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.”

Forever 21?

A bar mitzvah in the paternal side of the family this weekend means traveling to the city most occupied by the paternal end of the family. Perhaps the paternal end of the family looked upon this as ripe opportunity to set me up with an eligible local bachelor. Or perhaps sending me an invitation merely reminded them that they’d been meaning to set me up with said bachelor for a while now.

At any rate, they did the shadchan-thing, and I was bcc’d on the email sent to the bachelor-in-question’s father.

The first half of the email was occupied with descriptions of my parents  so laudatory that even a teenager would have been proud to be related. For a brief moment I basked in the glow of such wonderful forebears. Then I eagerly rushed to the paragraphs at the bottom covering myself. Hey, I can always use an ego boost.

After a glowing introduction, which I thoroughly enjoyed (though it sounded vaguely familiar), the paragraph got down to the essentials. For starters, I was 21 years old.

Um, wait?

I’m going to be 23 in August.

I continued reading, and a sneaking suspicion snuck up behind me and started reading over my shoulder. Height as 5 feet 4.5 inches? That decimal point… The list of things I enjoy, that turn of phrase describing my goals in life… Yep, there was no doubt about it: this had all come straight off my shidduch dossier.

Not that I minded. I hadn’t seen this branch of the paternal end in years, so what else would they have to work with? But clearly, if people were going to be using my crib sheet as, well, a crib sheet, I was going to have to do some maintenance.

It’s not that I don’t update the thing. I’ve changed the references as more friends have gotten married and others have drifted away. I’ve updated my education as I acquire it and my employment as it changes. I guess it never occurred to me to scroll to the top and change my stats. I mean, my name hasn’t changed, my height hasn’t changed, and, um, what else is up there again? I guess my age. It changes. But not that often – only every 12 months. Why would I remember to change it?

I resolve to update my dossier next time I’m near it (I conveniently keep it on the family computer hard drive, which is now about 100 miles away). But then I think about the ramifications. I scroll back down the email to the list of my accomplishments. To do it all by the age of 23 – meh. No biggie. But by 21? Now that is impressive.

Hm. Maybe I’ll leave it for now.

Shidduch Resume Outdated?

Frum N’ Flipping on the shidduch DVD, a way to learn more than you really wanted to about someone from the comfort of your living room.

The one distinct advantage I see is to the references. By taping an interview during which they discuss the potential in question, you save them an awful lot of phone calls.

The disadvantage at this point is the cost of a DVD. But why DVD? Just upload the videos to a protected webpage or non-public YouTube account, and provide the access password to interested people.

Visually Unreasonable

A would-be shadchan called my mother about a prospective date.

“Can you fax me Bad4’s profile and a picture?”

My mother made reluctant noises. She doesn’t like this whole “send a photo” business.

“He’s looking for a really beautiful girl, so he needs to see a picture first,” the shadchan explained.

At this point I would have terminated the conversation, saying that the only person who consistently refers to me as beautiful is my grandmother, and she has both a great deal of bias and cataracts. But my mother, bless her, is more zealous for my pride, and she continued the conversation, asking about the young man. He is in college and yeshiva and plans to go to law school.

“Well, I’ll ask my daughter,” my mother said. “Can you provide a profile and a photograph?”

“What do you need a photograph for?” asked the would-be shadchan, baffled.

“Just to know what he looks like,” replied my mother vaguely.

“That’s not how it’s done,” the shadchan worried. “She’ll see him plenty on the first date.”

“True, but she may not want to, if he’s lacking in visual appeal.”

“I just wouldn’t feel comfortable asking him,” the shadchan fretted. “I don’t think he’d be willing.”

My mother insisted.

“This is very unreasonable of you.”

“Well, then I’m afraid he’s just not for us,” my mother said regretfully, and that was that.


You go, Ma!

Miss Special, Meet Mr. Best

My brother was complaining about the huge amount of special girls out there. He says he gets a small amount of information about each proposed match, and too much space is wasted on how special she is. “They’re all special! There are too many special girls and too many best bochurim.”

At first, I wasn’t sure why he cared about the best bochur business. Then I realized. Being a best bochur himself, he resents the flooding of the market and the dilution of the name.

Not that being a “best bochur” should be such a big deal. One Shobbos in Israel I ate with an entire yeshiva. Yep, all four students. It can’t be too hard to be the best bochur in that place. In fact, they can even rotate it, depending on who’s dating that week. “Best” is a very relative term. Who cares?

And what’s with this ‘special’ business? It’s gotten to the point where you’re most conspicuous if you’re not special. And I’m afraid I’m not. If anyone has ever called me “special” they need their head checked. I assume that “special” is a way of saying “aidel” without saying it. Or else it’s a way of saying “there’s more to her than meets the eye.”Which is another way of saying, “she looks incredibly boring and ordinary, but since you won’t go out with an ordinary and boring person, let me assure you that she’s really got something more to her. Just don’t ask me what.”

“Special” sounds slightly vaguer than “sparkling.” Someone once tried to set me up with a fellow who, in his long list of must-haves in a mate, included “a sparkling personality.” My personality doesn’t sparkle, glitter, twinkle, or coruscate. It just plods on steadily, day after day, except when it decides to sleep late and then you don’t want to meet me. I can count on exactly one finger the number of definite sparklers I know. She was engaged a few months out of high school, broke the engagement, and was engaged again a few months later. Which should let you know how in-demand those sparkling personalities are. Shucks for the rest of us.

(By Mr. I-Want-a-Sparkler’s list, he seemed to require a butterfly who would flutter solicitously around his flame and “help him achieve his full potential.” Aside from having a husband who has achieved his full potential, I couldn’t see what was in it for me, so I said no thank you. He is now happily married and I am still happily single. Life works out very well if you give it a chance.)

Back to my point, if I had one: does anyone know what “special” actually means? And does “best bochur” have any meaning at all?