I'm Picky, And I'm Proud Of It

via onely.org

My friend and I were recently lamenting our lacking love lives when the conversation turned into a proverbial pissing match of self-deprecation.

“I won’t meet anyone anytime soon. I’m just not that attractive.”

“Shut up. At least you have people interested in you.”

“At least you get past the second date.”

“Whatever, it’s not like it goes much farther than that.”

“It would if you’d stop being so picky.”

Wait, what? Picky? Moi? I am many things—careful, honest, logical—but picky? Someone who refuses to try new restaurants because she only eats chicken and rice is picky. Someone who refuses to compromise on traits she deems integral to a man’s character isn’t picky—she’s reasonable.

I tried to explain this to my friend, and what started as a simple discussion quickly morphed into a Supreme Court trial. She maintained that dumping a guy for singular reasons isn’t justifiable. I argued that dumping a guy because talking to him makes me want to slit my wrists just to entertain myself is completely justifiable.

As we continued to disagree, it was apparent that the crux of our dispute lay in the old, horrible, terribly over-generalized adage, “beggars can’t be choosers.” The fundamental problem with this saying is that it implies that asking for something—in this case, a date—is begging. But what if the person in question isn’t actually desperate?

If I’m sitting home alone every night, crying about how I need a boyfriend to complete my life, whining that a penis and a pulse are all I need, then I would have to agree with my friend. If I’ve announced that I’m willing to take whatever I can get, I have no right to bitch and moan if a guy is two inches shorter than I’d like, or if he has a horrendous case of thumb-toes (but is otherwise awesome).

We can’t send a dish back if we’re starving and only have half an hour to eat.

But this isn’t me. I’m not “begging” for a boyfriend. So, I can choose. As can anyone else who isn’t propositioning the first person with the right plumbing.

The adage also implies that being a “chooser” is a bad thing—it’s something we’re not supposed to do. It’s looking a gift-horse in the mouth, and if we’re begging for change or a meal or a spouse, we take what the horse gives us, and we shut up about it.

Well, I disagree. I believe I am completely within my right to be somewhat picky when choosing a mate… as long as I’m willing to accept that, by acting this way, it will take time and effort to find someone I really want to be with. In essence, and rather ironically, I am allowed to make myself completely miserable in pursuit of true happiness.

If we’re not absolutely dying to find someone to bump uglies with share a deep emotional connection with, we can send stuff back to the kitchen for not being hot enough. We just can’t bitch about having to wait around to get a hot piece of meat, because we did it to ourselves.

I’ll also be the first to admit that I make snap judgments about people. I try to give people the chance to prove me wrong. But in relationships, there are only so many chances I can give before I decide that my self-worth is too high to put up with this crap. I went through some fairly abusive, traumatic experiences and years of bad boyfriends and low self-esteem to figure that out, so when people question it, I tend to get pretty defensive.

And since I’ve paid my dues, I feel I’ve earned the right to say no to someone who doesn’t send my heart aflutter, or who doesn’t make me feel like a better person when I’m with them. Everyone deserves to be with someone who makes them happy and respects their worth as a human being, and I refuse to apologize for that anymore. I refuse to believe that dumping or rejecting someone because we have nothing in common, or because we disagree on serious political issues, or because conversations feel like talking to a sedated panda constitutes being picky.

So when I’m approached by a new guy, I treat it like ordering a new dish at a great restaurant. I briefly examine it, decide if I like the way it looks, take a few bites, and if I don’t like it enough to finish it, I don’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of relatively unsuccessful dating, it’s that life’s too short for bad food…and bad boyfriends.

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Allison Schein

Latest posts by Allison Schein (see all)

20 comments

  • Concurrence — complete and utter agreement! I get crap for being too picky. But honestly I’m looking for my equal and I’m kind of awesome. 😉

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  • Amen, sister, amen.

  • Love it!

  • Your story reminds me of the time I went out downtown, and a homeless dude came up and asked for money. I grabbed a handful of change from my ashtray and gave it to him.

    He actually had the audacity to throw the change on the ground and demand that I give him a bill.

    Talk about a beggar being a chooser….

  • Couldn’t agree with that last line! Well done!

  • Correction – Couldn’t agree *more* with that last line. (Still) Well done!

  • I’ve always been taught to finish what’s on my place regardless if I like it or not… so I understand what you mean and agree with it, but I’m more so a chew it up and spit it out under the table kinda girl. But absolutely, we have the right to be picky and not swallow whatever comes our way.

  • Alright, who left this disgusting pile of half-chewed up men under the table?!?

  • goldiethegoldfish :

    But absolutely, we have the right to be picky and not swallow whatever comes our way.

    Come on… not swallowing is just not polite.

    But seriously, you’re more than welcome to be picky and non-committal with the men you date. I just wonder how much different the comments would be if a guy wrote this rather than a lady like yourself.

    Oh well, guess we’ll never know…

  • Well, thanks guys.

    @goldie: Just like people who’re told to finish everything on their plate generally develop issues with food, people who date who they’re told to date and see things through no matter if they don’t like them generally develop issues with dating. I’m not saying you need to spit out the food in front of the person serving it to you (i.e. be a total bitch about dumping the guy), but if you’re really not into it that much, you’re under no obligation to keep going.

    @DB: My opinion wouldn’t change if a guy had written this instead of me. I would, however, get on his case about the things he deemed essential qualities in a mate if I thought they were totally superfluous to a woman’s character. But come on, guys being shallow? Next you’ll tell me Mel Gibson’s an antisemite…

    PS—I love Sidv’s avatar. LOVE it.

  • Are we talking about food in general or main-course-with-a-whole-bottle-of-wine here?
    Quite honestly, I wouldn’t mind having some appetizers right about now. 😉

    BTW: Love this post.

  • love it! you are so right! if you know its not right, why waste the time? sometimes its good to “try a few bites” before completely rejecting it…sometimes you find out you like something you didnt think you would like right off the bat, but other times you know what you like and if you dont like, why keep eating it right? haha. great analogies! plus i agree…why would you want to settle for whatever comes your way, being “picky” means you can find someone worthwhile instead of being one of those girls that everyone goes “why on earth is she dating that dude!?”

  • Well done. Honestly, I thought this was going to about not dating hairy guys… I was gonna stick up for them and everything.

  • Oh, that’s *my* next article, Katy….

    I Prickly, And I’m Proud Of It. 😉

  • Kudos to you! Respecting your true self (and with that, your preferences about what partner will make the best/healthiest/strongest partnership) is not only good for the self, but also good for all the self’s prospectives. Everyone gets cheated when one or both of you just “settles for”…

  • Couldn’t agree more! I can relate to your line: dumping a guy because talking to him makes me want to slit my wrists just to entertain myself is completely justifiable. I’ve been there!Love this site 🙂
    http://www.notcomplicated.wordpress.com

  • I’m a little late to the party…
    I used to be so good at being single I never dated. Just didn’t see the point in wasting my time on someone I didn’t see going the long haul with. But here’s my question: Are you so determined to wait for the right person that your eyes aren’t open to seeing Mr. Right? I knew a guy for five years and never thought we were compatible. I made plenty of excuses not to go out with him. One day he “snuck-a-date” (to coin a MLL phrase) and I found out he was everything I needed in a partner. Picky? Yes!! Just make sure your blinders aren’t on!!

  • Great post. The last girl who told me I was too picky is now a single mother living in DC and the father took off. What one person calls picky another calls prudence.

    http://heelsandhikingshoes.wordpress.com

    M

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