A picture may paint a thousand words, but one word can often paint a picture. In the world of online dating, where decisions must be made with few facts and little information to go on, terms like cuddly, portly, voluptuous or firm & toned can make or break a first impression.
Among JDaters there is one label that categorically stands out. For single ladies it’s a moment of truth which all begins when they fill out their profiles. There, within the body type category, is the word “zaftig,” which in Yiddish is used to describe “a woman with meat on her bones.”
Now unlike Italian or French, which are classic romance languages, Yiddish is not mellifluous enough to be one of love nor has it earned a reputation among linguists for being particularly sexy, like Spanish or Portuguese. What it is has done is leverage the precision it inherited from German, peppered it with the self-deprecating humor of Woody Allen, making it the language that most wittily describes the idiosyncrasies of individual people.
This of course begs the question: Why are pleasantly plump females the only ones singled out when there are so many Jewish adjectives to describe the other characters one meets online? Seriously folks, how would members respond if skinnier than scrawny individuals were categorized as oysgedart, portly was replaced with shtarker and the pitzels who fell within the petite section were tagged as such?
If only it could be that simple. Unfortunately, the Yiddish nomenclature, particularly when describing character flaws, is not exactly the most tactful. In JDate’s defense, zaftig is a term of good natured affection and one word that has positive connotations. You see, back in the old days the image of a woman with meat on her bones symbolized prosperity and survival, and made for a deliciously juicy life (and wife). Some things may have changed but certain things stay the same. So take it for what it’s worth and remember that in our culture being called zaftig remains the ultimate compliment.