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Mar 22, 2012

Date By Proxy (And Other Addled Expectations)

Time to weigh in on my reaction to this article from the Jewish Press. Simply put, it's a mother's stream of consciousness about shidduchim, particularly throughout her experience meeting young women to determine their fit for her son.

Hold on a moment, is that what I think it is? It's speed dating, but instead of the man meeting women and making his own determination, his mother is in the driver's seat! Because clearly he can't be trusted to make that decision on an actual date, nor can he be bothered to make a decision of who he dates.

Honestly, how will that not further embed a deeply seeded entitlement in men when it comes to dating? I can hear it now... someone makes a suggestion and the guy nonchalantly replies, "she can arrange a first date with my mom. If that goes well, I'll take her out on a date myself." I bet the woman would have to plan the date too... because of course she wants to impress the mother.

Hearing the mother talk about how to be sensitive, instead of trying to instill the value in her son and sending him out into the dating world with humility and empathy... is shocking, but I think quite typical in the dating world. Why she looks at the women as though they need to be dressed to date when she claims the focus is simply to gather impressions of the women (if that is what "gently ferret out vital information" means to her) is beyond me. I have another smart idea for the next event, the mother should take snapshot of each woman on her cell phone -it will be more candid than those profile pictures -and send her son a text with some tagline like "she's a keeper!"

The sheer amount of social programming in the expectations was bursting from every paragraph in the article. From the women all wanting learners and being singularly cookie-cutter in their demeanor to their devout commitment for the perfect learner, and let's not forget the comparison of "eidel Jewish girls" to the airbrushed, plastic-surgery enhanced supermodels in magazines -just brilliant.

Oh, and let's transform women's bodies into "beautiful swans." Yes. Let us make them in our image rather than accept that we are each created in God's image. Because it's much easier to have plastic surgery than work on our characters, teach sons to accept women as they are -exquisite and beautiful -by learning to find the beauty in her. What a wonderful way to emphasize the things that truly matter in dating.

Oh, and I do believe Esther actually did not try to make herself beautiful. The way she "found favor" in the eyes of the king was her character

I shudder to think where this is going.

However, I do appreciate one thing, the paradigm shift in understanding that people are not searchable goods; relationships are experiences and the interactions between people that build great relationships cannot be predicted by the bland information on a resume, profile or other informational document, no matter how thorough.

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