Guest Post: Standards? What Standard?

27 Oct

I think we all remember the day that we decided we had a list of wants and definitely-do-not-wants in a potential mate.  I juxtapose the partner I wanted and the partner I may never have all the time; hence, me living in Singledom Valley. Standards drive me fucking crazy, but I know without them I’d still be in that nomadic sexcursion I lived during my twenties. Today, TheBoo talks about her list and its evolution. All I have to add is, “Why would you do this to me now, TheBoo? I have enough to think about, and I could really do without contemplating these damn lists!”

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What are standards?”  I don’t really remember what her actual answer was, but I somehow got the impression that standards are what you hold out for, no matter what else may come along…no matter how good it looks or how much it likes you.  However, as I mature and develop a better sense of self and reality, I have begun to understand that my youthful, incomplete understanding of standards was not exactly accurate.

When I was in high school, my standards developed into a List.  You know, that sheet of paper with bullet points and qualities you think you’d like to find in your spouse or life partner.

That first List had a lot of really deep and revealing attributes on it, like:

Awww yeah! Sweet hatchback. Image courtesy of

  • Dark hair
  • 6’1”
  • Clean-shaven
  • Plays piano
  • Older than me
  • Saving himself for marriage
  • Drives a hatchback

After a few years passed and I matured a little more, my list looked more like:

  • College graduate
  • Has dark hair
  • Dresses Emo
  • Hugs trees
  • Reads books prolifically
  • Isn’t a complete n00b at sex
  • Drives a black Camaro

Now that I’m in my 30’s, my understanding of what will really make me happy has matured a bit.  I don’t dress Emo anymore, my knowledge of men, relationships, and cars has expanded.  Additionally, I have quit saving myself for marriage, my last boyfriend didn’t have dark hair, and my dreams of publishing a book before I was 30 have gone unfulfilled.  I am even beginning to question the point of having a list of things I want in a mate.  Rather than a list of things I want, which has gotten less and less specific over time, now I just have a list of deal breakers:

  • Drug addiction
  • STDs
  • Kids
  • No job
  • No car
  • No hair

I may even be selling myself a little short by excluding guys with one or more of those attributes.  After all, there are probably lots of great guys out there with no car.  Or hair.  And is a job really all that important?  I could just go for Sugar Mamma status and support my boyfriend as he goes bald, contracts a bunch of STDs and procreates indiscriminately by whoring himself out in the back seat of my car to pay for his drug addiction…

Okay, maybe there really is something to standards.  Maybe they shouldn’t be as specific as they were when I was in high school, and maybe they should be stricter than they’ve been in the last few months.

My question to the rest of the world: Was holding out for a human List worthwhile?  Did it really make you happy?  Or are you, like the rest of us 30-somethings, just looking for someone who cares?  Maybe that is the be-all and end-all quality in a mate: Someone who gives a shit.


5 Responses to “Guest Post: Standards? What Standard?”

  1. @IPGJohn October 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I am reminded by that scene in “Up in the Air” when the older woman is talking to the younger and says:

    “You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window. You secretly pray that he’ll be taller than you, not an ass-hole would be nice just someone who enjoys my company, comes from a good family. You don’t think about that when you’re younger. Someone who wants kids/likes kids/wants kids. Healthy enough to play with his kids. Please let him earn more money than I do, you might not understand that now but believe me, you will one day otherwise that’s a recipe for disaster. And hopefully, some hair on his head. I mean, that’s not even a deal breaker these days. A nice smile. Yea, a nice smile just might do it.”

    • Sport October 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

      It’s so smart and true. Physical requirements seems to take the backseat the more you mature.

      I had guy who was all up and down my standards list. Hot as shit, smart, funny, etc. But he was the most emotionally vacant human being I’ve even known. Harsh, you bet your ass. And he never wanted to put out. I pulled the plug on that shit.

      I took time to evaluate what I really wanted and picked a mate that fucking rocks that list. Plus he rocks my vag. Woot woo!

  2. KBice October 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Personally, I wouldn’t rule out the no hair issue. I’ve found that bald is very sexy. Great posting.

  3. Sethro November 1, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    Good post—I see where you come from, and of course our standards change as we get older. However, being a 32 year-old bald, divorced man with three daughters (and yes, formerly drug-addicted), I am always a little puzzled by some of the standards that girls have. Not because I don’t think people should have standards. And not because I think all girls should like bald guys (but you SHOULD :P dammit). But because for every single girl who has a set of rigorous standards, there is another girl in a relationship who’s dating a complete asshole–an asshole who avoids these “deal breakers” that you talk about.

    Case in point, I have a dear friend at work–great girl. She puts up with this complete asshole (who is 6’0″, not fat, full head of hair), who gives her absolutely no respect. Her reasoning behind this is that he “doesn’t drink, he doesn’t go out all the time, he doesn’t cheat, and he isn’t obsessed with porn.” But I guess it’s better to be with someone who is verbally abusive and physically and emotionally negligent.

    So, yes, while you acknowledge that at this point, there are some standards you have to let go by the wayside, others might be worth hanging on to. Being the divorced father of three is too much for most people to handle.

    There is this stigma that it’s easier for a single dad to find a girl than it is for a single mom to find a man. That’s crap. Unless you find a girl who already has a kid or two (in which case any future you have is governed by your income and house size), or a girl who can’t have kids due to physical issues, you’re really out of luck. Because most girls want their own children–especially at this age.

    So not only do I have to deal with that, I have to deal with being bald. I have a college degree, but I’ll be goddamned if that’s worth two craps right now. But none of these things indicate whatsoever how good I am to the person I love.

    So girls are always wondering where all the good guys are. And if you ask me, the good guys are all over–hidden behind the walls and falling through the cracks that standards create. I have never, not even once, seen a set of standards that shields a girl (or guy) from a bad mate. Because standards are superficial–even the ones that aren’t about appearance. And the further you get into a relationship, the more your standards change for that person. So it’s really all pretty pointless if you ask me. But that’s just my opinion–a grumpy and bitter old man. :) Cheers.

  4. Michelle Fox November 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Thanks TheBoo! I’m giving online dating a second go-around right now and I’d like to think I have a more open mind. I will admit that looks played heavily into my initial decisions during my first round earlier this year. This time I am exploring possibilities with men that I normally wouldn’t consider. I use the word exploring because I haven’t been convinced that I can’t have the looks that I desire along with the personality I crave. I am grateful to have this time to discover what floats my boat!

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