On advice to change one's standards (continue from "leagues" thread)

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Post by kleenestar on Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:33 pm

Ah, context, my very favorite thing. Grin
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Post by PintsizeBro on Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:33 pm

My yardstick: If you find yourself thinking, "Wow, I would love to date this person, if only they weren't ________" consider whether ________ should be a dealbreaker. It might still be! If they want kids and you don't, that's a big deal. But if it's something like being a different skin color or not having a college degree, maybe reconsider whether it's actually important to you or if, as discussed elsewhere, it's a prejudice or a proxy for something that you do want.

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Post by rj3 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:47 pm

kleenestar wrote: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.

I'm sure that if I go all Clockwork Orange and pry my eyes open while strapped to a chair as I watch pictures of people with (previously undesirable characteristic) flash before my eyes...

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Post by eselle28 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:49 pm

rj3 wrote:
kleenestar wrote: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.

I'm sure that if I go all Clockwork Orange and pry my eyes open while strapped to a chair as I watch pictures of people with (previously undesirable characteristic) flash before my eyes...

Uh, wow, that's a mean thing to say.
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Post by rj3 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:58 pm

eselle28 wrote:
rj3 wrote:
kleenestar wrote: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.

I'm sure that if I go all Clockwork Orange and pry my eyes open while strapped to a chair as I watch pictures of people with (previously undesirable characteristic) flash before my eyes...

Uh, wow, that's a mean thing to say.

About who? the people with (previously undesirable characteristic), unnamed so as to be as universally-applicable as possible?

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Post by eselle28 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:02 pm

rj3 wrote:
About who? the people with (previously undesirable characteristic), unnamed so as to be as universally-applicable as possible?  

Yes. Looking at photographs of fellow human beings shouldn't require your eyes to be pried open, whether or not you find those people sexually or romantically attractive.
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Post by rj3 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:10 pm

eselle28 wrote:
rj3 wrote:
About who? the people with (previously undesirable characteristic), unnamed so as to be as universally-applicable as possible?  

Yes. Looking at photographs of fellow human beings shouldn't require your eyes to be pried open, whether or not you find those people sexually or romantically attractive.

Not to assume the worst, but that sounds like a willful misreading. The difference is one of degree. One can flip through Previously Undesirable Characteristic Magazine, but for how long until you throw the towel in? Do you really think dabbling in diverse media is going to do anything, or are we talking about serious brain retraining? I'm pretty sure that our little viking troll friend upthread won't be dating across the spectrum of diversity just because he sees some photos of Lupita Nyong'o. (Assuming he wants to, which isn't really in evidence)

Are you morally obligated to do it until you don't have any preferences that are unacceptable to strangers on the internet? Is it even possible in most cases where lack of interest =/= lack of exposure?

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Post by eselle28 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:28 pm

It was suggested as a recommendation, not a mandate. It was also not specified what the results of actually paying attention to people who aren't your type should be. Sometimes it results in finding more people attractive and sometimes it doesn't. But in none of those cases does it warrant the kind of imagery you're using.

<mod>Also, it's not cool to bring people into the conversation when they can't participate, and that especially includes people who are banned or suspended. I'm also going to again ask you to take a look at the forum guidelines, particularly the ones about the forum not being your personal soapbox and being constructive. This is not the place to air out your grievances about people you don't find attractive, and I'm going to ask you to permanently step off this particular thread and any future topics related to attraction, standards, and preferences.</mod>
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Post by Enail on Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:51 pm

Yes, it's not like people don't often enjoy looking at photos of people they're not attracted to, not expected to be attracted to and have no wish to be attracted to -powerful images, expressive displays, lives written on peoples' faces. People are beautiful!

Being exposed to a wider range of that beauty in the abstract sense may result in expanding the range of what you're attracted to, or it may just be something interesting to look at (if the people you're looking at are far outside your current range of attraction, the former's unlikely and not necessarily desirable). But the idea that one might have no benefit from looking at people you're not attracted to seems strange to me - and suggesting that it would be a horrible experience sounds unkind and almost...dehumanizing? That's not quite the right meaning. But someone doesn't need to be sexually attractive to be not-unpleasant to look at.

ETA: Apologies, I added this before the mod note. So please take it as a comment on the topic in general - exposure to different people and maybe even different ways of looking at people as a way of unmooring one's assumptions about what one is attracted to and unlinking the idea that beauty equals attraction in a straight one-to-one way, both of which may or may not result in gradual changes about what one finds attractive, and I think both of which are interesting things to do sometimes anyway!

ETA ETA: And, to bring it closer to the general topic, I do sometimes find looking at beautiful photos of people a little outside of my current range of attraction causes me to feel more attracted to that type (eg. a woman a little outside of my normal age range or type), even if the photos are not sexy per se, while only particularly sexy photos of people that are quite outside my range of attraction might make me feel some level of attraction looking at the photo, but even then it doesn't make me feel any more attraction to that person/type of person in general (eg. men, women much older or younger than me).
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Post by Jane_the_chicken on Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:27 pm

I guess I'm going to come down hard on the side of examining your preferences [and] exposing yourself to new and different and culturally diverse people, just based on my personal experience.

I think there are two mildly contradictory things which are simultaenously true:

1. We all have personal preferences which are actively oppressive. That's part of being raised in a toxic cultural soup: none of us get to be innocent.

This sucks, but it is true. It's the gross side of having a given privilege: you don't get to opt out of hurting other people. You can sometimes minimize it, but sometimes you can't even do that.

2. Going into self-expansion with an attitude of joy and hopefulness is way more productive and likely to work than an attitude of self-recrimination and loathing (which I think many people jump to after #1.)

Like, this business of asking yourself what you really find attractive is not a favor to anyone else: it's a favor to YOU. You are giving yourself more opportunities to find someone who makes you flail with excitement and joy.

I'm in the same boat as the other women in this thread who suddenly realized they were attracted to non-white guys (though in my case this knowledge came in a series of brain-liquefying crushes, ugh.) And some of that was intellectual, and me laboriously drawing dots between our shared traits and cultural resonances, and most of that was me going SQUEEE I LIKE THIS PERSON! It was NOT A HARDSHIP for me to discover that there were FAR more people than previously expected who I would be excited to see every day, if that makes sense.

I've talked about this in a thread on Dr. Nerdlove before, but another example of sort of unexpectedly expanding my preferences was when I discovered that I am pretty into short guys. And it's not because I carefully questioned that preference and found it wanting; it's because I went out into the world and met a bunch of short guys who were exciting, fun people that I loved being around.

I still struggle with this in online dating, because it does encourage making snap decisions about people. In all fairness, all of the above situations where I found that a previously held preference wasn't really accurate were in low-pressure situations where I had the opportunity to gather a lot of data about that particular person, so my choice of whether to like him or not wasn't really down to that one [or one group of] characteristic[s].

(There's also, for me, a difference between aesthetic appreciation and attraction -- I can appreciate most human faces, and of course I can appreciate conventionally beautiful human faces, but no one is *attractive* to me without some knowledge of the personality attached. Doesn't have to be positive knowledge, necessarily, but I don't really feel attracted to others in a vacuum.)

[some edits for grammar]

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