Sunday, March 27, 2005

Personality Test Results, "Meet Joe Black", Then on to Shidduch Dating.

70. I am hesitant to write another blog entry so quickly because I want to give you time to read my last blog entry. I feel that this last one really explains why I stay religious despite my logical arguments to the contrary. It's all about bringing into balance one's physical needs to touch and feel the divine versus the understanding of what is out there supported by evidences of the sensory experiences we filter out from our perceptions.

One more digression, and then I'll actually write about what is on my mind. I was playing online a few minutes ago and I decided to sacrifice some of my law school study time to take a personality test. Maybe it will help me understand what is going on in my head. Here are my results:
ISTJ - "Trustee". Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 11.6% of total population.

This result was interesting for me because most of my life I was an "INTJ"; now I am an "ISTJ". Do you know who is an ISTJ? Anthony Hopkins usually plays characters who are ISTJs in many of his movies; this personality type is best described by his character in "Meet Joe Black"; a older, mature, confident man with a hint of arrogance covered by a deeper-rooted sense of modesty, coupled with a calculating mind which works fluently and rationally; this man has lived a life of meaning, and has built organizations, businesses, structures, and legacies that will stand long past the years of his life.

What is most important to me and to his character was that he lived congruently with his values, and his value decisions forever changed the lives of so many of the people who worked around him, a fraction of whom he might not have even known, but they knew and loved him for being the kind of person that he was. I acknowledge that the "he" I am discussing is a movie character, but nevertheless, sometimes if this world lacks heroes because their lives are unsung or are lived out in modesty, it is the job of the movie industry to publicize their existence in character form to paint these heroes into our thoughts so that we can yearn to emulate them in their virtues.

This character is the kind of person I have always admired, and is the kind of person I have and will always strive to be. One of the scenes in this movie was of his 60th birthday party, the day he was meant to be taken away from this world. I cried at that scene, not because of the fact that he was going to die, but because of the effect his life had on so many people around him. I was especially touched by his close relationship with his daughter. After seeing such a character, I remember being saddened by the fact that he was an ISTJ and I was an INTJ; How interesting is it that in the years since the movie has been released, I have always hoped that I have grown to become more like that character, and now I am honored to have circumstantially become the same personality type as he was.

This next test result (part of the same test) was also pretty cool -- it is an Enneagram -- but I had no idea how to interpret it or figure out what it is supposed to tell me. They say these tests are "scientifically proven" but I don't know how much credence I give to something that claims to be "scientifically proven" without giving a source for further research. Does anyone understand what these results mean, and specifically how to interpret the image on the right??

By the way, sorry for you readers who are aware of my possible "holy-mess" scenario. I know mentioning a personality test might have been a bit of a tease.

Okay, so now onto business. Dating. (I think it is so suave how I hid such a sensitive topic so deep in this entry.) As you have probably guessed, I am a single male in my late twenties finishing up law school with a promising specialty, and to boot, I am a newly-religious (last five years) Jew who follows the customs of the chassidic Lubavich ultra-orthodox sect. This limits the women I date to be also newly religious, from this same sect, or women from this sect who are open to dating a man that has been religious for as short a time as I have been. Does this sound complicated yet? [Please don't ask me why; this is one of those crazy dogmatic things I've taken upon myself to be consistent with the religion, and I do not necessarily agree with the shidduch system's application to my past and present].

To make things worse, I am a direct descendant from the high priests of the temple in Israel (In Hebrew, we are called Cohanim, plural for the word Cohen, which means high priest, similar to the modern vernacular word Kahuna, which means master surfer dude or master Huna practitioner), and this limits who I can date by filtering out women who have been divorced, who converted into Judaism, or who have been sexually involved with various men. I would say that this eliminates mostly every normal free-thinking moral Jewish woman in existence.

Now that I've laid out the facts, here is the issue: How does one date in a structured dating system called the shidduch system when the dating pool of women within that system is smaller than a puddle on a street corner? [Definition: The shidduch system is a system of matchmaking, similar to that used in "Fiddler On the Roof", where one or more parties look for a suitable match for marriage who fit a certain criteria the seeker is looking for. This system is primarily in use within the religious circles and is promoted as (or more realistically, pressured to be) the only way a religious person should look for a wife or husband.]

The system works wonderfully when both parties being matched are religious from birth, because both families know each other and there are many women and many men who are in the system to be matched with each other. The essential element is choice. This system also works well in a tweaked fashion with the more modern-orthodox crowds, again because of the volume of participants seeking a match through the third-party matchmaker. I would say analogically that participation in this system could be considered the oil that allows the wheel to turn in this masterminded system of dating.

The system slows to a halt [as does an old Toyota when one turns on the air conditioner] and causes massive friction burn when one of the parties are not part of the "in" crowd which lubricates and moves the dating machine "wheel". Since I am certainly one of the "out" crowd, finding a match will be next to impossible, but in time it will happen. This has happened for my friends, and it will happen for me in due time. The problem that will certainly throw a monkey wrench into this whole ordeal is if suddenly my "holy-mess" gets included as an adverse factor in describing me to my potential wifemate; then my dating world will be checkmate. [Sorry for the dry humor, it went well with the friction burn topic above. Also, I hope you interested readers have looked up by now what I meant by a holy mess because I am discussing something specific.] As I was saying, include too many factors that allow for scrutiny, and forget about ever finding a mate; their matchmakers will filter me out as one filters out a person of another race, religion, or creed. No discrimination protections here.

I would say this system might work if people took an interest in matching other people up rather than staying absorbed in their own newly-married lives. I put this moral duty on married people because they have found success in their search and have found their match. Now that they are married and their search is over, instead of feeling sympathy for those who are still looking for a mate, perhaps the world would be a better place if they looked around at their spouse's single friends and thought of a few people with whom to match them up. I say this because the shidduch system is splintered and plagued with so many compartments of matchmakers, rabbis, and rebbitsens (a rebbitsen is the wife of a rabbi), each trying their hardest to find a match for their marriage candidate, but there is no effective network that links these tireless and selfless workers together today except for word of mouth, and when people keep their mouth shut single people stay single and lonely. (like a puppy in a pound who has yet to find an owner; think of what will happen to that cute and loveable puppy if nobody adopts him).

I know this sounds more like a pouting message, but it is more of a whimper out to the universe and its Creator for some compassion and sympathy towards us single people down here who through our piety (perhaps through our stupidity) refrain from going out and from dating people on our own as we would love to. Plus, (or worse yet,) we are forced (peer-pressured) to rely on a system that malfunctions because people don't help other people to make matches, which is exactly the miracle oil that the shidduch system requires in order to function. Think again of the puppy. When you say your prayers to go to sleep each night, how many people will you let die inside over and over again, childless and alone, because your lips were sealed when you had the chance to open them and make a connection, but you did not look past the wide-eyed smiling face of the mother or father to-be of your children to help another who is still standing where you were not so long ago? Sweet dreams.


ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Nah, I don't see anything in the latter part of your message as either a pout or a whimper. :-) To tell you the truth though, even though I am free of any religiously-defined restraints in terms of dating and such, it is damn hard regardless. I have been in and out of 2 major pits in my life regarding relationships, neither of which I have talked about before, but I have nearly come to the conclusion that I'm not sure if I want to be in a relationship at all (at least not for a long while). I'll tell you about these sometime, but at the same time I feel you will hate me if I do...

Zoe Strickman said...

You read the first draft while I was still editing out the mistakes, adding things in, and trying to figure out how honest to be. For a good dark laugh, re-read the last paragraph and enjoy the gasp you may experience at the end; furry loveable puppies was the last thing on my mind. I think I really hit hard, borderlining on writing immorally sharp-tongued.

I'm sorry you have had difficult times. As we know, every bad time comes to an end eventually. I think everybody needs to be in a relationship, and while some relationships fill the void temporarily, as they say, an unhealed wound can still bleed. I'd be interested in reading about your experiences on your blog when the time is right.

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

:-) Yep, I see the diting! I really do enjoy your blog...I feel like I learn a little bit more about myself even each time I read it; you really bring up some introspective topics!

As for the relationship stuff, the two to which I am referring are items I want to bring up in my blog at a future point, but I am very torn on doing so: while it would be SO nice to be able to vent and get some of it out in the open to the world, I already know that some of the things I will have to write about may seem corrupt enough to some people that I'm scared of losing wonderful cyber-acquantainces over it. Does that make sense? Ahh...maybe I'm just tired now and shouldn't worry about it so much, but I think someone like you would not be well off reading the tales. I guess I'll just have to take my chances.

Goodnight and sleep well if you can,

if not now, when? said...

"the dating pool of women within that system is smaller than a puddle on a street corner"

I have very mixed feelings about this:

I see two very positive reasons to keep inside the system.
1. The purpose of shidduch dating within well defined parameters is to ensure a very high degree of compatibility between you and your match - similar experiences, goals, etc.
2. Instead of thinking of it as a small pool, think of it was a highly local niche market in which their may be few consumers but there are also few suppliers. Somebody outthere needs what only you can supply.

Besides as far as I can tell, all you need to find is ONE good match. How big do you really need the pool to be?

But, on the other hand, the machine may work only with the specific oil that you were mentioning. If that is so, you may be waiting a very long time. For that reason I don't think it's the only way to go... preferred? probably for someone in your community, but the only one? no chance!!

(is there something wrong with other jews in other communities that you shouldn't be with them? no, of course not, the base compatibility level might not be quite as high, that's all.)