I had a long day, so tackling the five floors of my walk-up building seemed as daunting as the climb up Mount Everest. I couldn’t wait to get into my apartment and out of my bra, so I jumped in the elevator with a guy I’d seen around a few times. We hadn’t said more to each other than a casual greeting in the past, but as the elevator came to screeching halt just above the second floor, we had no choice but to get acquainted.
I wished he was my type. My initial reaction was to be annoyed that I wasn’t stuck in the elevator with the hottie from 5B—after fear, panic, and sudden onset claustrophobia, of course. Instead, the guy that I was sharing oxygen with inside this tiny rectangle of death wasn’t even close to my type. He was a little pudgy, sported a thick pair of glasses, and one side of his shirt was perpetually untucked every single time I saw him. He was more likely to wear spaghetti stains than a trendy tie and was always three weeks behind on needing a haircut. The dashing, polished look makes my knees buckle and this guy was far from it.
Right off the bat, I felt like myself. As we started talking, I noticed that I wasn’t guarded or concerned about his perception of me in the slightest bit. After all, the second those doors opened, we’d go back to distant waves and brief hellos. The pressure was off and so were my self-conscious tendencies. I let my nerdy snort-laugh combination slip out a few times and wasn’t worried about the chubby part of my stomach that folded over my jeans when I sat down on the elevator floor. It was refreshing to not overthink every word choice and body position. Regardless, there wasn’t enough room to spread out into my go-to flattering position in Titanic when Jack was drawing Rose.
He made me a little nervous… in a good way. I knew how to handle the guys that were my type. I could flip my hair and scrunch my nose as I giggled and they would swoon with the snap of a finger. It was immediately clear to me that my moves weren’t up to snuff with this guy. He wanted someone with depth—a girl who could tell the difference between a Monet and Van Gogh in an instant or hold her own at afternoon tea with the queen. While I know that there’s more to me than just a solid hair flip, it takes me a while to open up.
I was super intrigued. He was well-versed in art, documentaries and all the trending political podcasts. Everything that left his mouth was thought-provoking and he didn’t waste a minute with meaningless banter. When the doors finally opened, thankful to live to tell the tale, we decided to grab a drink at a bar down the street. I sat across from him as he sipped his whiskey, forgetting all about the physical attributes that initially turned me off.
I started to wonder if I’ve been approaching this dating thing all wrong. Maybe I haven’t found Mr. Right because I was fixated on Mr. Wrong. When I thought of my “type,” most of the attributes were physical. If I’m being honest, I could line up the last three guys I dated and have trouble telling the difference.
Maybe I shouldn’t have a type after all. It’s like assuming that I hate brussels sprouts simply because I couldn’t stand them when I was a kid. My mom’s method included steaming the sprouts in the microwave then conveniently forgetting the seasoning, so who could blame me? As a result, I’ve been sticking to broccoli for the past 10 years because I didn’t know any better. Then one day, I tried brussels sprouts with BACON and my mind was blown. While no man can compare to bacon (sorry guys, you just can’t), maybe I need to venture outside the confines of my “type” after all. Types are inherently limiting and the last thing we need in a cutthroat dating world is yet another boundary. I could have let “The One” slip through my fingers simply because he didn’t match up with my criteria.
Compatibility matters most. I’ll still be the first to say that sexual chemistry is important, but maybe it shouldn’t be the first thing I seek. Maybe my “type” should shift from someone physically attractive to someone that compliments me for exactly who I am.
Now I can see why dating sites work well for some people. I’ve always been adamantly against dating sites, but now I think I understand the draw. Sure, you have a picture to reference, but if potential dates are sorted to your attention by personality traits, you’re more inclined to give it a shot. Otherwise, you’ll just vehemently reject them as you would if they approached you at the bar.
I’m sure you can guess the number one thing I learned from this debacle. Unless it’s a new building, I’ll be taking the stairs.