Hide Your Shidduch Profiles in Shame

What is the purpose of a shidduch profile?

I would say to

1 – Convey the most germane information about its subject for matchmaking purposes and

2 – Intrigue potential matches enough that they want to date the subject.

Chas McFeely is a 40-year-old single guy who has reinvented the shidduch system in an effort to marry himself off.  To that end, he’s created an online profile and recruited his entire network of family and friends in trying to set him up. He’s even offering shadchanus!

The impressive thing about McFeely’s shidduch profile is that, unlike most of the utilitarian word documents that float around the shidduch system, his actually does that. With ten photos, eight of them lightly captioned, he conveys a pretty well-rounded image of his personality, lifestyle, sense of humor, and general appearance. Moreover, it leaves you wondering, “Do I know any music-loving, Scrabble-playing women on the west coast?”  Unlike most of the profiles I read, which leave me wondering, “If he sounds the same as the last six guys I’ve gone out with, is that good or bad?”

I think I’m going to become a proponent of interesting shidduch profiles. Hey, a cartoon profile got Stupid Inventor matched up.

I reformatted my own profile a few months ago and have been noting responses with a sociologist’s eye. Out of the dozen or so people I know it’s been sent to
– Three looked askance.

Of those three,

– One refused to use it.

– Two said, “Well I guess it weeds them out early on.”

In addition,

– Nine spontaneously and without prompting sent their compliments and said it gave them a better idea of who I am.

Of these nine,

– Four said it made them more certain than before that I’d hit it off with their nephew/brother/cousin/son/friend.

– Another four didn’t have anyone specific in mind (they had just vaguely offered to set me up), but actually called me back to discuss “what I’m looking for.”

So, thus far, I’d say jazzing up a profile is mostly a good idea.

Moreover, if a particular shadchan thinks it’ll freak out the Suggestion, (s)he won’t pass it on. A friend of mine, when asked to attach a photograph of herself to her profile, sent the best and most recent photo she had. It was at the zoo, and she had a giant python around her neck. It was only after their engagement that she and her fiancée found out that his mother had suppressed the photo.

So, do you need to spend a thousand dollars filling a website with professional photos of yourself wearing everything from a suit to tennis whites?  Probably not. But the McFeely comparison test is, when people finish reading your dossier, do they care about you at all?

Hat Tip to Cubic Zirconium for sending me the link.

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Arts and Profiles

It was like being nine again, and being sat down at the kitchen table for a Sunday of arts and crafts. We would work industriously, giving each other artistic feedback, and our parents, passing to and fro in the course of their parental duties, would peer over our shoulders and make admiring noises.

Only in this case the parents were peering somewhat more anxiously, and the admiring noises were perhaps a bit more grudging. After all, it’s one thing to encourage your child’s creativity when she’s nine, and creativity consists of discovering a new way to decorate a Popsicle-stick jewelry box (for which she has no jewelry). It’s quite another thing when she’s nineteen, and trying to type her shidduch information in a smiley-face shaped micrography. But in the end they agreed with Good4 that, seeing as nobody considers us “normal” anyhow, there was not much point in our pretending we were unaware.

So, we will both be very shortly outfitted with brand-new and more interesting shidduch profiles. Good4 eventually ditched the smiley face for something a little easier to work with but no less cheerful, and mine will be neatly reorganized in a non-linear, more intuitive model.

Of all the things to giggle with your sister about… But it’s a lot more fun than the first time I did this.

Who Says What a Profile Has to Look Like?

(Or, for those who care: who says like what a profile should appear?)

Starting out at something new and significant is always a reason for nerves. You double check that you’re doing everything right and try hard to do things according to protocol and keep your toes on the white line.

…and then, after a while of that, especially when it turns out to have minimal efficacy, you get bored. And indifferent. And oh – seriously, who cares anyway? It doesn’t make a difference.

Which has to do with…

…the one document in the world that I despise so much that every psychological mechanism you’ve ever heard of – not to mention a few you probably haven’t – kick in to keep me from dealing with it.

Just a f’rinstance:  I don’t keep it in any of my personal storage. Not on my flash drive. Not on my hard drive. And if you asked me, I’d claim it’s not even in my “sent” folder so – sorry, can’t get it to you. Additionally, selective memory kicks in every time I get within ten feet of it. I suddenly forget that I’m supposed to send it to anyone. It’s like a little switch in my brain closes, blocking that particular circuit off from the loop. And if somehow it slips through and I briefly remember, psychosomatic nausea overcomes and I require intense chocolate therapy before I can face reality again – preferably with part of it suppressed. And if I finally do open that [eugh] file (wearing gloves and using forceps) I can’t resist picking at it as if at a pimple. Deleting here, adding there, nudging some words around… In the same vain hope that somehow it’ll turn out better than it wasn’t before.

So the confluence of three events inspired a little rethinking. Event #1 was someone asking me for my shidduch information. Event #2 is a friend going on an artsy streak. Event #3 was Stupid Inventor mentioning drawing a cartoon profile.

Well, why not?  I mean, it’s supposed to be a collection of important information about you, preferably organized in an easy-to-understand format. Who said that format has to be black and white and linear? Why can’t it be color coded and placed in a wheel, one segment naturally blending into the next? Or a collage, where adjacent items relate to a single characteristic of the subject? Or a painting? Or a flowchart? Or a song set to accompanying sheet music? Or micrography? I mean, seriously, those profiles are really one long snooze. Why not throw in a little personality? They could actually be fun to look at, like opening a new present. “Oooh, I wonder what she came up with.” And “Hey, I like this guy, he’s original!”

If we could get a little critical mass going, maybe we can turn those ol’ black n’ whites into an antiquated mark of shame. “Wha-at? Just this? What kind of guy did you set me up with?” And “Bo-ring.”