Monday, August 21, 2006

"So, nu, what are you looking for?"

Have you ever been asked what you're looking for? It's such a deep, potentially mind-blowingly spiritual question, the type of question it can take years to answer. Funny how often it is answered glibly, the answer just rolling off the tongue as if memorized.

Because it was. Memorized, that is. Speaking from the feminine point of view, the "what are you looking for?" question is both dreaded and highly anticipated from the age of sixteen until around twenty or so. After that, it's just dreaded. I personally have only been asked that question a few times, and although I've heard so many relatives, friends, even acquaintances tick off the qualities of their dream husband, I can hardly formulate an answer.

When asked, I tend to start off my reply with what some may regard as endearing, but really is truly inappropriate, giggle. Then I say, "Oh, uh, yeah..." Then, "That's such a good question!"

At this point, my well-intentioned inquisitor has a blank and slightly confused expression on their face. (What? This twenty-year-old girl --who's turning twenty-one within the next year!--doesn't even know what she's looking for??) Their confusion creates my personal sense of awkwardness, like, really, can't I just answer a simple question? And so I laugh and say, "I'm looking for what everyone else is!" Because, really, ask any frum girl what kind of guy she wants to marry, and the majority will say "someone really nice, with a good sense of humor, who sets aside time to learn every day, and either is making a good living or will...and is taller than me..." Yep. It's true. Sorry guys, but it is. And I guess that's what I'm looking for -and the parameters are very general, so it leaves room for individuality and personal preference, and contains both religious and practical elements, and, and, and, and...

Crazy stuff, man. Uch, I can't deal with it. I hate this. Why?

I don't know. Too much pressure? One of my closest friends in the world just got engaged (mazel tov!!), and now many people are looking at me in a new light. In a ohshecouldgetmarriedsoontoo kind of light. But who wants that kind of light shed on her? It's a harsh, unforgiving kind of light, that leads to internal questions and dilemmas and possible letdowns. It casts its glow bright enough that anyone feels they have the right to ask questions about me I wouldn't be comfortable asking myself, and dissecting my character, and examining my life decisions.

And don't tell me I'm exaggerating. You know I'm not. I've seen, and heard, enough of this myself to know what I say is, unfortunately, often true.

But I am not saying the shidduch system is inherently corrupt -it just hurts sometimes, many times. But when it works -oh, wow! A marriage, the uniting of two souls into something greater than the sum of its parts. The spiritual possibilities, the life ahead. The future. Family.

I really want those things. And I want to share them with the right person. But I don't know who he is yet, specifically.

So, do me a favor.

Don't ask me.


FrumGirl said...

That question is the cookie cutter method of questioning to the cookie cutter method of dating. We are all individuals. And its mostly judgemental -that is if we allow it to be.

Okee, you are not the typical girl and I think thats great! Dont let it bother you, though. Anything is possible!

Scraps said...

I know how you feel. I hate that question, too, even though I'm older than you. How do I encapsulate--in a few sentences--the description of the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? And the questions, the criticisms...all so common, and all so painful.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I understand it being very frustrating. People do not understand that it could end up being hurtful. May you find him bekarov.

Pragmatician said...

good for you, while I think that a boy or a girl should have an idea, they do not need to have a professional profile.

So I'm not asking...

Scraps said...

Okee, you might enjoy my latest can probably relate.

David_on_the_Lake said...

ugh...why dont they just make boysd and girls with model numbers...and you can just scan them in..when youre ready to get hitched..?
what about the intagibles..?

Okee said...

sorry...i just started law school, and, uh, you know how that is! but once i get a groove back in my day, i'll be quicker about commenting and

frumgirl -you're right, I'm not typical. But I wonder, is anyone? No one walks around with the self-awareness that they are so un-unique, they are merely a drone. So...huh. Anyway, I haven't yet despaired of finding the "one" -but that is mainly because I haven't really started trying. Another point of atypicality.

Scraps--I can feel the empathy! I already sent you a return hug, but I'll send you another (I don't want any readers -all six of them- accusing me of being stingy): ((HUGS)) and yep, you're so right about it -how can we encapsulate such a huge concept into an itty-bitty sound bite? Well, we have to do it almost every time we get asked almost anything, like "how was your day" or "what's wrong" or "what do you want to eat"...etc.

Mata Hari said...

well what would you do (or ask) if you were trying to set someone up?

Okee said...

sw/fm-- thanks for getting it. I hate ranting, it's not me, but we all lose it once in a while. I just hope the next time I do will be in a very long, looooong while.

prag--oh, yeah, I definitely do have an idea. And, thinking even deeper into the matter, that is the crux of my problem. Although I pretend I don't, I have a very clear, wonderful, dreamy picture in my head of my future husband. And just like 99.999% of all fantasies, it has no basis in reality and probably won't come to be. I know that. Just like I know that the picture in my head is most likely not what I truly need in a husband, so it's alright. But because of all that, I make believe I have no clue what he'll be like specifically, and I want to leave myself (and my heart and my imagination) open to all potential possibilities. I wouldn't want to say no to a prospective bashert just because I didn't picture myself with that "type" before -that would be, yes, stupid. (Sorry to interrupt myself, but the previous sentence in no way indicates that I believe someone can lose a bashert so innocuously. Such a view doesn't fit into my head. I believe that Hashem will somehow, somehow, manage to work around my hypothetical innocent idiocy. But I'd rather not be idiotic, even in the most innocent, harmless sense.)
But you weren't asking, anyway, right?

scraps-- thanks for the update, I'm so slow!!

numbers wouldn't work--all us girls and boys need no more labels to set us all apart when really only one label would do to bring us together: Bnai Yisrael.
And what about the intangibles? Sorry, it's late...

mata hari--good shaila. first, I'd probably make sure the girl is dating. (since I am still single and my bro is a bit young, I'm not in the position to set up anyone of the male persuasion) It's a little scary to be far away from the dating scene and have the question of "what are you looking for?" thrust upon you. Not that I'm speaking from experience... Ok, maybe I am.
And once I know they are ready to date, I'd ask them about themselves, even if I know them. What are their goals- Not what they think their future husbands' goals may be. What are their dreams, their views on life. Their loves and hates. Those questions not only educate a prospective shadchan to a great degree about the type of guy that might suit the shadchanee exceptionably well, but it also spurs on the girl to look into herself, rather than outside of herself, for her own future. It can never be said too strongly or too often that a person must begin to try to know herself before she begins to try to know another.