Whilst speaking with my friend Miri the other day, the topic of 'labels' came up, and by that I am NOT referring to Juicy, Tommy, Tahari, etc. I am referring to people labels. We sorta had a discussion about labeling people and whether it is a good thing or bad thing.
Here's the way I see it. I live in a small community, 'out-of-town' and when someone calls me about a guy, especially if the person who calls me and is 'redd'ing the shidduch doesn't know me, I like to know what kinda guy he is setting me up with. So first, I use my own references, but if the guy is from Barbados, and I don't know anyone there, then I use HIS references. In addition to my usual questions, I ask 'what kind of boy is he?' would you say he's "Yeshivish", "Lubavitch", "Chassidish", etc.
Now, personally, I myself don't really fit into any category. As a kid, coming home from school, I used to ask my father 'Ta, what ARE we?' Rivky is yeshivish, Leah's tatty told her she was chassidish, and Chaya's brother said she is Lubavtich'
My father would smile at me and say, 'We are JEWISH' and that was that. I was satisfied with that answer.
But when it came to meeting shadchanim, answering their 50 questions and filling out forms, etc. I didn't know what to check off. There were soo many categories, but I don't see myself as any of them. So, ya, I'm simply Jewish.
However, how do you define what 'type' that means? I can say I'm a Bais Yaakov girl, which used to mean something, but apparently, Bais Yaakovs in different cities mean different things...
So, is it right to 'brand' people? probably not. Each person is different on their own. But is it easier knowing where a person sorta fits in 'hashkafically' to know if its suitable to begin with, DEFINITELY!
There are guys who consider themselves modern, in terms of the way they dress in jeans and smoke, but then they are from Chassidish families and where shtreimels on shabbos. Apparently, they are 'branded' as 'Tuna Baigels'.
There are guys who are MODO, but started off as Yeshivish, and they, I believe, are 'branded' as Hermans.
There are soo many different types, how do you find out where a person stands 'religiously and hashkafically' without branding them?
What do you think?