Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"You're Never Going to Get Married"

I figured it would be amusing to recap all the reasons that supposedly I was "never going to get married." These were all told to me by various people: parents, friends, teachers and so forth.

1. You went to a non-Jewish high school! And you switched out of Bais Yaakov to go there!
2. You're too well-read.
3. You're too intelligent.
4. You're too intimidating.
5. You walk outside in the street in a jean skirt thrown over pajama pants and a big comfy sweatshirt with ratty hair done up in a pony tied with a rubber-band while wearing flip-flops
6. You're not frum/ Charedi enough
7. You're too particular
8. You're not interested in going to a shadchan
9. You don't want to date all those boys you're friends with- what about what's-his-name from the Medical Ethics Club?
10. You're not interested in dating at all
11. You believe in fairy tales and this is reality
12. What you write is too controversial
13. You don't like the whole resume/ references/ research system
14. You read all of Shakespeare
15. You scare guys away (I didn't really understand this one but I guess the person thought that I take out my fangs and turn into a vampire on dates)
16. What you write is too graphic/ explicit
17. You're looking for something that doesn't exist
18. You live by your own rules/ march to your own drummer and boys don't like girls who don't want to live by their rules and in fact you ought to listen to your husband
19. You're too stubborn
20. I'm the one who really loves you and you won't date me, ergo.
21. I hate you and you ruined my life and therefore I hope etc.

Were you ever told you weren't ever going to get married? If so, what reason were you given?

Addendum: My mother would like me to clarify that she never told me I wouldn't get married, rather that I simply wouldn't look attractive in my shlumpfy clothes.


ksil said...

we are obssessed with "getting married" like its the end all be all for our lives. without it there is no meaning. i am sick of that attitude

Malka said...

Oh my Gosh, that's hysterical! (Mainly because it's true.)

It was implied at one point that I might be a bit intellectually intimidating, but that didn't bother me in the least: my brother is at least as brilliant as I am, ergo there are brilliant boys. Assume that brilliant boys aren't scared of brilliant girls. Conclusion: "you won't get married because you're too smart" is false. Corollary: "you won't get married because you're too smart" is an argument only stupid people would make, and I don't have patience for stupid people, so my chassan is not stupid, so he will not make that argument, so he'll have no issue marrying me. Eyeroll.

The argument that concerned me a little more was "...because you won't listen to anyone besides yourself." Didn't understand it at the time, so I laughed it off with similar logic as used above. It's a little clearer to me now: when the "you don't listen" argument was made, I could be described (best?) as "contrary." It is very difficult to have an adult relationship if you're always out to prove the other person wrong.

Chana said...


I 100% agree with you and in fact even wrote about that here under the title "I Am Not A Tragedy". It's just that, as it happens, I was lucky enough to have a fantastic person find me and I'm excited about it and amused by everything everyone always said to me re: why I'd never get married.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Malka it's hysterical because it's true.
I am told I'm too short, too intimidating, too smart, and my favorite to unique in my hashkafah (pretty much what that meant was I went to Bais Yaakov and don't think like one - I am open minded, in the repsect that I accept and repsect other people) :)
and I think to myself is a guy actually marrying me or what society expects one to marry. don't I want a person who loves me and respects me for my ma'alos and chisronos; for my kochos?!? compromise is important but why should I settle, especially because of the gifts which hakadosh baruch gave me!
so thanks everyone for the advice, but I am happy being TOO confident, TOO strong, and TOO happy with who I am as a bas yisroel/person to SETTLE for someone who won't love every aspect and part of me!
One piece of advice to everyone who stresses: just remember as long as you do your hishtadlus Hakadosh Baruch Hu will look out for you :-)

fudge said...

You covered most of mine. An interesting addition is, "You don't believe in yourself," along with, "You don't know how to have a healthy relationship"...

Malka said...

You said it, Anonymous (1:52)!

hi said...

I was told b/c I'm too smart (and therefore too intimidating), too well-read, and didn't pay enough attention to my appearance. Not only did I get married, I was 19 and the first in my class! Goes to show how much they know...

BTW, my husband, who is a genius (I wouldn't settle for less) actually told me that in his family, all the men look to marry women who are smarter than them.

Anonymous said...

^^^ Sad that being 19 and first in your class is viewed as being an accomplishment.

hi said...

I'm not saying it's an accomplishment, I'm just sticking to all those people who made intelligence out to be this big liability. Also, it's nice to say, "well I'm smart and everyone said I'd never marry, but I did", but if it didn't happen till you were 32, then those people will just cluck their tongues and say "well, she married so late because she was too smart and scared too many guys away, and there's probably something wrong with her husband anyway". The point of how ridiculous this all is becomes much stronger when someone with all the "wrong" traits still gets married at the "right" age. I must say, reaction to the news of my engagement was rather entertaining...

RT said...

Congrats on finding Mr Right, Chana...despite all "the flaws"ascribed to you.

Philo said...

It's a tragedy that the list is mostly things that tell girls not to express their individuality or creativity. That's a horrible thing to do to young women.

It's also insane that people have been telling you these things when you were so young, as if marriage was the only goal in your life.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that the vast majority of these reasons have to do with the fact that you're Orthodox. No non-Orthodox person would ever say most of these things to a non-Orthodox girl.

Shades of Grey said...

Great post! I think Anonymous 1:52 PM really sums it up best. Anyone who thinks that the characteristics that define you are insufficient to get married just means that:

A) They aren't the one you're going to marry.

B) None of the people they know are going to marry you (at least according to their mind's understanding of those friends/relatives/acquaintances - and they could be totally wrong).

C) They don't appreciate who you are and what makes you unique.

D) They are expressing a very unfortunate lack of belief that G-d "runs the show" and knows what He's doing. If anyone who told you that you'd never get married for reason X really knew what they were talking about, I'd like for him/her to fill us in on how they get their tidbits of Divine foreknowledge.

Anyway, you've proved all the naysayers wrong at any rate (by becoming engaged, and G-d willing getting married, soon) - and I congratulate you on doing so - on your own terms.

May you and Heshy be zoche to build a bayis ne'eman b'yisrael to the most fulfilling extent possible, and be a shining beacon to all the negative Nancys out there who discourage the more intellectual, motivated, etc etc singles out there!

Irina Tsukerman said...

Goodness, I've been told the same thing and for many of the same reasons (except for "not being frum enough, etc."

Oh, there were a few other reasons not on the list, including:

1. Guys are looking for a housewife/servant
2. You're too independent
3. Your standards are too high.
4. You're too picky (3 and 4 are very different in my opinion)
5. You're not feminine enough.
6. You'll never find anyone who'll be willing to put up with... (insert various things)
7. Unless you're willing to become Orthodox, you won't find a guy who both fits your standards and will accept your views on (lack of) premarital relations.
8. You are too (emotionally) high maintenance.
9. You're a bit too much.
10. You're not THAT great/you think too highly of yourself.
11. You're going to get fat in a few years.
12. You're too thin. (I'm not joking, I've heard both).
13. You're too pushy.
14. You're not pushy enough; someone will snatch the guy away from you.
15. You're a nudnik/nag.
16. You have a horrible/impossible personality.
17. You're too weird.
18. You're crazy.
19. You probably won't earn enough. (!)
20. You can't have both a career/the kind of career you want and a family. (I'm a lawyer).

And while I'm still nowhere near getting married, I do think "never" is a pretty long time. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who wrote that people look upon marriage as a "prize" that one needs to be special enough to attain. plenty of people get married for the wrong reasons and end up unhappy or divorced. this attitude is one that is fostered in frum schools and communities. don't get me wrong, i want to get married as much as the next guy, but i also know that marriage most definitely isn't a fairy tale which will take away all pain, unhappiness, and problems. marriage brings with it a new set of problems that one must combat, albeit in a partnership.
that being said, i definitely disagree with the people who tell you why you'll never get married. what do they know? they think they're able to give over that advice because they're married and you're not? if you find someone to get married to, you aren't "lucky" or "special" or better than your friend who is 30 and still not married. that just means you've hopefully found that one person to complete you and help you become the best person you can become. but being married before someone else in no way gives you the right to spew about why you know everything and why they'll never get married because of one thing or another. every single person who is married now was at one time single, and he or she therefore needs to be more sympathetic towards his or her single friends and not be patronizing.

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

That list sounds an awful lot like my wife. Still does, even in our 50s. But then again, look what she ended up with! ;-)

Hashem should bless you and your house with all good things!

Amichai said...

@Rabbi Scher It sounds an awful lot like my wife too!

kisarita said...

It's unfortunate that getting married has come to stand for vindication of one's choices and values, and not getting married has come to stand for condemnation of them.

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Amichai, maybe THAT'S why we love her! ;-)
(Please give her our regards, and the rest of the hevra.)

starlight said...

Hey Chana!
I actually think it's BECAUSE of all those things that someone fell in love with you! You have personality and intelligence, a happy combination.
Mazel Tov and we look forward to seeing you at the Sheva Brachot!
-Adina (and Eitan) Kastner

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

I was told I wasn't going to find a wife by one of the rebbeim at my yeshiva in Israel because I wasn't staying shana bet.


I think my tzadekes wife and four children (KA"H) would disagree.

Anonymous said...

does your aarogance know no end? in terms of other posts on this topic,
you have the intellignece, analysis and vocabulary that make it sound deep and understanding, however in reality, emotionally they are quite shallow. Ultimately, they reflect that you have no clue, plus, although you desire to, not much empathy. You don't know everything. Get over yourself and your drama. Anonymous commneter was the one who got it right.

Uri said...

Anon October 20, 2010 4:25 PM,

Every one has the right to be stupid but you're abusing the privilege.

Anonymous said...

I was told most of yours plus:
-my height
-my divorced parents
-my going to Stern
-my mother not covering her hair
-my using "big words"

I am married now and just about all of the above served me well in the end for various reasons.

Yedida said...

Hey Chana,
I just saw this post and had to comment!
I was told that because I am planning on getting my PhD in molecular biology, I am too smart, too intimidating, and too ambitious for guys and I'd have a hard time finding a shidduch. Granted, after marriage my husband told me that he thought I would have a hard time dating for the same reason, but clearly he didn't mind. ;-)
Additionally, I was told that because I take taekwon do and go to a secular, coed college, I am practically black-listed.
But you know what, I am now happily married, so it just shows you what "they" know.
Once again, mazel tov on your upcoming wedding! We've apparently proved "them" wrong!

Joseph the Dreamer said...

Anon October 20, 2010 4:25 PM,

1) At least Chana has the courage to put her name to what she says, as opposed to you who hides behind anonymity.

2) On what basis do you say "shallow" or any of your other stupid remarks? And who makes you an expert on what is considered deep and understanding? Obviously, it isn't your mind.

3) You *clearly* have "no clue" as to who Chana is (or how to read/understand her writing).

4) Even more ironic than your poor use of commas etc. is your misspelling of the word "intelligence."

5) You are clearly jealous of Chana. And not the brightest bulb on the Chanuka tree. "Get over yourself."

6) As someone with an IQ higher than a snail's and an EQ more than an eggplant (ergo, more than you), I find Chana's posts highly intelligent, insightful and wise. As a human being, I find her to have mind-boggling emotional depth and she is the most empathetic person I have ever met. Maybe you should emulate her instead of brewing in your own jealousy.

Anonymous said...

That list reads like a checklist i'd have to find a good girl.

Anonymous said...

No matter what label the naysayers can throw as the "reasons" one is not married, there's always someone out there who is MORE of that trait, and nevertheless managed to get married (taller, shorter, thinner, fatter, smarter, shlumpier, more arrogant, more self-effacing, etc.).

I'm not sure there's such a rhyme or reason to who gets married when, much as we'd like to know all the answers.

Mazal tov to you, for finding the guy who appreciates all of the traits that make you you.

SM said...

My mom fairly often tells me that I'm going to wind up alone because I'm not sure if I want kids, and all men in our community want someone who can promise to be a willing baby-making machine. Of course, I'd rather end up alone than compromise on something that big. It's not like ending up alone is a death sentence, anyway.