The Unenhanced Date

behind the scenes feature

 

HT SA for the ‘toon.

 

NEF#8 showed up to her surprise shower wearing a terry-cloth zip-up hoodie, denim skirt, and flats.

When she found out that her groom-to-be was in the kitchen, she quickly changed that to zip-up hoodie, denim skirt, and 3-inch heels.

“He’s never seen me not in heels!” she explained.

“Didn’t you go mini-golfing?”

“I wore stilettos!”

“You know he’s not going to call off the wedding just because he sees you in flats.”

“No, but–you’ll understand when you’re engaged.”

Well, maybe.

“Oh please,” scoffed NMF#20. “I wore makeup maybe twice when we were dating.”

“She doesn’t need it,” her husband offered from the couch.

“Oh gosh no,” disagreed another friend. “I don’t even take out the garbage until I’ve checked my makeup.”

Murmurs of agreement.

“You know,” I commented, “The story of Yaakov and Leah is actually an allegory for what every man feels when he sees his wife unenhanced for the first time.”

“Um, what?” called the one in the heels.

“So what are you supposed to do, be ugly on a date?” asked the friend in the makeup.

“No, but if he’s gone out with you a whole bunch of times, you can probably risk going natural,” pointed out she who doesn’t need makeup.

“Yeah, probably,” I agreed. I haven’t gone on a date without makeup in years. But hey. I agree. In theory.

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Where I’ve Been & What I’ve Learned

It’s been busy the past couple of weeks, and that wasn’t helped by the power outages. Although, to be fair, I wasn’t in a position to appreciate their magnitude, since I was camping. Headlamp light and water from a mountain spring. Civilization is crumbling? How fascinating. Tell me about it.

Now, I am under no illusions that I am entirely unique. Therefore, I’d like to pass on words of wisdom for anyone who might have thought to try what I just did today: drive directly from a wilderness jaunt to some light dating. My advice: don’t do it. You will discover too late that all those bottles and jars in your bathroom that you figured you could live without for a week are actually profoundly essential.  Assuming you can wash the eau de campfire out of your hair, you still face a dire situation. You may find, for the first time in your life, that you wish that a bathroom had hot-air blowing hand dryers instead of paper towels. But if you surmount that hurdle, there’s yet another, greater obstacle to overcome. And no, my friends. Your car mirror is no substitute for a bathroom mirror when it comes to putting on makeup, even when you have 200 lumens of Coleman’s brightest to help out. And seriously, who thought that a mirror in a compact was going to be any help whatsoever? It’s just shtick.

Anyway, greetings from Starbucks, a bastion of wi-fi and other mainstays of civilization. I’ll see you again when the grid goes back up.

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.