The Obligatory Adjustment of Allah’s Definitions

Filed under:Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on August 21, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

I had a cutesy little–operative word, little–post in mind on this woman and her excruciating five minutes of fame to the effect of: “How to spot a quality man? One who knows to steer clear–far clear–of this debacle of a human being who uses the phrase ‘fat single mothers’ as an epithet and considers children ‘parasites.'”

But Allah upped the ante by expressing sympathy that I can’t leave unchallenged. Specifically:

???Lower your standards and stop pursuing women who are out of your league. There are lots of fat single mothers out there who can???t find dates either.??? [Allah says:] That???s partly why I sympathize with her. She???s getting killed for telling the truth. In general, I mean. Not about her being one of those out-of-your-league women.

Falling for a single mother does not require “lower standards.” It may require an adjustment of priorities. I can easily understand how at first glance most single, childless men are going to steer away from a single mother, but that has far less to do with the woman’s personality, brains, looks, or anything else that people look at in a potential SO and far more to do with the the fact that children are an immediate, upfront, and very serious complication to any relationship. No single mother in her right mind is going to encourage a relationship between her child and her date–hey, you mean some single mothers have right minds and brains in them?–unless she’s pretty convinced he’s going to be around in the long term, which is a lot of pressure for a nascent relationship. Then there’s the child’s father, if living–hey, you mean some single mothers might be widows, rather than man-eating divorcees or sluts?–another man who is, if he’s in the picture, by obligation to the child, necessarily a fixture in the woman’s life. Then there’s the simple fact that a child complicates even the most ordinary aspects of dating–getting a babysitter, not taking off on some hot weekend getaway on a whim, etc.

But all these are adjustments in the circumstances of a relationship that a man could be willing to make for a woman who, in matters of personality, brains, looks, or anything else that people look at in a potential SO, meets his standards.

The only “standards” issue a single mother might violate simply by being a single mother is “possible sluttiness.” And even that’s qualified “possible”–you simply don’t know the circumstances under which the child was born unless you get to know the mother. If she doesn’t meet your standards, don’t date her, but don’t assume she doesn’t meet your standards because she’s a single mother. As with most other labels and categories, you can’t presume to define an individual based on that one aspect of her identity, and it’s not “truth” to suggest otherwise. It’s meanness.

As for “fat,” I’m not dim enough to pretend that weight is not a standard women are measured by, but Ms. Passey’s undisguised venom for mothers and children does not leave room for the suggestion that she regarded “single mother” as any less an insult or criterion for lowered standards than “fat.” If a woman’s looks, including her weight, do not meet a particular man’s standards for a date, that’s his call. If a man counts a woman out based solely on single motherhood status, that’s a call to count that man out of the “quality” section.

Do not miss Ace taking Ms. Passey apart, as it gave me the best laugh I’ve had in a week. Thanks, Ace!

PS, what is with the commenters at Ace using Ms. Passey’s self-proclaimed geek status to bash on geek girls, band geek girls, and flute-playing geek girls?!? Serenity=awesome; if you don’t know my LotR cred, check it out; and yes, I was both a flute player and the drum major of my HS band, and thanks, Alyson, for ruining that for the rest of us.

Update: To be clear, I am no more suggesting that a woman can be defined by her weight than by her status as a single mother. When I say “If a woman’s looks, including her weight, do not meet a particular man’s standards, that’s his call,” what I mean is “If a man is not attracted to a particular woman, and one reason why might include her weight, that’s his call.” All I’m really saying here is that if a man passes on a woman he’s attracted to and could be compatible with because the fact that she’s a single mother, that fact by itself, or overweight, that fact by itself, violates a standard, then his standards are off. Carry on.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace