Standards or Just Stubborn?

As I listened to yet another 5 ft. 3 inch woman tell me that she doesn’t want to date any man under 6 feet tall, I prepared to jump on my soapbox. In the U.S. population, 14.5% of the men are over 6 feet tall. With this one “deal breaker,” she has immediately eliminated approximately 85.5% of men. Having dated many fantastic men of average height and below, I find this to be one of those ridiculous standards that can keep women from finding a great mate. I thought to myself, “Why do people have such a closed mindset when it comes to dating?”

A huge proponent of being open minded and embracing possibilities, I immediately find flaws in these arbitrary checklist items…qualities that have no effect on someone’s ability to be a great partner. I was so glad that I didn’t have such a restrictive checklist. Or did I…?

When I first started online dating in December 2017, my filters were barely functioning. If a guy appeared hygienic, non-threatening, employed, used correct grammar, didn’t have pictures of dead animals in his profile and didn’t reference his attendance at the “School of Hard Knocks” or that he worked at “Nunya Business,” I would go out with him. While most were normal, in those first few months, I also had some interesting experiences. The guy who claimed to be a doctor on a secret mission in Nicaragua that I later suspected was just married. The guy who tried to bring another woman on our second date because it was his birthday. The guy who told me, after sitting down to dinner, that he had this great girlfriend and baby at home, and his girlfriend would love to meet me, because she liked women. The guy who forgot to take off his wedding band.

I then realized that perhaps I was attracting the wrong sort, so I took a two-month dating break, revised my profile to seem less “open minded” and developed some new standards. Though I was not looking for a relationship at the time, I was looking for someone single that I could date on a regular basis, so I eliminated anyone who mentioned looking for anything “casual” and men who were attractive with little to no profile information.

While there were no crazy surprises in the next batch, I ran into new problems. The guy who totally shut down when he found out I had an MBA, while he was going for his Associates degree. The men who would feel threatened when I mentioned owning businesses. The guy who got upset when I figured out how to solve a problem he couldn’t. And then, the plethora of men looking to Netflix and chill or to meet up for a late-night drink. 😐 Time for another set of standards.

Now, I would only date men more successful than me. Ideally, they would also be interested in the same things as me, such as international travel, performing arts events, and fine dining. In addition to eliminating anyone looking for something casual, I also immediately rejected anyone who used the word “casual” in any initial interactions, such as “let’s do something casual” or “go somewhere casual.” Eventually, casual dress even went on the first date chopping block.

But wait…there’s more! Want to meet for a drink instead of dinner? I am available to see you on a Tuesday in 3 weeks from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Coffee? 10:00-11:00 a.m., but it has to be this week, or you are off the calendar. All first dates must be near my apartment. I don’t travel to Midtown. I don’t go to any venue where there isn’t easy parking or valet.

I eventually also eliminated men who texted too much, too little and men named David (don’t ask.)

Were there any men left? Absolutely. I had many fantastic dates with respectful men and had seemingly eliminated all the noise of men looking for hook-ups and those uncomfortable with my busy brain, and almost two months ago, I actually met someone that met all my crazy qualifications and continues to be fantastic, so maybe I was onto something.

Obviously though, many really great guys were probably written off along the way. Guys who were confused by my weird rules and didn’t understand where they came from. Those who probably thought they came from a sense of entitlement rather than from a need to feel safe and secure.

Why did these weird rules exist? I have found that men who just want to meet for a drink often want to get you drunk, so scheduling them at an early hour in a fixed timeframe usually eliminates those. I work during the day, so coffee dates have a fixed time, and I have found that when they don’t happen immediately, they don’t happen at all. I get lost driving down the road, hence the need to be near my apartment. I still can’t navigate Midtown Atlanta.  I can never find parking and when I do, I am horrible at it. I lose my parking tickets and sometimes my car. I am really busy so I can’t keep up with a guy who needs constant texting. I delete men who haven’t texted me in a couple of weeks because I forget who they are. As for men named David? A mix of too many bad experiences and too many Davids in my phone. Sorry to all the good Davids out there. 😊

So what does all this mean? At what point are they standards and at what point are you just stubbornly rejecting people for no valid reason and greatly reducing your options? It comes down to constantly thinking about what you are attracting and what you want to be attracting. If you are getting the kind of dates you want, then you are on the right track. If you aren’t, you need to revisit your screening process. Every date isn’t going to be a great one. It takes time to find someone you really connect with, but if you are going out with people who are disrespectful, belittling or that don’t value you or your time, then you need a dating reset.

Always be willing to revisit your process. Time is valuable. Don’t waste it on the wrong people, even if they are 6 feet tall.

Author Ela Kaye is a marketing writer and brand consultant who specializes in using her skills to connect people. In addition to serving as Lead Consultant at Compass Date, she chronicles her ramblings on modern dating, self-discovery and finding your like-minded human(s) on the blog “True North.”

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