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Post by The Wisp on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:45 pm

Continuing this discussion to avoid a derail (mods requested I just start a new thread rather than do a full thread split)

Quotes!

The Wisp wrote:
I have mixed feelings about the this advice [to lower/change one's standards] no matter which gender it is targeted at. On the one hand, I do think people should examine their preferences to some degree and see if they're desires are unrealistic due to incompatibilities, whether they're wanting much more than they can give, whether they're prejudiced against dating certain kind of people for bad reasons (ones that are based on stereotypes, or ones that fall apart when examined and were only held out of habit), and so on.

On the other hand, I believe a lot of attraction patterns are set in stone by early adulthood, no matter whether their causes are more biological or more social/experiential (I lean towards "more social/experiential", though biological may be a factor, too). I do think, as I said, that people should be encouraged to examine their preferences. But, I think it is kind of gross to shame or pressure people for having the dating preferences they do (except if those preferences are explicitly, rather than subconsciously, based on harmful stereotypes). I also recoil at politicizing dating preferences in the way that the "expand your standards!" advice often does. Whom you're attracted to isn't usually a political statement (as long as you don't judge people you're not dating or wanting to date by those standards if they're not relevant to the situation), but most often based on non-rational and usually fixed subconscious desires. I don't think it is helpful or right to condemn people and say, for example, "you're weightist [is that even a word?] if you don't date obese people!" or "you're ableist if you don't give that socially awkward guy a second chance! (even if he did ping your creepdar)". From practical perspective I don't think it's helpful either, because in many cases the things that make it hard date one type of person make it hard to date all kinds of people.

ETA: And, fwiw, I don't see the "lower/change/expand your standards" advice given much here, unless a person's preferences fall into one of the categories I laid out in the second paragraph.

kleenestar wrote:I'm often the one saying things like "examine your assumptions," and I think it's good to know things like "Hey, I am probably reluctant to date overweight people because society unjustly tells me they are unappealing." What you choose to do about that is up to you, but I think people are more likely to make ethical decisions when they're more aware of their own assumptions, habits, and patterns. I also think that exposing those assumptions as cultural messaging instead of "just what I want" or "what's natural to want" does a surprising amount of good, whether or not the person changes their behavior as a result. If nothing else it can help you understand the weight you put on different traits, as per my previous post in this thread, and identify ones where there is a disparity between what you want and what society values.

Please note, I don't say this as theory - I say it as someone who went through an extended process of re-evaluating her own standards and preferences.

I do want to explicitly note two things. First, I don't think the parallel with overweight people and creepy people is fair, as one is a culturally specific aesthetic preference and the other is a potential danger indicator. Second, I'm skeptical of claims that subconscious preferences are fixed. But that's probably a different conversation.

reboot wrote:I recommend that people question their preferences/standards because when I did it I realized that, thanks to media and growing up in UT, I had ended up adopting "white" into my definition of attractive just because that is what I knew. When I questioned myself on it, I realized race/ethnicity was not something that had anything to do with attraction for me and dropped the preference.

The Wisp wrote:
kleenestar wrote:I'm often the one saying things like "examine your assumptions," and I think it's good to know things like "Hey, I am probably reluctant to date overweight people because society unjustly tells me they are unappealing." What you choose to do about that is up to you, but I think people are more likely to make ethical decisions when they're more aware of their own assumptions, habits, and patterns. I also think that exposing those assumptions as cultural messaging instead of "just what I want" or "what's natural to want" does a surprising amount of good, whether or not the person changes their behavior as a result. If nothing else it can help you understand the weight you put on different traits, as per my previous post in this thread, and identify ones where there is a disparity between what you want and what society values.

I'm not sure we disagree. I'm saying I think it's okay to ask people to examine their preferences critically, but what I'm reacting against is people telling others they should change their preferences because they're "unfair", which is politicizing the preferences.

Can you go more into the bold part?

First, I don't think the parallel with overweight people and creepy people is fair, as one is a culturally specific aesthetic preference and the other is a potential danger indicator.

That's a good point. But, change it to "it's ableist to not want to a date a non-creepy guy who is socially awkward and bad at reading nonverbal signals" and it gets the same point across, and now is more analogous to the weight example.

I think that Second, I'm skeptical of claims that subconscious preferences are fixed. But that's probably a different conversation.

Well, I think they can change, but not intentionally. But, yeah, maybe that would be too much of a derail [actually, probably not anymore].

jcorozza wrote:This is something I've wondered about for myself a lot, as well.  While I've been attracted to non-white guys in the past, they're a small minority.  But at the same time, I also find myself noticing that a lot of non-white women are very attractive - but maybe this is just because I don't have any sexual interest in women, and I'm judging them purely on aesthetics, whereas when I'm looking at men, I'm also subconsciously thinking about personality/culture/values and all of that other fun stuff, and making all sorts of assumptions without even realizing it.  

ElizaJane wrote:I think culture also fetishizes and sexualizes "exotic" women, making it okay to desire them in a way it doesn't do with non-white men.  I think it comes from the gross power dynamics of male-female sexuality -- desiring a woman is a way of asserting power over her, and is okay to do with a woman of "lesser social status", but desiring a man means he has power over you, which is only okay with your equals or superiors.

And that whole thing felt incredibly gross to type, so let me clarify that I'm trying to describe what I view as a current, very bad social dynamic, not any actual feelings I have on the issue.
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Post by The Wisp on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:52 pm

I've been thinking about this and I have a lot of mixed feelings on it. I'm having a hard time reconciling my belief that, yes, some people have very unrealistic standards that are bad for their dating prospects and should examine them, that some people have standards that are problematic, and the belief that that people should generally not be judged for their preferences.

I do think some preferences are not changeable (deliberately, anyway). For example, I'm not attracted to androgynous women and I'm not sure I could make myself be. I'm sure cultural messages have something to do with that (and perhaps all to do with that), but I'm not sure I can or should do anything with that knowledge. (Jess, if you're reading this, I'd be very interested to hear you elaborate on why you think people date more ethically if they're aware of cultural messages influencing them)

Also, I'm wondering how this intersects with sexual preferences. Should a female submissive or a male dominant be encouraged to critically examine their sexual preferences? A lot of people in BDSM world seem (from my outsider point of view) hostile to such suggestions. They seem to view sexual preferences as separate from romantic ones, are they right?
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Post by kleenestar on Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:04 pm

Baby has to go down for a nap so this is a brief placeholder. Basically mental flexibility is the key. If you think that your preferences are "natural" and "right" then you cannot approach them critically or manage them mindfully; you are also likely to behave badly to people with different preferences and to universalize your own desires. For example, a lot of the shitty behavior we see around "all women want tall hot dudes" comes from this lack of mental flexibility and mindfulness.

My rule of thumb is that the closer your preferences are to a cultural norm in a given area, the more likely you are to naturalize and universalize your preferences. This can happen in reference to the mainstream (e.g. BDSM folks are very aware their preferences are not universal) but also with reference to specific patterns (e.g. we naturalize male dominance and female submission in many contexts and that idea needs challenging even in the context of BDSM).

As far as changing attraction patterns - no, you can't do that by using your conscious mind to tell yourself how to feel. In fact that is likely to backfire. What the research suggests - and it's consistent with my experience - is that most people can change their unconscious preferences using a combination of externalizing processes and hands-on practice. But the real win is in resisting systems of domination and oppression regardless of who you date - reflecting on your preferences is a tool to help you get there, since you can't fight what you can't see.

Hope that makes sense, ran out of time to edit.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:15 pm

I think it's good to think about what you want and to occasionally revisit your ideas about what qualities are must haves, what ones are nice to haves, and what ones aren't really that important after all. I think sometimes people tend to fall into the habit of using proxies, which rules out people they might be compatible with (a mildly bad outcome) and may lead them to date people they're not compatible with (the more serious problem in my view). My personal experience has been that thinking about why I wasn't interested in dating someone with children clarified that it probably was a bad idea both for me and for other potential participants in that relationship, while thinking about why I expected a partner to have a college degree led me to conclude that I was using it as a proxy for traits that didn't perfectly line up with it and should be instead assessed on their own.

Once people reach the conclusion that their standards are, at least for now, not something they can change, I'm prone to leaving them be - so long as the person acknowledges having those standards and that choosing to maintain them may mean that they won't be able to find anyone who meets them who's interested in them in return. After all, there's nothing wrong with being alone, and I tend to think it's fairly harmless to choose to set your standards in a way that make it likely you'll end up alone. I tend to find it most frustrating when people leave their own preferences unstated while framing others as being overly or unfairly picky, though, because that reinforces what I think is most people's selfish tendency to assume their own standards are fine and normal and good to have but that any standards that exclude them as a partner are by necessity problematic.

I've actually found that healthier people who are interested in BDSM already have critically examined their sexual preferences, and I'm quite wary of people who claim they're "natural dominants" or whatnot and could never, ever consider doing something even slightly submissive. I find that doesn't match up well with the realities of most sexual acts, which can vary in whether they're dominant or submissive depending on the attitudes of the participants and the general atmosphere, and that it doesn't mesh well with any but the most structured and role-oriented of relationships. I think people who are interested in BDSM tend to be a bit defensive in general, since they're used to being faced with criticism of their turn ons as perverse, and as such are sometimes a little too quick to dismiss any suggestions that it's good to think about why something might be titillating. The same defensiveness has generally led communities to ignore some really serious problems related to consent, so I think it's a bad tendency overall. Like I said, the people I know who are interested in BDSM and strike me as being safe partners tend to be open to at least considering how their preferences interact with gender roles, cultural biases, and so on.

EDIT: Also, since the example I was replying to was about submissive women and dominant men, I thought I'd clarify that being thoughtful isn't restricted to people in those gender-role combinations. There are some not so healthy gender dynamics that intersect with submissive men and dominant women, as well as specific fetishes that come with some pretty hefty racist or heterosexist baggage.
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Post by Caffeinated on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:00 pm

I think examining one's standards is a good idea in the general sense of not wanting to live an unexamined life. But I also think that the end result of examining those standards can be keeping them just as well as changing them.

I also think that sometimes the advice to change one's standards comes from unexamined assumptions on the part of the person giving the advice. It can also come from a feeling that the person being advised has wildly different standards for themself than for a potential date and that the discrepancy amounts to a certain hypocrisy. It can also come from a place of not wanting to listen to the person's complaints about being unable to find someone when those complaints appear to be accompanied by an unwillingness to make any changes in their way of doing things.

But I also think that men in particular should reexamine their standards, but not because they hinder dating. It's more because of a tendency for many men to treat the women they interact with in non-dating contexts as less than fully human if those women don't meet the man's dating standards (despite the fact that this should not matter in the least in a non-dating context.)
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Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:15 pm

So I'm going to be a big 'ol egomaniac and quote myself over here to continue the discussion

rj3 wrote:"Question your attractions" is a false consciousness argument, which is a form of gaslighting.

What you're really saying is that some desires or preferences are assumed to be illegitimate or not "true" reflections of your real feelings because they match up with hierarchy that I do not agree with for political reasons. Anyone who believes that way, therefore, should at least "interrogate" those attractions to make sure they aren't the result of wrong politics. And what happens after the interrogation and you still come out liking skinny blondes? Don't think for a second that your interlocutor will say, "welp! as long as you interrogated, I suppose it's OK!"

Gaslighting is making someone think their own mind can't be trusted, fostering dependence on the preferences of the gaslighter. Same here.

Some commenters here are also discussing attempts to change/examine their own preferences, which is different. In cases where this is done as a result of shaming or to fit in with a community's expectations, the above applies. It applies whether people are shamed by preferring non-conventional beauty as well as those shamed for liking it. People run in different circles.

But what about when people try to train themselves out of being attracted to conventionally attractive people? I could see how one could think they could expand their dating pool by undergoing some sort of serious training regimen in order to expand their dating pool. It only makes sense, right?

I didn't spend as much time as it would take to thoroughly retrain my brain, but I do have a story.

Many years ago, I had one of those beer-goggles hookups with someone I would never have been attracted to in the cold light of sobriety. In the morning, I did all the polite things, drove her home and closed the chapter on a fun one-off encounter.

I don't kiss and tell, but her friends and my friends had a couple of links between and the grapevine did its job - I heard back about our encounter about three days later. She had fun too, but wanted me to get back in contact with her. She assumed I didn't want to show her off in public and was ashamed that we had hooked up. She didn't want a BF, she explained, just someone with whom to scratch that itch now and then while she focused on school.

"Was I ashamed of her?" I thought. Well, no. I had preferences, she didn't fit those preferences, and that's OK (or should be). If I had a time machine, I wouldn't take it back.

So I examined my preferences. Was I really afraid of public reaction? I should give it another shot just to prove that I'm not shallow! She was nice enough, and I would have probably asked for a proper date if she matched my preferences more closely. So I called her up, we had dinner, then back to her place. I was sober, committed to success ... and this time it just didn't work. There were intermittent performance issues and I just couldn't get into the right headspace to have any fun.  I tried f****** for justice, and it didn't work. Were I more committed, I could have probably dragged it out for a few more dates, but I didn't. She figured out that it wasn't working, and got her itch scratched elsewhere. She's married now.

What's the moral of the story? I'm not sure whether it's possible at all to change your preferences for any reason. If it is, it sure isn't easy.

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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:35 pm

rj3 wrote:
Some commenters here are also discussing attempts to change/examine their own preferences, which is different. In cases where this is done as a result of shaming or to fit in with a community's expectations, the above applies. It applies whether people are shamed by preferring non-conventional beauty as well as those shamed for liking it. People run in different circles.

But what about when people try to train themselves out of being attracted to conventionally attractive people? I could see how one could think they could expand their dating pool by undergoing some sort of serious training regimen in order to expand their dating pool. It only makes sense, right?

I didn't spend as much time as it would take to thoroughly retrain my brain, but I do have a story.

Many years ago, I had one of those beer-goggles hookups with someone I would never have been attracted to in the cold light of sobriety. In the morning, I did all the polite things, drove her home and closed the chapter on a fun one-off encounter.

I don't kiss and tell, but her friends and my friends had a couple of links between and the grapevine did its job - I heard back about our encounter about three days later. She had fun too, but wanted me to get back in contact with her. She assumed I didn't want to show her off in public and was ashamed that we had hooked up. She didn't want a BF, she explained, just someone with whom to scratch that itch now and then while she focused on school.

"Was I ashamed of her?" I thought. Well, no. I had preferences, she didn't fit those preferences, and that's OK (or should be). If I had a time machine, I wouldn't take it back.

So I examined my preferences. Was I really afraid of public reaction? I should give it another shot just to prove that I'm not shallow! She was nice enough, and I would have probably asked for a proper date if she matched my preferences more closely. So I called her up, we had dinner, then back to her place. I was sober, committed to success ... and this time it just didn't work. There were intermittent performance issues and I just couldn't get into the right headspace to have any fun.  I tried f****** for justice, and it didn't work. Were I more committed, I could have probably dragged it out for a few more dates, but I didn't. She figured out that it wasn't working, and got her itch scratched elsewhere. She's married now.

What's the moral of the story? I'm not sure whether it's possible at all to change your preferences for any reason. If it is, it sure isn't easy.

You seem to be mostly focused on appearance, and I do want to note that this is a more general discussion of standards that touches more than just this specific interest.

That being said, my experience is that I've had mixed results. Most of the people I grew up near were white and most of the people I saw in media were white, so I grew up assuming that I was only attracted to white men. When I moved to a more racially diverse area and started seeing men of other races on a regular basis, I discovered that this wasn't true and that I found people of many races attractive. On the other side of things, I've tended not to be very attracted to men who are both shorter and slimmer than I am (one or the other is fine). I'm aware that probably has some strong social biases behind it, but it's not something that seems likely to change. I'm also aware that this preference has led me to rule out some men who might otherwise be good partners. I think this is a fine enough approach for people who like conventional good looks to take as well.

I'd say that there's some obligation to think about why we like what we do, and that after that, there's a range of ethical responses from attempting to expand our standards, figuring out what we might change about ourselves to be more appealing partners, and deciding that it's fine to be patient and wait to meet someone who meets them and who likes us the way we are. I'd say that unethical responses involve complaining in ways that are burdensome to others about struggles to attract people we find attractive without acknowledging our own exclusions and trying to pressure those we find attractive into changing their standards to include us.
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Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:50 pm

eselle28 wrote: I'd say that unethical responses involve complaining in ways that are burdensome to others about struggles to attract people we find attractive without acknowledging our own exclusions and trying to pressure those we find attractive into changing their standards to include us.

Agreed. There is an assumption on the part of many complainers/advice-seekers that other peoples' desires are illegitimate if they don't include us. If you're allowed to have preferences that exclude people, other people are allowed to have preferences that exclude you - for any reason whatsoever whether or not you think it's fair.

Besides, who really wants to be a long-term pity lay?

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Post by Enail on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:01 pm

I think - I hope - that when people suggest questioning one's preferences and keeping an open mind about attraction, it doesn't extend as far as 'pity lays' or otherwise faking an interest that isn't actually there. I actually think that's one of the meanest things you can do to another person.
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Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:10 pm

Enail wrote:I think - I hope - that when people suggest questioning one's preferences and keeping an open mind about attraction, it doesn't extend as far as 'pity lays' or otherwise faking an interest that isn't actually there. I actually think that's one of the meanest things you can do to another person.


If you try to keep your mind so far open that you're ignoring your gut/pantsfeelings for the sake of being fair or expanding your dating pool - and it works insofar as you hook up with someone you had to actively convince yourself meets your needs/standards - you're engaging in a pity lay without acknowledging it.

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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:18 pm

rj3 wrote:
Enail wrote:I think - I hope - that when people suggest questioning one's preferences and keeping an open mind about attraction, it doesn't extend as far as 'pity lays' or otherwise faking an interest that isn't actually there. I actually think that's one of the meanest things you can do to another person.


If you try to keep your mind so far open that you're ignoring your gut/pantsfeelings for the sake of being fair or expanding your dating pool - and it works insofar as you hook up with someone you had to actively convince yourself meets your needs/standards - you're engaging in a pity lay without acknowledging it.

But I don't think that's what people have been suggesting. Personally, I'd advise that people listen to their gut/pantsfeelings, and that the areas where people might have room to expand their preferences are mostly those where they're screening people out before they have a chance to test for gut/pantsfeelings. That could mean changing online search parameters, spending some time in different social spaces that might be occupied by other kinds of people, or just trying to pay more visual attention to people who aren't of your usual type rather than filtering them out of your field of vision. Sometimes, in those cases, people will find that their type isn't as rigid as they thought it was, which is what happened for me when I had an opportunity to be around men of races other than mine. Other times, they'll have an experience more similar to yours. But in no case do I think people should have sex with those they're not attracted to - that's miles away from suggesting people spend more time looking at and interacting with different people.

I'd also say that this is more about doing oneself a favor rather than doing one for others. No one is entitled to a partner, and as you mention, most people wouldn't want one who had to force themselves to find them attractive. It seems like a more realistic motivation would be to avoid backing oneself into a corner where there's almost no overlap between the type of partner desired and the type of partners who both in the dating pool and interested in return.
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Post by Enail on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:22 pm

Yep, Eselle nailed it.
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Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:23 pm

eselle28 wrote:
rj3 wrote:
Enail wrote:I think - I hope - that when people suggest questioning one's preferences and keeping an open mind about attraction, it doesn't extend as far as 'pity lays' or otherwise faking an interest that isn't actually there. I actually think that's one of the meanest things you can do to another person.


If you try to keep your mind so far open that you're ignoring your gut/pantsfeelings for the sake of being fair or expanding your dating pool - and it works insofar as you hook up with someone you had to actively convince yourself meets your needs/standards - you're engaging in a pity lay without acknowledging it.

But I don't think that's what people have been suggesting. Personally, I'd advise that people listen to their gut/pantsfeelings, and that the areas where people might have room to expand their preferences are mostly those where they're screening people out before they have a chance to test for gut/pantsfeelings. That could mean changing online search parameters, spending some time in different social spaces that might be occupied by other kinds of people, or just trying to pay more visual attention to people who aren't of your usual type rather than filtering them out of your field of vision. Sometimes, in those cases, people will find that their type isn't as rigid as they thought it was, which is what happened for me when I had an opportunity to be around men of races other than mine. Other times, they'll have an experience more similar to yours. But in no case do I think people should have sex with those they're not attracted to - that's miles away from suggesting people spend more time looking at and interacting with different people.

That strikes me as more along the lines of "get out there more" advice. Good advice, yes, but not really an outgrowth of the "question your preferences" thing.

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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:26 pm

rj3 wrote:
eselle28 wrote:
But I don't think that's what people have been suggesting. Personally, I'd advise that people listen to their gut/pantsfeelings, and that the areas where people might have room to expand their preferences are mostly those where they're screening people out before they have a chance to test for gut/pantsfeelings. That could mean changing online search parameters, spending some time in different social spaces that might be occupied by other kinds of people, or just trying to pay more visual attention to people who aren't of your usual type rather than filtering them out of your field of vision. Sometimes, in those cases, people will find that their type isn't as rigid as they thought it was, which is what happened for me when I had an opportunity to be around men of races other than mine. Other times, they'll have an experience more similar to yours. But in no case do I think people should have sex with those they're not attracted to - that's miles away from suggesting people spend more time looking at and interacting with different people.

That strikes me as more along the lines of "get out there more" advice. Good advice, yes, but not really an outgrowth of the "question your preferences" thing.

No, it's not quite the same thing, though the two intersect. Getting out there more is good advice for many people looking to improve their dating prospects, but specifically looking to spend more time around people of a different background, or subculture, or age group than the one normally desired can also sometimes lead to expanding preferences. Getting out there more in a space that's mostly filled with people of your preferred type may have one effect but not the other. The other two examples are more about noticing the people who may already be around you, rather than fixing your attention on a small subset of them.

This may or may not result in preferences actually changing, but I think it's an ethical suggestion for someone who wants to tease out whether their current preferences are innate or more flexible.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:03 pm

rj3 wrote:Besides, who really wants to be a long-term pity lay?
On advice to change one's standards (continue from "leagues" thread) I1YEL3o
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Post by the littlest viking on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:54 pm

This is something that I have very strong feelings about. I'm pretty firmly in favor of people being allowed to have whatever standards they want, and I don't really agree that they need to be thought about that much. At the same time, I am often frustrated because I rarely fit my target audiences standards either. As far as American men go, I'm completely average in every way, have an extremely boyish appearance, and a relatively piping voice that can sometimes verge on nasal when I get upset or frustrated and is often misconstrued as whining.

I live in a part of the USA where Obesity rates run into the 60% range for people in my demographic, which instantly rules out a huge number of potentially nice women. I live in a part of the USA where 50% of the population is a different race than I am, which again instantly rules out a huge number of women. I live in a part of the USA with extremely high rates of teen pregnancy, resulting in a disproportionate number of women in my age range (late 20's) already having had at least 1 child. I live in a part of the USA where the average number of people with a BA/BS degree are far far below the national average of 30% here it usually works out to be around 5-8%. I live in a part of the USA where most people are Republican, Evangelical Christian, and often don't value the same types of things I value. Finding a slim to average white woman who has no kids, has a bachelor's degree, who isn't a republican, isn't an evangelical christian (I'm a sometimes unitarian), who enjoys going to theatre and reading to each other, and who is interested in me is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I know part of my standards are responsible for it, but I think it would be dishonest on my part to both myself and the other person to relax them and "settle"...

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Post by Werel on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:58 am

the littlest viking wrote:This is something that I have very strong feelings about. I'm pretty firmly in favor of people being allowed to have whatever standards they want, and I don't really agree that they need to be thought about that much.

Then I guess you won't want to satisfy my curiosity by discussing your preferences a bit, but it can't hurt to try! Razz

the littlest viking wrote:I live in a part of the USA where 50% of the population is a different race than I am, which again instantly rules out a huge number of women.

I'm not saying "you can't have this standard," but I am wondering what the heck the rationale is (and giving you the benefit of the doubt that viking screenname ≠ 14/88 PROUD ARYAN). Why is this so strong as to cross from "preference" into "hard dealbreaker"? Is it about desiring a shared cultural background? Fear of blowback to interracial dating from cultural surroundings? Aesthetics or sexual attraction? Something else? I can kind of wrap my head around "well, people who are white are the majority of people who I share a lot of common cultural ground with, so they're most of the people I've been romantically interested in," but "a person who is not white but who has much in common with me is still a no-go" is kind of mind-boggling. Can you explain?

(I know I already said "this comes off pretty gross, honestly, and such an attitude may repel many of the women you'd like to date," but... yeah. S'true.)
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Post by the littlest viking on Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:49 am

Wow, okay.. umm the name just came cause I'm a big 'how to train your dragon fan'... and I am viking esq, and little. I would assume those sorts of people have their own dating sites? (Stormfront dating? I dunno I don't make it a habit of interacting with them*) So it crosses from preference for a whole host of reasons, and while I'm kind of afraid you may already be charged against me since you keep using the word "gross" to describe my standards (which is really rude by the way especially since I haven't said anything derogatory about non-white people, merely that I don't wish to be in a romantic relationship with them) but I'll try and explain anyway. It's definitely sexual attraction, I'm not even attracted to *all* white women.. Catherine Zeta Jones is not so much, Helen Mirren from the early 80's absolutely... and they are both from the same country. The most important thing is, yeah, I guess connected to your first statement kinda though I hope I can explain it in a way that doesn't align with that perfectly. I'm definitely "into" my "peoples" history, and storytelling and literature and culture, and I would hope to find someone who if isn't maybe as into it as I am, or at least shares that in common so that we could pass it on to our hypothetical kids. I think it's entirely reasonable to interested in where one comes from without abusing or denigrating others of different backgrounds. Sharing cultural backgrounds is tricky for me since where I currently live that is almost universally impossible (I'm an unwilling upper midwest transplant to the south, I'd like to move to Minnesota maybe or some place with actual seasons beyond humid), but I do check most of the 'Stuff white people like' boxes: camping, hiking, living in rustic cabins, van halen albums, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is, It's all of your surmises.. it's sexual attraction, aesthetics (especially as weird as it sounds, bone structure) majority of common cultural ground, and while I certainly wouldn't 100% rule out someone who is has a lot in common with me just on basis of skin color.. the actual probability of me finding a person like that are pretty slim honestly.

As for my preferences repelling many of the women I might want to date.. well then they weren't right for me anyway where they?


*I actually hate those people a lot, they make everything more difficult and they have done nothing but pollute my people's history and culture for 70 years. It's impossible to look on the internet for traditional folk music and not find it littered with racist and disgusting lyrics, every web forum must be extensively vetted before joining because you just never know if it it will be "one of those" web forums. you have to constantly be on guard for who you talk to in real life, since half the people who claim interest just turn out to be that sort of people. You can't walk up to some random person with a thor's hammer necklace and start a conversation because they may be "one of those people". ugh. I hate them so much.

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Post by fakely mctest on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:02 am

the littlest viking wrote:So it crosses from preference for a whole host of reasons, and while I'm kind of afraid you may already be charged against me since you keep using the word "gross" to describe my standards (which is really rude by the way especially since I haven't said anything derogatory about non-white people, merely that I don't wish to be in a romantic relationship with them) but I'll try and explain anyway.

Mod: Here's the thing (and this is why the other mods were encouraging you to read the guidelines): you should read the guidelines.  In particular:

4. Broad claims about the attractiveness, value, intelligence or desirability of people based on their race, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, ability or class, are not acceptable. You may of course have any personal preferences you like; however, if your preferences appear to align with racist, sexist and so forth societal tendencies, you might do well to examine them a little more closely - and this forum does not need to hear about those preferences.

While you were not making broad claims, the bolded bit does apply to what you're saying.  As reboot said in another thread, you're new here and we're cutting you some slack, but that only goes so far.  The next time a mod has to direct you to read the rules there will be a temporary ban involved.

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Post by the littlest viking on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:16 am

Wow, I have already examined my preferences. I just explined to werel why i feel that way. They are mine, and you are making assumptions. This is exactly what another poster was saying earlier, you say, "review your preferences," and I have, and I've left them Unchanged. And therfore I am wrong still? What you should say is, align with our preferences or get out. I come here in good faith hoping to find some advice and all I get are accusations of racism and being called names and accused of making generalizations about poor people when the only person I was talking about in that thread was myself and my experiences growing up in a very poor place. How can I talk about these things when even bringing them up isn't allowed?!

I don't understand how I'm supposed to explain and answer the question without potentially visolating that rule. Am I not allowed to talk about my experiences growing up? I don't think I ever used a generalization, and I tried to be very careful and keep everything firmly planted in my own experiences specifically.


Last edited by the littlest viking on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by reboot on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:25 am

Here is a weird preference I have examined over and over and it seems to be set pretty deep: I am very, very, almost never attracted to blondes. I have poked and prodded at this preference because it is weird but it seems set. Blonde men, even if they have all the qualities I like in a person give me no pantsfeel. If it ever develops for a blonde it will be after knowing them for years and not based on their looks at all.

It makes no sense, but there you go.
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Post by fakely mctest on Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:20 am

the littlest viking wrote:What you should say is, align with our preferences or get out. I come here in good faith hoping to find some advice and all I get are accusations of racism and being called names and accused of making generalizations about poor people when the only person I was talking about in that thread was myself and my experiences growing up in a very poor place.

Mod: And that's the end of my patience with you. This is not an appropriate place to think aloud about preferences you have that just so happen to align with societal prejudices and it says so explicitly in the guidelines. That sort of talk is not welcome here.

This is also not a place to continually argue with the mods, which you have done in several threads. You are welcome to return in one week if you think you can abide by our clearly written rules. If not, hopefully you can find another place that's a better fit for the things you'd like to discuss.

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Post by jcorozza on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:53 pm

rj3 wrote:
What's the moral of the story? I'm not sure whether it's possible at all to change your preferences for any reason. If it is, it sure isn't easy.

I'm not sure this is true. I think if you go into thinking, well, I'll date this person so I can prove I'm not shallow, it's probably going to fail. But this reminds me of a college friend of mine. One of my roommates asked her out - they got along really well and shared a lot of interests, but he wasn't her ideal physical type. She asked our advice about it, and for the most part, we told her that if she didn't see attraction happening, she should say no and try to stay friends. Initially that was her plan...and then after making out one night, they dated for three years. And man, they had some of the loudest sex ever, so I think she was pretty happy with her decision.
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Post by kleenestar on Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:17 pm

Yes, exactly - "I'll date this person to prove I'm not shallow" is like trying to use a spatula to hang pictures on the wall. It might occasionally work but not because you're using a particularly helpful tool. If I wanted to broadly change my preferences, I'd do things like "look at a lot of pictures of people from the relevant group" (if it were a physical thing) and "collect stories about what it's like to date people with a particular trait" (if it were a social or intellectual thing). You can't turn a cruise ship with a teaspoon.
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Post by The Wisp on Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:11 pm

kleenestar wrote: Basically mental flexibility is the key...

...since you can't fight what you can't see.

Thank you for the response! I have a much better idea of what you meant, now.

I'm still feeling really mixed about this genre of advice, but I think it's appropriateness comes down to context. Examining standards is always good, IMO, but judging them or changing them depends on what they are the context of the person and their life.
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