This whole rant/article was inspired by my beautiful and wonderful, 20 year old client with a random comment she made at the end of our recent session.
Her comment was “I want to be skinny because that’s how I’ll have more chances of getting a good shidduch”.
Now I’m sure that most people would laugh it off or even glide right by it, but I have a tendency to note every little detail and comment on it too, when it’s important.
I asked her if she really meant that. She said “Yes, absolutely”.
I asked her if that’s the MAIN reason she wants to lose weight. She said “yes”.
I asked her if she thinks this is normal and she seemed to think it is.
I then told her what I have been saying for years.
I have one son (the rest are girls), who is nowhere near dating yet but the more I get to know the world and relationships and personalities, the more I know that when the time comes iyh, I will have NO issue with him dating girls who are overweight; as long as they have wonderful middos and personalities.
Now before you say to yourself that it doesn’t matter what I say, it’s all about what HE says; note this:
- The mother is the gatekeeper so to speak, and everything goes through her. Girls are more scared of the mother’s scrutiny than the actual date.
- His perceptions and visions will hopefully be at least somewhat influenced by myself and my husband who stress good middos above all.
My client was shocked.
ME, a nutritionist who cares about her own weight and health and who has ONE son, is sitting there and telling her that she would be completely eligible to date my one and only wonderful son if she was his age.
She probably thought I was just being nice. I wasn’t. I was being real (as usual).
I then posted on social media a few short clips speaking about the above, and the response was HUGE! Girls were thanking me, people were challenging my sincerity in this, shadchanim and mothers were saying how things aren’t changing so quickly….
The responses were so overwhelming that I couldn’t even respond or repost them all.
One person suggested I write an article. I resisted and said “what’s the point?” People won’t change. She said that if even one mother reconsiders, it will have been worth it. I agreed and here we are.
When i was dating…
Even 18 years ago when I was dating, there was a lot of emphasis on looks and Yichus and money… but nothing like it is today. When shadchanim would ask what I’m looking for, I clearly remember having one factor ONLY, and that was middos. I was not particular on age, what he does or doesn’t do, looks, background, etc. I had my head on straight and BH got what I wanted (or rather, needed).
I hear it from everyone. Every one of our 13 locations is in a different neighborhood/city/culture. Some are yeshivish, some very chassidish, some modern… the talk is all the same. Everyone seems to believe that in order to get a good shidduch, being “thin” is a requirement.
Add to that the requirement of a photo and boys growing up hearing this from their older siblings, parents, friends, etc. and it’s no wonder we have these expectations!
I know a girl… I actually know many girls who are:
Who are overweight.
How do I know them?
They’re my amazing clients. I get to know my clients very well so, when I use all the above adjectives to describe them, i mean every single one.
These qualities will make them wonderful mothers and wives, yet they are overlooked for one thing… their size.
Advantages of girls who have had to lose weight:
- They’re not entitled
They don’t have the attitude that naturally thin girls have about weight coming right off after a baby, or getting away with all the shana rishona extras without any damage on the scale, etc. They’re realistic and are willing to do what it takes, which brings me to number 2:
- They know what hard work means
A girl who has always had to be careful with her food is able and willing to put in the effort.
She isn’t afraid of effort and persistence and often applies these skills not only to her weight but to real life scenarios as well.
3. They are set up for healthy cooking and living
These girls are more likely to cook healthy meals and shop for healthy foods for your sons. They may experiment with fun stuff like every Kallah does but trust me, they’ll end up in the produce section and make salads a lot sooner than some other girls.
Friendly (obvious but not so obvious) reminders:
- People change
Thin girls become heavier with age, kids, stress, etc.
- Skinny girl issues
Some thin girls have an obsession with their weight, their size, their image, their food. Sometimes they won’t go out to eat with you or cook your favorite food or let your kids have the nosh.
Some thin girls don’t work on or pay attention to other areas or middos because this is their focus and the world supports that.
If you’re a single girl reading this:
Rest assured that your bashert is out there and he WILL accept you the way you are.
If you’re a mother or rabbi or a shadchan reading this:
Please encourage those you’re working with, to reconsider what’s important.
What will matter in 5 or 10 or 50 years?
The girl that’s right for your son may be a different size or weight than you thought she would be. Don’t let her go just for that reason.
If you’re a boy in shidduchim reading this:
Ask your mentor/rabbi/older brother, anyone who’s been married a while, what makes for a good marriage and a good wife. I bet you none of the responses will include weight or size.
I’m not out to change the world but as the person who suggested this article said
If even ONE mother or shadchan or boy gives ONE girl a chance despite her weight, it’s all worth it!