Frum dating ideas
There has been an outpouring of indignation towards Halberstam’s suggestion; most recently, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote a strong reply (more aptly, a rebuke), arguing that we need to teach men to look below the surface rather than teach women to redo theirs.
Although I am in overall agreement with Boteach about the importance of combating the objectification of women plaguing our society (both frum and secular), as I wrote about in an earlier post, I am afraid that he misses a core problem with Halberstam’s piece – and the world of shidduch dating that it represents.
Some checklists have even become “sophisticated” enough to include the potential bride’s dress size – a sort of insurance policy for the future.
This commoditization is very disturbing and the practical question of what to do about it inspired Halberstam’s controversial piece.
And, of course, Boteach is right that the commoditization of women in the frum world reflects the basest form of disrespect towards women.
But here is where I disagree: unlike Halberstam, I don’t think that this bizarre check-listing phenomenon is the natural way men – frum or secular – relate to women.
In some cases people are set up by friends or family who know of a suitable member of the opposite sex, but the number of possibilities offered in this pool of potential mates is rather slim.
A person’s conscious mind is just the tip of the iceberg and a person’s subconscious is little understood – even by him- or herself.
By attempting to select dates for a man based on a checklist of criteria provided by him, the shidduch system the man to quantify the unquantifiable.
There has been much talk about Yitta Halberstam’s Jewish Press article about the crisis of shidduch dating.
That such a crisis exists is nothing new, as psychologist Michael J. What is new about Halberstam’s article is the suggestion that women would get more dates if they made themselves more attractive through make-up or even surgery.