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My Standards Are Simple and Mine Alone

09/06/2015 09:05 EDT | Updated 09/06/2016 05:59 EDT
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Portrait of a happy young woman outside in a garden

"Your standards are too high."

If you're 30-plus, educated, single, and a woman, you probably hear this at family barbecues and any company gatherings that take place after three rounds of drinks have been purchased. I used to hear this all the time. Maybe the words are still being whispered by my family, but I simply store them in the section of my brain typically reserved for the men who scream "Yo, ma! What's good?" Or, perhaps co-workers still try to assert their opinions, but when they finish speaking, I mentally relegate them to the same category of adults who text like post-spell-check teenagers. In either case, the statement no longer holds enough weight for me to adjust my standards.

One foreseeable divorce, plus two meaningful but heartbreaking relationships equal strong convictions on what I require from a mate. Although the unsolicited opinions regarding who I choose to build with are no longer impactful enough for me to change my standards, I do at times re-examine them. And upon close examination, this is what I conclude: based on the power vested in me by the state of Shanita, I hereby declare my standards simple and mine alone. No further approval needed.

One foreseeable divorce, plus two meaningful but heartbreaking relationships equal strong convictions on what I require from a mate.

To the one dimensional person my standards or "type" may seem hard to understand: I won't go around providing justification for my standards or seeking permission. Yet, for the curious, I will provide situational examples. I want a man with extensions in his hair, bamboo earrings...at least two pair. Nah, I'm joking.

I want my potential mate and I to discuss historical opposing views in black intellectualism and culture. Like, I want to know where he stands when it comes to the views of Du Bois versus Garvey and what's his opinion on the fact that Nas ethered Jay-Z. When we go to family game night and play Taboo and the question requires participants to name a deadly weapon that starts with the letter "S" and my cousin gives the winning answer by yelling "shank!", I need him to not be confused. When the games are over and he digs into his spaghetti and it's Kool-Aid sweet, he has to just keep eating. Oh, and don't judge me when I say it took me three days to read that latest piece by Michael Eric Dyson and that I secretly watched the entire season of Empire.

I'm not sure if these standards are "too much or too little" for most. All I know is that they are mine. Jay got it right when he said "I don't want much, just a nice, smart dude cool enough to eat some hood food." Wait...I think that was me.

In any event. Still simple standards. Still mine.

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