The title for this article is horrible. It’s a horrible thing to ask someone or to even think. But it got your attention, didn’t it?
I know for a fact that there are couples actively dating where one party is a bit embarrassed by something about the other person – whether it is their appearance or their job, or even the way they laugh or how they eat (lack of table manners), etc. Yet, they still like the other persons but aren’t in a rush to introduce them to loved ones.
It’s a hard situation to be in: On the one hand you are having a great time with someone. You’re both enjoying each other’s company and you have lots in common. But there’s that one issue or attribute about that person that embarrasses you.
Someone recently emailed me about this issue. I won’t publish the (very long) letter, but I’ll provide the Cliff Notes. A woman wrote to me, listing all of her attributes and accomplishments. She wrote that people respect and admire who she is and what she has accomplished. After dating many fellows who she thought were on par with her, and none of them turning out to be her chasan in disguise, she decided to “slum it” (her words, not mine). At the suggestion of a shadchan, she decided to date a gentleman with no formal education, without a degree, to see if this was the type of person with whom she was supposed to be. She ended up having a very nice first date, fun second date, and a great third date with this gentleman. They have since dated for a couple of weeks and things were fine. It just so happened that one night on a date she ran into family friends. Introductions were made, friendly chit-chat was had, and then everyone went off on their separate ways. It didn’t take 24 hours for word to get back to her that she was dating someone “beneath her.” She actually said that those words were used by the couple whom she met. True, the fellow had no degree to speak of, but he was nice, good looking, and made a very respectable living from the field of work he chose to go into. And just like that, the woman began to have her doubts about the man she was dating. She tried to defend the relationship, but was told, “You can do better. I’m surprised you even like someone like him.” What was she to do? She asked me if she should continue on with this fellow or, as suggested, “move on” because he wasn’t worthy of her. She was scared that her friends and family would sneer at him and at her and they would feel that she “settled.”
People, you have to do what you want in life. You are the one that is going to live with the decisions you make!
Oy! People, you have to do what you want in life. You are the one that is going to live with the decisions you make! Yes, it’s fine to take advice from friends and family, but do you want them to live your life for you and make all decisions? This woman wasn’t satisfied with all the Ivy Leaguers she was dating. I would not call it “slumming it” to date someone who didn’t go to college or who doesn’t have credentials after his name. Why? Because you are dating the person, not his pedigree or degree. This young woman didn’t have any doubts about the man she was dating until people whom she knows and cares for made a “rude” comment to her about the lack of pedigree and schooling the man she was dating had.
I went out with a Harvard Law School graduate when I was in my 20s. During the date, he told me that he wasn’t satisfied at the firm he was working at and he wanted to quit to pursue his dream. What was his dream? Teaching high school history! He had all a girl could want: good looks, good personality, the title of being a “Harvard” graduate, but he was miserable! Through the grapevine, I heard that he followed his dream and became a teacher (good for him!). He isn’t embarrassed by his choice. He’s probably much happier now than he was a decade ago. True, he will always carry the Harvard title, but that’s not who he is.
Remember when I wrote of the fellow I met at a speed-dating event who said he was a “garbage man,” because it was helping to pay for his master’s degree, plus the benefits were great? I’m sure girls thought twice about going out with a “garbage man.” I overheard some girls at the event picking apart the fellows at the event, and he was one of them, and they were focusing on his job: “Can you imagine me married to a garbage man? Hahahaha.” What about the girl I had met on a Shabbaton who was a mortician? She loved her job. Yes, it may sound odd to people, but she wasn’t embarrassed by it, so why should anyone else be?
Yes, we all want to marry doctors, lawyers, accountants, or successful business men/women. But reality is that not everyone has model good looks, with an illustrious career, who just happens to be a great person who attends shiurim and gives a lot of tz’dakah. I can’t tell you the amount of emails I receive from people saying that the one they are dating may not be for them because “they don’t have the look” they want. I wrote of this once before, but I’ll write it again. Look at beautiful actors and actresses and then look at their spouses – not the ones who married other actors and actresses. Many times you can say, “Ugh! He/she is so ugly, what did he/she see in them?” You know what they saw? They saw their character, kindness, personality – and that is what they fell in love with. They didn’t care that people said they could do “so much better.” They weren’t embarrassed because they may be a “10” and their spouse is a “5” in other peoples’ eyes. To them, their spouses are “10”s. They don’t care what others think, so why should we?
We’ve all seen couples that look mismatched. It’s acceptable for husbands to be taller than their wives, but I know a few couples where the wife is taller than the husband. I have friend who have told me that she won’t go out with a man who is her height or shorter because it won’t “look right.” What about the couples where the husband or wife is much heavier than the spouse? Some people would say that’s a deal breaker, but these couples don’t care and see the people their spouses are inside, ignoring their outer shell.
If someone makes you happy and vice versa, then go for it! How many years have you been dating without finding someone with whom you connect? Too many, probably. So when you finally find someone who you think may be the one, you’ll let him or her go because you’re embarrassed by something about him/her that another person pointed out, or another may make fun of, when you have no issue with it? C’mon! Grow up! Do you want to get married or not? We aren’t teenagers anymore, where we care what the kids in class are saying about us. We are adults! And we should live our lives and be happy on our terms.
Hatzlachah to you all!
Goldy Krantz is an LMSW and a lifelong Queens resident, guest lecturer, and author of the shidduch dating book, The Best of My Worst and children’s book Where Has Zaidy Gone? She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.