Agree or Disagree?

Conversation about manicures is proceeding. Mr. S declares himself out of his depth. 

Mrs. S: Some men get manicures.

Mr. S: Really?

Good4: Yeah, it makes their nails look nicer.

Bad4: But not with polish.

Good4: Clear polish. Uh huh.

Mr. S: I don’t know… it doesn’t seem manly.

Bad4: Well, a whole lot of things that are passed off as “manly” are just plain gross.

Mr. S: Yes, well, that’s the point of being manly. You get to gross out women.

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Why You’re Still Single

It’s always been a mystery to me: why am I still single? Well, somebody knows, and she wrote it in to the Chronicles of Crisis this past week. For those who don’t read this oh-so-essential column, here’s the lowdown. If you’re still single, you probably fall into one of these categories:

1 – You’re obsessively spiritual

2 – You will only accept perfection

3 – You have a psychological need for a parental figure and don’t socialize well with people your own age

4 – Require a spouse they can worship on a pedestal

5 – Require a knight in shining armor to wrap them up in fluffy clouds and chase the big scary world away

6 – You’re fat, frumpy, or you have a big nose

The author has come up with these six categories, and notes that she doesn’t fit into any of them. She therefore wonders why she’s still single. I think she neglected one category:

7 – You’re an insufferable know-it-all.

Now, perhaps it is true that all single people fit into at least one of these categories. However, you can’t conclude your correlation = causation theory without checking the other end. Meaning, how many married people fit into these categories?

I admit that I don’t have enough friends to create a statistically significant pool, but I believe I have MFs who fit into most of those categories. Definitely into category 6. I’ve met men and women who fit into category 5 who are married; four – possibly, it’s a little hard to diagnose one’s friends; and one – definitely. Even category sevens get married sometimes.

Objectification of Me

I’ve written a large amount about the business of requesting photos of one’s potential date.

(Say Shidduch! and A Glance at Looks and Visual Incentive and Visually Unreasonable.)

And why not? It comes up on a regular basis. Like just last week. My mother’s sister’s friend has a neighbor who knows a guy who really seems my type, but he wants a photo.

“Then we want one too,” my mother gave the rote response.

“Well, I don’t have any of him, and I’ve never seen him, but I heard he was written up in the Washington Post; I’m sure you could get that photo.”

Odd how she doesn’t hesitate to ask for my photo (which is readily googlable) but tries sending us to a long-lost newspaper when we return the request.

It occurred to me that even if we swapped photos and he sounded interesting and everything was in order – I still didn’t want to go out with him.

And no, it’s not because I think he’s a shallow jerk, though I admit that his character will be forever tarnished by his request. It’s because a casual, fun date has just been turned into a beauty pageant.

It’s like this:

We all know that looks count on a date, which is why we put in our best efforts to look less scruffy for the occasion. But once we’re done primping, shaving, mascara-ing, and tweezing our nose hairs (not all the same person), we get on the with evening. (At least I do.) We no longer worry if our eyebrows are in line. We just get to know the other person.

But when a guy asks for a photo he’s saying that not just anyone will do. There’s a baseline beauty requirement you must meet to avoid wasting his precious time. So you send the most stunning photo of you ever taken and lo! he looks and sees that it is good.

So you go out.

And then what? You’re super-worried. Because you know that in real life, away from a professional makeup artist and the flattering lights of a professional photographer, you’re just not drop-dead gorgeous. And you know he’s looking at you and going “Where’s the girl from the photo?” So you’re super-self-conscious, and this makes you dumber. By the end of the evening not only have you failed to be eye candy, but you’re also a ditz. Unless he’s looking for a bimbo, you’ll probably never see him again.

And then, to be fair: I’d probably be looking at him the same way. “This is the dude who thinks he can request a photo beforehand? Phew – it’s amazing there’s enough room in this car for me and his ego and his hairy ears!”

The whole business is one gigantic turnoff. Guys, don’t do it.

Protean Me

I recently ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. The only way I recognized her was from her voice. She’d gotten married, changed her hair, her weight, her dress… Granted, I had almost never seen her out of a ponytail and uniform before, but seriously, this was drastic change.

It got me thinking: how much had I changed since high school?

And it’s hard to think of change without trying to categorize it: good change, or bad change? The idea is that if you identify bad change you can attempt to reverse it.

But there I ran into a problem. So much of what goes for “good” or “bad” is based in something very ephemeral. A while ago BoSD posted about meeting a high school teacher in the grocery. She knew the teacher would disapprove of her mascara, but she’d been ordered to never leave the house without it by a woman she knows. So basically, in high school, eye makeup is the invention of the devil, but for women of marriageable age it’s one of life’s necessities. Is wearing it bad or good or neutral? This subjective nature of rightness baffled me.

There was another thing that stymied me. Namely, of the ways that I appear different than in high school, how many are actual changes, and how much is giving up on changing? In high school they operate very much on a “chitzonius mi’oreres es hapenimiyus” theory. It mostly didn’t work for me. I tried many things in high school based on the promise that they would eventually cease to be objectionable, and they mostly fell by the wayside after graduation when I discovered that they were as objectionable as ever. So, did I change, or did I just cease to try to change?

So I gave up on trying to quantify my personal evolution. Maybe I should stick with the standard-issue cheshbon hanefesh and see if I’m happy with who I am now, without comparing to someone I may have once been.