I enjoyed reading your article about the Jewish dating scene in D.C. (“Looking for Mr. Goodman,” 3/17)—interesting set of characters. As a teacher of high school English, I appreciated your sustained use of allusions, humor, and dialect (tools students should learn to use). As a Jew, I appreciated the way you highlighted some key themes and issues (e.g., subtle conflicts among Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox; the unspoken mind-set of some that if a Jew isn’t practicing enough, he or she isn’t Jewish enough) without making pronouncements about them. The article was about much more than the post-Holocaust fear of intermarriage killing off Judaism.
As a man, I was intrigued by your portrayal of the single men on this scene. Granted, you had to maintain the story’s pace, and so you had to use quicker-than-thumbnail sketches to describe people, but I noticed a kind of fixation on men’s hair. Neal, “more George Costanza-esque,” showed up on your baldar (a baldness radar, if you will). More than one other man—who looked old and bald, or with an unsightly comb-over—showed up on your baldar, too. (Maybe I was only watching my brothers’ backs, but I didn’t notice these kinds of caricatures of my sisters.)
Yes, the singles scene is all about presentation and first impressions. Yes, this means that men (not just women) get judged on superficial bases sometimes—or many times. Yes, I suppose that your writing about these micro-moment assessments by drawing caricatures is fair. I just wanted to point out that, after a thoughtful reading of your article, I found it unfortunate.
White Oak, Md.