Most of my British readers will have heard the phrase “100% my type on paper”, made popular by the TV show Love Island. It’s become such a soundbite that even those of you who avoided watching the show have probably heard it, even if you’d rather not have. But anyway, I definitely had a type. Usually tall, preferably blond with blue eyes, but the main distinguishing feature was personality. Confident, preferably a bit cocky, and really good in social situations. Good looking? Not necessarily. But I seemed to have a thing for those blessed with the gift of the gab.
Coming back to Love Island, there was something from the series this year that really struck me. New girl Megan had just entered the villa, and she had the two single boys Eyal and Alex vying for her affections. She said Eyal was her more her type, but her type wasn’t working for her, so she wanted to consider Alex too. This hit home for me, because well, my type wasn’t working for me either.
The thing about the sociable types, is due to their likeability factor, is they tend to be well, liked. So they tend to have their pick of women, and guys who had their pick of women, tended to not pick me. And all that aside, once you get past the superficial attraction, a lot of those people didn’t actually have a lot in common with me, and wouldn’t have been a great match long-term.
I’ve done a lot of soul-searching recently trying to figure out where I’m going wrong with dating, and realised that a lot of my “type” stemmed from my childhood. In school, I was assigned the “geek” label (which I absolutely HATED), people didn’t really want a lot to do with me, and boys didn’t find me remotely attractive. I hated life, and spent my days trying to figure out what I could do to break out of my assigned stereotype. I remember one time, I was told this boy in my year fancied me, but my “friends” (I use the word loosely- basically I just hung around on the outskirts of their group hoping they would accept me) told me he was “the bod of all bods” (early 00’s British slang for geek/ loser) and not to go out with him, so I decided that I definitely didn’t fancy him back. Without having spoken a word to him.
I remember the day I met my First Love. I met a new group of people for the first time, and he bounded over, introduced himself, and started telling us about the group. My first thoughts weren’t “he’s good looking”, but “he seems like the centre of their social group”, and that was what drew me in. The guys I went for after him fit the same mould. When I started online dating, after looks of course, the first thing I’d think about was how confident they came across as, and make my decision in the first few moments whether I wanted to see them again. I guess I was looking for someone I could “show off”. Someone I could bring to a party, introduce to people, and they’d be like “wow, he’s great!”. Subconsciously, I was seeking out someone who had the qualities I lacked in school, to help me gain the acceptance I’d always craved.
But how much does that stuff really matter?
I remember when I was younger, I read a book called Stargirl. The plotline is, the lead character falls in love with an eccentric girl and his peers at school stop talking to him. He asks this holy cactus for a solution, and the cactus asks him “who do you care more about, her or them?” He doesn’t know. At the time, I remember thinking, “wow, that would be a really hard decision”. But now, it really wouldn’t. Love can last a lifetime. I can count the number of people I stayed in touch with from school on one hand. Or more precisely, one finger.
So why am I still seeking their approval?
Having a type can be too restrictive. I always find it a bit odd how some people seem determined to meet someone, and complain about how awful being single is, yet point blank refuse to consider anyone who didn’t go to university, for example. So why limit yourself to dating just one sort of person? Often what we consider our “type” isn’t rooted in who would make the best match for us, but subconscious messages from our childhoods, people we have fancied in the past, or perhaps even because we’ve decided that that is our “type”, we gravitate towards those kind of people out of habit.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So if you’ve dated a few people who were very similar and it didn’t work out, perhaps it’s time to break the mould.
Do you have a “type”, or do you fancy different kinds of people each time? Do you think it’s worth being open and branching out? Let me know in the comments!