ince Talmudic times, Tu B’Av has been a day associated with shidduchim. While nowadays, the custom to wear white has been extended to Labor Day for those who missed last week’s auspicious date, in the times of the Gemara this was how women would signal eligibility for marriage. More recently, this dress code has been displaced by a much more widely practiced custom: updating the shidduch résumé. Here are my Top 5 shidduch-résumé phrases.
Help me complete this Top-10 list. I’ll start with the first 5.
Out of the Box
Never in the history of shidduchim has anyone looked for someone in the box. The only question is, how far out? Some seek “a little out of the box,” while others more stridently insist “not so so out of the box.” Everyone, however, is in agreement — the box must be exited. When I was dating, I took a contrarian approach. I would show up to a prospective date’s house, ring the doorbell, and quickly hide in an oversize Amazon Prime box. When the parent would open the door, I would wait a moment and then jump out and yell, “Surprise! I’m not in the box.” I was usually returned — plus the cost of shipping.
An old paradox imagines a villager from Crete who states, “All Cretans are liars.” This paradox, originally posed by the Greek philosopher Epimenides, forces you to grapple with the paradox that if the statement is true, then it’s a lie, but if it’s a lie then it’s true. It sometimes seems that shidduch résumés have become modern Cretan paradoxes. “She’s not a wallflower, but she’s not the life of the party.” “Well, she’s open-minded, but also very very extremely closed-minded.” Nowadays, you need a MA in philosophy to understand shadchanim.
Trendy but Tzniyusdig
The two most popular boxes to check off on your shiddush résumé are undoubtedly “Trendy” and “Tzniyus.” It is the ultimate hedge. Why should you be forced to choose between Bais Yaakov sensitivities and Bizarrely-Oversized-Sunglasses sensibilities. Find a girl who can do both.
She’s a baalas chesed. For many that’s enough. But if you want to really make your résumé shine, it’s just not enough to just be nice to your siblings and family, or even others in your community. Too vanilla. Everyday acts of kindness are so last year. Very 1980s. A wow shidduch résumé touts exotic and glamorous chesed experiences. Traveled to Nigeria to set up e-mail accounts for African children? Now you’re talking. Forget your siblings and family. Chesed starts in a different hemisphere.
You’ve got your schooling history, sibling names, and some references. What are you missing? Your W-2. Of course, you can’t just include your W-2, I mean what about 1099 and K-1 income — not to mention that including this might be a little crass. Instead, a classy shidduch résumé will hint more subtly at the family’s financial situation. Don’t include any hard numbers. Just add “Very comfortable,” and — so it’s clear — follow it with a winky emoji.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 721. Thanks to Moshe “Trendy and Tzniyus” Kaminetsky)
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