All Articles Tagged "dating preferences"
It’s a fairly common belief that women have no idea what they want in a relationship, however from my own observations, dudes can be quite ill-defined about their wants as well.
This is not going to be a piece trying to convince you that the indecisive dude, for whom you’ve been holding out hope would one day, wise up and recognize that it had been you all along. Nope ,drop that guy. Move on! But rather, this is about how men can claim to have a preference for one thing yet secretly have other yearnings.
Case in point, recently I ran into a male friend, for whom I hadn’t seen in a short while – maybe a month or so. We were talking for a bit, catching up and sharing pleasantries, when I noticed a woman standing off to the far right side of us. I paused and gestured in her direction. He paused, apologized to the both of us for his rudeness and introduced me to the new woman in his life. I was shocked: she was light skinned.
What does this have to do with anything? I’m glad you asked (well at least those, who haven’t already stopped reading and gone off to the comment section to rail about how skin color doesn’t matter…), this male friend has a rather well known reputation for being a vocal advocate of the sistas with extra melanin. Like, he is the type of guy that if you go to his Facebook page, it would be filled with pictures and affirmations about the dark skin beauties with short afros, thick lips and big butts. Even offline, he goes on and on about his preference for dark skin, even as far as proclaim that the only woman worthy enough to marry and bear his children are dark skinned women. And he even writes poems and songs dedicated to the chocolate beauties from around the globe. In short, my friend loves dark skinned women – or so he says.
Personally, I always found his particular hype rather obnoxious and slightly offensive in that the women are still be valued basked upon the shade of their skin – so how is that really productive? But hey, everybody is entitled to their preference, right? Until he introduced me to his new girl, who was the skin tone of Lisa Bonet with wavy hair and thin lips. In fact the only physical thing she had in common with his so called ideal woman was the big butt. And it wasn’t that his new girlfriend was the opposite of what he likes. It’s entirely possible that a man, who likes big butts all of his life ends up with a flat booty woman out of actual love. But this girlfriend highly favored the last girlfriend. And she, highly favored the girlfriend before that. And all of them, favored the real mother of his children. So now I’m thinking that while my friend may have admiration and love for dark skin women, he clearly also has a type.
Even weirder, my friend never talked about his girlfriends nor would they ever show up together at friends’ parties or other mutually attended social events. If not for the accidental run-in, and being almost forced into introductions, you would peg my friend as just a lowly single man, who hasn’t quite yet met his perfect chocolate drop. But as peculiar as it sounds, my male friend is not unique. I’ve seen this same sort of preference-denial among other menfolk as well. There is the guy with the fat girlfriend (or fat mistress) complaining about how much he hates “fat chicks;” the guy, who can’t walk past a gay guy without grimacing and making snide comments, only to one day be outed as being part of the same elk; and then there is the one dude, who claims that all girls are superficial gold digger, yet chases exclusively after shallow and superficial women. Clearly women are not the only ones lying to themselves about what they like.
In some respects I totally understand. People are inherently self-conscious and this includes men too. Society has a way of pressuring folks to abide by certain rules and narrow standards, even if those rules and standards work against their own interests. How we go about love and attraction are not excluded from that equation. But you shouldn’t listen to society. You know why? Well, because society is miserable. And despite all of its proclamations about what is right and wrong, it is filled with wars and poverty; disease and famine too. And there is also hate. Plenty of unnecessary, unchecked hate dangerously floating around this hemisphere. In short, society talks too much and, most times, is wrong about lots of things, so why would you listen to it exclusively about who you should love?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that folks really should stop being ashamed of what it is that they are really attracted too. And this includes men too. Just as long as everyone is of age and it is of mutual consent, it’s really none of most folks business anyways. If a man is gay, come out and be a proud gay man. If a man likes a woman with some extra meat on his bones, by golly, get a fat girl and snuggle up. Point is to embrace all aspects of yourself including what gives you a rise sexually and intimately. For my friend, a person who proudly waves the Pan-African flag, I think his stated preference is based more on a desire to fulfill the image of what a Black Nationalism is supposed to be. If only he was secure in himself to realize that the Diaspora is wide and colorful, so he could have still had sista redbone and both of y’all be down for the cause.
Ever so often, my mom, my older sister, and myself find ourselves in the midst of hilarious debates about how differently my sister and I approach men and dating. While my sister prefers the guy with the Abercrombie & Fitch abs, the Colgate smile and the Michael Ealy eyes, I’d much rather get to know the guy with substance and an amazing personality, who doesn’t mind dissecting Bible scriptures for deeper meaning or discussing Harlem Renaissance literature with me (even if he has a few less points in the attractive department).
During our most recent debate, my mother dramatically shook her head as I eagerly reached over our table at Red Lobster to show my sister a photo of a former professor, whom I’d been totally enamored with since our first day of classes. My sister’s eyes grew wide as she rested them on the photo depicting a 30-something male with 1960′s-thick Coke bottle glasses and an afro unruly enough to make Questlove wince.
“My grandkids are doomed,” my mother joked.
“Yeah Jaz, we’re going to have to approve anybody you date from this day forward,” my sister added.
I went into my usual spiel about being way more interested in a guy’s personality and the way that he treats me than what he looks like physically (and they of course yawned as usual). This isn’t to say that I’m not interested in the outward appearance at all, because I am. It just means that the little details that define who a man is are more important than the physical attributes that define what he looks like.
“You know Jaz, dating guys that look like Mookie from Do The Right Thing doesn’t guarantee that your heart won’t get broken,” my mother inerjected in a half-serious, half-joking tone.
“That’s right sister, the ugly ones act up too,” my sister added.
I knew where they were going with this one. You see, there was a time in my life where I wasn’t always like this. Physical appearance played at least 70 percent of the part in my choices when it came to the guys that I dated. I always had to date the bad boy or the fly boy or the class clown. You know, the guy who was the center of attention, because more likely than not, he was exciting and came with tons of drama. I lived for drama, especially in my relationships. I mean, I was not content unless my relationship could easily transfer into a ’90s R&B jam or some soap opera. Then, one day, I got my heart broken for real and all of that changed. I found myself in the middle of a real life soap opera and I didn’t like it one bit. There were women calling my phone. I was stumbling across tasteless photos of scantily clad and sometimes even nude women. Then of course, there was my panic-filled trip to my gynecologist for random STD testing because my imagination had convinced me that my philandering man had passed some incurable disease on to me. Thankfully, I recognized the dysfunction and took note of all of the unnecessary drama I was bringing on myself.
Not long after this revelation, I took a rather long dating hiatus, during which I focused on my wants, needs, goals, things I want and need to change about myself, and even the qualities that I desire in a potential mate. In a nutshell, my preferences in men changed drastically. I certainly don’t believe that I’m taking a safer route by dating the nice guy, it’s just that my priorities have shifted and dating an Adonis is no longer at the top of my list. Although I can understand both sides of this debate, hopefully the women in my life will eventually understand that my shift in attitude is not some strange attempt to guard my heart. I’ve simply grown up, and what’s on the outside isn’t as important to me anymore as what’s on the inside.
Would you say that dating the nice guy is a form of settling out of fear?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Do you know exactly what kind of partner you’re looking for? While it’s almost always wise to know what you want, some experts insist that having a list of criteria for your future mate only sets you up for failure. After all, no one will ever meet every single standard … or will they?
In this video, Psychotherapist, Author & YourTango Expert Jasbina Ahluwalia addresses whether having a list of must-haves is a good idea, or whether it’s a recipe for dating disaster.
Watch what Jasbina had to say at Your Tango.com.
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