Monday, July 22, 2019

"Standards"

We've all heard a variation of the saying, "I have standards."

It's applied to all sorts of situations, from choices pertaining to food, clothing, cars, and even people, with endless variations in between.

But what does it mean?

Basically, it's a statement saying there's a line that you won't cross, for whatever reason, and the item or person in question doesn't measure up to that arbitrary line. You do it, I do it, everyone does it. When applied to merchandise, it can indicate discernment or an eye for quality (a Toyota will run forever if you take care of it), or snobbery (I only bathe in Evian spring water).

But what about people?

Same as above, either an eye for quality or snobbery, basically, but consider a moment the judgement there. You're saying, "They're not 'good enough'". Sometimes, that's ok. Often, it's not.

Let's use me as an example. When it comes to someone I find attractive, I have roughly seven (7) responses: 
  1. "Oh HELL yeah."
  2. "SO would."
  3. "Would."
  4. "Maybe."
  5. "Wouldn't."
  6. "Would NOT."
  7. "Oh HELL no."
Now, I don't consider myself "picky", nor do I have a "type". I have preferences, sure; if intelligence  is a "type" and the ability to engage in discourse on a variety of topics, with a deep breadth of knowledge is a "type", then it's paramount, but purely physical parameters? No, none. I have no preference for blonde, brunette, ginger, white, black, brown, red, yellow, thick, thin, curvy, slender...hell, gender is up for debate, though my pansexuality is an entirely different subject outside of the scope of this post.

So where are my standards? I've been accused of having low standards because I said "Would" about someone others at the table all said "No" about. I asked why, and I was told several responses but the predominant one was that she was "too chubby" or "fat". Sure, she had the beginnings of a belly, she wasn't athletically slim, but so what?  The irony here is that with but one exception, ALL of the folks commenting were in approximately the same physical condition she was, yet SHE wasn't "good enough".

The arrogance of judging someone as inferior because of a shallow line in the sand, their "standards", that even THEY DIDN'T LIVE UP TO, is shameful.

I can hear you now, though..."Wait a second, you do the same thing, judging their intelligence!"

Yep. Mea Culpa.

However, that's a very different thing. My criteria is based on what's there for allowing the building of a relationship, either life-long friend or more; higher intelligence doesn't necessarily mean you can't communicate (the 30 point gap/2 points of divergence thing isn't hard science...just look at Simonton and Hollingworth), but higher intelligence DOES typically entail faster absorption and learning, with greater capacity, and usually a wider range of topics. As a result, I want to DISCUSS those topics, get into discussions and explore nuances, and do so with a firm, and broad command of vocabulary. Knowing more words, and their meanings and versatility, means you can say more, but with less. If a relationship is built solely on the foundation of big tits and a flat belly, where is it going to go when the tits sag and the belly grows? MY standards are focused on longevity. Long-term relationship building. Similar goals and beliefs regarding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. MUTUAL interaction, and respect. 

See the difference? That last word there...."RESPECT". It's ok to have preferences. It's fine to simply be attracted to someone. It is patently NOT fine to say, "You're not good enough because I only like people with big tits and flat bellies." It is fine to not be attracted to someone, but it is NOT fine to look at them as "less" because of some arbitrary datum that you yourself don't measure up to.

Which brings me back to "Respect". Put your hormones on the back burner and get to know someone. Show them that you're interested in ALL of them, not just the visible data points, or are at least curious to find out if you want to know more about them. Treat people as PEOPLE, not things. Even in the example above where I said "Would" and others didn't, it was more of a "they're not unhygienic, they're not a druggie with a criminal record as long as my driveway, and/or they don't look dangerous" comment than strictly a physical assessment. That was me saying, "I would be interested in getting to know more about them and see where it goes."

In the interest of full disclosure, there are times when I look at someone and my initial response is "Oh HELL yeah", but at my age, I've learned that sometimes the prettiest packages are the most inimical...poison tree frogs, anyone? Very pretty....bad idea to touch one. KNOWLEDGE, getting to know the other person, THAT is what matters.

As someone that has been married three decades, let me tell you...waistlines change (all parties), youthful energy wanes, and responsibilities interfere...but being able to sit and exchange parts of yourself via communicating doesn't really go away if you chose for that to start with.

So having "standards" isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the root of them matters. As a result, when I hear someone say, "I wouldn't, because I have standards", I'm reminded I do too...and you just failed to measure up to them.

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