(idea submitted by Becca B.)
One of the quirks in the dating world of Jewish Young Adults is the transparent hypocrisy between what JYA’s claim they want, and the relationships they ultimately pursue. Frequently JYAs will adamantly state that they want to date Non-Stereotypical Jews, but in reality they find themselves returning to the same type of personality: the archetypical Jew. The reason for this might be simply that Non-Stereotypical Jews are numerically rare and widely dispersed. But there seems to be a deeper, subconscious reason as well: Jews, consciously or not, are attracted to neurosis, an affliction highly prevalent in the JYA community.
While the roots of mating preferences can be hard to discern, some theories regarding JYA’s preference for neurotic companions merit further study. First, there is the social need of the JYA to be included in dynamic, often contentious environments. Neurotic personalities (ie, the majority of JYAs), easily adapt to such an environment, whereas Non-Jews are typically uncomfortable or even startled by such surroundings, sometimes they try to ease tensions and defuse arguments which is, obviously, less than ideal for the JYA. “Michelle”, a JYA from Los Angeles, illustrated this point when she described her recent relationship with a Non-Jew, stating “So I was dating this guy Chris for like two months and one night he wanted to go out with his guy friends, and I was like, Hell No, you are taking me to Sex and the City, and he was like, Sure, and then he cancelled with his friends. And I was like, he’s such a pushover, so I had to end it”
A second possible reason behind JYA’s preference for neurotic mates is that JYAs have an unquenchable thirst for being entertained, and neurotic personalities, due to their heightened degree of drama and anxiety, tend to offer ample material for amusement (possibly explaining the popularity of scripts written by JE writer Woody Allen and JYA Zach Braff). If a JYA has a neurotic person to end the night with, he or she will have all of the stories with none of the anti-depressant dependency. In practice, therefore, most JYAs find Non-Jews to be bland and uninteresting, as they don’t offer the same quirkiness, inanity, and opportunities for group pity. As JYA “Dave” recently stated: “I was dating this chick Mary and she was so boring. She wanted to cooked me dinner like every night and I was like, let’s go to Nobu. And she would only do it missionary. I mean, please, what are you, like 15 or something?”
Even considering these two reasons, the biggest explanation for JYA’s interest in neurotic partners is simply that they themselves are neurotic, and similar personalities tend to commingle and integrate. Additionally, a JYA with a notably neurotic partner has made themselves appear more balanced in contrast and are therefore less likely to be the object of social pity. While these adaptations are logical and par for the course, there is always the lingering concern that these endogamous tendencies only serve to create increasingly more neurotic offspring and decrease the numbers of Non-Stereotypical Jews.