Typecasting: The Myth of My Ideal Man

If there were some fancy genetic program, in which your friends could design your perfect man, wrap him with a festive bow, and have a deliveryman place him gently on your front porch, I would receive twenty identical guys. My type is specific and well known.

Take one exotically handsome man, add healthy doses of arrogance, expensive shoes, and sophistication. If you have a jar of raised-in-a-foreign-country lying around, so much the better. Mix it all together and – voila! – an instant Grace boyfriend. Those accented sweater-wearing men get me every time.

Except, apparently, this time.

Y’all remember Professor McGregor, I trust? He of the super hot beard and major spark? The dear professor is, if possible, the polar opposite of my supposed type. He’s a dark strawberry blond, of Irish & Scottish descent, who regularly wears cowboy boots. He doesn’t tower over me or speak Spanish so well that it sends shivers down my spine. His wardrobe shows no signs of argyle sweaters or thick-framed glasses.

Honestly, I hadn’t given his lack of type adherence much thought. I’m crazy attracted to him and he makes me laugh, so why does it matter?  The only reason I registered this discrepancy is because I ran across a picture of his ex. Imagine everything you know about me, friends: blonde, a bit ridiculous, intelligent, but given to waxing poetic about sweaters and retro underwear. If someone were to play me in a movie, it would be Alicia Silverstone. There is literally no other option. Once, while participating in one of those God-awful Facebook memes, I exchanged my profile picture for one of Silverstone. Some people who have actually seen me thought I was just all “gussied up.” Interesting, exotic beauty, thy name is not Grace.

Meanwhile, if someone were to play his ex in Professor McGregor’s Magical Monogamy Tour? It would be Angeline Jolie. She’s willowy, brunette, and has the kind of look that screams “I play video games really well, but am also totally comfortable with my sexuality. Oh, and, world peace legitimately concerns me every day.” We could not be more different, kittens. She wears vintage band t-shirts that her dad probably saved from 1978 and I share a closet with Zooey Deschanel.

Upon seeing her picture, I immediately sent a panicked text message to Mae. Why the hell is he dating me, when that’s the girl he loved for so long? When he kisses me, does he wish I were smaller? Does he long for dark, mysterious tresses, instead of my incessantly cheery blonde hair? Y’all, I like who I am. I have no desire to change myself. It’s lovely to always have Alice in Wonderland as a back-up Halloween costume.

However, a big part of liking myself is wanting other people to like me this way too. I don’t want to worry about whether he’d prefer kissing a lithe brunette. Plenty of guys would be super happy kissing me, just as I am. Luckily, before I’d ascribed any nefarious motivations to Professor McGregor, I heard from Mae. Her exact response:

Think back on your past boyfriends…does the professor look like any of them to you? (Pssst. I know the answer and it’s no).

It’s nice to have such a logical friend. Because, yeah, she’s totally right. If we’re doing that whole casting a movie thing, he’d be Ewan McGregor (of course) and my coterie of past boyfriends would be Sendhil Ramamurthy. There is no comparison. They are too different to even judge against one another. But who’s comparing anyway? Despite how much I claim to have a type, it didn’t occur to me once that I shouldn’t be attracted to the professor. He’s brilliant, funny, and super cute.

When it comes down to it, the idea of a type is ridiculous. There’s no predicting attraction or applying logic to emotion. Much as it pains my scientist’s heart, there is no formula to finding my person. That is, I suppose, what makes the (often anxiety-inducing) search worth it. Also, I think we can all agree that there should totally be a movie of my life…if only so we can watch Ewan and Sendhil fight over Cher Horowitz. At the moment, I’m rabidly curious to find out who wins.

- Grace

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37 thoughts on “Typecasting: The Myth of My Ideal Man

  1. Yeah when I first started dating the wifey, all her friends thought I wouldn’t last because I’m all geeky and stuff, while her ex’s were all these biker-jock musician types. A type is just a type, I guess. I like burgers, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a meaningful relationship with a lasagna before devouring it.

  2. oh THE type :))))))))))))))))) long or longish hair, rugged looks, complicated, moody and intense
    I’m single at the moment but still having strong reaction to the same type…that is NOT healthy for me :p I need grounded and funny, a nice guy! then why oh why most of “nice guys” are so boring?

    • Gaia, I think our types probably hang out with each other a lot, drinking little-heard-of microbrews and discussing Proust. I’m a sucker for the moody and intense sophisticates. Professor McGregor is probably the first legitimately nice guy I’ve dated…though he’s a bit complicated himself. Apparently, I can’t get away from dark & twisty completely.

  3. I never really thought I had a “type” until I recently started dating my boyfriend now who couldn’t be further from what I thought was my type, simply because he’s A LOT older than me. I’m one of those people that used to make snide comments about the women who would date someone that much older than them, how I would never do such a thing! it’s gross, he’s like her papa, etc. …And now here I am doing it. You just really never know.

  4. I am married to a man with no tattoos and nothing that resembles a chip on his shoulder. Hell, he even likes sports (enough to have turned me into a football fanatic). These things were never things I considered acceptable. Types are great for fantasizing, but I think they rarely work in real life.

    • You know, considering how my “type” romances have gone, I’m thinking you have a really great point. The fantasy men never actually seem to work well with reality Grace. Thanks for the great comment! (And hooray for football fans!)

  5. I’m so the opposite! I’ve never had a type, just a few qualities I look for. I’ve gone from tall runner blond, short pothead redneck, scrawny red head, short hockey brunette and now I am perfectly happy with my asian boy. As long as he makes you happy that’s all that matters!! Great post :)
    – aubrey
    http://my-little-happies.com/

  6. I also have a type that I tend to look for: tall, blond, athletic, might be a bit of jerk on the outside, but with a kind heart. However, if you look at the guys I’ve actually been with? Shortish, dark, comedic, kind-hearted/generous with a wide range of talents that aren’t necessarily athletic. Just goes to show that you never know who you’ll be attracted o.

    I would totally watch a movie of your life, since I’m in love with Ewan McGregor. :)

    • Anna, I’m not going to lie, I’ve always had a Ewan soft spot myself. I always thought it was the accent, but Professor McGregor is making me think I have a soft spot for the scruffy Gaelic look after all. ;)

  7. I was watching a TV programme (Vexed) and the woman in it found her ideal ‘type’ – tidy, cooks, calls her “sweetheart” etc. In the end she dumps him, too boring. If you stick to one type where’s the excitement?

  8. I just love reading your relationship posts….they make me realize that other people out there have the same thoughts as I do…so it’s comforting to know that I’m not crazy. PS…awesome man eye candy. :)

  9. My theory on that is that when you start showing interest in guys that are NOT your type it is the first sign of growing up.

    Or in other words: When you make a list of everything that’s important to you in a guy and then start dating someone who doesn’t tick (m)any of the boxes and you still like/love him, chances are very good he’s Mr Right. Just because chemistry dictates it. Nothing trumps chemistry.

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  11. I hate it when my guy shaped friends ask me about what type of guy I like to go out with. They hate it even more when I say I don’t know! Sure I have a vague type in my head, but I’m under no illusions that that type will ever really materialise!

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  13. Hmmm my ex was a dead ringer for Johnny Depp (I kid you not – one time I even though I was out on a date with good ole Johnny, except my ex and my self are true blue Australians). So much so that sometimes I would open a magazine and my ex would be amongst the pages for his career and I would thing it was Mr Depp, and other times I’d see an ad for Pirates of the Carribean and think that my ex was playing silly bugger dress ups… saying all that, my husband looks nothing like either my ex or Mr D, but is still damned hot. Probably hotter because he actually showers regularly, unlike Johnny who, I have heard, does not bother with that particular societal habit terribly often…

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