Over the years I have received a lot of solicited and unsolicited dating advice from friends (both male and female), family, and occasionally co-workers. Needless to say, none of it worked, since I am still very much single, but that might be because I refuse to follow the majority of it. Sometimes I think that if I had, I might have a ring on my finger and be well on my way to my first white-picket fence, and then I remember why I don’t follow other people’s dating advice: because for me, it is not going to attract the type of person with whom I would want to spend the majority of my life. Also, I’m going to issue a disclosure: this is, as are all my entries, an opinion piece and a fairly personal one at that, so if it differs with anyone’s own personal views on love or romance, well then … tough.
The majority of dating advice falls into the realm of some variation of “The Rules”, i.e. don’t call/text him first, make him wait for sex, don’t be too intimidating with your opinions/views, don’t beat him at board games (video games in my case), etc. My mother’s particular spin includes: don’t laugh too loudly, don’t be persistent in your opinions, don’t have radical opinions to begin with, and be skinny (because men hate fat women). Now, I know the majority of people who read this blog also know me in person, and I’m sure they are laughing right now at how preposterous this advice is when it’s applied to me. For those of you who have never met me, I’m opinionated, competitive, pretty loud, and very straight forward, also, I like to think I’m pretty sexually liberated.
Now, there is nothing wrong with more demure or more reserved women. Everyone is entitled to their personality, and I understand that there are a lot of men out there that prefer those qualities in a mate, and everyone is entitled to their preferences. A lot of people don’t prefer me as a friend either, and that’s ok, I don’t expect everyone to like me, because science knows I don’t like a lot of people. However, I also understand that these people in general would not be good romantic nor friend matches for me.
It’s the same with the weight issue. My mom likes to reiterate to me, that if I don’t lose the excess weight, then I will never find a husband (because that should be my end goal, right?), but why would I want to be with a man who won’t give me a second glance as I am now? Just as with personality, everyone is entitled to their physical preferences, and I don’t condemn men who are not attracted to women with fuller figures. However, I am also well aware that my weight is rarely constant, and even if I manage to shed a large amount of it, there is no guarantee that I will be able to maintain the loss indefinitely, so I would not want to be with a partner who would cease being attracted to me if my body changes.
I know I’m not a perfect catch, and I’m not saying I’m entitled to a relationship without putting in any sort of effort on my part. I know I’m not the easiest person to date. I’m stubborn and I hold people to very high standards of behavior (sometimes), but I also tend to hold myself to similar standards, i.e. respecting people’s time and feelings. I’m a bit of homebody, and tend to drag my feet when it comes to participating in large outings. I also realize that there might not be someone out there for me at all, which is okay (I’ll get dogs), my uterus does not ache to be filled with my genetic spawn. With this realization comes the fact that I am unwilling to follow other people’s dating advice, because I’m not willing to compromise my personality, and in effect, my preferences.
As I’ve stated before, everyone is entitled to their preferences when it comes to finding a partner, and I feel that I should be included in this particular entitlement. And even though, I do have preferences when it comes to general physical and personality traits that I look for in a potential mate, the most important quality that I look for is their preference for me. I’ve been in relationships with men who have displayed tolerance or acceptance, but that’s not enough for me. I don’t want to be loved in spite of my personality, I want to be loved for it, because I do believe that it’s worth being loved.
To me, it’s always seemed that dating advice aims to change women to a more male-friendly version for themselves, but following “The Rules” or any other such book, is like following the Atkins diet. Yes, you will reach your goal quickly, but just as with Atkins, who can keep it up for the rest of their lives? And if you do slip, and you will slip if such advice is not how you operate naturally, (because just because you’re not eating cookies, doesn’t mean you don’t still love them), it will cause issues in your relationship, or even if you don’t slip, could you really be happy for the rest of your life with a person who does not even know who you really are. I know I wouldn’t be.