“I just don’t know…” Best Mate was saying late one recent Sunday morning as I held the phone in one hand and dug dandelions out of the lawn with the other.
We were discussing just why she’s so reticent about going on a date with a guy who is quite plainly exceptionally keen on her.
“Is it because you work with him?”
“Sort of… I mean – it would be a pretty epic scandal if anyone found out. But it’s not just that…”
Best Mate thence proceeded to tell me that she's holding back for other reasons too: even though the two of them don’t work together directly, the fact she’d be dating one of the firm’s librarians would be more than enough to wag tongues. And with Social Circle Blonde being the lovely but judgy lot that they are, his being shy and gentle wouldn’t stand him in good stead up against our friends.
Dismissing partners for superficial reasons is a topic that seems to have come up with surprising frequency of late.
Over red wine (and cocktails. And more red wine), Eligible yet Eternal Bachelor brought to my attention that girls aren’t the only people to write off relationships on rather dubious grounds.
For him there was the woman who wasn’t quite on the ball with current affairs, to the point of being blissfully unaware of one of the most widely reported stories of last summer. Sadly for her, she also used bog-standard oil as a dressing for her salads (practically a hanging offence, let alone a dumpable one), which was the icing on his cake. There were others.
Of course, I would argue that a little pickiness is no bad thing. I’d always rather be with someone who’s right, than with someone for the sake of it. I’m perfectly happy with my own company and would consider it settling for second best to be with someone I had doubts about.
But perhaps there’s such a thing as being too picky. Maybe I’ve now got to the point where I’m not being particular: I’m being unrealistic.
I should probably pause for a moment and consider whether it’s reasonable to demand my dates be over 6’; jewellery-free; with the looks of RPJ and the voice of Zeb Soanes. Because I’d be the first to clamour that my boys were being ridiculous if they dumped women on the basis of their not being Megan Fox with an MA in conflict resolution and a quasi-religious commitment to Steak and Blowjob day.
Maybe BM, EEB and I aren’t being reasonably and understandably choosey, but rather cutting off our noses to spite our faces. It’s probably true that all the people we’ve dismissed are decent human beings; we just can’t see past our own snobberies. Perfection would be nice – but it’s just not practical.
Discussing the subject with PolitiGal, she suggested that maybe we shouldn’t expect to find all the stimulus we need to come wrapped up in one person.
With the multitude of individuals we have in our lives, we’ve got friends we can go to for intellectual debate; for a geeky chat about amazing food at a brand new restaurant; or for howling with uncontrollable laughter. There are yet others we can drag round modern art museums; and those we can drag round Burghley.
So maybe it’s reasonable not to expect potential partners to be everything we could ever imagine being appealing in a human being, and we should just enjoy them for who they are instead.
So long as they only use extra-virgin olive oil. Obviously.
The spirit of William Morris.
1 day ago