A couple of weeks back, the Catholic Church sparked an unholy war with single women across the country by declaring the real reason why so many of us are unmarried and alone is because we’re ‘too picky’. Nevermind Australia’s man drought (the ratio of single women to single men, says demographer Bernard Salt, is roughly 16:1) or the fact there are so many dud blokes out there (the ratio of douchebags to decent men is roughly 4:1*). Melbourne’s Fr Tony Kerin says WE’RE the problem. Because OUR standards are set higher than the heavens.
Cue mass hysteria and high heel stomping. ‘Who does this greying, God-fearing, celibate(!) MAN think he is??’ we screamed and ranted and bitterly blogged. Fr Kerin had hit a very raw nerve. And I think that’s because he kinda has a point.
Now we’re smart enough to know he isn’t suggesting women should put up with abusive or abhorrent behaviour from a man just for the sake of being in a relationship. Alcoholics, drug addicts, women beaters, emotional manipulators, cheaters, megalomaniacs, financial leeches and just plain jerks are obviously not worth our time or our tears. But have we become so idealistic about love, romance and finding ‘The One’ that we’re waiting for the perfect man who simply doesn’t exist?
How many of us have broken up with blokes, or backed out of second dates, for superficial and yes, picky reasons? He was too nice, he was too keen, he didn’t know the difference between “your” and ”you’re”, he listened to James Blunt, his laugh was annoying, he dyed his hair, he wore three-quarter denim shorts. Poor buggers never stood a chance. Irks? Yes. Deal-breakers? Maybe not.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine, let’s call her Laura, made up an excuse to leave a dinner date before dessert had even arrived because her good-looking, funny, well-educated male suitor was….pigeon-toed. She cancelled on a date at the last minute with another man who admitted he wore built up shoes. Then, there was the new boyfriend who used her toothbrush the morning after an impromptu sleep over. He barely had time to rinse before she gave him the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line and shoved him the door.
Laura is the first to admit she’s become too choosy. “I know it’s terrible, but I just can’t get past the little things that put me off.” So at 36, what exactly IS she looking for in a man? “Good family, solid morals, great job, financially stable, someone who likes the outdoors, who likes to party but not too hard. They also have to be taller than me (she’s 5’10), have a nice smile and a wicked sense of humour,” she tells me. Not to mention a bloke with his own toothbrush, whose toes on both feet face forward.