When I walk into a restaurant, I have basic criteria I expect to be met…a good standard of service, excellent hygiene, and great tasting food because just like the title of 1968 classic duet by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, that’s pretty much all I need to get by

But imagine this… 

Imagine, my hunger is no game and I haven’t eaten for a few days, unfortunately, my ravenous state doesn’t mean I can just walk into the Palm Court of the Ritz hotel and expect to be served afternoon tea.  Not only does The Ritz require I book in advance but their dress code means if I want to be considered a customer of value, I should wear clothing suggested in the 2013 Justin Timberlake/ Jay-Z musical collaboration (suit and tie for those who were wondering?) The only way I’m ever going to make it through those exclusively elusive doors is to seriously consider meeting the criteria set by the restaurant. But what if despite the hunger pangs I don’t want to pay a minimum of £57.00 for a few scones and some Earl Grey tea? 

I could head down to my local Wahaca’s (where no pre-booking is necessary) and enjoy great tasting Mexican street food. The customer requirements aren’t as regulatory, so I’ll be able to wear my favourite worn down Uniqlo jeans and leave my tie on the rack. But even with attainable standards, there are still expectations I must adhere to if I want to be considered a valued customer within a mutually beneficial relationship. I can’t just walk into a restaurant solely based on my hunger, as I must be willing to pay for the services on offer and act accordingly. Similarly, I can’t walk into any relationship based on an instinctual drive to connect with a woman.

So, let’s take that concept and apply it to my sexuality; as a heterosexual male much of my inherent identity is developed and informed by the consensual interactions with a heterosexual female. Without meaningful interactions with the opposite sex, it would be very difficult to understand, discover and explore what heterosexuality means to me. I have to foster positive relationships with women, as it is an integral part of my identity as a human. 

Interpersonal relationship dynamics are key, in order to help me unlock who I am and the role I play within society at large. If I identify as a father that cannot work unless I have children (biological or otherwise) that I guide and nurture. If I identify as a big brother that requires younger siblings to be a part of my childhood and if I identify as a customer, I must be willing to embrace and respect the dining environment and services on offer. If the bar is raised higher, I have no choice but to put more effort into my reach, especially, if I’m going to meet the minimum requirements expected of me, while retaining my individual characteristics.

I write these posts as a weary veteran who has served on the battlefields of relationships, experiencing devasting loses and huge victories with female interactions. I wish I had more insight during my twenties and thirties but it has been a real journey of self-reflection and personal ownership to get to this point. Although I speak from a heterosexual perspective these concepts are universally applicable to any human who wants to engage in a relationship with another human of our species; regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, shape or size.

If I want to eat at The Ritz, I know what is expected of me, even though I find it comical anyone would want to pay for food where the prices are bigger than the portion sizes. The Ritz isn’t going to change its policy for me, and even though I may fall short there are many who are willing to do what it takes to meet the dress code and walk through those doors to have a unique dining experience.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with standards…as long as those are realistic standards based on actual real-world experience. There is nothing wrong with maintaining your plans, schemes, hopes or dreams that are tailor-made to fit your own personal circumstance and if you meet a person that can’t meet the minimum standard don’t allow them entry in the first place. 

Until next time.