So, here's why I don't like the idea of relaxing my "appearance" standards:
1) My idea of who is attractive does not necessarily agree with the rest of the world (or even with what my friends find attractive). Jake Gyllenhaal is *hot*, but not everyone agrees with that. What am I saying here (besides that Jake Gyllenhaal is *hot* and that I have a teensy crush on Jon Stewart)? That my standards are already pretty specific to what I like. I'm not trying to get with...oh...I don't know...Matthew McConaughey (*melt*). And Matthew McConaughey is the new Stetson guy, so that's pretty much All-American hot. I think my standards are realistic for me, and that's what matters.
2) I'm the one who has to live with the guy for the rest of my life, and, uhm, reproduce with him. So, if I don't find him attractive, how's that going to work? I'll tell you right now that it's not going to work. I understand that someone can become attractive over time, but I'm not going to start dating someone I don't feel "that way" about. If we're friends first, and the attraction develops over time, well, then that's a totally different story.
So, that's me defending my need to actually find someone attractive before going on a date with him. Seems reasonable to me!