NYC Taxi Driver Tells It Straight

Why do aidel maidels need to be so tznius? The mashal is often given to a precious diamond, which is kept hidden away in a safe, not exposed where anyone can see or steal it.

In the opening anecdote of Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt’s latest article, a NYC taxi driver explains the problem with this comparison:

 

We usually don’t take a car,” the yeshiva boy says to the driver, an older Irish man with a hearty laugh and a dapper straw hat. “But the lady was inappropriately attired (he winks at his date), in her heels I mean, so we had to — “

The yeshiva boy’s date cuts him off and leans forward to the driver, deciding to turn her frustrations into a joke: “Sir, he doesn’t really care about the heels. It’s my actual choice of attire that he finds inappropriate. My skirts are too short, it makes him nervous, he won’t even call me by my name, you know how religious boys are…”

The driver turns the corner. “That’s the problem with religion, it’s sexist,” he says, looking at her in his mirror. “I know because my parents were religious Catholics. It’s all a bunch of sexist garbage.”

The boy and girl laugh nervously over the profanity, and the girl says slowly, “Well, I don’t think religion itself is sexist, it’s just that chauvinists still exist…” She casts the boy a look.

The boy turns back to the driver: “But don’t you agree, sir, that if you have the most precious diamond in the world, you keep it wrapped up? You don’t take it to the streets to show the entire world?”

The girl gasps silently — she is taken backwards in time, back to the apologetics they taught in 7th grade, again and again, bas melech, kol kvoda pnima, a princess’s honor is all inside, a divine jewel to be kept hidden…

But before she can respond, the driver presses the brakes. He turns around and faces the yeshiva boy, and says slowly, his voice shaking with rage: “Listen to me, boy. This is not an object you’re talking about. This is a living, breathing human being.”

 

What he is saying is: when you lock someone away like a diamond, you are treating them like property, not a person.

This is how objectification works:  By preventing other humans from meeting your “diamond,” you prevent other humans from acknowledging their humanity. The other humans only know about them from descriptions. This, essentially, turns them into objects defined by their description.

Not making sense? I’ll be less abstract:

If men learn about women strictly from a photo proffered by a shadchan, then they will accept and reject women based on the simplest algorithm: appearances. Which objectifies women. So, by keeping women hidden from men, you objectify them. You do not protect them.

I can’t believe I blogged about shidduchim for seven years and never realized this.

But there you go: that is the root problem. The reason why shidduch dating is so offensive.

There’s another, similar, point to be made about sexualization. Arguably, there is nothing overtly (or possibly even covertly) sexual about a woman’s knees. However, if a gentleman glances at your knees, blushes, looks away, and refuses to look at you anymore, then your knees have just been sexualized. And you have just been turned into an object. A sexual object. Something that can’t be looked at without creating sexual thoughts, because everything about you — and especially your knobbly knees — are sexual.

In the opening story, the boy (and yes, he’s a boy not a man or even a guy) decided that Avital’s skirt was too short to be seen in public. He begins making decisions for her about how she ought to appear in public, on the theory that she’s not a person, she’s a diamond. Bam! Objectified! Sexualized!

So you see why Avital was a little upset.

By the way, I’m awed by her presence of mind and her guts in telling that smug bochur how it is. She’s my new rebbe. I’m a total fan. Go read her article.

Also, thank you NYC for having awesome taxicab drivers.

 

 

Dating Games

So, I remember that time a guy brought a pack of cards on a date. It was from a board game, but the point was to ask people things you would never otherwise ask them. Like, personal questions. Sometimes nosy. The second one that came up for me was, “What’s the most embarrassing thing in your bathroom?”

“Uh…” I said. I could think of a lot of things in my bathroom that would be embarrassing to talk about on a first date.

Needless to say, that game didn’t do much for our date, which died in the water.

I’ve had a card game like that (The Ungame) be more successful later on in the dating, like, once you’ve actually got to a point where you feel comfortable discussing, at least, the contents of your kitchen, if not your bathroom.

Anyway, SYAS has entered the dating card game game.

Some of the essential questions it covers: “What do you think of a woman earning more than her partner?” & “What would you do if you had to entertain a 5-year-old for a day?”  & “Do you prefer meat, dairy, or pareve?” (What?) Well hey. If you don’t get any mileage out of the questions, you might get some out of making fun of the game.

Ungame - Jewish version

Sincerely Sparkling

You know all those guys who say they want a girl with a “sparkling personality”? I’ve always wondered what that meant. Okay, maybe I haven’t.  While I can’t define it exactly, I know it when I see it. For example, I know I don’t sparkle, twinkle, or coruscate in any way. Whereas the classmate who got engaged twice within six months of high school graduation kind of did. And I’m nothing like her. (Heck, I haven’t gotten engaged once in seven years!)  So my SOP has always been to chuck those “sparkling personality” profiles as non-starters.

Shadchan: Why don’t you want to go out with him?

Me: He’s looking for a sparkler. I’m more a roman candle.

Well, I was at the Shabbos table of a couple, and The Wife was explaining how she knew that her Husband was The One for her. “I wanted a guy with fire in his eyes!” she gushed. “That enthusiasm! And he had it.”

“She just sparkled,” Husband gazed back adoringly. “She was what I was always looking for.”

My friend and companion leaned over the chulent and whispered in my ear, “Aren’t they such a cute couple?”

“Yes,” I whispered back. “But should it change it any that they’re grandparents?!”

“No!” she hissed. “They’re still an adorable couple.”

I suppose they were both still sparkling and flaming together. Whatever.

So I’m moving on to another word. In my old age, I’ve seen a large number of shidduch profiles. And do you know what every single guy puts on his “looking for” list? “Kind” or “caring” and “sincere.” Always sincere. What the heck does that mean? Sincere about what? Who isn’t sincere, aside from a sociopath? Even those disgustingly kind people who are nice to you only because they think you’re desperately lonely are, at least, sincere in their intentions. (Which are based on ameliorating their feelings more than yours, but hey, they really and sincerely mean well.) So can someone please describe to me an insincere woman? Or sincere one. Either will do.

Dear Sir: This May Be Why You’re Not Married Yet

It’s very convenient, not to mention traditional, to let your parents take care of your shidduch research for you. However, before you do, you should make sure you’re on the same page as them about what you’re looking for.

I’m copy-pasting this from an email  I got from a friend we’ll call Sfati. Here’s a quick introduction:

A couple of months ago her mother asked Sfati if she knew any single girls who would work for the son of a sister of a friend (exhale) who was working on a Ph.D in medieval Jewish history at NYU, with the goal of becoming a professor. Sfati says, “Gee whiz! I have a friend who just started a PhD in renaissance Jewish history at Columbia. I think she wants to be a professor too! They should have something to talk about.”

“Send her info!” Sfati’s mother encouraged.

So Sfati emails her friend, who responds with a standard shidduch profile containing no content of interest: some basics about her family and schooling, but nothing about who she is and what she’s looking for. Sfati wrote back, asking her friend to compose a more descriptive paragraph, which she then appended to the document and forwarded to her mother, who forwarded it to the mother of the boy.

“She’s a real Hungarian mother,” Sfati’s mother warned her. “Always perfectly put together, you know?”

“That bodes ill,” Sfati frowned. “I mean, my friend isn’t a shlump, but she’s not a dressed-up doll either.”

A couple of weeks later, Sfati received a phone call from this Hungarian Mom. The transcripts go like such:

Mother: So is she funny? Her resume was a little funny.
Me: (Oh, no. So much for my great idea.) No–her resume was a standard resume and I asked her for more information–I put that on there.
Mother: But she wrote it, right?
Me: Yes.
Mother: Cause my son would think it’s a little funny. [Note her son does not appear to have read it.] Is she funny?
Me: No, she’s not funny. I mean, she is very intelligent. She’s doing her PhD in History, which is not something most Bais Yaakov girls from Boro Park do, so she’s obviously very intelligent, but no, she’s not funny.
Mother: Ok. Is she Litvish? Because I get the impression from her resume that her family is Litvish, and that’s not going to work. We’re Chassidish. I mean, my son is not going to wear a shtreimel or anything, but he’s going to wear a bekeshe or something.
Me: (don’t think there will be much of a difference between your families no matter what what you wear) I actually don’t know. I never saw her father or brothers.
Mother: Ok. Sometimes people who are very smart, they kind of don’t have friends. I mean, my son is very smart, but he–did she fit in, did she have friends?
Me: Yes, definitely. I was part of her chevra (deliberately using a frum word to be establish myself as part of her in-group, as much as I can be while living in Overland Park, KS). She had a lot of friends.
Mother: Does she have good middos?
Me: Yes. She is very smart, so she understands people, and can be sensitive to their feelings.
Mother: Ok. How does she look?
Me: She has dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes, big eyes…
Mother: Is she thin or is she chubby?
Me: (she is chubby but somehow I don’t think this is a good thing to say) She’s not thin but she’s not chubby either.
Mother: Is she big?
Me: Well, she’s not big. I don’t know exactly how tall she is–
Mother: She’s 5’3, it says so on her resume.
Me: Ok. Well, she’s not big–
Mother: So she’s full.
Me: Yes, she’s full.
Mother: (with a tone of finality) Well, that won’t work.  My son, he never asks if the girl is beautiful or what she looks like, but he needs someone who is skinny. He’s very skinny, my son.
Me: Oh. Well–do you want to know more about her, just in case?
Mother: What I would really love to do is see a picture of her.
Me: (Hoping this won’t be another strike) Well, she’s on Facebook.
Mother: Oh, really? (thankfully, doesn’t seem to be bothered) Ok, under her name?
Me: Yes. Do you have any more questions?
Mother: Does she have a stable family?
Me: Well, I never really went over to her house. I met her mother once and she seemed very nice, and she herself is very emotionally stable.
Mother: Ok. Well, thank you. I’ll look at her picture on Facebook. Thank you.
Me: Thank you, bye.

 

Friday Repost: Why Are You Telling Me That?

I kind of laughed when I reread this exchange.

…She began listing all my sterling virtues, and, running short a bit earlier than she’d intended, fell back on plain ol’ information about me. “…and she had a blog,” she enthused to the mother.

“A blog…?” asked the mother uncertainly. “Um, isn’t that bad for shidduchim?”

As in, “are you bragging about that? Shouldn’t that be a turnoff? Hang on while I consult my manual for the appropriate reaction…”

A Big Yasher Kochachen!

While writing yesterday’s post, I realized what thankless job being a shidduch reference is. So I’d like to take a moment to thank the friends who keep picking up the phone on my behalf, year after year, to answer questions for random kooks and strangers, who ask things nobody but me would know and which invariably get my dander up when I hear about them.

Thank you guys!

And if I get persnickety, it’s not at you. It’s at them. You’re a great friend, and I hope you can stop this thankless task someday soon.

Skulking Suitors

“Hey, got some questions for you,” a friend said. “A guy called last night and asked these, and I said I’d get back to him.”

“No problem,” I said, and provided the answers.

“By the way, who was he?”

“I promised not to tell.”

“What?”

“He told me who he was, but at the end of the conversation he made me promise not to tell you.”

“Why? What nosy, obnoxious questions could he have possibly asked that he doesn’t want me to know who he is?”

“Really nothing. He asked what your siblings do, why you live OOT—mostly things he’d know if he actually read your profile. And then the ones about whether you go to shiurim or have a rebbetzin or would be willing to Skype date.”

Then why won’t he tell me his name?

I am unable to come up with a good reason why someone would withhold their name in connection to their actions. Usually it means you’re embarrassed or afraid, or don’t want to take responsibility for it.

When a guy won’t put his name where his mouth is, I automatically assume he also writes anonymous letters to the Yated condemning everyone who doesn’t think the way he does. It’s not a promising start to our relationship.

Or wouldn’t be, if I knew who he was. That’s the point, right? I can’t hold it against him if I don’t know who he is.

In theory, at least.

This isn’t the first guy to try to hide his name from a potential date. Another friend of mine was playing reference for another friend of hers, when she got a call at 11pm from a guy who refused to identify himself.

“I could lie and give you a fake name, but I’m being honest and telling you that I won’t tell,” he explained proudly.

“Why won’t you tell?”

“Well, I don’t necessarily want it getting back to her, the kinds of things I’m asking about her.”

“Does that strike you as fair? That you show up on a date knowing highly personal information about her that she doesn’t know you know?”

“Well—“

“And do you really think she has so many guys looking into her at the same time that she won’t be able to figure out who you are?”

“Well—“

“And I will also mention that you called at 11pm, and the only reason I took your call was because I thought it was an emergency because who calls a stranger and a mother at 11pm on a work night?!”

“Well if you’re not going to tell her anything nice about me, I guess there’s no point in this call.”

That was actually what I told my friend, regarding my own non-identifying would-be suitor.

“You don’t need to bother calling back with answers to any of his questions. I’m not interested in a guy who won’t stand by his actions. You can tell him he’s officially nixed, whoever he is.”

Friday Repost: Down With Pre-Date Research!

Well, not entirely. Just before the first date. I don’t do it at all these days. My theory is, if I get to a third date I can start worrying about skeletons in the closet and so on. But so many of my suggestions turn into charming, one-time coffee meets that I no longer see any reason to invest in background searching.

Of course, lots of people have the opposite strategy. They’d rather not go out, so they look for ways to disqualify people ahead of time. Only a rigorous search can turn up enough doubt for that.

Single Due to Demographic Genetics

Back in my younger days, I once came across a dating profile where the guy put “slim” first on his list of “looking for.” It was also underlined. I immediately threw it out. In the high-minded idealism of youth I disdained such blatant shallowness, such unabashed superficiality, such emphasis on the thin cosmetic veneer of our physical interface with the world.

Also, I was fairly certain I wasn’t pretty enough for someone like that.

Back in said youth, it was rare to come across a profile where physical traits were mentioned, let alone emphasized. Yes, we all know why people ask for pictures. And sure, I heard about guys who added an addendum for the shadchan detailing their preferences. Oh the Shabbos afternoons, comforting the girls who accidentally saw the “for the shadchan only” entry on a SYAS profile! “He wants a buxom wife, only he didn’t say it quite so nicely,” or “He requested ‘plump and proud.’ Seriously?! I’m not proud—I’m on a diet!”  But none of these were purposely stated to the female party herself.

Recently, as I date older and older guys, I’ve noticed a shift. Now I get profiles where “Looking for” begins with the usual “Kind, caring, sweet, nurturing” but then moves on to “petite blond with blue eyes, who I can carry across the threshold of our first apartment. Giggling a must.”

Actually, the last profile I got skipped the “kind, caring, sweet, nurturing” and went straight to “pretty, well-dressed, outgoing, shorter than me.”

Far from offensive, I find these profiles to be a relief. Usually I give anyone who sounds reasonable a fair shot. But thanks to these profiles, I now know that I don’t have a fair shot. We can debate how sweet I am, but factually I am not blond, not petite, not outgoing, and I have never in my life giggled.

So I quickly return an email to the would-be matchmaker explaining that while I am shorter than the  5’6” gentleman, I haven’t got a single pair of dress shoes with heels less than 2” high. Thanks for thinking of me, but I guess not this time.

People will protest that I’m aiding and abetting in a  typical older-single tactic: eliminating options rather than being open  to them. “If everything else is right, he won’t mind that you have bouncy hair instead of swingy hair.” After all, everyone’s hair looks the same after the wedding anyway. You can get a blond sheitel, blue contacts, wear ballet flats, and learn to giggle. If everything else is right.

First off, it’s unlikely that everything else will be right. And you’ll never be given a chance to find out if you don’t pass the Looks Test.

And let’s not downgrade the importance of that test!

Maybe the guy really has issues with brunettes. They just look so much smarter and more bookish than blonds. Have you ever seen a blond librarian? And what color is the hair of all the evil women in the movies? Hm? Dark, maybe?  And let’s not start with redheads. Oy vey. Since when is red a Jewish hair color? It’s downright prust. And it smacks of intermarriage. Where do you think Dovid Hamelech got his hair color from? I bet you it wasn’t the Jewish side of the family.

Maybe curly hair horrifies him. Why can’t it just go straight? Pick a direction and go with it! None of this zigging and zagging like a target dodging potshots. There’s something inherently dishonest about curly hair. Have you ever seen a truly aidel maidel with kinky locks? Do you know what“kinky” is a synonym for? Q.E.D.

Brown eyes are boring. Grey are depressing. Green are weird. And hazel eyes? What the heck are hazel eyes anyway? That’s just another way of saying you’ve never been decisive about your eye color. If you can’t decide something as simple as that, how are you ever going to choose a baby name?  Stick with blue: it’s heavenly. It’s pure. It’s good and right and true. And you get a little dizzy gazing into blue eyes. That’s a good thing.

Or maybe none of the above apply. Maybe these guys just aren’t attracted to anyone they can’t keep in the china cabinet. It’s a handicap, and you should pity them not judge them. You think they want to be single? It’s not easy being so limited!

Anyhow, the way I figure it, if a guy puts that requirement in black and white on his profile, he wants the girl to see it and he wants her to self-eliminate. He’s being kind, saving everyone a lot of wasted time and money getting together, having a pleasant time, and then racking their brains to come up with a plausible reason to break up so they can get back to blissfully date-free Sundays.

Or maybe I’m just looking for ways to eliminate options rather than be open to them.  Am I getting to be one of those older singles?  Maybe, under “Looking for” on my profile I should put “Six-foot tall, broad-shouldered man with commanding but gentle personality, a uniform, and a secret second job as a spy.” It will help drive away the riffraff. And then I can enjoy those blissful, date-free Sundays.

On the Subject of Being Interesting

I hate to be the hobby police here, because I don’t really have much by way of “hobbies” in the traditional sense, but gentlemen:

“Talking to friends” is not a hobby. That’s how normal people socialize. “Going to the gym” is not actually a hobby either, unless you’re training for something special or bodybuilding.

This is the section where you can sound mildly more interesting than all the other nice, smart, professional boys out there. Please make some kind of effort!

Explanation Requested

Can someone please explain to me why people want to know in which shul my parents daven when doing shidduch background checks on me?

This question is inconvenient to answer because, living in Brooklyn, they are thoroughly surrounded by shuls, which pop up not just in large edifices with stained-glass windows, but also in random basements and converted houses on residential streets. Aboding as they are in this Garden of Shuls, they take full advantage of the smorgasbord. My vague understanding is that my father rotates between three preferred locations, although I don’t know if this is divided by “shacharis, mincha, ma’ariv,” or “Shabbos/weekday,” or is on some kind of weekly rotation.  The womenfolk in the family stick with only one (it being equipped with a balcony).

I honestly couldn’t name all relevant synagogues. Nobody calls them by their names anyway; rather, by the name of their rabbis. Most of whom slip my mind at the moment. And who aren’t even known in the first place by the vast majority of Jews in Brooklyn, let alone OOT.

Truly, it doesn’t concern me from where my father comes home from shul, so long as he does arrive. And most weeks, it doesn’t concern me at all. Because I’m not there. And haven’t been. For a while.

So what does it have to do with me?

Quote: Definitions

Overheard from someone perusing Zivug Zone:

“He says he’s ‘with-it.’ Why do the guys all say they’re ‘with-it’? It’s like the guy’s equivalent of ‘bubbly’.”

Yuck. I hate “bubbly.” Also “sparkling.” And, now that it’s been pointed out, “with-it” is kind of awful too. That’s really just another way of saying “I think I’m cooler than my friends,” isn’t it?

Friday Repost: People Jump to the Oddest Conclusions

I’ve always thought the concept of “ma’aras ayin” is a bit strange. I mean, if I saw a nice aidel maidel going into, say, Mickey-D’s, I would assume that she’s going for the coffee or the bathroom. Because let’s face it, which is more likely:

Nice aidel maidel has a good, kosher reason for entering a non-kosher restaurant or

Nice aidel maidel just randomly walks into non-kosher eateries and indulges her cheeseburger craving?

If we assume that people are who they present themselves to be, then if they appear to do something incongruous, shouldn’t we assume that our conception of the situation is wrong, rather than our conception of the person

I’m wondering all this after rereading a post about my alleged drinking problem.

Shidduch Reading List Additions

I started on a shidduch reading list many years ago:

Reading List 1

Shidduch lit

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.

 

We Heart Shidduch Questions

 

“Is she spiritual?”

The MF who fielded this one brought it up with me one Shabbos afternoon. “Are you spiritual?”

“No,” I replied immediately. “Spiritual” means colorful scarves, Carlebach minyanim, and Chabakuk reading lists. It means having an “amazing, inspiring experience” whenever there’s a critical mass of people singing. It means Tzefat, Bat Ayin, and Meron.

“Oh,” said the MF, who had found the question puzzling. “I said you learn regularly and stuff, but that wasn’t what they meant.” No indeed.

Not an absurd question, considering. Apparently the caller was asking on behalf of a happy chossid. Of course it would have been simpler to just ask if I’m the happy chossid type, but I’m not going to nit-pick.

What the confused MF had answered was the “What does she do for spirituality” question. Similar words, but a world of difference in meaning. I don’t really like this one. Yes, granted, there are people who go to shiurim with their friends a couple of times a week. But not with their MFs. (Try getting an MF out of her house after 7pm. Good luck.) And there are also plenty of people who go to shiurim without their friends. Or who get their shiur in their inboxes. Or who do it over the phone or via podcast. Or any number of other acceptable options that MFs (or SFs) wouldn’t know about. (Then there are people who don’t bother with this stuff and don’t seem to need it either. Is “she has an impeccable moral compass” a good answer to that question?)

I’ve also never understood why people ask my friends about my siblings. “Can you send me a roster of your siblings, where they live, and what they do?” one Friend asked. “People always ask and I never know what to answer.” Honestly, folks. This is why I gave you the aunt’s phone number and the neighbor’s number. My friends are my friends. They don’t know what seminaries my sisters went to. If they did, I’d be a little creeped out. Maybe even jealous.

Marrying Debt

When MF #5 got married to an Ivy League-educated gentleman who planned to learn in kollel, I overheard her mother complaining.

“When we did our research we didn’t know to ask about student loans! She’s just starting out, and already she’s $20,000 in debt!”

“It could be worse,” her conversant comforted her. “I know a dentist who married a doctor. $300,000, and they think they got off easy.”

“Well at least they have good jobs. My future son-in-law is learning, and long-term he wants to teach. They’ll be living in a basement the rest of their lives.”

That was the first time I thought about debt as a factor in marriage. I am debt-averse to an extreme. Not everyone sees things my way, though.

“Take out student loans,” Done4 urged me when I was in college. “They’re the cheapest loans you’ll ever get in your life.”

“You’re still paying interest and committing future earnings,” I pointed out. “Earnings you can’t guarantee that you’ll have.”

The idea that my careful financial life might be thrown over by someone who thought education was a stage in life to pass through, like puberty, with no bearing on his future, was scary. And it was unbelievable how many guys I dated said they were only in college because their mother said so, and they didn’t want to do whatever they were getting a degree in, and kollel sounded nice, actually, yeah.

Sure it does. So does being back in the womb. But do you belong there?

So I wasn’t rolling my eyes when credit scores showed up as something people want to know before you go (out together). It’s a great way to get an idea of your partner’s fiscal responsibility. Or at least open the discussion about it.

 

Do Photos Expire?

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?

Don’t Drown!

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

Wednesday Repost: We <3 Shidduch Equations

Sadly, people and relationships cannot be reduced to mere equations. As Dostoyevsky points out in Notes from Underground, if we did come up with an equation proving that people always behave in their best interest, people would do the opposite just to prove their free will.

(I know what you’re thinking. In that case, we can say that people will do the opposite of what’s in their best interest because the equation says so. But then people might contradict that prediction, and you’d be left saying that people will either do what’s in their best interest or not, depending on whether they’d rather stick it to you or just get on with life. And then you’d need an equation to predict who would do what, and we’d be right back where we started.)

However, we still have the joyful opportunity to use equations to quantify people! As an addition to the Fat Potential stats, BadforShidduchim brings you the Net Value Equation.

 

Food Blogging for Dates

A while ago I made an abortive attempt at being a little bit techbloggy. Today, inspired by commenter overtimecook (and with straight-up idea plagiarism from Apple), I present a visual shidduch resume. And yes, I used resume, because the format is more job oriented than usual.

For the record, I totally want to post pictures of my food all the time. After all, if I put in the time and make something pretty, it seems a waste to stare at it for a couple of seconds and then dig in. At the very least, someone ought to make admiring noises at me, don’t you think? But alas, I haven’t got a food blog. Even more alas, I haven’t got a camera – all photos taken with my webcam while balancing a laptop at an awkward angle and trying to use the last angles of the sun through the window instead of flash. I know that if I had a high-resolution DSLR I could make quinoa look as scrumptious as it is.Until then, I’m stuck with food that looks better than I can show.

First up, spinach salad with heirloom tomatoes shipped all the way from my parents’ garden in NYC. I think spinach is my favorite vegetable – I like it every which way, except full-grown raw. Do I still have all your attention, gentlemen? If not, that’s fine. I don’t think I could live with a guy who wasn’t open-minded on the subject of spinach. It’s just too important to me.

Appetizer - spinach salad

Next up, as a side, we have the grilled carrots. Odd thing – I don’t much enjoy raw carrots in any form except shredded in a salad. But I like them every other way–grilled, fried, and especially juiced. Ah… cool fresh carrot juice. I’m thirsty just thinking about it. Okay, to give credit where it’s due, Relarela brought these. But I have made carrots that look very similar.

Now for the Salmon-Ginger fingers with the Soy-Lime dipping sauce. I think these would be better as an hors d’oeuvres, but all my guests guzzle them down as a main.

I always get a recipe request for this one, but the photo is awful. Still, presenting: lemon couscous. Inside: sliced and toasted almonds, zest from a lemon (naked lemon is then grilled and tossed in), capers, and sage. You know you want some.

And for dessert we have rhubarb pie (miniaturized for the single female with occasional guests). Finger lickin’ good.

And that concludes tonight’s dinner. Anyone still with me? If not, tomorrow is steak and sweet potato fries.

Just kidding!