Dear Rabbi and Shira,
Hi! I love your column. I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I’m 27, and single. I have met with many shadchanim but to no avail. I’m not weird, and am pleasant to look at. I find I’m not getting dates, mostly because I refuse to send a picture with my shidduch profile. I feel there is a double standard in play. How can one say no to pictures of women in newspapers, advertisements, and then demand a full body picture of me? It is very hypocritical. Then to compound things, I started making an online profile, and before I even completed it, a matchmaker set me up with someone who I know, that might look “good on paper”, however he is completely not shayach. How can a shadchan make a suggestion for me when I didn’t even write anything about myself. Are they blindly clicking?
No pictures please in Gravesend
Dear No Pictures Please,
We’re sorry to hear that you are so frustrated with the system. One of the difficulties that people are having in finding a match is that there is no one actual standard way that it must happen. Some people meet through professional or semi- professional matchmakers, others on website. Others have friends and family who “happen to meet someone” and suggest a friend or family member. Still others will meet their spouse naturally or at a singles event. While having different options can be advantageous, having so many options can be very overwhelming.
Feeling powerless, our distress mounts and it begins to wear us down. The more we focus on this feeling, the worse it feels. We begin to worry, our heads begin to swim, and we lash out in pain, or desperately grasp whatever we can to try to control.
These feelings are often compounded when shidduch suggestion is off base. Many times we feel it to be reflection of our self worth, and it is an attack on ourselves.
When you feel this stress, seek methods to cope and manage it. Practice self-care, learn to breathe mindfully, to relax your body. It so crucial that you find a hobbies and interests outside of dating. In terms of a career, we find many people do not pursue the careers of their dreams because someday soon with Hashem’s help, they are getting married. Don’t put your life on hold because you are looking for a soulmate! Pursue your other dreams and goals. Of course, we should daven, and remember that Hashem runs the world. By letting Him, we take a large amount of pressure off of ourselves. Finally, if the daily day to day becomes too difficult to manage, seek professional help.
Regarding your question about pictures. There are two different schools of thought regarding pictures.
On one hand, some people want to have a sense of what the other person looks like. Having a picture of a face, can be helpful. Not necessarily a glamorous “frum vogue” photoshoot, but a picture that will give an honest sense of what someone looks like. We would be remiss if we did not to mention that by not including a picture in your resume, many guys, their mothers, and shadchanim will pass your shidduch profile over as they receive many each week.
However, sometimes people are not photogenic, nor do they look like they do in the pictures. Sometimes, a pile of shidduch profiles becomes simply a search for a pretty face, and it is important to remember that a picture is only skin deep. One shadchan friend of ours, refuses to send pictures. She feels that with a little effort, a couple of google searches, you’ll find almost anybody’s picture. She doesn’t need to provide people with catalogues of pretty faces for them to choose “the fairest in the land.”
We understand your principles, and hear the reasons why you would not want to submit a picture. At the same time, we also can see how it could be advantageous to do so. Since there are compelling arguments on both sides, if you find your approach is not working, perhaps you might consider trying submitting a picture in future.
Good luck in finding your match!
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack
Reuven Boshnack LMHC and Shira Boshnack, M.Ed. are OU-JLIC Torah Educators at Brooklyn College, where they support hundreds of young people on campus through Torah learning, programming and halachic and personal guidance. The Boshnacks started the now popular JLIConnections, an online dating platform for OU-JLIC students and alumni. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of OU-JLIC or the OU.
They can be reached at Rabbireuvenandshira@gmail.com
Rabbi Boshnack’s New Sefer Pathways To the Heart can be purchased at http://kodeshpress.com/bookauthor/boshnack-rabbi-reuven
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