Monday, July 4, 2011

Some Talk About Pictures

Let’s talk about pictures.

And by that, I don’t mean taking pictures. There are numerous places online to find a wide variety of photography advice; this isn’t one of them.

I refer, naturally, to the infamous shidduch picture. One might consider this picture a mere part of the larger scale self depreciating device commonly known as the shidduch resume, but I beg to differ. After all, the two don’t have to go hand in hand.

Or do they?

I will attempt to be impartial in the following discussion, despite my strong feelings about the issue.

Let’s talk first about people who insist upon a picture. As one single male put it: “When I travel far for a date, I insist on seeing a picture first, that way I know she won’t be DOA.” Now, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure plenty will,) but that seems to be serious objectification of women. If she’s pretty, but incredibly stupid, the date won’t be DOA?

On the other hand, it’s hard to know in advance if your date will be a blithering idiot. Sure, you can ask people, but your information will only be as accurate as the honesty level of the people you speak with. A picture, however, never lies. Or does it?

Let’s leave aside Photoshop for a minute, and discuss the picture itself. Almost anyone, no matter how fat, ugly, pimply or otherwise blemished they may be, can get themselves made up, find a decent photographer, get the coloring all right, and manage to get an unedited (technically, anyway) photo of themselves. Let’s talk this scenario through. A young man and his ever scrupulous mother receive the picture of a lovely looking young woman. All of the other information seems to check out, and the date is arranged.

The day arrives and the young man gets his first glance of the woman he thought he’d seen a picture of. The full talents of the photographer sink in, as the man spends the rest of the date trying to figure out how the girl in front of him managed to look the way she did in the picture. You might say that this case sounds extreme, even blown out of proportion, but the issue is the same. How many non-photogenic, yet beautiful girls get passed over from the pictures?

I’ve conceded partially on the resume issue. I will, however skeptically and unhappily, send a list of references and other basic facts about myself (and by facts, I don’t mean opinions) to any interested parties. But I draw the line at opinions…and pictures. My mother might sneak one to people on occasion, but I haven’t knowingly sent one. I don’t think I am that ugly that nobody would look in my direction, but I just don’t think that me and everything I am and represent can be properly conveyed by a bunch of pixels patched together on a piece of paper. I’m not married yet, or even engaged, so perhaps my strategy is faulty, but I won’t budge. Not on this.

And if you can’t deal with it, don’t date me.

Many don't. I can handle it.