Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Other Half

My culture and faith has profoundly impacted my written work. I used to be the Editor of the Judaism site for BellaOnline.com until time constraints forced me to stop. My work remained on the site for a while but has since vanished from the web. I will be posting some of the more resonant articles I wrote here, to keep them real and alive.

I got a lot of flack over this piece, mostly by Jewish men saying it just wasn't so. Well, I can tell you from personal experience that it is. I will add that some of the Jewish men I have dated have gone on to marry Jewish women - only after "sowing their wild oats" and/or finding someone matching and essentially secular and tenuous attachment to Judaism as a culture rather than as a faith.

The Other Half

I wanted to call this article "The Problem With Jewish Men," but I decided against it. This is for all of the Jewish women out there having problems finding a partner. The Jewish singles scene is a difficult place. The gripes of Jewish women tend to focus on – you guessed it – Jewish men.

Before I get started, I just want to say that I do not intend to offend anyone here (although I am sure it is more than likely to happen). I like Jewish men. I really do. I find them sexy, funny, intelligent, and cultured. I like dark hair. I like piercing eyes. I like eccentricities. I think it is cool when someone is close with his mom.

So then, why don’t Jewish men like me?

I’m apparently not alone in my amazement. There are multitudes of Jewish women who have a sincere desire to marry a Jewish man, only to take one look at the dating scene, shrug their shoulders, and ask a resounding “huh?”

The first problem is finding where the Jewish men are keeping themselves hidden. Many of us live outside of major Jewish centers, where a Jewish social scene is non-existent. Plus, Jewish men are more likely to fade into the background. According to Jewish relationship pundit Shmuley Boteach, Jewish men are twice as likely to intermarry than Jewish women.

So what happens to the Jewish women? I think we’re more likely simply never to marry at all. After all, Jews in general tend to get married later anyways, and finding decent, available guys in their 30’s and 40’s without excessive baggage or “issues” is about as likely as winning the lottery.

As a last resort, many Jewish singles are turning to online dating services, such as Jdate.com, one of the most popular Jewish dating sites. Purely in the interest of research for this article (why don’t you believe me?), I placed an ad. I used photographs in which I allegedly look good and which reflect my personality. And much to my surprise, there is a fair amount of men in my locale on the system. Most of them I have never met or dated before.

At last count, my profile had been viewed a grand total of – drumroll please – 19 times.

Men who are supposedly interested in marrying a Jewish woman are not even reading the profile of a single, available gal in their own city. Either something is wrong here, or I am horrendously hideous. (In case you would like to judge for yourself, my profile name is ArtsyGal2652)

However, this is apparently a universal problem. A friend who was recently visiting form California has had similar experiences. She does not yet have a photo on her profile, but as soon as she sends a prospective date her snapshot, she stops hearing back from him. And just for comparison’s sake, she is blond-haired, blue-eyed, and slim. So much for the argument that Jewish guys are only looking for skinny blondes.

Oh, but we don’t seem to have any problem finding non-Jewish guys to date. First off, there are far more of them, and secondly, we’re “exotic.” Halachically, our children are Jewish no matter what. Good deal, no?

Not necessarily. Prospective gentile partners have families also who might object; have their own childhood cultural and religious experiences they may want to pass on to their children (and rightfully so); have issues with our Jewish traditions and practises. Some years back I wrote an article about my Jewish and non-Jewish dating experiences, here. Likely one of the most popular articles I have ever written, sadly, nothing much seems to have changed. We either don’t fit the “mythical shiksa” body type, or we are simply “too Jewish” in practise (even if we are not Orthodox. I have had guys cringe and run for cover when I tell them I don’t eat bacon).

Which brings me to another issue. Many of these guys on Jdate are never-married who are also getting on up there in years. I question just how much of a momma’s boy a man 35 and up is who has never been married. Yes, they are looking hard to find a Jewish woman, but with all of their effort, they just don’t seem to find one they can build a life with. Hmmmm. I know what it is – their standards must just be too high. Yeah, that’s right.

So what hope is there for those of us Jewish single gals who have passed the ‘30’ benchmark? I honestly can’t answer that question. And it saddens me. We live in a world where shallowness and liaisons based exclusively on physical attraction reign supreme, and it is pathetic and discouraging that such this worldly influence has infiltrated our ranks. Instant gratification has replaced the pursuit of higher actions leading us into a deeper relationship with the Almighty. Jewish women are guilty of this also, but Jewish men are far more likely to say they want a Jewish woman, then find every excuse under the sun not to marry one.

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