Friday, February 22, 2008

It takes a strong man to stand by a strong woman. This season's Lilith has an interesting/frightening report on online dating and the single Jewish woman. Basically, men don't want serious relationships until they're in their 30s, which is when they start trying to pick up 20-something women. But women in their 20s are too focused on their careers to notice, so Jewish women don't get married. Yay! I have to say, on some level, this article is a complete condemnation of Jewish women. It paints us as hopelessly self-involved and uneducated about how to successfully form and nurture romantic attachments. There is a slight mention that men also contribute to the marriage shortage because the Internet allows them to stay single indefinitely (Why settle down when there's a whole catalogue of women to pursue?), but mostly the blame is placed on women not knowing what they want or how to go about getting it.

I think this may be an accurate portrayal of some women (I actually know middle-aged women who are like this); there are women who stay stuck in the same dead-end patterns of finding a mate because they focus on superficial details instead of substantive qualities. But the part of this that scares me is the hopelessness of the situation. For example, according to the article, men don't like women who are smarter or more ambitious and/or successful than they are. Great. As a highly-educated, ambitious woman, what am I supposed to do? Have a lobotomy? Not go to graduate school? Why is it always incumbent upon women to change--to dumb themselves down or sex themselves up--so as not to threaten the oh-so-delicate menfolk?

The article does make a good point: Women spend too much time in unpromising situations (I, for one, am extremely guilty of this). Women (and men) also tend to value the appearance of a relationship--What is his career? How much does he make?--and not how the relationship feels or how you interact. But I can't get over of the terrifying thought that, even if you don't care about these sorts of things, you're still doomed because men are babies. What's a girl to do, aside from date 30 year-olds?

Alright Internet, here's my list of adjectives (in no particular order) which, when strung together, hopefully describe an actual person: Practicing Jew, college-educated, stable, laid-back, communicative, understanding, good listener, non-smoker, driven, kind, funny, smart, patient, attentive, affectionate, self-confident, self-aware, engaging, feminist a huge plus. I don't care about career or income or taste in music or how close he is with his family or any of that malarkey, though I probably wouldn't have the patience to date an actor or a model. If it's not too much to ask, I'd also like it if he was at least 5'10", had a full head of dark hair, and a beard (I really like beards). And since I'm fantasizing anyway, I request Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy, but Jewish.

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