Being a single man in New York seemed to be getting progressively harder the older I got, in part because the older I got, the more I sought a relationship with substance, not just something horizontal. Finding a bang buddy was easy enough, but it didn’t meet my emotional needs. I wanted something more, and I didn’t even think my standards were very high. I just wanted the woman to be intelligent, ambitious, affectionate, and have a sense of humor. Meeting a woman like that, or any woman for that matter, was a bit of a challenge. A major reason is that a lot of the women I met were impossible.
I’m all for setting standards when meeting potential mates. Standards are important; without them, you’re really just wasting time dating people with whom you’re not compatible, and who don’t get you going. If you’ll permit me a moment of vanity, you may even find yourself with someone you’re ashamed to be seen with. Problems arise when people refuse to compromise their standards, or confuse compromise with “settling.” There’s a difference, reader. Compromise is discerning what you want as opposed to what you need, and recognizing that the two are not mutually exclusive. Settling is exactly that – choosing the bare minimum out of fear of loneliness, desperation, or low self-esteem. It irks me to hear people, especially women, talk about wanting what they want and not “settling” for anything “less.”
Setting standards becomes a problem when your standards are either too low, or (as it seems to be more common) too high. You know what I mean. There are people who have a laundry list of what they want their potential mate to be and have, while they themselves are and have none of those things. Like attracts like, reader. You’re not gonna get that Beyoncé clone wearing that stained wifebeater that fit ten years and sixty pounds ago. There aren’t that many millionaires who find their life partners behind the counter at Arby’s. At some point you’ve gotta assess yourself honestly and ask what’s realistic for you right now. Which leads to another bone of contention of mine, “preferences.”
Much like standards, there are some people who are so wrapped up in what they prefer (often a physical trait) that they refuse to step outside their comfort zone and try something new. They hold onto their preferences like security blankets and pass up on potentially really good people because they don’t measure up. Full disclosure, reader: my physical ideal is someone who looks like Lauryn Hill circa 1998, with a Nicki Minaj body (no plastic, mind you).
My girlfriend is somewhat lighter in complexion than the black women I’ve dated in my recent past, but that doesn’t make her unattractive to me, nor does it have anything to do with the awesome human being she is. Things like what she looked like (want) took a back seat when it came time to ascertain she would treat me (need).
I’m not saying don’t date your type, reader. Just about everybody has their type. But if you keep going after your type and hoping for different results, that’s not being persistent. That’s being insane. Broaden your horizons as far as who you find attractive, keep an open mind and who knows? The person you never thought you’d want might turn out to be the person you need.