Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"What's her dress size?" "Um, Excuse me?"

In my previous post, I wrote about my recent experience of being a shidduch reference for a friend of mine. One question I was asked, which I expected, was about her physical appearance. This reminded me of the time when someone I know was asked the question about a friend, “What dress size is she?” That question bothers me a great deal, since dress sizes are not an effective way to determine attraction, which is the intention of the inquiry, for a few reasons:

1. I find that guys have no clue what a dress size actually means- it is just a number that they cannot use to correctly identify to a certain body type. After hearing the dress size, therefore, they will be no better informed as to whether the girl is thin or overweight.

2. Sometimes a girl doesn’t look as big as her dress size. This is especially true if the girl is tall. What might be considered a large size for a short girl is actually healthy for a tall girl. I have friends who told me their dress size and my reaction was, “What?? No way. You are definitely smaller than that.” Dress sizes don’t mean that much.

3. There are women and men who are overweight who are still attractive, and there are very, very think women and men, who for other reasons are not attractive at all. Dress sizes are not a good determination of this.

4. If a potential date sounds like a good match in every area- hashkafa, personality, background, etc, but you are told that they are overweight, or you see a picture of them and they are not 100% unattractive, I really think you owe it to yourself and that person to at least try it out and go on one date. If after a few hours of talking to the person, you can’t stand to look at them, I understand not going on a second date. You might not think that a person is attractive right away, but once you get to know them, they become more attractive to you. Additionally, pictures are not always reliable. People do not always look the same in person as they do in pictures, so the only way to know for sure that you are not attracted to them is to meet them in person. If everything else matches up perfectly (which, I might add, is pretty hard to find), then I think refusing to go out with them solely based on looks is not right.

Luckily when it came to being a reference for my friend, the question I was asked was “What does she look like?” and not “what is her dress size?” Baruch Hashem, I had only good things to say in this area, and I described her as best as I could, though I’m not sure how it helps the guy to know what color hair and eyes she has.


  1. Hey easy solution to that question - in fact the one I always give. Simply say, I don't know, but whatever it is she is really slim (if true). If she is tall, so the dress size will be bigger, say I don't know, but being tall it makes sense for it to be different than a short girl and she is really slim!
    This way you avoid the actual question, give accurate information and perhaps educate someone on tall girls/dress sizes!

  2. That's a great idea. What do you do if the girl is overweight though? Do you say "she's a little chubby?" That makes her sound like she could be severly overweight and you just don't want to say that.

  3. That is a tougher question and requires a lot more finesse. It also depends on who is asking. Some random person or someone close who really cares (for better or worse) about appearances.
    There a certain key words that I would never use, fat, chubby, plump, big boned, broad, round. Those words can be killers.
    If the person is a little bit overweight, then I say she is normal sized, not skinny but not like big - simply normal and healthy. Is she is really overweight, then you need to be honest in the nicest way possible. Say, "she's not fat - but she is bigger or plus sized".

  4. Babylonian Talmud, tractate Berachot, page 57B:

    Three things uplift the spirit of a man:
    a beautiful dwelling place, a beautiful wife and beautiful furniture.

    To receive quick quotes from Jewish Torah books, go to:


  5. I will ask if she is slim, and if they don't answer clearly, i ask if she could win me in a wrestling match. if the answer is maybe or yes, then chances are i will not go out. I feel like a jerk for it, but i have a hard time being attracted to a larger girl.

    Oh, I heard a new one today from a shadchan. They told me someone asked them to find out the girls cup size. Nebuch!

  6. harry-er: That's awful about the cup size. And I thought dress sizes was an inappropriate question... Nebuch is right! plus, that doesn't necessarily tell you how slim/fat she is...

  7. CUP size? Really? Which way is the good way? Most (not all) of these emaciated size 0-4 have small cup sizes! Hmmm, maybe that's the point - the larger the cup size the larger the girl?

    Quite frankly, cup szie as a question really disgusts me. Maybe instead of asking just for a picture, people should ask of a close-up of her chest?

  8. I've heard about the cup size question being asked as one of those secret-under-the-table bits of information. I don't think it is so prevalent (yet, thankfully), but I imagine that as we become more and more obsessed with body-type and externalities rather than what really matters, it wouldn't surprise me if this becomes another ridiculous standardized question. The idea of any guy deciding yes or no based on that is really disgusting - and I doubt guys honestly know what those measurements mean with any certainty anyway (I, for one, don't). Maybe it's a symptom of guys falling prey to the "hey, buddy, my eyes are up here" syndrome that plagues many secular men these days... which is certainly a sad thing to consider.


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