What's Your Type?

Do you have a type? I never thought I did, until I dated someone who wasn’t…

I have friends whose dating histories can be neatly summed up as “struggling artists on the brink of their big break” or “athletic bankers with a closet full of suits.” But I’ve always pictured myself as someone who was open to any interesting prospect, regardless of labels. (Because that sounds cool and open-minded, and who wouldn’t want to be that?)

Then I met my boyfriend.

When friends would ask, “What’s he like?” the first phrase that came to mind was always, “Not my type.”

He checked off zero of the usual boxes. He’s blond. And blue eyed. And southern. And optimistic. And younger. He is also a writer, which is surprisingly refreshing. (Our texts are always punctuated. Our emails are sometimes lengthy.) The biggest difference, though, is that HE IS SO NICE.

In the early days of dating, it felt like he spoke a language I didn’t understand. He showed up when he said he would. He took a genuine interest in my life. He laughed at all my jokes, even the ones that were only 50% funny. I never felt confused about where things were headed or anxious as to what would come next.

Cue realization — I did have a type!

Looking back, it became abundantly, uncomfortably clear. My type had always been… (anticlimactic drumroll, please)… guys who were mean. Regardless of their resumés, the one thing they all had in common was their razor-sharp awareness of the areas in which I could benefit from subtle “improvements.”

There was the French boyfriend who scoffed at my American eating habits. “In France, it is normal to eat a tomato for dinner!” he’d announce, giving my fries the side-eye. Or the boyfriend who would “helpfully” point out the shocking overnight growth of my stray, goat-like chin hair, or how the small fold of skin near the crook of my arm resembled “an elephant’s butt.” Or the boyfriend who told me, after any 30-second silence, that I was “too quiet.”

Enter the boyfriend. He is generous with his time and his attention. He is unconditionally supportive. He shares my sense of humor and he wouldn’t change a thing.

As a result, I can be myself — the complete, sometimes-quiet, sometimes-making-up-song-lyrics-while-acting-like-a-velociraptor-while-brushing-my-teeth self — and that, dear reader, is everything.

Would I have predicted this? No. But many of the things I love have been acquired tastes. (Physical Fitness. New York City. Broccoli Rabe.) Sometimes going against type is a very good thing. Now, of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you have a type? Have you ever dated outside of it?

P.S. An awesome dating tip and would you date older?