Reader: I read your new article Learning from Other religions.
Unfortunately, your position is not so clear. Orthodox Judaism has become an imitation of Catholic abstinence. The rabbis - whether you regard them as infallible sages or not - have added restriction upon restriction, (in sharp contrast to the Torah's "lo Tosiphu" - "do not add to the Torah"), and made all contact before marriage illegal, as well restricting what the Torah permits in marriage. Today, many Jews are having problems finding spouses, and the insane orthodox pronounce baseless religious standards, which make it even harder to find a spouse, ruling out many good Jewish souls. (example, the false restriction against women wearing pants!).
Mesora: Pant's are not prohibited. What the Torah prohibits is men dressing in women's clothing, and women dressing like men. This is to rightfully diminish promiscuity, thereby focusing life on matters more important than the sexual. The Torah also prohibits immodest dress, which many women's snug slacks violate.
I would add that if orthodox Jews place more importance on clothing, than on a woman's internal make up, her true character, then they are foolish. An intelligent person seeking marriage should select a fine woman who may presently wear snug pants, over a woman in skirts possessing a lousy value system. "A ring of gold in the snout of a pig; (so too) is a beautiful woman with a putrid character." (Proverbs, 11:22)
Your comment about "baseless religious standards" is actually, baseless. Study the account where Amnon raped his sister Tamar. Restrictions occurred after this event, well based on such a tragic event. We don't follow the abstinence of other religions, but rather the moderation of Judaism. The Rabbis have authority from the Torah to make 'fences' for existing laws and not to create new laws. By this guide they functioned meticulously.
Reader: In effect, what you guys have created is a catholic style abstinence for many, who have difficulty in finding frum partners. Every frummer is judgmental of others, and has a shopping list which they pick up in Yeshiva. In a sense, the rabbis are responsible for intermarriage, since finding a Jewish spouse is prevented by all the artificial hurdles created by rabbis who have decided to increase their power by making up new laws. Is that really G-d's Will?
Mesora: Your intermarriage statement too is baseless. At worst, the man can marry a less observant, but Jewish girl.
Again, there is no law against pants. I agree with your other comment though. We should not follow today's over-religious Jews who create shopping lists of absurdities, ruling out anything but a carbon copy of themselves. What a clear sign of insecurity.
The nonsense that Jews adhere to today is truly a crime: If a young man doesn't have a certain type of hat, or he has a sister who is not religious, or if a girl is divorced, if someone is a convert,....all such concerns are irrelevant to a person's true perfection. People are completely wrong to ruin a match based on such issues. In fact, a convert displays much greatness. Did God care that Ruth was a Moabite woman? No. She was so perfected, that God selected her seed to be not only our greatest leaders, King David and King Solomon, but our messiah is a direct descendant from Ruth. A gentile.
True Rabbis adhere carefully to God's word. If you hear of someone - "Rabbi" or otherwise - who reinforces foolish dating criteria, insist that they stop creating issues which don't exist according to the Torah. By adhering carefully to Torah law, both written and Rabbinic, you will be guided to the most healthy lifestyle.
Follow God's ideals, not today's foolish Jews.