Posted in Dating / Relationships

Your Inflexibility is not “Having Standards”

What’s the key to successful online dating? I like to think my opinion carries weight considering I am one of its success stories.

Know what you want, but be prepared to be flexible and re-examine your criteria from time to time.

That’s not what you wanted to hear, was it? You wanted a magic formula to show you how to get your hunky 6′ neurosurgeon with his own yacht, or your 25 year old supermodel with skyscraper legs and an insatiable sexual appetite.

Well guess what? What you want and what you think you’re entitled to is no guarantee that they will want what you have to offer. Both the proverbial neurosurgeon and the model can have the pick of the bunch – that’s the way it is. You can condemn them for shallowness all you like, but it doesn’t change that the neurosurgeon and the supermodel with skyscraper legs are likely to be dating each other and unlikely to need to join POF at all. Even if they were, they are unlikely to respond to you if you are not yourself way above average.

Don’t confuse your inflexibility and entitled attitude with “having standards”

Of course, we should all have standards – some people do not have enough – but I think some take it to the extreme these days. Casting someone aside for being 1″ too short or 1lb overweight and deciding to do so because you “won’t settle” seems to me far less about having standards than it is about treating people as accessories. It’s also more than a little narcissistic.

Yes, narcissistic. It’s a sobering thought to realise that the sort of person you want may naturally treat you with the same casual disregard with which you might have treated those people who messaged you last week: that overweight girl perhaps with the gap tooth, or that man with the glasses who was one inch shorter than your minimum height requirement. I might want that 25 year old supermodel with skyscraper legs (I don’t) but that’s no guarantee that such a person would want me as a 5′ 9″ average-looking guy pushing 40. I will do myself a disservice to continually hold out for a fantasy I will never attain and only grow bitter at how cruel the world is for being so shallow while excusing my own shallowness.

A fantasy it is. The romance novels, the rom coms may have shown you as an average guy/girl you can win over the school/work “hottie” against the millionaire, successful, better-looking competition but that’s not real life. Men and women are not perfect in the real world. We compromise, we have trade-offs, we see that others have desirable qualities when tall dark and handsome (or chesty, skinny and blonde) are not amongst them. Maybe she isn’t the prettiest or slimmest girl but you’ll have the best sex ever. Maybe he is a little overweight and doesn’t have much money, but you’ll feel cared for and wanted while there is still a beating heart in his chest.

I encourage you to be flexible – nobody is saying you should date people who would be wrong for you, or those you would never be attracted to. However:

  • If you’re not prepared to do for others what you demand others do for you, you’ve no right to complain
  • If you continue to cling to a fantasy that may never happen, you’ve no right to blame others for your inflexibility
  • You should remember that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results


I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

4 thoughts on “Your Inflexibility is not “Having Standards”

  1. Don’t you know that women need a tall guy because they like to wear heels? ::rolls eyes:: But this post touches on something that’s been grating on me lately. I get called out for being superficial for saying I don’t want to date someone overweight (and i don’t mean just a few pounds either) and that I’m disparaging women’s looks, yet women slag off men’s looks all the time: “he’s too short” “he’s too skinny” “he’s not muscular enough” “he’s oddly built” “I only like guys with beards” “ew he’s 35 and his hair is thinning” “he actually wore sneakers on our first date, so forget this guy,” etc. etc. Yet if I were to disqualify a girl for being too short or not busty enough, I’d be slammed from all directions.

    1. I absolutely hear you on that one. This was in response to a conversation I was having over at Clarissa Silva’s blog:

      Though to be fair, I only addressed her final point.

      There is a shocking double standard to women and many do not see that they have a double standard. There’s always an excuse for why it is ok for women to be picky but not for men; it smacks of entitlement to me.

      And don’t get me started on the contradictory statements that we men are both shallow, and would f*ck anything with a pulse.

      While I was on OKCupid I once sent a message to a woman who only responded to tell me she wasn’t interested because I was only 1″ taller than her and she likes to feel enveloped. Imagine the outrage I would have had in return if she had messaged me and I told her she otherwise seemed a great match, but her boobs weren’t big enough. Yeah, I can imagine she’d have been very accepting of that,

      All you can do is keep doing what you’re doing and call the hypocrites out on their double standard.

  2. In the context of online dating, I see how this can happen. I know that I have a type that I’m attracted to (dark hair, dark eyes) and rarely deviate from this.

    Yet at the same time, I know I can pretty much fall in love with anyone if I spend enough time with them. This takes time– time you don’t have when you’re meeting a stranger on date. After all, there are plenty of others to choose from. You pick someone you’re physically attracted to first, then you get to know them.

    If you don’t feel attraction for someone, you have little reason to spend months to get to know them to see if you’re compatible or not. I don’t fault men or women for this, it’s just a disadvantage of dating online.

    1. Absolutely! And for most people who know what they want it won’t be a problem if they can get it; by the sound of, neither of us have that sort of problem. However, if I wasn’t getting dates with the sort of women I’d want to date… often for years at a time… I’ll most likely take a closer look at what we I and think about whether I’m being unrealistic.

      I was pretty flexible and despite that I have a preference (dark hair, dark complexion, curves, intelligence and a sense of humour) my dates came in all shapes and sizes. I would guess that Indiechick was a size 8 but Mischief, I’d be surprised if she was under size 20.

      But there are men and women who are so completely unflinching and inflexible who complain constantly about a lack of suitable dates. When you dig a little deeper, it’s usually obvious why: they’re rejecting people for some of the silly reasons stated above.

      Thanks for your comment as ever!

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