Jewish World Review August 30, 2003 / 1 Elul, 5763

Deborah Mathis

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Consumer Reports

Merchandising a daughter: Life imitates 'reality TV' | Donna Wood is probably in no mood for ridicule, consternation and unsolicited advice, but she started it.

It was Mrs. Wood who placed that sign in her front yard in the Southbridge section of Boston. It was she who decided that was the way to find a good man for her daughter — by advertising in the local paper and on the sign, giving a whole new meaning to "yard sale."

According to Reuters, Donna said she was driven to such drastic action by her daughter's recidivism in the lowlife department. She told the news service that "the last guy (Karah) dated prompted my husband and I to do this." She described Karah's latest ex as "just horrifying."

Her plan is to narrow the field of applicants to 10, interview the finalists, run criminal checks on them and let them hang out with the family a bit. Mr. and Mrs. Wood and a couple of friends will pick the winner.

Now, mind you, Karah may have poor judgment in men — at least by her parents' lights — but, for heaven's sake, she is only 22 years old. It's not as if she's running out of time. Why, it wouldn't even hurt her to have no man in her life for a while at this stage in the game. At 22, a person is just beginning to sort herself out. Maybe a little time alone would polish up that rusty judgment.

Then again, look at the tree from which this apple fell. Good judgment doesn't seem to be in great supply in the household, if this arranged relationship gimmick is any indication. I will give Mr. and Mrs. Wood this much: They're advertising for a guy who likes going to movies, riding horses and taking long walks. In other words, they want a nice guy for their daughter. Horrifying types need not apply.

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But here's where a questionable scheme turns the corner into the realm of the outrageous. Reportedly, Karah's parents are not only going to choose a new beau for her, they're also going to treat the new couple to an evening at a Cape Cod motel where the rooms have Jacuzzis and heart-shaped beds.

Now, this goes beyond mere matchmaking — even desperate, over-the-top matchmaking. Send your daughter off to a night of sex with a stranger? Where I come from, they call that pimping.

Karah, surprise us, won't you? Show some sound judgment and a little spunk by telling your parents and their fellow contest judges, as respectfully as possible, to take a hike with this proposition. At least turn down the motel session, sweetheart. Come on, Karah, you can do it.

Supposedly, Donna got this big idea from one of those ubiquitous so-called "reality" shows — "Who Wants To Marry My Dad," an NBC show. Ah, and to think that we once got our inspiration from Hallmark shows.

Perhaps Karah will come up with a trick of her own. Now that the mating game is about done, maybe she'll recycle the sign and do a little advertising of her own. Just a few words will do it. Something on the order of "Who Wants To Give Psychotherapy to My Folks?"

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01/07/03: A mom has to let go, but she can do so in style
12/26/02: We've given overwork a makeover and called it "multitasking"
12/23/02: The bad guys have underestimated our adaptability


© 2003, TMS