My Troubling Standards

I would not consider myself to be the most desirable of suitors. I do not have a wide array of unique and interesting hobbies to talk to. I work a boring corporate job. My wardrobe is as unvaried as it is unappealing, consisting entirely of one pair of *intentionally holey* jeans and two *less intentionally holey* button down shirts. I have the height of an admirably sized river otter, the weight and general body type of a rabid racoon, and the hair of a particularly well-architected bird’s nest. My nose is of a size and shape as would make Squidward Tentacles “Blue” with envy, and my hands are as small and girly as a Powerpuff Girl. I have a sense of humor that’s been called an *acquired taste*, and the social skills of an unusually ornery cat.

All this is to say that I am not the kind of guy that should have unreasonably high standards in women. And thankfully, I don’t. For whenever I start to look past the *minimalist* wardrobe and *lean* physique, I find myself literally unable to look past my own nose. And thus, do I remain grounded in humble pessimism. That being said, I do have unreasonably *specific” standards, none of which put me in a particularly flattering light.

The first thing I look for, is whether a prospective slam piece (PSP) has a propensity for alcohol. Because if she doesn’t, I literally cannot date her. My hobbies may be boring, but dammit they’re consistent: Every one of them requires or permits the consumption of alcohol. There are the obvious ones, of course: There are very few things that I enjoy more than spending an afternoon drinking at a beer garden; I’m fond of eating out, and no artfully prepared cuisine is complete without its complementary alcohol pairing; And to me, there is no better way to waste away an evening than by sitting and drinking in the comforting darkness of a Wisconsin bar. Then there are also the less obvious ones: Walking, which is far more enjoyable with a buzz and with the requisite road-side urination; Reading, which, while you might not remember it in the morning, when paired with alcohol really makes some of those fantasy fiction battle scenes *pop*; And writing, which, despite all the grammatical mistakes and sporadically placed My Chemical Romance lyrics that need to be cleaned up in the morning, can really come *alive* when paired with a tasteful glass a pinot, and a virile pour of Kentucky straight bourbon. And since I’m fairly committed to these hobbies, it would be very difficult to find any common ground with PSP if she didn’t enjoy that sweet, tasty ethanol. One of the most difficult things I’ve experienced in recent dating is trying to find activities that don’t involve alcohol when the occasion arises. If any of you have found a liquor-less activity that is both fun and can somehow replicate the social confidence that alcohol provides (*Sips bourbon and puffs chest proudly*), please let me know. To date, the best that I’ve been able to manage is mini-golf.

The second thing I inquire after, is whether they are religious. Or as I like to call it, whether they believe in the power of an either non-existent or ineffably sociopathic god. How am I supposed to form a meaningful relationship with somebody whose Sundays consist of “Church and family!”. Where’s the time for the eggs and masturbation? And hell, looking ahead, how can I feel comfortable entering a relationship with someone who’s clearly destined for a more optimistic afterlife than me? Even if we both happen to get into heaven, we’ll have very different relative social stations. She’ll be sitting comfortable behind the pearly gates while I, I don’t know, do the landscaping or something for the yard in front of it. I try really hard to fight the pessimist in me, but this is one of those occasions where I permit my foe to pass by my fortifications unabated. What right do you have, miss PSP, to be so positive about life? I’ve accepted that there is no god and that we all die alone years ago. So, what is this “salvation” and “hope” and “Jeebus” that you speak of? I’ve been getting by just fine on liquor and anime, and I don’t need your “Golden Rule” and “Technicolor Dreamcoat” getting in the way. I’m ultimately just not a good enough person to date a religious soul, and she’d realize that after the first incest joke.

The next thing that I seek, is whether they are active or not. And not like *I ride my bike on Sundays* active, but like *The gym is my life, and my weights are my children* active. Fitness isn’t supposed to be something you eagerly look forward to practicing. It is supposed to be born of the intermittent guilt that arises every Monday morning after a weekend of alcohol and Chinese food. Staying healthy isn’t meant to be “A lifestyle”. It is simply designed to be something you do *just enough of* so you’re not technically lying to your doctor when you go in for your annual physical. I convinced myself for 5 years after graduating from college that I enjoyed going to the gym. I looked past the feeling of morbid dread that would fill me at the end of the workday when it was time to head over for a workout (“Are you sure I can’t stay to work a little bit longer tonight? I have this function I’m trying to get out of”). I ignored the little voice in my head telling me how those pull-ups and stairs wouldn’t make me feel any less terrible for eating all of those Skittles for breakfast. But no more. I will not bow down to the tyranny of annual gym memberships any longer, nor will I pretend that my “Runner’s High” isn’t really just me getting uncomfortably close to passing out from dehydration. I respect people who make fitness a core part of their life and personality, but it wouldn’t take long for a PSP to begin resenting me for never wanting to run that Thanksgiving 5k. Couple’s cross-fit class? I’d literally rather trade places with Theon Greyjoy for several episodes of Season 3. So please, it is for the best if you keep your low cholesterol and healthy blood pressure and leave me to my pizza rolls.

And lastly, I need to make sure that the other person isn’t *too* genuinely happy and content with their life. Proud of your job and accomplishments? Excited to start each morning and go on a new adventure? Authentically comfortable with your place in life? I mean seriously, don’t bring all that negativity over here. Some of us are trying to fight off intermittent spikes of depression and anxiety *like adults*. It’s hard for us to take you seriously as you’re over there *Treating each day as a new opportunity* while we’re popping valium and a handful of Mike and Ike’s in the bathtub. I appreciate that you like spontaneity and the sense of wonder that comes from an unexpected adventure, but have you considered carefully planning your day (and life) in a series of well-organized and coordinated spreadsheets? It is admittedly attractive to see someone smile with pure, unadulterated happiness, but it becomes just a *spark* more appealing when the corners of someone’s mouth are pulled slightly down, as though they’re subconsciously contemplating the cold indifference of a meaningless universe. Eyes that sparkle with joy are a pleasure to all that look upon them, but have you ever gotten the thrill of seeing someone stare off existentially into the distance, eyes sad and forlorn, as they begin to think a bit too deeply about the absurdity of consciousness? *Swoons*. Hell, if your life can’t be played to the soundtrack of a Motion City Soundtrack album, I’m honestly just not that interested. Plus, if you’re already happy, I truthfully feel like I have nowhere left to drag you but straight down. Clean white linens, welcome to the miasmic bog of prolonged exposure to my personality. I think we’d both be better off if we maintained a healthy distance.

So, there we have it. My standards loosely boil down to: Pseudo-alcoholic couch dweller with a propensity for existentialism and mid-2000s emo pop punk. They may not be high standards, but dammit they’re *my* standards. And while they may be equally as descriptive of a particularly self-aware raccoon as they are a human woman, I can’t help but find them appealing. Plus, I’ve always wanted a pet raccoon (*Scrolls through “Raccoons of Insta-Heaven wistfully*). So, while others look for partners that are “Fit” or “Adventurous” or “Stunning”, I’ll stay in my lane of troubled mammalian dumpster-denizens. For the world may be trash, but it is destined to yield treasures for those bold enough to dig around in it.

In the meantime, I’ll once more leave you with a troubled Hinge screenshot, harkening back to the absurdity of spontaneity, and the joys of a well-crafted Excel document.

Happy day of American Colonial Insurrection all.


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