Friday, March 2, 2012

Interfacial Shidduchim

I'll admit, I am guilty of thinking this: 
He is gorgeous. And she is . . . well . . . as my Bobby would say, a maidel in a klaidel (a girl in a dress).
I am not proud. 

I also make those observations the other way around. Like if she is slammingly beautiful and he is a tubby, balding fellow with a receding chin. 

Those are my initial impressions, bred in me by my aesthetic-obsessed heritage.  

Belinda Luscombe addressed this in TIME magazine a few years ago. Apparently, she has had people blatantly remark on her husband's breathtaking looks, while pointing out her plainness. 
As in so many other areas of discrimination, women face double jeopardy. Guys who marry a few rungs up the looks ladder are rock stars or rich or have, I don't know, beautiful penmanship. Women who marry up, well, they're deluded. Their husbands must be gay or have really bad bacne to even look at them. And the standards are ridiculous.
It's an hysterically written article, so check it out. 
These are all challenges that scummy-yummy couples must deal with to survive. And that's before you get to the big questions: Do you raise the children as attractive or hideous? Or try to find a middle ground--you know, sorta cute? Do you celebrate beautiful-people holidays (Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras) or Oktoberfest? Very few mismatched pairs can work through these issues on their own.
Most of the world wouldn't bat an eyelash if an interracial couple strolled together down the street, but if one spouse is of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie proportions and the other is  . . . not, somehow that seems to excite comment.
La Belle et la Bête (1946)
I've always believed that personality can conquer all. It happens so often that I meet an incredibly bad-looking woman, and after ten minutes of conversation I am absolutely smitten.  

To illustrate: I was at a kiddush, where the women were mingling together and their husbands were across the way, chatting with their buddies. There was one couple that stayed together the whole time.

The husband was incredibly handsome, tall, broad, full head of hair, and sharp shoes. His wife was incredibly bad looking, figureless, wearing everything that was wrong for her. But he remained glued to her side, even while she socialized with others, gazing into her face, inquiring of her opinion—and they were married for probably ten years. She appeared to take his constant presence by her elbow as a given. I don't see much devotion like that nowadays. 

When it comes to dating, I have said I don't care about looks. "Women fall in love with their ears" and all that jazz. There actually is something to this inner-beauty stuff.
By that same token, I can meet absolutely breath-taking men or women and be so appalled at how they behave that I am gagging in disgust. 

I really am surprised when girls I know are demanding dates with physique and looks. Frankly, I know many svelte grooms who quickly balded or hit the cholent to make that a criteria. I know of maybe one man who is 95, still unlined and stunning. He can't walk, but he is very pleasant to look at. His wife seems happy. 

Not many women have such guarantees of the staying power of her husband's handsomeness. I can't take the chance that genetics or takeout won't fail me. With personality, there's less chance that I'm flipping a coin for the future.

By that same token, there are plenty women who were rather plain on their wedding days but became more style- and Sephora-conscious over the course of their marriage, soon outshining their comely spouses.

So while my first thoughts towards an interfacial couple is less that complimentary, I can kick those into submission pretty easily. They must have the match of souls.


ZP said...

Interesting post! You are right, in that we think it is more "normal" for a very pretty girl to end up with a not so good looking guy and not so much when its visa versa.

But the truth is that love IS blind. And attraction/chemistry/connection is not just based on looks.

Anonymous said...

it's an interesting dilemma. i have been dating - happily, for quite awhile - an amazing guy who some people may not think much to look at first glance (coughmymothercough). i have had friends say to me, "but don't you want someone more in shape/more hair/that you are wildly, animally-attracted to?" it scares me when people say this to me. on the one hand, of course i would like it if he were more in shape, and i feel guilty about that. but i can't imagine letting go of the wonderful, kind, perceptive, hilarious and caring person he is because he is bigger than your average male model. is that enough to go on? what do you think?

Princess Lea said...

ZP: Love shouldn't be about looks. It can't be that chemistry is only activated by pretty eyes.

Anonymous: Ha! My parents are the same way when it comes to looks. When I was out with the first guy I really liked my parents were freaking out how scrawny he was. But I was so taken with his humor I didn't even notice.

Consider this: If not for your friends' (unnecessary) comments, would you even think twice? "Animal attraction"? Ew. You know how many animals mate for life? Not enough.

And who knows; sometimes guys can get in shape further down the line. Or after you're married you give him good food so the weight falls off.

"Wonderful, kind, perceptive, hilarious and caring" men do not grow on trees. Ignore other people's petty observations and walk off into the sunset with your dream man. That is the same exact package I am looking for, and I can always give the wrapping paper a makeover.

FrumGeek said...

I love this post! And it's sooo true! There are pretty girls who I felt really attracted to, but after a conversation or two, not so much. And there were very plain, and yes, heavy girls who I was not so attracted to initially, but one conversation later, and I couldn't figure out how this girl wasn't married yet! It's funny, I had a neighbor once who was a really good looking guy who's wife was obese and not all that attractive. I remember not understanding how they ended up together,how this guy could want to marry her, when he's tall, thing and handsome, and she's... not. It was only a few years ago when I realized that chemistry and attraction can develop absence of looks, to the point that while the looks may not be exactly what you had liked, it really doesn't matter, because her mind is the most beautiful thing of all.

(Then, oddly enough, this person begins to look more and more attractive to you the more you get to knew 'em. It really is amazing.)

@Princess Lea: Yeah, I have the feeling that parents stop a lot of relationships that could work out by stressing how unattractive the person their child is dating is, even if the child doesn't mind. I know my parents, well mostly my mom, is adamant about having a thin daughter in law, while I personally care less so. As long as I find her attractive enough and love the girl, what difference does a few pounds make?

Princess Lea said...

FG: And also, pounds aren't necessarily forever, whether if one is initially skinny or heavy.

Goodness, your parents must have Hungarian stock . . .

FrumGeek said...

Actually, both my grandmothers are Hungarian :P

Princess Lea said...

I KNEW it. One can't take Hungary out of the einikel . . .