Dating Blogger Charles: “Shallowism In Deep”

Have you ever noticed that often when deciding whom to date we start out at the most shallow level? I hear myself and others saying things like, “He's not that good looking,” or, “Wow, he is amazing to look at,” … Read More

By / January 15, 2007

Have you ever noticed that often when deciding whom to date we start out at the most shallow level? I hear myself and others saying things like, “He's not that good looking,” or, “Wow, he is amazing to look at,” as if these are the factors that will ensure we will be treated well and fall in love. I understand the importance of being attracted to the person you are romantic with, but why does appearance become the first factor in dating? Why are we as a culture completely comfortable micro-analyzing others and yet never comfortable looking inward to make constructive changes to our own dispositions? In this culture of vacuous shallowism (I know I made that word up) where everything is based on egoism, how did dating become exclusively about the other party?

When reading the other Jewcy dating columns it occurs to me that more and more we should be relying on our deeper gut instinct and not so much on what can be seen and deconstructed. I see Emily write about POP (Perfect on Paper) or Amy write about this club owner or that financier doing coke in a bathroom and making out with her on the stairs of a bar. Emily's Perfect on Paper doesn't exist and Amy seems to be dating new people all the time, as am I. None of these dates ever seems to pan out as is proven by the progression of our pieces. I am guilty of all the same judgments: I have my own version of Perfect on Paper, and surely can be easily wooed by rich guys who are attractive and connected. These, though, are not what I'm really looking for, and I would go so far to say that the behaviors drawn above conflict with my core values. Maybe now is the time to stand up and say we as a culture will not prescribe to your bullshit, we will think for ourselves and move away from shallowism.

Let's examine for a moment the idea of Perfect on Paper. We all have our idea of what this means and in truth few of us ever find our definition, perhaps because the idea itself is preposterous and impossible. If asked to define the exact definition of Perfect on Paper all of us would define it differently. To Sue it might be a lawyer or doctor, who is handsome, loving, and romantic. Sue might marry her ideal and later say it was all wrong and tell others never to marry a doctor or lawyer because they're never home and you will be constantly discontented and lonely. When will we realize that perfect doesn't exist? We are defining our “perfect” mates by some Hollywood, celluloid standard that doesn't exist. Instead we should be looking for the best match to help us grow and in turn help our mate grow.

As look back over the work of the dating bloggers, I am astounded by the common thread that runs through us all. We are supposed to talk about people and dates; instead what we are really accomplishing is putting people under an impossible microscope. I know that if I judged myself with the standards that I'm judging others, I'd have been broken up with myself a long time ago. No one can live up to the standards we set. Why not just be? Why not just enjoy our lives, be our selves and hope that someone who makes us happy, without the freight of expectation, will appear? Why must we define who other people are when it is clear that we do not even know ourselves?

People always say that love finds you when you least expect it or you always fall into a relationship when you are not looking. I am realizing the validity of these statements. When we least expect it or are not looking is when we're okay enough with ourselves and are not looking for outside validation. We are not looking for anything, so the harsh judgments, critiques, and standards of perfection are not cutting into our ability to listen and feel. Maybe that's why relationships appear when you least expect them. Perhaps it is time for us to be ourselves and let others be themselves; to find a way to celebrate the people we date with joy, humor, and grace.

I hope this helps even just one person to go out on their next date with new eyes. Sure, there are creeps, and jerks out there and that is why I am urging the single, dating community, to get rooted in self, and stop analyzing… go with the flow. If you don't like it, don't look at it. Antoine Saint Exupery makes my point exquisitely: “One sees rightly only with the heart, everything essential is blind to the eyes.” Godspeed daters.

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