22 October 2008

This Word - 'Fancy'

I recently spoke to a relative of mine who had been on a few dates with a man who she felt was truly lovely - kind, caring and was a balanced human being who made her laugh. Problem?

She didn't 'fancy him'. After hearing this reason for rejecting this man as a potential partner I asked her why it was important that she had to 'fancy' him. (Such a strange, weird term.)

Obviously there was something wrong with me for asking such a stupid question, but think about it. You meet a person who seems to tick all the boxes and you reject them because you don't...fancy them. I can't get to grips with that word. I looked it up in the dictionary and here's what Merriam-Webster had to say about the word 'fancy' in relation to this issue.

Fancy (as a noun), from Middle English: fantasie, fantsy imagination, image, illusion, preference. From around 15th century.

1 a: a liking formed by caprice rather than reason : inclination b: amorous fondness : love

2 a: notion, whim b: an image or representation of something formed in the mind

3archaic : fantastic quality or state

4 a: imagination especially of a capricious or delusive sort b: the power of conception and representation used in artistic expression (as by a poet)

5: taste , judgment

6 a: devotees of some particular art, practice, or amusement b: the object of
interest of such a fancy ; especially : 1boxing

There are some interesting elements here: fantasy, image, formed by caprice rather than reason, etc. So if someone isn't fancied yet is totally suitable then who actually misses out?

I have never been someone who chooses a partner based primarily on their looks. In fact, it is difficult to get past first base with me if you are rude, obnoxious, have an uncaring personality, focus on self, have a need to keep up with the Joneses, rave/moan about your flashy car or your personal wealth (or lack of).
Your looks are way down the list for me. To hear of someone being rejected because of this imaginary, society-fed idea of what is attractive just seems plain silly. Whilst discussing my views on this issue with my relative she appeared lost for words as she looked at me as if I had lost my mind! 'How can you have a relationship with someone you don't initially 'fancy'?' Some of the best relationships I have had have been with people who I wasn't initially physically attracted to - people who by the societal norms I should have rejected. But I make a choice to value people for who they are and not judge them on their irrelevant bodyshape, size, hair colour, race or any other superficial boxes we are encouraged to place people in.

I have not regretted my decision to forego any need to 'fancy' someone and have intentionally focused my attention on getting to the heart of a person rather than posed, conforming behaviours.

In short, who you are is important to me. I'll try and get to know you first.
Am I alone on this one?


Preston said...

I'm in your camp. I judge people by how they treat me, not how they look.

Zee Harrison said...

I have received a comment from Isabella Mori from Change Therapy who has had great difficulty leaving a comment here on this post. If any of you have experienced a problem then please email me at zeeharrison1@yahoo.com. Many thanks.

Here's Isabella's comment:

i don't live in the UK, so i'm only familiar with the term "to fancy someone" secondhand, so to say - from people from the UK who i meet on the internet or who are here in canada. but i've always interpreted as "fancying someone" as having some sort of amourous interest in that person, regardless where that interest originates (looks, personality,
social status, or simply that certain je-ne-sais-quoi). is that an incorrect interpretation?

re the certain je-ne-sais-quoi: i'm finally reading malcolm gladwell's "blink", where he talks about the lightning-fast snap judgments we tend to make, and which are often correct. i've always thought that that's
what's involved in "fancying" someone (here in canada we might say, "i like him, you know, as in LIKE like"). i think we tend to have a number of blueprints for potential mates somewhere in our subconscious that consists of a long list of likes and dislikes, including a person's more or less imperceptible smell and tiny telltales of their attitude towards
life, and we base our king/fancying on that. and then of course we often override it. if this theory is correct (and i think there is some research that would support it) it would be interesting to know whether the person you mention overrides her initial judgment with something
that she thinks should be the criterion (a certain type of look) or whether she does actually "like/fancy" that person and then explains it with the "acceptable" story of being attracted because of the looks.

Thank you, Isabella for sharing your thoughts here.

Preston: Thank you also for sharing your views. I enjoy your forthright blog.


Kimmy said...

I worked with a woman once that said her boyfriend was "too vanilla" for her. So I asked what that meant. She told me he lived too simply. He was handsome, he was a marathon runner, he traveled, and had a good job. She said I need a man like Brad Pitt. I think she is 45 now, still single complaining about her choices.

My Autism Insights said...

You're not alone. My husband (of nearly 10 years) was completely against my 'type' when we met. I wasn't particularly attracted to him at first, but after we had known each other platonically for about a month everything just clicked. I never understand people who won't even give someone a chance based on a preconceived vision of what their mate should be. To paraphrase a good friend: Man plans; the Universe laughs.

P.S. I was also having trouble commenting last night so I hope this goes through.

Ralph Dumain said...

"Fancy" as used here is a UK (and Commonwealth?) expression; we don't use it in the USA. So, sans context, it is impossible to gauge the degree of seriousness or frivolity involved in whether someone fancies someone or not. Does it mean physical attractiveness? An indefinable quality we call "chemistry"? Many people, mostly women, tend to discount physical appearance, and other qualities may be even more arousing to them. But ultimately, either you're going to be attracted to someone or not, and how can you judge someone for not going for somebody (s)he is not attracted to? Are physical characteristics truly irrelevant? Body shape, size shouldn't matter to people? I don't believe this. As for race, well, it shouldn't matter when it comes to judging people, but aesthetically it can make a difference. Difference is a turn-on for a large number of people; people are often specifically attracted to other races.

If physical attraction is all you are going for, chances are the connection will not last long. But if someone repulses you, there won't be any connection in the first place.

Jacqueline said...

In my younger years, I was one of those people who had to be in love with the outward appearance first. I know, shame on me, but I used to be very superficial. Thank goodness I grew past that stage.

When I met the man who is now my husband, I was more attracted to the fact that he "knew how to get things done" and "knew what he wanted." It had very little to do with how he looked. I just knew this was the type of person I needed who would be an asset and not a liability.

Luckily, it has worked out for us because we've been together for fifteen years.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Yeah, I'm not in to the superficial either, but what can you say. There are lots who are and more power to them.

T.Allen-Mercado said...

It's a tough call. I agree that there should be some level of attraction/chemistry. I'm not so certain that it is physical. I mean, someone can be handsome/pretty and not be attractive. Perhaps they lack confidence in their stride or cadence...there are so many subtleties that form our decisions about mates.

I married a man that I thought was the "cat's meow" at 18 years old. Now at 35 (he is 40) I still look at him and see the 23 year old; full head of hair and all (he's bald now). No one else sees what I see now or then. Perceptions are our own reality, if she doesn't fancy him, she likely never will.

Bent Society said...

Zee - sorry this is slightly off topic.

There are some great pictures here on anti-segregation behaviour in the USA in the 30's and 1940's



Renée aka Mekhismom said...

Does fancy only pertain to looks? I mean it could be taste. I have men that I "fancied" on one level or another but was not physically attracted to. We dated but nothing more because without the physical attraction the rest was kind of flat for me. And the most handsome man isn't necessarily the most physically attractive to me.