Ihave a daughter in shidduchim who’s in her mid-20s. She was recently redt to a 30-year-old bochur and we were explicitly told that he’s “very into looks.” Now I’m not naive; I know that looks are important and it’s an unstated (usually!) given in a shidduch. However the fact that this is how a close friend described him threw me for a loop.
No matter how pretty a girl is and my daughter B”H is quite pretty no girl wants a husband who is “into looks.” If I say yes to such a shidduch am I setting my daughter up for a lifetime of having to look over her shoulder of a husband constantly putting pressure on her to look amazing? Someone who will watch every bite she eats and comment on her appearance when she goes out etc.?
I don’t go for the “if everything else sounds good then…” train of thought but on the other hand my daughter isn’t getting younger. She wants desperately to get married and shidduchim are so hard to come by. How should I approach this?
Into Middos not Looks
DEAR INTO MIDDOS
Before I offer my opinion I’d like to validate your pain. It must be very hard to consider a shidduch like this when it seems so distasteful. One of the most difficult parts of older singlehood is the constant reassessing of values and measuring them against the yardstick of our most cherished values of marriage and family. What are we willing to give in on to attain marriage?
You ask some poignant questions that have no easy answers.
Are you setting your daughter up for a lifetime of looking over her shoulder? Very possibly maybe even probably. Is that ideal? No. Is it reason enough to say no? Let’s explore that.
Unfortunately this focus on looks has become more prevalent than any of us would like to admit. And while I agree it’s crass to actually say it I’m sure there are plenty of boys who feel it even if they don’t say it.
Your daughter is in her mid-20s. What does she think about this? Is she secure enough that she’s comfortable in her own skin? Some girls pay that much attention to their own looks and this mentality is something they’re comfortable with. It’s not a great middah and it’s certainly not impressive but depending on where your daughter stands on this issue it’s not necessarily a deal breaker. This is her life; I’d like to hear her voice.
First please make sure that the resistance you feel here is shared by your daughter and is not just your own distaste before you nix the suggestion. We like to assume our children have absorbed our values by osmosis but this isn’t always the case. There’s a lot of extrapolation going on here. You’ve heard one comment about him and have passed many judgments and anticipated many hurdles as a result of it. I am wondering where your faith is in your daughter. If in fact she’s a product of your home and if he in fact is as shallow or damaging as you believe this shidduch will go nowhere fast. One or another of them (maybe both) will find that this doesn’t fit. I don’t know that you need to decide that for them in advance.
Second I think this has to be weighed in the larger context of his middos and hashkafos. Is he “into looks” because he’s insecure and needs to have the prettiest girl; because he’s been exposed to too much and needs his wife to match those standards; because he’s competitive etc. or does he just need a pretty girl and is being honest? If this is symptomatic of any of those other issues and manifests itself as a general middos or hashkafic issue I’d be more concerned.
I definitely think your daughter should know this going out so that she can assess the issue with her eyes wide open. Does she feel he is present when he’s with her or does he exhibit a certain restlessness? Insecure or competitive people have a hard time being in the moment. They’re always scoping the environment to see who or what else is better. Does she feel like he’s looking her up and down? Does the conversation always center around other people and how they look etc.?
If she’s satisfied with his middos otherwise and this is a pressure she’s willing to live with then that’s a choice she gets to make. She may prefer it to being single.
Hatzlachah with this painful choice
Sara Eisemann LMSW ACSW is a licensed social worker and a columnist for inshidduchim.com. She also lectures on topics related to relationships personal development and growth. She welcomes questions comments feedback and interaction at email@example.com.