I am, Feminist Jesus help me, going to commit an analogy that compares dating to economics here. I’m so sorry. I’ll say an Our bell hooks and three Hail Audre Lordes in repentance.
Imagine that you are a sentient curtain at Sears. (This metaphor may have been born of me spending way too much time restocking curtains at my new job at Sears.) All the people that might date you are potential buyers.
If a person wants to buy a purple throw rug, and doesn’t want to buy a curtain, they are not going to buy you. Even if you are a very nice shade of purple. They may agree that you are a lovely shade of purple! They just want other qualities in their throw rug, such as not scrunching up when you step on it. It doesn’t mean that they’re lying about liking purple. (This holds true even if they end up buying a blue throw rug instead. Maybe other traits of the throw rug were more important to them than the color. Or maybe they made a mistake and would actually prefer curtains to the throw rug. Or maybe they are lying and actually hate purple, which brings up the question of why you want to be their curtain then.)
People not wanting to buy you is not a judgment on your excellence as a curtain. It may be you have flaws that keep you from being purchased, such as being full of holes. But there might be other traits of yours that are unpopular but not wrong– maybe your pattern doesn’t match anyone’s color scheme. Your pattern is perfectly beautiful, it’s just that the people shopping for curtains don’t want it. Or maybe you’re hiding in the back of the shelf and people who would really like to buy you don’t know you exist. Or maybe your right buyer is stuck in traffic and hasn’t come along yet. (Of course, none of this means you have to keep searching for a buyer if you don’t want to. It’s perfectly okay to give up if the buyer-search is taking more out of you than you’re getting back, and to be sad that no one wants to buy you despite giving up.)
And the nice thing about buyers is that you really only need one. (Maybe more, if you want to be shared between a couple people or borrowed occasionally, but even then the number of people who can use the same curtain is somewhat limited.) It doesn’t matter if your pattern doesn’t match anyone’s color scheme: if you find the one person who happens to have a room that you’d be perfect for, they can buy you.
Photo credit– je@n/Flickr. A sign that says “SEX in progress.”