There was an article printed recently in The Jewish Press that triggered lots of comments and discussion, so I’ve decided to take my own position on the issue at hand. You can read the article here. For those who won’t, here’s a brief summary. The author, the mother of a single man in his early twenties, attended an event organized for the purpose of exposing mothers of eligible single young men in the Ultra-Orthodox community to single young women in search of husbands. No, I’m not kidding, this actually happened. The author was appalled at how many of the women showed up without any makeup or fancy clothing or hairdos. She then recommended that young women do whatever it takes to look “pretty”, including getting cosmetic surgery, so that they could attract a shlimazle like her boychick and his spoiled little bratty buddies, many of whom probably need a makeover, a smack in the face, and a serious paatch in tuchehs (if you didn’t get that last reference, ask your bubby or zaide) before being allowed to enter the real world.
There’s so much I can say about this whole sad distortion of a traditional form of matchmaking that has turned into a cruel and superficial quest for beauty, wealth, and status rivaling the best of Real Housewives of Beverly Hill and The Apprentice. But I’ll confine my remarks to the issue of cosmetic surgery.
Should a women or man get cosmetic surgery in order to attract a potential spouse? Obviously, the very thought of someone subjecting themselves to surgery in the hope of attracting someone makes the stomach churn. But the answer isn’t so simple.
I believe that everyone has a right to be happy and that they should do whatever is in their power (within the law and their moral code) to achieve that. If someone is truly unhappy with the way they look, then I believe that they should do what they can to change how they look. Before choosing surgery I think they should get some form of counseling from a trusted mentor or professional, to make them understand that what they perceive as being a physical impediment to love is most probably not that at all.
You see, as important as I believe appearance is in the dating process (as I’ve written so many times), looks are still only part of what makes a successful match. Personality, attitude, and confidence can turn a “4” into an “8”. I know and have worked with many women who did just that. A long nose or a few extra pounds didn’t prevent them from attracting their mates. Now please don’t get me wrong. These ladies worked on themselves and their appearance to be the best that they could be, and their confidence and positivity overwhelmed an extra inch or 2 in the wrong place.
My wife always tells me that there’s “a cover for every pot” (or something like that), and while I don’t want anyone to use that as an excuse to sit back and not improve themselves, I do believe that it’s true. The right guy will like a girl regardless of the shape or size of her nose, lips, or breasts. I know guys (I am one myself) and I will tell you that not all guys like skinny girls with tiny noses. Some do and some don’t. The right guy for you will like who you are with the features that God created you with.
I think everyone should exercise, watch their weight, wear nice clothing, and groom themselves appropriately. You should make the most of the gifts that God gave you. But to surgically transform those gifts…it just doesn’t feel right in a spiritual or karmic sense.
Nevertheless, I return to my original statement about happiness. If you truly believe that surgically changing your appearance will make you a happier, more positive, and more confident person, then I think it’s your right to do that. If you’re in Florida, you can do it for free. But if you’re doing it just to please, or attract, others then I think you’re making a big mistake. Do the best you can to improve yourself and your appearance, and leave the rest to the Master of the World.
And to the author of that article (and all the Small Miracle books), you should know better. Remember that when you interview potential brides for your little prince. A paatch in tuches for you!