I live in New York City, home of The Beautiful People.
In this city, even the non-famous people, those with normal jobs, are stunning.
So it’s no wonder that ordinary people such as myself have a difficult time attracting others here. Actually, it’s worse than difficult – I’d say impossible – because I’m not a person that could be categorized as slim in body type. And New York City might be one of the most body-conscious, thin-centric cities in the country.
So I, in order to avoid the pain and heartache, took myself out of the race long ago. I turned to online dating, thinking that people would place more emphasis on the non-physical.
I was, of course, wrong about that; in fact, I discovered a host of other problems associated with online dating. Nothing felt worse than the inevitable let-down: that flash of insight when eyes met and one set of eyes revealed disappointment.
One man’s theory
I have friends, though, who hadn’t considered hiding themselves from public life. One such friend, a man with a face only a mother could love, has some insight into the dating standards of New Yorkers.
He feels that everyone – both male and female – are looking for the exact same person. And since this is a city with millions of singles, all looking for the same person, it makes dating a numbers game.
Eventually, some of the wiser, more introspective among us will realize that we are not going to get that person for whom everyone else came here in search of. We will also realize that we, ourselves, are not the person that everyone else wanted.
What then? What does one do?
Even if we didn’t have the pressure of conforming to a much-desired type, how can we deal with the standards of others?
I have another friend, single by choice, who is very happy with her non-committal dating situation. She is constantly going out. Every weekend she’s got a date. She is, as she says, “casting the net of nets,” and her net is as wide as possible.
She dates with only one non-negotiable: they must share her faith.
Beyond that, she is open to all races, ages, professions and types. One week, she’ll attend a gallery opening with a tattooed motorcycle enthusiast. The next, she’ll be at the opera with a twice-divorced stock trade analyst.
The key, she feels, is to not have any standards at all. In making herself open to everyone, she rules out no one. In this way, she’s not only having a blast, but she is learning not to limit herself to a stringent allowance of possibilities.
She is often heard saying, “Do you really believe your soul mate, your life’s companion, your heart’s partner, really needs to share your taste in music?”
She feels that when we make ourselves available to more possible connections, we have a greater chance of finding that one person we might never have met otherwise and who just might be the perfect one for us.
In the process, she is learning a tremendous amount of valuable information about herself. She’s also seeing and doing so much more than if she’d dated only according to a type. This is her way of winning at the numbers game.
Ditching the map
Of course, not all of us have the ability to attract such a large pool of candidates over such a wide range of types. (She is, of course, a New Yorker – very thin and extremely attractive.) But the lesson here is to figure out what is required for the elusive thing that all of us are looking for in a potential partner.
This might be the perfect time for us to re-evaluate our own standards. A trusted friend says, “You are who you attract.” If the standards of others are hindering you from finding your mate, perhaps the answer is in you, not them.
These standards have less to do with critiquing or updating our checklist and more about examining what we consider compatibility. To whom do we feel most drawn the most often? Is it strictly a matter of chemistry? Is it someone who shares our sense of humor or political beliefs? Is it temperament? Or is it something more tangible, such as looks or style of dress?
My serial-dating friend thinks that none of these things are as important as we think they are. In her words, “There is no map.” She often talks about how exciting this map-less dating experience is.
I tend to believe that!
Another way of looking at it is in the old adage, “When a door closes, a window opens.” Instead of staring at the closed door, perhaps it’s time to look around – outside our comfort zone – at the windows. Perhaps there are many more windows open!