Are you the kind of person who drinks diet soda or normal soda? Do you pick the window or the aisle seat? Do you like men or women? Everyone has preferences: a color, a TV show, a favorite shampoo. With everything in life, we try all kinds of options, evaluate them and settle down when we find our favorite one. But when we’re talking about dates, it seems we’re not as flexible or willing to try out new flavors…
Generally, people tend to date a specific type of person, as researchers show. And there’s nothing new about this: all we need to do is look at our social circle and see that everyone has straight friends who say they like a certain kind of woman, such as white or black women. Big breasts or small breasts. Long hair or short hair. In the gay world, however, the preferences are about certain stereotypes. As in the wizardry school of the Harry Potter world, each person belongs to a different house. When we ask a gay guy what kind of man he likes, the answer is usually something along the lines of “jock”, “twink” “bear” or “daddy”. Would you rather date a gym bunny, a wolf or an otter? Black or white? Top or bottom? It even seems like we’re choosing ice cream flavors from Ben & Jerry’s.
Some people already get in the line knowing they’d like vanilla or pistachio ice cream. And that is also true for our relationships: we tend to follow that consistency because familiar things comfort us. Acting like that gives us the impression that everyone has a type. On the other hand, breaking that pattern and getting out of our comfort zone might surprise us: true love might sweep you off your feet in a very unexpected way.
When choosing a partner, some say the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, it seems more like a defense for those who don’t want to be judged by their personal preferences. Speaking about romance, this sentence seems unfair — and I’d even say it’s a bit problematic, especially in a culture obsessed with youth, muscles and big dicks.
Several dating apps even have filters so you don’t match with people from a specific race or ethnicity. Many people looking for love are limiting their options because they think they have a “type”. I think it’s best to get rid of as many filters as possible and expand your horizons to find a partner you could never have imagined because “they’re not your type”.
An example: who wouldn’t want a guy that looks like a model and has a dog? I also thought that was my type. Of course, a man who has a dog is caring and thoughtful, that’s what I thought. Besides that, who wouldn’t want to spoon a perfect body, the ones that you can see the outline of a six pack even under a thick sweater? But reality showed me I couldn’t be more wrong. I went on a date with two guys who had dogs: one was a sociopath, the other one was a hell of a narcissist.
Beauty is a cultural and physical concept, and its standard is defined by the prevailing culture at any given moment. I was always an advocate of making our lives, our society and the work environment more diverse. Extending this open mindness to my love life made me discover new flavors I didn’t even know existed! I went on dates with guys ten years older and younger than me. Skinny guys and Brawny men. Tall and short. Engineers and not-engineers. White and black. American, Turkish and Brazilian guys. Every time I get involved with a guy that breaks the previous pattern, I acknowledge that I actually don’t have a type.
My last boyfriend ended up being an engineer, half German, half Mexican, who lives with his cat. Before our first date, I went through all of his social media accounts, of course, and checked his online activity. I found out he was very different from all of the people I had already dated — and definitely broke my patterns. Honestly, I thought we wouldn’t have a second date. But, luckily, I was completely wrong. And the world had another example of how important it is to embrace diversity and keep an open mind when we want to connect to other people. Whether it is a friend, a date or, who knows, the love of our life.