Lately, I’ve been noticing an increased shame directed towards women who are “picky” about who they choose to pursue romantically. I get it – you want to have a fair chance with her. You think that her height preference (or rather, “requirement”), makes her shallow and unfair. Let me start by telling you that yes, a fraction of this thinking is justified. I’m sure that there are people who seek specific qualities in partners due to the image that they want their relationship to have, rather than for reasons that affect their attraction to them. Of course, it isn’t fair that the girl of your dreams won’t consider you as a viable romantic partner purely due to your height (something you obviously have no control over). I get it and I empathize
I like to think that the whole point of dating in your teens and twenties is to discover what you find attractive in a partner. I have a hard time regretting any “relationship” I’ve had, purely because each one taught me so much about what qualities I value and what qualities I absolutely will not tolerate in a partner. Dating different types of people is so important and influential when it comes to deciding with what kind of person you want to be. You may spend time with someone who seems to have it all, that is, until you meet someone else down the road who possesses a quality you hadn’t cared for before; one that is now essential to you in a future partner.
If you’re anything like me, you have slowly developed a dangerously long, detailed list of specific preferences in your dream partner. It’s a hodge-podge of different qualities that you liked in different people, and now you’d like to find one person who possesses all of them. I openly accept how picky I am and I understand why my friends have little-to-no sympathy for me when I complain about my love life being a constant struggle. The fact of the matter is that some of the items on my list are non-negotiable; for example: height.
I want someone who’s taller than me. Not for the image, but because if they were any smaller, I would feel uncomfortable. I would not have a physical attraction to a shorter guy and being with them would challenge my self-esteem, making me feel grossly large and less feminine. While it’s the 21st century and I know that I can take care of myself (and I may have a few black belts to prove it), I still want someone who feels like my protector, and that just isn’t going to work if you’re 5’7”. Sorry, buddy.
Similarly, most men have a specific body type that they are attracted to in women. It’s not as cut and dry, but it wouldn’t be so different for a thin guy to not be attracted to curvy girls. Not because they’re curvy, but because them being curvy would likely make him feel immasculine.
Preferences in a romantic partner extend so much further than just appearances. The physical traits just seem to be the most highly scrutinized, likely due to their permanence. When discussing athleticism, at the surface it seems to be a question of appearances. Understand this: I don’t need you to be built and have perfectly chiseled abs. I do, however, prioritize overall fitness. To me, being out of shape or overweight isn’t unattractive because of the way it affects your physical appearance, it’s unattractive because it tells me you don’t care about your health. Similarly, you not taking your college classes seriously makes me question your ambitions in life and whether or not you’re driven to be successful. Mentally-stimulating conversations and deep emotional connections are important to me, so I would need to see that there’s a potential for that. If it’s clear to me that we don’t both value family to the same degree, it was over before it began. If you want to be casual and play games while I want to see if there’s something real to be found, why would we even waste each other’s time? The only difference with these qualities is that there may be some wiggle room. While you shouldn’t go into a relationship hoping to change someone, it’s important to recognize that them not having their priorities in line may be temporary, and they may just need some time to grow up (I’ll put you in the “later” pile).
I’m fair, I swear. I could show you my “deal-breakers” list in full and have a perfectly logical and justified explanation for each of them. It’s time to stop assuming that everyone’s list of preferences is shallow and superficial, and instead to start reading between the lines and seeing them for what they truly are. I just know what I want, I know what I’m willing to compromise and most importantly, I know what I deserve. Some things are simply not up for negotiation.
Note: I do realize that this stigma goes both ways and that males are as equally affected by it as females are. For purposes of writing this article, I have written it from my point of view (as a female) and no offense was meant by it.