New Experiment

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Judaism,Relationships

In the last year, I’ve learned a lot about modesty in Orthodox Judaism. While I don’t follow it, I am finding that I like a lot of the principles behind it. About a month ago, I started covering my body more on a first dates.

Why, you ask? Dating is supposed to be fun, maybe a little bit flirty if you feel chemistry. But first dates in the long run are also about looking for a life partner. I evaluate men based on character, manners, values, and other traits that typically require having an engaging conversation.

Looking presentable and being hygienic are important in that they show effort, but they’re not everything. “Presentable” for women, especially in the summer, doesn’t have to mean “mostly naked.” I am generally more comfortable in my skin when it’s not all on display.

With this in mind, I’ve begun a new experiment. I try to look fashionable, but without showing my thighs, knees, shoulders, or any cleavage. Some guys are more receptive to this than others, but I think it’s become an easier way to dodge a bullet. If a guy seems bored or distracted by me, or he checks out scantily clad women while on a date with me, I can cut my losses and move on. I’ve been in situations before where I was keenly aware that a guy was only interested in me in a physical way. While it can be flattering, it’s not good for my self-esteem in the long-term. I like to be appreciated for my internal qualities, which can easily be overlooked on first dates.

I don’t have any data to prove it, but I think I now get more compliments related to qualities other than my looks on dates. I found them to be a rarity prior to my experiment. I’m also finding it easier to connect with people on a more personal level, and I think I’m going to stick to my new plan indefinitely.


by JeremySpoke under Date Night,Success Stories

There is a thin line between modesty and self-effacement. I live on that line. I honestly don’t know if it’s because I just have a generally low self-esteem, or because that’s just become a part of my personality because I have tried to create the illusion of friendliness or am actually friendly. In any case, I am a generally modest person. Whenever I say something modest, I think to myself how humble I may sound saying it, when in actuality, I may just sound pathetic.

There are only so many things you can say you suck at until a woman believes that you were not meant to be on this earth. Through my gradual lifestyle overhaul over the past couple of years, I have learned to refine my modesty into borderline self-contentment. Women don’t like men they can feel sorry for. They like friends they can feel sorry for. They like men they can respect. Though modesty often wins over arrogance, nobody likes being in a relationship with a community service project, unless that is their community service project.

There’s an art to drawing attention to yourself without drawing attention to yourself. Of course, I do not know this art at all. I can either make a complete ass of myself, or I can make myself out to be the quietest, weakest person in the room. However, I have learned through self-imposed personality reassignment that I can infuse my instinctual modesty with some dignity. I still display my signature horrible self-conscious shrugs and face scratching, but often don’t accompany that with detailed stories about the genesis of my back hair or tales of my immeasurable sadness.

Having a wonderful girlfriend certainly helps with my modesty issues, but I wasn’t able to get her to like me if I wasn’t already on this path to pride. I now know that the only reason that I lost all of that weight and changed my life around was so that I could find her. That is cheesy. I don’t care.