Finding a knight in shining armor

By Lovette Ajayi

They say that men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, and as much as we’d like to think that isn’t metaphorically correct, it does ring true sometimes. This is especially evident when talking about dating and expectations that each gender has for their partners, whether on the casual dating level or in a monogamous relationship. As college students, we’re at an age where marriage is a realistic possibility and partners may be potential spouses. However, there is a long way to go from going on a first date, to logically considering marriage as an option. It is in this gap that relationships are made or broken.

Many relationships have ended over expectations that were set whether internally or verbally, with one or both partners being unable to meet them. Addressing women in general, it is important to set some realistic goals and instead of expecting the perfect man (who doesn’t exist), we should just try and find the perfect man for US. In my sociology class, we were divided into groups, and my group (all women) was asked to list traits we’d want a man to have in order to date him, while another group (all men) were asked to do the same. Our list ended up with 25 traits and we included everything from attractiveness and intelligence, to charisma and our need for him to have a car of his own, as well as a sense of self. TWENTY-FIVE traits for a date candidate, and we wonder why we are always disappointed. Having high expectations of a partner can be a good thing because we know we deserve the best, but sometimes our expectations are so high that we set ourselves, as well as our partners, up to fail. We want this knight in shining armor that will make our fairy tale of a relationship come true, when in reality, the knight is trifling, and we just didn’t get the rest of the story from the princess he “swept off her feet.”

My group’s logic for our long list is that we don’t just date for kicks anymore, and that we are looking at whoever we go out with as a possible relationship that could grow into marriage one day. This definitely scared the guys because they used the word “date” to mean grabbing a couple of coffees, or maybe going to the movies. As we were looking beyond the date to the distant future, they were looking at present and taking each date as just one casual date. Even so, as the class discussed the things on the list, we came to realize that maybe we were being unrealistic, and a lot of the things on our list that we thought were very important came to seem so insignificant. The knight might have been as fine as he wanted to be, and he might have had his own ride, but he could also have made Ike Turner look like Barney. Instead of expecting everything from our men, we should prioritize what is most important for a potential partner to have, so minute things don’t factor into the element.

People are flawed, and perfection is unrealistic as well as non-existent. As soon as we realize this, then maybe we can be more successful at being in happy relationships. I do not mean that people need to settle for the first nice guy that shows them interest, but we should not cancel him out automatically because he does not match all 25 of our criteria. So many people have a similar list, and as they meet guys, they are checking off what he does and doesn’t have, and these unreasonably high standards can work against us because we then find ourselves chronically unattached and wondering “Where are all the good guys?” Well, he might be sitting right next to you, but because he doesn’t have that utmost important great sense of style, he doesn’t stand a chance. Let’s be real!