Earlier this month I celebrated my 24th birthday; it was a quiet one this year with both of my brothers MIA, so a simple (but super delicious) seafood dinner with my parents was the highlight of the day. I’m at that age now where 80% of my friends are either engaged, just married or in long-term relationships ready to be either of those. I’ve also noticed that we seem to live in a society where being single in your twenties is a cause for concern, especially for girls, and I’m kind of mortified that even my own parents have started ‘casually’ introducing me to their friends’ children (me and my brother both) as if we’re oblivious to their schemes. Nice try mum and dad! Of course, I myself have scrutinized agonizingly over the reasons behind my solidarity, and I’ve narrowed it down to mainly two things.
One: I’m being picky
I just haven’t found the right guy yet and no one I know is the right fit for me. Well, why shouldn’t I be picky? I don’t want to date someone just for the sake of having someone to go on dates with. As much fun as that is, if that were my goal I would’ve had a boyfriend (or maybe even several – not to sound too cocky) by now. I want to date someone who will eventually be my husband; and guys, don’t run away screaming when a girl says that. No, I don’t want to walk the aisle tomorrow, nor tie the knot next week, nor pronounce vows next month nor even say “I do” next year. I’m definitely not promising to marry the next guy I date, but the potential has to be there otherwise I’d feel like I’m wasting my time and his. So yes I am being picky, very much so, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Two: I’m being too picky
I think I’m unconsciously sabotaging myself by not giving someone a chance based on the fact that he’s too old or too short or any other physical factors I deem ‘important’. We’ve already ascertained that I’m being picky, but maybe there is such a thing as being overly so. I try to drill into myself, as often as possible, that my criterion for a future partner (the must-have’s at least) should be restricted to inner characteristics and personalities; meaning outer appearances should play a much lesser part (if any) in whether or not I should give the guy a chance. His values and beliefs are non-negotiable but the rest is bonus. I have to admit though; it’s proving to be easier said than done. After all, when we first meet someone, their looks are the first thing we take into account. The same goes for the guys I meet; am I physically attracted to him? If yes, proceed to get to know him better; if no, move on to the next. I know, I sound so much like shallow Hal right now I hate myself.
But what’s even worse than literally judging a book by its covers is that the book that seems dog-eared or dull may hold an interesting story after all, while the book that’s shiny can be boring as hell. So what’s worse is that even after knowing what’s inside, I make excuses like “Well, the shiny book’s story is not that bad, maybe I’m the one who can’t appreciate a good story for what it is”. I try to change or mold myself to accept the story as good when I know it’s really, really not. Even though I know the rest of the book is going to be as abysmal as the first (and only) chapter I’ve read, I keep picking it back up because its covers is just so f***ing shiny. I keep turning the pages hoping for it, willing it even, to get better; and getting disappointed when it doesn’t. The blame is all on me of course!
What’s more, after reading the blurb of the dustier book, I know it ticks most of my boxes for what I want in a good read; but I dwell instead on the fact that the colour is not at all my taste or that the font is not to my liking and I end up convincing myself it’s not worth a read after all, so I don’t even open it. In an ideal world I’d find a book with a dazzling cover and a story to keep me up at night and have me anticipating what’s going to happen next; and a happy ending of course. But this is not an ideal world, apart for maybe a few super lucky people, and happily ever after only exists in fairy tales (OK, now I’m starting to sound like a Taylor Swift song!).
I apologize that this suddenly evolved into a full-blown analogy, but I always express myself best in one and this particular analogy was too perfect to pass up, being the avid reader that I am. I guess the point of all this is that I need to stop subconsciously sabotaging the relationships that might actually turn into something before it can even start, just because I’m not initially attracted.
What do you guys think, is being picky an acceptable behaviour when looking for a potential life partner? What are your own deal breakers (and makers)?