There are differences between standards and preferences and both should be equally considered when forming a relationship with someone.
Your standards are a list of expectations that someone must meet in order to work effectively with your nature. They are requirements that one must possess that you feel are necessary to have a functional relationship. They have been set to maintain your own sense of sanity and happiness. Hopefully, they are morals and values that you too hold yourself accountable for. You should meet the same requirements that you expect from someone else.
Preferences by definition are “a greater liking for one alternative over another or others.” They are like those statements on job qualifications; must have a master’s degree, but a PhD is preferred. This does not mean that they will not accept a master’s degree or find it to be worthless, it just simply means what it says, a PhD is preferred. Everyone has preferences. Restaurants prefer you to leave a tip, but it’s not a requirement.
Recently, there has been a hot debate on preferences for Black women’s hair. The reality is that it’s not wrong to prefer one hair type over the other and this conversation isn’t truly about preferences; it’s about good and bad hair textures that need to be addressed. No one wants to date someone with unkempt hair. However, unkempt hair should not be synonymous with a Black woman’s hairstyle. Having clean, neat hair is a standard requirement next to hygiene on most people’s list. In my personal opinion, something fine and straight is more appealing than a knot and a kink. Most people prefer a straight road over one that winds and twists. We get so sensitive about the nature of Black hair as it has been a ridiculous debate for centuries. But, we must also embrace the uniqueness and versatility of our hair. Unfortunately, for now, we have to accept that it does not meet the status quo, but that doesn’t make it bad or less than; it’s just different and that’s okay! Similar to how most Black people have to accept the fact that they have to work harder than the next to get ahead. The most beautiful thing about our hair is that we can go from kinky knots, Afros and curls to straight hair with proper heating and relaxing techniques. No one can wear an Afro like us and no one can go back and forth like us. But this isn’t praised for some odd, unknown reason.
I prefer men who keep their hair cut and neat. This doesn’t have a negative connotation though. However, the words Afro, bushy and nappy do. The word Afro has a political problem and I’ll be happy when our hair doesn’t make a political statement; it’s just hair for crying out loud. But, regardless, the words Afro, bushy and nappy have negative connotations and are just like someone calling a Black woman’s hair – nigga hair. Our Black men need to understand this. America needs to understand this. It’s very disappointing to hear our hair being called these names when we don’t like it and are still healing from the world hating our hair texture. It’s hard to love what most people hate. Just call it kinky curly and that will be fine by me!
However, it’s not a problem for someone to say they prefer straight hair. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a preference and if you don’t fit the prototype, that’s okay! It does not mean that your non-straight hair is bad, ugly or indifferent. It just means that this 1 person out of 7.53 billion people, prefer straight hair. That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less. We cannot allow our sensitivities to dampen other people’s preferences. I know the question will arise, should I change my hair to tailor someone else’s preferences? That depends on you! Some women will go out of their way to please society and straighten their hair or wear a straight weave which is perfectly fine! That is their prerogative! And you have some people who refuse to wear their hair straight for the demands of someone else. We have to stop being so judgmental with what other people are willing to accept about themselves.
No man is wrong for stating they prefer “good” hair or straight hair or exotic hair or women. Those are their rights and preferences and we have to be mindful of their opinions. However, it can be quite disrespectful to the alternatives when negative adjectives are used to describe one’s dislikes. One must employ tact when stating their preferences. I can say I don’t like bald-headed men, or I can say I prefer men with hair. There’s always a better way to state your case without disrespecting your race.