Wes here again. Today I want to talk about standards. Specifically, I want to talk about standards for physical attractiveness.
Many people have expressed to be something along the lines of “I have high standards when it comes to women/men,” meaning that they don’t find many people sexually attractive. Often, people consider this a point of pride. I can sort of see their point. I think it goes something like this:
only attractive people can afford to have high standards
I have high standards
I am attractive
The fact that this is (obviously) a fallacious argument isn’t really the point. The point is that having high standards makes people feel good about themselves.
I feel that having high standards in this context is a bad thing. More than that, I consider it an unfortunate fact of life that we feel attraction on a purely physical level at all. While this almost certainly had evolutionary advantages, these have largely evaporated in modern-day society. Today, there is seemingly no (non-socially enforced) benefit to discriminating in our choice of romantic partner based on physical characteristics. How a person looks has very little bearing on the things that I consider important in a relationship.
Attraction is important, but only in a circular way. Physical attraction is only important in a relationship because people feel for each other on a physical level. Dating someone to whom you’re not physically attracted is a bad idea because that’s a vital part of a relationship. But it has no value in other contexts. Physical attraction does not add value to any other part of a relationship. To put it a different way, if one were attracted to everyone, one’s relationships would not suffer for it.
When it comes to physical characteristics, I have low standards, although they are higher than I’d like. I wish that I was equally attracted on a physical level to everyone. If that were the case, I would be free to make choices about romantic & sexual partners based on things that add value to a relationship, such as intelligence, kindness, emotional IQ, shared interests, and other factors which directly relate to compatibility. These things certainly make a person more attractive to me (even on a physical level), but I still respond much more to a person’s appearance. I consider it unfortunate that a person’s physical appearance matters to me at all, but such is life.
Physical attraction is largely biological, so I don’t know what we can do about this, but I think most agree that there is at least a component that is socially created. If we were able to realign society’s values somehow so that physical appearance was less important, it would probably have a significant effect on this sort of thing. Maybe? And while I’m dreaming, I’d like a pony….*
*first one in the comments to identify the reference gets a prize