Thursday, March 4, 2010

China or Plastic?

My sister calls me with a shidduch suggestion for my big boy.

I love those kinds...the ones that come from someone who knows my kids well, and also knows the person they are suggesting. The usual calls are from people who don't know either one of us, and are just matching random boys and girls, based on what they wear, or something equally inconsequential.

She tells me the girl's name and whatever she knows about her. Sounds good. I'm ready to look into this.

I go find my big girl. She's a wealth of information. She knows so many of the girls that are suggested, and if she doesn't, she knows someone who does.

She looks doubtful.

"She's not skinny," she says.

"Well, is she fat?"

"No...not fat... Just a little chunky. Like Chany," she says, referring to one of her cousins, "but shorter."

Hmmm...

I shoot my sister a text. "She's not skinny."

"Is she fat?"

"No. Like Chany, but shorter. Probably like a size 8."

Her response comes quickly. All Caps. "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND??? SINCE WHEN IS 8 FAT?? DO YOU GO BY THOSE STANDARDS?"

Um...no...

But...

I have no answer. I DON'T go by those standards. I'm right there with those who decry the invasive, superficial, nonsensical questions asked by some mothers...the kind of mother who only wants a size 2 for her son.

But...but...

But now it's my son. I look at the list of suggestions I have for him. Some great girls on that list. Including, possibly, the size 8. I don't know yet, because I haven't given her a chance.

I text my sister.

"If you had two girls you were looking into...both really great girls...one is pretty and thin, the other...a bit chunky, maybe...what would you do?"

"Ok. I hear you."

I felt a bit better. For about a minute.

What is wrong with me? This isn't me. I don't ask the sort of questions that are typically asked. I don't even ask for pictures. I'm the one who tossed the shidduch resume from the girl who put her dress size(size 2) right up there after her name and age.

I know I'm being ridiculous. My brain knows it. I'm disgusted with myself.

I know that this poor girl just fell a few notches down my list. I know it...and I'm powerless to do anything to change it.

I'm no better than the rest of them.

What's next? Dishes? Tablecloths???

Shame on me...

104 comments:

  1. At the risk of sounding silly, why not just introduce her to your son and let HIM decide if a size 8 girl is a dealbreaker or not?

    The Wolf

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  2. Oh, and, lest I seem too harsh, kol hakavod for having an epiphany moment. I had one too a few years ago. As long as you use it as an opportunity for self-improvement, then you're on the right track.

    The Wolf

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  3. It sounds like you are an open-minded, sensible person who has been affected by mores of the community you live in. Are you concerned that neighbors etc. will wonder why your son had to settle for a size 8? Are you worried that people will wonder why ever YOU let him date a "chunky" girl? Or are you really concerned that this will be a bad match?

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  4. Are we supposed to be impressed that you "don't even ask for pictures?"

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  5. I agree with the Wolf.
    Self awareness is the first step.
    It's OK for looks to matter to some extent, but I also think that the boy should decide for himself.
    The pressures of society are so great, sadly.

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  7. BJG, that's a good point, except there are people who absolutely do not want a fat girl (which does not include a size 8!), and then meet one who they fall in love with. So even if her son is bothered my this one, does not mean he will be bothered by a different one. I'm totally with you on parents needing to be on the same page as their kids, we're the ones getting married, not them. I also agree that size does matter, but just for your reference, a size 8 is pretty average. A short 8 might be chubby (not fat), but an average height 8 will be average, just not thin thin. Also for your reference, a size 2 is often sickeningly skinny.

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  8. Wolf...

    That sounds like it makes sense, and my answer is going to sound sillier than your question...but it is what it is.
    My job as the mother is to sift through all the suggestions, discard those that are definitely not a match, and weed through whatever is left, until I'm left with only those that are good possibilities. Those are the ones he is eventually introduced to. The question is if this girl will be one of those. And the answer SHOULD depend on a lot more than her size. In fact, her size should not even be a consideration - in a perfect world.

    And...yes...this IS an opportunity for self improvement.

    tesyaa...

    None of the above. I think it's just that I want him to have 'perfect'. I know there's no such thing, but I'm his mom, and that's what my wish would be.

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  9. SIS...

    I was not trying to impress anyone. That was definitely not the point of the post. I thought that was obvious.
    And...fact is...most people I know DO ask for pictures.

    G6...

    You're right. Like I said..I'm not proud of myself right now.

    BJG...

    Parents want what's best for their kids. Sometimes they think they know better than their kids what's better...and that could be a big problem. But I think it's ok for her to tell you how she feels, as long as she listens to your feelings, too.

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  11. My job as the mother is to sift through all the suggestions, discard those that are definitely not a match, and weed through whatever is left, until I'm left with only those that are good possibilities. Those are the ones he is eventually introduced to.

    OK, but whereas you may have some idea of what your son is looking for hashkafically, do you know that he won't like a size 8 girl?

    I've always been of the theory that unless it's something that's an absolute deal-breaker, better to let them go out and see if it'll work on their own. Who knows?

    Just to give you a personal story -- I have a friend who was single for a while. He had an entire list of criteria that he wanted: young, skinny, living in a certain geographic location, etc.

    What happened?

    He married a forty year old divorced woman who was NOT skinny and lives with her hundreds of miles away from where he wanted. And you know what? Fifteen years later, they're as happy as clams.

    So, who cares if the girl is a size 8? Let your son decide that for himself. Perhaps she'll have so many other positives that he might be willing to overlook the "sin" of being a size 8.

    The Wolf

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  12. Wolf...

    "OK, but whereas you may have some idea of what your son is looking for hashkafically, do you know that he won't like a size 8 girl?"

    No, I don't. And you're absolutely right.
    What I should do is go through the same process with her as I do with everyone else, and if everything else checks out, let them go out. That's what I SHOULD do. And maybe I will. I'm working on it.

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  13. Sorry, being a girl in shidduchim, that line rubbed me the wrong way. I'm surprised to hear that most people you know ask for pictures, because I've been in the game for many years, and I can count on one hand the amount of mothers who have asked for one. Also, are you sure your daughter doesn't have too exacting standards of what's "chunky"? Because I don't think a size 8 necessarily is. Everyone carries that differently, you know? Maybe do a little more checking on that? I wouldn't knock off a suggestion from your sister so quickly...

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  14. SIS...

    No need to apologize. I understood that. And, having a daughter in shidduchim also, I do understand the other side.
    You only know the mothers who are asking YOU for a picture. You don't know about those who get your pics from someone else. Mothers can be crazy...and I hate to think I joined them.
    I will do some more checking. Thanks.

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  15. I don't want to be harsh, either, but...since you admit you don't know if a size 8 would bother your son, it is possible that the desire for a "perfect" girl is more for you than him, as a status thing in the eyes of your friends...? I think parents can easily fall into that trap (it's human nature) albeit subconsciously.

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  17. I'm totally with Wolf on this one.
    Talk to your son. Ask him what HE thinks.

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  18. I know this comment will be the most shallow, but how about the perspective of a shallow guy too? First of all, no clue if size 8 is fat, so not giving an opinion in this particular case. But as a rule, any girl in shidduchim, their picture represents the "before" picture. Not fair, but true. (the old joke: How do you turn a fox into a cow? Marry her!). What I'm saying is although we try to be deeper, and see the inner beauty of a person, a mother should take size into account. Because her son may be caught up in the excitement of getting to know someone new, getting engaged, the whirlwind, etc. Then he gets married, and his testosterone is kicking in, and his wife turns fat on him, it would take a special boy (and a real special relationship) to assure that his mind/eyes/desires won't wander....

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  19. Anonymous...

    I really do not believe that this has anything to do with status or with what my friends think. I really don't.

    BJG...

    That's probably true of a lot of parents. Sometimes it becomes what WE want instead of what they want. I hope I don't ever do that.

    Super Raizy...

    You're right. I will.

    Menachem...

    You're understanding this in a way that no one else here did. That's what I worry about. Not what she'll look like someday...that is not something I would waste time worrying about...because how can you ever know that about anyone? And you'd hope your son would be a better person than that. But...I worry about him getting caught up in all that excitement, and not really thinking clearly.
    I know...I know...he's an adult. I WILL talk to him. Just explaining what's going through my mind.

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  20. But, Mystery Woman, if that is your real concern than it doesn't quite compute--it would seem that you should be more worried he could be carried away by a pretty face, without taking the time to really see if they are truly compatible for marriage. If the girl is a bit heavy, and he'd have a problem being attracted to her in that case, don't you think he'd notice that straight away? If a man is not attracted to a woman, for whatever reason, I find it hard to believe he'd be carried away simply because of the excitement of her being somebody new he's getting to know.

    Just my two cents.

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  21. Anonymous...

    I DO worry about that. That's why I do whatever I can to find out as much as possible about the girl.
    This is not a boy that spends any time with girls. I would worry that the excitement...and nervousness...might not allow him to think clearly.

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  22. I have to quibble with one point, and I will try to be delicate, and not say this is a crude way. Point being made is that if the boy "sees" her and has no problem, then we should assume he is fine with it. However, lets remember that in our culture the boy only gets to "see" so much. Until they are married, she is fully dressed and all dollied up. Only later will he be privy to seeing her in a more intimate setting, and yes, he may be turned off at that point physically.

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  23. Our community doesnt give our kids opportunities to naturally get to like someone for who they are.
    In the secular world you see so many good looking guys with plain looking girls and vice versa?
    How does that happen?
    Hmmm they spend time together in college etc..and fall in love with the PERSON...

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  24. David...

    That's true, but that system doesn't necessarily work better than ours.
    And I see plenty of good looking guys with plain looking girls in the frum community, too.

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  25. My advice for guys:

    Make sure you meet the girl's mother (if she is alive). As the mother is now, especially personality (not talking about looks), so will the girl probably be twenty five or thirty years from now.

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  26. I'm with Wolf on this one.

    I think if you're honest with yourself you'd realize that all your comments and even the post itself are purely rationalizing something you know to be misguided and wrong. If you saw someone else writing them you'd be disgusted and horrified.

    It is rationalizations like this that end up leading to the serious problems we have as a community.

    All seriousness - without saying a word about her, let your son date the girl and see what he thinks of her as a person, which includes her looks. If "the excitement...and nervousness...might not allow him to think clearly", then he really shouldn't be dating yet. And if that would be true for a Size 8 girl, how much more so for a Size 2 girl, right?

    For what it's worth, the only way that line of yours makes sense is if the "right" decision is girls who are a 2 and "wrong" decisions are girls who are 8s. Otherwise, I'm not sure how his excitement and nervousness is only an issue if he dates this girl and not any others.

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  27. A father...

    I'm not sure that's true. A girls who has a similar personality to her mother will be very much like her mother in twenty years. But a girl who is not like her mother at all now probably won't be in 20 years either.

    Ezzie...

    If you read my post carefully, you'd notice that I was not rationalizing at all. In fact, I actually said I'm disgusted with myself. I'm not sure where you're getting that. Read it again.

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  28. Make sure you meet the girl's mother (if she is alive). As the mother is now, especially personality (not talking about looks), so will the girl probably be twenty five or thirty years from now.

    I don't think you can say that as a general rule.

    I have known Eeees for 22 years now. She is, in some respects like her mother is now (or was 22 years ago) -- but in other respects she is not.

    The Wolf

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  29. Mystery Woman and BrooklynWolf:

    Just drawing on my own experience.

    If my son would ask, I would advise him to think VERY carefully if he found the personality of the mother of a woman he is dating seriously to be an issue.

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  30. MW - It's the slow shift in the post, then the comments, where the rationalizing occurs. I get that part of you is disgusted conceptually from the post, but throughout the comments you're defending the approach over and over by adding in 'points' about why the other part of you thinks this girl needs to be Xed off the list.

    It's the "but but" starting in the post and then the follow up throughout - the same concerns you have about (say) Menachem's comment applies to ANY girl - yet you're applying it to this one. It doesn't make sense.

    I understand this isn't a fun process, but if you understand something is wrong intellectually, the fact that it's your son shouldn't suddenly outweigh those reasons.

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  31. Ezzie...

    I talk about the internal struggle in my post. I think it's pretty clear that I'm not proud of myself, but it IS a struggle. I know I'm wrong, but I'm having a hard time with it.
    And in the comments, there's no rationalizing. I'm explaining what's going on in my head...in response to other comments...but I don't think there's any justifying there.
    Menachem's comment DOES apply to any girl. I agree with that. But we're talking about THIS girl.

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  32. I get that this is what's going on in your head, but ultimately which part of your head will win?

    Who cares which girl we're talking about - if your son isn't ready to handle that, it's true for all girls and he shouldn't be dating. If your son is ready to date others, then he's ready here. To apply it specifically here because she's a Size 8 is ridiculous and dishonest.

    Ultimately it will come down to whether you will do what you know to be right, or whether you will act in a different way and justify it (=rationalize) as "looking out for my son"*. I'm hoping that the intellectual will win out.

    * Not that it will. You'll just be reinforcing to him that when it really comes down to it, shallow externals still outweigh morals and intellect.

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  33. Ezzie...

    Lemme ask you a question. This is going to sound really shallow, and contrary to what you think, I am normally not a shallow person. (I agree that this post makes me seem so, but read the rest of my blog.)
    Suppose I have 2 suggestions. I'm looking into both, calling references, and finding out whatever I can. Both sound like great girls. Both seem like really good possibilities. One is pretty and thin, the other a bit chunky and not so pretty. He may get to meet both, but one will have to be first, of course.
    Put yourself in my place, and try to think like a mother for a minute.
    What would you do?

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  34. Flip a coin.

    Seriously -- if the girls are equal in all ways other than their dress size, why is it important to meet the skinnier one first?

    Is it important *to you* that he marries a thin girl? Or am I missing something here?

    The Wolf

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  35. Wolf...

    Flip a coin? Is that what you'd do...honestly?
    It's not "important" to meet the skinnier one first. They may be equal in every other way, but the fact is that one is prettier than the other...

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  36. Yes, that's what I'd do.

    You're imposing your own standards of beauty on your son. Let him decide.

    Ask yourself this question -- if he meets both and he chooses the size 8 girl, is he any worse off?

    If the answer is no, then there is no reason to favor one over the other.

    If the answer is yes, then you have to look yourself in the mirror and answer why it's more important to you that your son have a size 2 girl when it may not matter to him one way or the other.

    The Wolf

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  37. Just wondering - if your son is ready to date, shouldn't he be the one who decides who he wants to date? Perhaps it's not necessary for you to sift through the resumes/suggestions. After all, this is HIS social life.

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  38. Mystery Woman: How do you know that your son won't find the bigger girl more attractive? Unless he said something or you find out as a result of him dating the bigger girl, there's no reason to be "shallow" for him. Once you know that he doesn't like the bigger girls as much, I think it's OK to put the thinner ones first.

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  39. Ok...lemme back up. Somehow this turned into me defending myself. That's not what this was about. I'm wrong. I'm ashamed of myself. I already said that. I also said (a few times) that I WILL talk to my son. So...go easy on me.

    Wolf...

    No, he will not be worse off. Of course not. But I don't think I'm doing this for ME. And I didn't say anything about a size 2.

    tnspr569...

    That may be true, but this is how it's done in my community, and he would not want it done differently.

    BJG...

    That's a conversation I'm going to have with him.

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  40. MW -

    1) I wouldn't be looking into two people at once.
    2) I would never weigh (no pun intended) one girl against another even if two separate came in at once.
    3) If two separate girls were 'redt', then I'd look at the first one that came in ONLY and decide whether she was worth dating on her own merits. If yes, go out. If not, say no, move on to next one.

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  41. MW - I don't think you're "like this" normally - hence why I'm bothering to comment. :)

    As for speaking to your son about it... I'm betting he says "I prefer thin girls", as most guys would. I doubt he knows the difference between a Size 2 and 8, though.

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  42. No, he will not be worse off. Of course not. But I don't think I'm doing this for ME. And I didn't say anything about a size 2.

    So, if that's the case, why is it more important that he meet "the pretty" one first.

    Again, assuming all other things are equal, what difference does it make? Since there is no other basis on which to make a choice (again, remember, we're assuming all other things equal), then why would you favor the one you find (or even that most people might find) to be prettier?

    The Wolf

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  44. BJG - How am I in fantasy land?

    Where I come from, that's what we were taught, and that's how many of the people I know actually do things. I've told off friends (and some strangers) for asking some questions, and recently had a guy date a girl without answering any questions. Guess what - they're dating very seriously now.

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  45. Ezzie...

    Every community has their own way of doing things. Here's how it works...for me.
    A shadchan calls with a suggestion...or 2...or 3... Maybe even 2 or 3 shadchanim in one day. I can end up with quite a few girls at the end of the day. There is no first or second. I'm looking into all of them at once. Not all of them are good possibilities, but those who are...and there will be more than one...I would have to "weigh" it.

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  46. Ezzie...

    If speaking to him is not the solution...what is?? Letting him go out? Then...why choose the heavier one first?

    BJG...

    I think Wolf is the one in fantasy land. What difference does it make?? Really? As a guy...can you honestly say it makes no difference?

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  47. No, I'm not the one in fantasy land.

    I'm sure your son will have a preference for one over the other. But *you're* making the assumption that it's the one that *you* find prettier.

    MW, I think we're losing sight of the goal here. The goal here isn't to find your son the prettiest girl or the smartest girl or the girl with the best personality. The goal is to find your son a girl that he can be happy with, right?

    So, assuming both girls meet all the other requirements and both girls could potentially make your son equally happy, then why show preference to the pretty one?

    The Wolf

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  48. MW - So don't do what your community does if you believe it to be wrong.

    If you get multiple calls, I assume that you're not on the phone with both at the same time. First is first:

    Girl A
    Girl B
    Girl C
    Girl D

    If A is potentially a match, go out with A. After that is done, if your son is still single, try B. Then C. Then D. If one isn't a match, then move to the next one.

    You never, ever should be weighing one against the other. It's horrible. Think about it.

    Let him go out with whichever girl was presented first. If he wants to marry the girl, then there was no mistake. If he doesn't, great - now you can move on to the next one.

    What's going to happen? He might c'v marry the "fat" one? Oy.

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  49. Wolf...

    Absolutely. That is the goal. If both of them meet the requirements, I still have to choose which one he meets first. We live in a world where (right or wrong) externals matter. Not as much as what's inside, but it's important to a lot of people nevertheless. People appreciate beauty. If she is a great girl...and is also pretty...to me that's like a bonus.
    And...why would I show preference for the less pretty girl? To make a point?

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  50. We live in a world where (right or wrong) externals matter.

    Why? Are you afraid people are going to say "nebach, he couldn't get a prettier girl?" if he chooses the less pretty one?

    In short, it should matter to no one but your son -- so let him decide.

    why would I show preference for the less pretty girl?

    I didn't. If you recall, I said to flip a coin. Or go with the one who came in first. Or some other fair method. I think it's wrong of you to your showing favor to either girl based on looks alone.

    The Wolf

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  51. Ezzie...

    I don't believe it's wrong. I know there are other ways, but this works for me.
    Hard to explain...but there really is no first and second. You get a whole bunch of names thrown at you. You get back to the shadchan with whichever names sound promising. They suggest it to the other side...then either get back to you...or not. It's not as simple as you think.

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  52. Aargh.. bad editing.

    I meant to say "it's wrong of you to show favor to either girl..."

    The Wolf

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  53. Wolf...

    That doesn't scare me at all. I think HE might care. And...like I said...I will ask him.

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  54. How is it not wrong? You stated as much in the post.

    There's always a first and second. Someone called first. That's what you really should focus on (and no others). That you decided to look into a whole bunch at once does not mean that you can't help it. You can still put them in the order they were received.

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  55. LOL so you'll be biasing him against one before he even dates her! Nice.

    Let him date and decide what he thinks.

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  56. Ezzie...

    You said, "MW - So don't do what your community does if you believe it to be wrong." in response to my explanation of how things are done in my community. Where did I say I think it's wrong?

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  57. And...like I said...I will ask him.

    But now you're presupposing that beauty (and *your* opinion of beauty at that) = happiness.

    For all you know, the heavier one might make him happier. But if you fiddle with the system, how will you ever know? That's why I believe that you should let him go out with one.. either chosen by chance or based on some other fair method.

    The Wolf

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  58. What is wrong with me? This isn't me. I don't ask the sort of questions that are typically asked. I don't even ask for pictures. I'm the one who tossed the shidduch resume from the girl who put her dress size(size 2) right up there after her name and age.

    I know I'm being ridiculous. My brain knows it. I'm disgusted with myself.

    I know that this poor girl just fell a few notches down my list. I know it...and I'm powerless to do anything to change it.

    I'm no better than the rest of them.

    What's next? Dishes? Tablecloths???

    Shame on me...

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  59. Ezzie...

    No, not biasing him. Have some faith in me. I think I can have that conversation without swaying him in any direction.

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  60. Then why bother? Just let him date.

    At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to: One girl is not as thin as the other, and you're afraid of...

    You're afraid he'll date/marry the one who isn't as thin.

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  61. Ezzie...

    Yes, that attitude is wrong.
    I explained how things are done in my community, and you said, don't do it that way if you think it's wrong.
    I don't think the way it's done is wrong. I think MY attitude was wrong.

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  62. So if you think your attitude is wrong, adjust it, don't succumb to it.

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  63. Ezzie...

    I don't believe that's true. That doesn't worry me.
    I can try to explain why I would rather talk to him first, and not just let him meet first, but then I will have to get into more of what is or isn't "done" in this community.

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  64. Ezzie...

    "So if you think your attitude is wrong, adjust it, don't succumb to it."

    Like I said...I'm working on that.

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  65. I will have to get into more of what is or isn't "done" in this community.

    Try us.

    What's "not done" in your community? Giving girls who aren't fit to be fashion models a fair shot at making your son happy?

    The Wolf

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  66. I'd love to hear more about what is and isn't "done".

    FWIW, I hear that a lot about a lot of things, and yet nearly anyone who is married will tell you that they did things a little different than how they're "done".

    End of the day: Be honest with yourself and do what's right. Odds are, God smiles down more on people who do that. If we don't believe that, we're in the wrong religion.

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  68. I get the impression, from comments you made here and on other sites, that you don't think looks should be important

    I'm not Ezzie, but since we seem to agree here, I'll put in my own two cents:

    Yes, looks matter. But they should matter to one person and one person only -- MW's son. Not MW, not her community. Her son -- and only that.

    If she chooses the pretty girl just because she's pretty (again, all other things being equal) then she is sending the message that the pretty girl is "worth more" on the shidduch market or is the "better catch." And, that, to me, does a great disservice to the many girls who are fine wonderful human beings who weren't necessarily blessed with good looks through no fault of their own.

    The Wolf

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  69. I don't think you're being fair, so I won't respond to that.

    It may have been unduly harsh, and if so, I apologize. But the message, I believe, is still valid.

    The Wolf

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  70. Wolf...

    I don't think you're being fair, so I won't respond to that.

    Ezzie...

    I agree that doing what's right is more important than what's "done". But this is not about right or wrong. It's about different ways of doing things...and some of those ways work...for me.
    I can get into more of what's "done" in my community...if you really want to hear it...tomorrow. I turn into a pumpkin at 5.

    BJG...

    Thank you!! Whew!
    You explained that much better than I could have.

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  71. Sorry...That order is a bit mixed up. Makes it seem like Wolf is psychic. I messed up.

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  72. BJG - LOL, and that's exactly the problem!!!

    Looks *absolutely* matter. So date the girl, and see what you think of their looks after you've gone out a few times. If their looks continue to "bother" you, you'll dump them. That someone decided to be dumb does not justify being dumb as well.

    And I burst out laughing at your description of your dating process. Firstly, I fail to see how looking at multiple people at once has somehow made things "work". Essentially, you get given the same info on most girls that doesn't tell you much, so you look at the next ones in the hopes that one will somehow have something "over" the other to make the decision for you.

    Instead, try just looking at the first one and deciding if she's worth going out with. If she is, great. If not, say no. Weighing one against another just means you're finding flaws or failings in each before you start, which makes you that much more likely to focus on them.

    MW - What "different ways of doing things" - that's a copout answer. Do things that are right, period. Don't do things that are wrong. That it's some people's "way" does not make it right.

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  73. MW,

    At the end of the day, it sounds like your saying that your community's "way" is to give preference for dating opportunities to pretty girls (again - all other things being equal).

    If that's wrong, please tell us how.

    The Wolf

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  74. Ezzie...

    "That it's some people's "way" does not make it right."

    Doesn't make it wrong either. Just different. Those different ways of doing things would explain why such a big part of this decision falls on me, rather than just having my son meet this girl and decide if he's ok with her looks.

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  75. Wolf...

    No, that is not what I'm saying. And that is not "my community's" way.

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  76. No, but the way itself does make it wrong, as you're noting in the post.

    As an aside, you do realize that you could just pass information to your son and let him do things for himself. That it's not "done" doesn't mean you can't see fit to think for yourself, either.

    And even if you are unwilling to buck how things are "done", that doesn't mean you have to also bring in the pieces that are quite wrong such as this - you can decide based on what is right and not what is "done".

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  77. So what is not "done" exactly?

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  78. Ezzie...

    The question is whether or not I think these pieces are wrong, and I'm not sure they are.
    Again...I'm not talking about the attitude I wrote about in my post. That IS wrong. I've said that. I'm talking about the different ways shidduchim are handled.

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  79. Ezzie...

    "So what is not "done" exactly?"

    I will try to find the time to explain it tomorrow. But I'm going to ask you to try to see it with an open mind. If this will just become an opportunity for bashing, I'd rather not have that here.

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  81. This post was a really rude awakening for me. So many people talk about 'those mothers,' and we shake our heads in wonderment over how detail obsessed and superficial the demands of the people who won't even be sleeping with the prospective women are, and how so many things, on paper, are so misrepresented in either direction, and in how little so much of this matters since so much can and does change (such as the body type of this future mom) - and here it is. It actually exists!
    I don't have kids. But I have a brother who is dating, and I know what it means to want 'the best' for him. So when I met a young woman who is breath takingly brilliant, accomplished, thought out, insightful, and sincere, I went ahead and set him up ... even though, to my trained eye, she's a definite size ten. Shocking, I know. But she's tall, so this 'plus size' actually belies a trim and thin girl. She just doesn't look like a victim of the Nazi regime. And I thought it was my brother's call to make, anyway, as far as that goes.
    I am very involved with high school teenagers who are skipping meals and ignoring their natural body types because of this idea that there is something wrong with being above a size four. It makes me ill. The premise in and of itself is so ridiculous it's laughable, at least it would be if it weren't tragic. I want to tell these girls how foolish it is and how they don't need to worry and how this doesn't REALLY matter the way we think it does, but it turns out I'm wrong.

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  82. Anonymous...

    You're not wrong. That is the message we should be giving our girls, and it's the message I give my own daughter. Somehow, I turned into a villain here, and I come across as some crazy mother. I'm not. And if you read the post again, you'll see that. There is no attempt at justification, and I said several times in my comments that I know I'm wrong and I will talk to my son before I make any decisions.
    Just one line I found interesting in your comment...
    "But she's tall, so this 'plus size' actually belies a trim and thin girl."
    That almost sounds like you're defending the fact that you set your brother up with a size 10 girl. Why?

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  83. Mystery:

    I usually check your blog daily, but was away yesterday, and missed out on all this back and forth. I can't believe all the NONESENSE being thrown your way. Really? these guys (or gals) are gabbing the mantle of virtue by claiming looks mean nothing in their pure idealistic perspective? Really? Two girls being totally equal in every way, one being thin and one chunky, flip a lousy COIN? Really? C'mon, they may feel good and noble typing this, but I aint buying. Mystery, you are right in this one, hands down. You recognize your imperfections in your post, yet you are exactly in sync with what most people would be thinking.

    One question. Looks mean nothing. Inner beauty is ALL. Yaakov avinu really had the hots for Rochel, no? In fact he KISSED her the moment he laid eyes on her (don't beat me up for typing this, it's right in parshas va'yeitzei). And why did he love her? Worked his buns off for seven extra years just to be able to marry her. Why? Inner beauty, no doubt, agreed. Personality, I'm sure. But lets not discount one quality she had which said right in the torah. She was BEAUTIFUL. Period.

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  84. Ezzie (and Wolf)...

    Here's what I said yesterday:

    "I can try to explain why I would rather talk to him first, and not just let him meet first, but then I will have to get into more of what is or isn't "done" in this community."

    You asked me to explain, so here goes. I'll do the best I can.

    First let me define my community. I lie somewhere between the chassidic community, where the parents 'pick' a mate for their kid, and the child has only a veto power, which is rarely exercised, because children are raised in a house where parents make most decisions, and this is but one of them... and the yeshivish community, where boys and girls go down a list and dating a nuumber of potentional mates is the norm. Parents seek out the best mate, ofen asking tons of questions and seeking lots of information, BUT the decisions are almost universally left to the children to decide. Dating isnt stressful...boys and girls actually GO OUT and see if they are compatable. And if a shidduch doesn't work out, the parents go to next in line. So where I stand makes a big difference. I allow my children to 'date' and spend time with a potential to see if they are compatible, meaning the decision isnt 95% up to parents. BUT at the same time, I do not want an extended dating period to commence where my son, or daughter, might meet 10 or so potential mates.
    Another thing I should mention is that in my community, boys and girls are very unfamiliar with each other, unlike yeshivish communities.
    So therefore... in my community, my job is to balance what my son will be interested in, and what might happen once he starts dating. The objective I have is to find a good shidduch for him with the closest possibility of it working out, AND one that he will be interested in as well. The best girl might not be the best looking, and in that case it's a no brainer that I will choose the best girl for him to date. But all else being equal, I HAVE to choose the prettier one, because that's who I think he prefers, and I don't want to make him go out with lots of girls.
    Of course money and looks are important. No one says it's the most important thing...but it is a factor, all else being equal...especially if you try to minimize the number of girls he dates. And his dates are mostly sit in ones.
    One other important factor to consider...
    He is used to his sisters. Those are the only girls he knows well. They are thin. And, although I have no data to back this up, boys (and girls) like, or prefer a body type that is 'familiar' to them.

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  86. noam the preacherMarch 10, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    A bit late to the talk.
    i wrote about this once, if a spoken shidduch if not within the range of the doctors height chart then he/she is either:
    1 Unable to maintain self control in the proximity of food. Self control is something one looks for in a spouse.
    2 Unhealthy, issues with the thyroid or digestive system. Even if she is a great personality I would look further.
    3 Diabetic. Might be a great parent/spouse but not my first choice.

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  87. Noam, ever heard of genes? Inherited metabolism? A "large" person can be very physically fit. And some people who are sizes 2,4, or 6 may be out of shape. Just be honest if you like thinner women.

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  88. MW:
    "But she's tall, so this 'plus size' actually belies a trim and thin girl."
    That almost sounds like you're defending the fact that you set your brother up with a size 10 girl. Why?
    Not defending - my point is that size has so much more to do with body type than actual heaviness. I couldn't care less what size a person wears, but if you are bothered by an 8, I merely want to point out that it can be a rather arbitrary number given other factors such as 8 and whatever else.
    The negative associations attached to size numbers bothers me to no end, because there are all sorts of 8's in the world, the number means nothing, and because the Gatekeepers of the All Mighty Hot Stuff Sons are probably more what's feeding the shidduch crisis as well as the girls can't get dates crisis as well as the boys thinking they are Gd's gift to the world crisis. In the meantime if we actually were creating generations of people who could make their own decisions and not rely on rabbis and parents to do the thinking and practically the dating for them, if we could say, you are old enough to get married, you are old enough to, oh, I don't know, decide whom to date and tell her or him yourself if you don't want to go out again, then maybe we would also be raising future leaders and empowered individuals and not a flock of sheep who will end up being just as superficial as these resume criteria encourage.

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  89. .. was supposed to be, such as HEIGHT and whatever else, .. not 8 ..

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  90. Hi Tesya
    Actually I don't like them too thin, they look like they might break. ;)

    Of course you are correct, there are some and some. But I refer the standard, the common not the rarity.

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  91. Interesting little exchange going on here...

    Personally I think it's too idealistic to say that looks don't matter. But what has not been mentioned this whole time is that the two girls aren't equal...because your sister suggested the size 8 and knows her! That should shoot the girl to the top of the list!

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  92. BJG...

    I didn't mean that yeshivish boys hang out with girls. But they do have some exposure, where they can develop some taste for what they like or don't like in a girl.

    Anon...

    I didn't care about the number. I cared that she was a bit...chunky. I just used the number because I thought that was the best way to describe what I meant. I never checked her tags. And I know that not all size 8's are alike.

    SIS...

    That's a good point. Although my sister doesn't actually know the girl. Just the family.

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  93. Oh. So then it's worth something, but not as much. Good luck with this one; in a way you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Maybe make some more calls just to get a clearer picture? Maybe you'll find out something else that you can say no for; on the other hand, it can make it worse. :-) Good luck! Believe me, I understand the quandary...

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  95. I still feel that this quest for 'perfection' is absurd and has created so many problems. Boys feel entitled to the moon, girls starve themselves, people lie, and all for the sake of romance and building a bayis ne'eman? Seriously? There was a time when people had normal ways of meeting and the process was actually pleasant, and honest, and fostered relationships. Once people are reduced to resumes then the smallest and most irrelevant detail is held to a microscopic lens, and then how is anyone supposed to pass?? As it is only the girls who can 'afford' the so called 'good' guys have a chance, and then this gets thrown into the mix.

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  96. A previous commenter describes a tall, trim, thin girl who, upon examination, measures as a size ten. Isn't that backwards? If you actually are seeing the girl and she appears trim, then what does it matter what size she turns out to be? It's like seeing that it's totally dark out Saturday night with plenty of stars visible in the sky, but then checking your watch and relying on that instead.

    If you must, use the size to get only a very general idea of how the girl might appear, and recognize that the information may be unreliable and your understanding of it may be way off.

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  97. My point was exactly that - how meaningless sizes are because someone who I know to be thin and attractive is a size ten - re-read the post, I was echoing your exact thoughts.

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  98. BJG...

    I don't agree. A boy who is sheltered may know whether or not he likes something....once he actually sees it. But forming an opinion about what he likes or dislikes...physically...in a girl, before he starts dating, is unusual.

    Anon 6:30...

    So now you're talking about something else completely - the way the shidduch process works in some places. That's a whole different discussion.

    Anon 10:20...

    If you read my last comment, you'll see that you're not disagreeing with me at all. The point I was making had to do with the appearance of the girl in question, NOT the number.

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  99. 98 comments, congratulations! I don't think I've ever seen so many under one blog post, and you're new! Who wants to be the one hundredth?

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  100. LOL, I'll take the big 100!!! Great blog, Mystery!

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  102. If he is a normal, healthy teenage boy, then yes, he has noticed girls if only when seeing them across the street, inside a store, etc. No doubt in my mind. Also, like BJG said, there is a good likelihood he is not quite as sheltered as you may think he is.

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  103. when did peopel start equating wieght and dress siz with beauty? i know a girl who is hefty. not size 8 - more like 18, but has a beautiful face. and i know girls who are size 2 and horses (in fact, the girls who are so uber thin, look gaunt and unhealthy. mainly cuz they are)
    also, since whe is a size 8 plus size? im pretty sure plus size starts at a size 14. and its different depending on teh height. a girls whose five feet and a size 8 does not have the same figure as a girl whose five seven and a size 8. and quite frankly, id rather be a bigger size and have the curves to fill it, than fit into a sample size becuase "2 is the new 4' or wtvr, and look too skinny. im a girl, and so im not in teh guys head and i dont know what they are thinking, but i am on the receiving ends of the comments, and in my expereince, a little but of curves goes a long way.
    the number on a dress DOES NOT MATTER. if the girl looks good, that it.
    and to whoever wrote that girls are covered up adn guys dont really know... dont try to convince anyone of that. women arent walking around in burkas, and men have imaginations.

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  104. Well it's so nice to see the back and forth of this post...the positives the negatives...agreement disagreement....all I can say is I hope that when it comes to shidduchim with my sons I hope I have the sense to remember all this and make the right decisions regarding what girls they date...hakol miyidei shamayim chutz miyiras shamayim...I strongly believe in that and I hope that whoever my children marry should be their bashert and make them happy and fulfilled inside and out :)

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