Monday, August 26, 2013

Not Picky, Discerning

As someone whose teeth grind whenever an idiot launches into unasked-for detail how "single" automatically means "picky," it's a real sandbag in the head when I find myself on the other side. 

Sure, I've got criteria. One can date for only so long before she notices a correlation between "Marry me!" and a certain quality in the bachelor idly swirling the straw in his drink across the table.

OK, I'll start at the beginning. 

I was reading a Bad4 recommendation (yes, I read other books beyond Bad4's suggestions, but they mostly involve surviving the Plague, not the singles scene) entitled Data, A Love Story by Amy Webb. Webb, an non-religious Jew, succumbs to post-bad-date misery and in a fog of cigarette smoke and wine, scribbles down all the characteristics she truly wants in a man. The list goes on a bit (I don't think I could come up with 70 criteria points).
Focusing on her online dating profile, she goes so far as to erect false male avatars on JDate to stake out what she refers to as "the competition." (Hint: Fabulously skinny, false sports fans, shiksas, and of course, blonde.)

Webb constantly uses words like "data" and "crunching numbers" and "spreadsheet"—the only Data I'm into is a fictional android—so I didn't pay that much attention when she got technical. 

However, those supposedly earth-shattering conclusions that she "discovered" did not need math or dummy dude profiles to find out. I would think that it is obvious that shrewd photo selection can make a big difference—makeup and a decent outfit does do wonders, who knew! 

Oh, her "genius" epiphany is not to primarily gush about her impressive job as though her dating profile was a professional résumé. Duh. No guy needs to hear about her high-powered gig; most aren't interested in the details of how one earns the rent payment. They want to hear about interests. I could have told her that, sans statistics. 
But anywho, back to her male screening system. She made up a list of desired characteristics and scored potential dates by whatever info they had available before she was willing to go out. 

As a single Jewish female who periodically receives male profiles, I've been doing this for years. "He's kind of iffy about his job, and spends more time rhapsodizing about his love of 'extreme' sports. Nope, not for me." 

What is for me? I'm not going to plapel the quirks that makes me swoon, but it's not a build like Paul Bunyan. 

A friend of mine insists that she is adamant about height; she wants a tall guy. Now I will shamefacedly confess that when she first said that, I actually (silently) channeled my great-aunt. "Vhat, a six footah? Neeeee, don't be so picky." (The line should have a strong Hungarian inflection.)

But what makes my desires any less valid than hers? What makes me go weak at the knees is most definitely more personality-based; yet does that make my preferences somehow nobly permissable? Yet I am also—no need to remind me—"still" single, for all my "reasonable" expectations. I'm in no position to cast judgment on the criteria of others. 

To continue: Webb found her husband in a surprisingly short time after she stopped being open to every schmo that crossed her path.
Amy Webb & Husband (a doctor, of course)
Obviously, there are a few chinks in Webb's system: (1) This is applicable only to the online dating world, and someone's potential spouse may not necessarily be there, on the same website; (2) Just because it went quickly for Webb makes it her own individual story, not a proven successful "method"; (3) Again, her "conclusions" were not brilliantly mathematical in nature, only commonsensical.

(As an aside, I found her being quite obvious in insisting how attractive she is in general, along with relating every time someone called her "beautiful." She posits that she has a quirky sense of humor—she even prefaces the book with a disclaimer that the reader will laugh out loud [I didn't]—but she seems to focus simply on vulgarity. Obscenity is not funny. It's just obscene.)

But in order to be discerning, one does seem to require a few years of dating experience. My approach to Bachelor #3 does differ from Bachelor #33. I don't want to say that I'm jaded, but I am wary. My glance can flick over a guy's photo and his "About Me" section and I can make a few conclusions right away. Often, in person, I was right. 

Being "open" gets old real fast, like in Webb's case. All that leads to is a string of throwaway evenings and crappy self-esteem. I have decided that it is permissible to have a few deal-breakers.

There are some characteristics that paper can't tell me. But for what paper can tell me . . . if it important enough to him to write it down, I might as well take it into consideration and not ignore it, rather than rationalize, "Oh, when he meets me he'll change his mind." 

"Thank you, but I don't think it's shayach." Love that phrase.    


Sefardi Gal said...

Stick to your list of needs, and I have no doubt you'll find Mr. Right. After all, don't forget, you're pretty awesome!

I remember my syas days...there were those disaster profiles were completely written by the guy's ego, the ones that could've been written by their 10 year old nephew, and then the normal ones.
But about the being a pro at reading resumes/profiles, don't be so sure! I also thought I was a pro. But I totally misjudged my husband's personality based on his resume, our first phone convo, and our first date.
Well, I didn't misjudge; there just wasn't enough info. Some people are so deep & have a lot to offer but just don't know how to properly & easily express themselves.
So don't be too quick to judge with the profiles. :)

Princess Lea said...

I actually prefer it when they don't write to much about themselves. I don't write too much myself. Most of my assumptions are drawn when they write TOO much.

FrumGeek said...

At first when I read the title I thought Data fell in love!?! D'awwww!

(I just saw the episode where Data experienced anger (bc he was being manipulated by his evil twin brother of course). Gosh, he's my favorite! He can make you laugh one second, and the next give you chills when he's talking about killing gave him pleasure.)

Princess Lea said...

I think Data became much less fun when his emotion chip fused to his neural net. The whole joy of Data was due to his lack of emotion, his "androids say the darndest things." Lore was so cruel, and had terrible wardrobe. Brent Spiner doesn't smile pleasantly.

FrumGeek said...

I think that worked though. His smile was supposed to make you feel uncomfortable.

Princess Lea said...

Brent Spiner's smile always makes me uncomfortable! He looks like he's about to go for the jugular.