Setting personal standards

Single File

October 25, 1992|By Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: Two recent letters in your column are very revealing when taken together. The first letter was from Gayle, who wrote you regarding her newly found self-imposed standards for men she will date. In short, looks, status and wealth are not the criteria to be used; but this is difficult and leads to conflict and ridicule from her friends.

The very next letter is from Jill, who wants to know what men look for in a woman. Perhaps instead of worrying about what men are looking for, Jill should think about what she wants. If a guy is only interested in her looks he is probably a waste of time anyway. (But, as Gayle points out, this may result in social discomfort.) What then are we talking about?

As long as men and women base dating choices on factors other than genuine feelings of personal comfort, both sexes will remain confused. As Gayle points out, women are looking for things such as looks, status and wealth. Men know this, of course, and must respond to it in social settings. Men are also subject to the same social pressures when they choose a date, and this is part of Jill's problem, one that she may not be able to do anything about except avoid those who perpetuate it. It appears that Jill is still caught up in the problem, while Gayle has risen above it.

Unfortunately, asking men what they seek in a woman will be of little help to Jill; she must face the task of breaking the social pressure barrier on her own.

Let's not forget we are real-life people.

A: Not only are we real, each of us is an individual, standing a bit apart from the next person. Gayle has learned that life lesson, Jill is not there yet. Listen to the wisdom of one young man describing what he is looking for:

"If I had to make a short list of my ideal woman, I'd put personality first, then attitude toward others, and last would be her looks (including her weight). If I like the woman and feel comfortable with her, looks should be last on the list. Last Friday I went on a blind date, and the woman was a 10. But to someone else, they might ask why I'm seeing her. So I would just tell them that once you get to know her, you'll see why I feel for her. The thing I look for is the personality; if a woman can get me to talk, I like her for that. I'm very shy."

Oh, if only I could put that man and Gayle in the same room. . . .

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