I was recently looking over a multitude of perspectives on dating, the "crisis," perspectives and frustrations when something caught my eye.The CJF and YUConnects published a video some time ago, and I'm putting the link in here.
A few comments stuck out to me, but the most relevant piece starts at 13:26 with a Shadchanit describing her experiences with what constitutes "good" men and women. She says:
"I probably have more men than I have women, I do. But I have many more good women, then I have good men... a good man is probably somebody who is -probably a professional, going to a professional school doctor, lawyer, industry agent, accountant, somebody who can learn torah, somebody who davens three times a day, halfway decent... what's a good girl? Got lots of those! God girls -pretty, maybe thin, maybe a little zoptick in the right places, pretty smile... so everybody's like that!" (Disclaimer: the transcription may not be perfect, so I urge you to watch it yourself)
Well, when you look at it like that... OF COURSE there'd be less good men! All you need to be a good girl is pretty with a nice smile! The rest, I've gathered... is implied, or assumed... women generally have -or don't need -whatever else it means to be a good girl.
Perhaps these comments are based on what this particular shadchanit hears from the men and women she sets up -what they expect or look for in each other. Then again, maybe not.
But I'm not looking to put a woman in my trophy case, I'm looking to build a home and family with her.
So when I'm dating, I focus much more on her character than her smile -things like caring about halachah (while recognizing and accepting every individual's challenges and fallibility), emotional and psychological maturity, basic respect for people, being a very growth-oriented and nurturing person and of course a desire to fulfill each others' needs. That's my perspective of the necessary characteristics to build a healthy relationship and family with Jewish values.
That is, aside from personal tastes and preferences -and I've got plenty of those -which are much more flexible and should be viewed as the "whipped cream and cherry on top".
Don't get me wrong -I'm a man, and if I don't find her physically attractive, that's unlikely to change (unfortunately) and I'm unlikely to date her. A smile may increase my curiosity, put her on my radar, but beyond that it's really not that important, aside from basic physical chemistry.
A crude way it was once told to me is that "her looks should buy the first two minutes of conversation -beyond that, it's her character and how she treats you that should inform whether you stick around or not."
The more exposure I have to people, the more I think that too many people make a big deal out of petty things.