The author of It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet says “you’re too picky” is just one example of the ridiculous comments single women hear from their coupled friends.
“You’re too picky.” Every woman I know who’s been single for any period has heard it.“You’re too picky,” can disguise itself as “You don’t give guys a chance!” Or, “You’re awfully critical of the men you date!” Or, “You really need to be more realistic!”
Realistic about what? What exactly are people trying to tell us? How are we supposed to take comments like this? “You’re too picky” might mean:
- Apparently, you think you’re pretty special, but you’re no better than anyone else is. It’s time you considered lowering your standards.
- You’re no spring chicken! At this point, you need to be grateful for whomever you can get!
- Sure, I got to marry the love of my life. But that’s not gonna happen for you. Sorry ’bout your luck!
- You must not see yourself clearly. You’re aiming way out of your league. The homely sorts we set you up with are more your pace.
And these are our friends who say such things to us?
Let me get this straight. When you’re 23, you’re allowed to be picky. In fact, you’re encouraged to select suitors carefully. Everyone tells you how smart, beautiful, and exceptional you are. You’re a catch! You should be discriminating! But, as the years go on and you enter your 30s, people begin to chastise your choice to remain choosy. In fact, you’ve become a bit bothersome with your whole “I just want to wait for the right one” attitude. It’s time to meet a guy, get married, and be done with it already!
How offensive and insulting to suggest that, because you’re older than 30 or whatever arbitrary number someone designates as a cut off, you need to be satisfied with whoever comes your way!
Psych 101: Why they do it
Honestly, I don’t understand why anyone would encourage a woman to be less selective when choosing the person with whom she plans to spend the rest of her life. It seems like a pretty rotten idea all the way around. But let’s assume most people have good intentions and are sincerely trying to help us. If that’s the case, what might motivate the “picky” comments?
In general, I imagine they come from people who operate from a vastly different position than us. For instance, some women connect well with a wide array of men; they don’t really have a “type.” They love ’em all — jocks, suits, artists, nerds, etc.
But perhaps you’re the exact opposite. You know what works for you and don’t want to waste time dating a homebody when your wanderlust will inevitably drive him nuts. Friends with a more equal-opportunity approach to dating might wonder why you pass up offers from decent guys. And because they’re a bit more flexible in their selection process, they perceive you as picky.
Others might claim you’re too picky because they’re fixated on marriage. Those in this camp believe a woman hasn’t “arrived” until she’s donned the title of wife. Unable to comprehend an existence sans husband, they care little about whomwe marry, just so long as we marry. To them, all guys are about the same anyway; just grab one and go with it. And perhaps they weren’t all that picky themselves, so what’s our problem?
Similarly, some women push marriage for the purpose of procreation. They must get married because they must be mommies. Reproduction is the ultimate goal and they intend to make it happen. No question. Therefore, when dating, this type of woman sizes up a guy primarily on his fathering potential.
This quality might prove even more important than the romantic chemistry she has with her partner or how well they click as a couple. How she feels about her boyfriend holds less weight than how eager he is to hold babies at her family reunion. Such women don’t understand you’re looking for more than just a baby daddy. They don’t get it. So to them, you’re just being too picky.
And by the way, that’s fine — for them. No judgment for marrying whatever man for whatever reason. If a good-enough guy who’ll provide a good-enough life is good enough, great! If he’s got good-enough genes to make good-enough babies — good-enough! But, if you want a husband who’s your best friend, best lover, and best partner, then by all means, be PICKY!
Finally, and this is a depressing one, but I suppose it’s conceivable that in some instances, people call you picky because down deep they feel they settled and they hate watching you hold out for the right one. I don’t like to think this way, but the possibility exists.
It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet
For the sake of argument, let’s pretend our friends are right. What might happen if we single women stopped being so darn picky?
Well, if we go with the mindset that all guys are about the same and just take any old one, we’ll probably find ourselves in lackluster marriages. Aiming the bar so low will likely cause us to feel superior to our spouses, introducing a dynamic of inequity into the relationship. That’s always good for marriages, right? Best-case scenario, we pity our husbands. Worst-case scenario? We despise them and despise ourselves for settling.
If the kid factor wins out, we might embark upon a marriage of convenience. Since our marriage is all about the children, we might as well forget about romance and select someone who’ll be a good father and a good pal. And those children we so desperately desired? They get to witness a loveless union — what a wonderful example to set for them! Best case scenario? Years of quiet desperation and extra-marital affairs. (Again, great familial baggage to dump on our kids.) Worst-case scenario? Divorce and a nasty custody battle. But at least we’re mommies.
And by the way, how cruel is it to marry or even date a guy who thinks you’re madly in love with him, who thinks he’s the man of your dreams, when, actually, the only reason you’re with him is that you lowered your standards! Best-case scenario? He lives a lie for 50 years. Worst-case scenario? He eventually realizes you never truly had it for him and leaves you for someone who will honestly love him. Or maybe that is the best case scenario. . .
So to my smart, sexy, cream-of-the-crop single friends I say this: You’re not too picky. You are great women and you should be picky! There’s nothing more you should or could be doing and nothing you need to change. It just hasn’t happened yet.