this post on why it’s important to Be Seen: because you never know who will make your shidduch.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase and rolled my eyes at it. But apparently it’s true. Because you won’t believe who set up Chava and Mordy…
HT to O.
eHarmony wants to add some harmony to your life by helping you get out of bad dates. You no longer have to fake the death of your grandmother: now there’s an app for that.