Jewish Journal

What’s My Type?

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

January 24, 2011 | 9:44 am

A guy just asked me recently what’s my type when it comes to dating men.  I wanted to answer honestly, but I didn’t know what to say.  Looking at my history, I’ve dated probably one of everything.  I’ve long thought I don’t really have a type.  But I think the whole type thing is completely made up to sell Cosmo quizzes anyway.  Someone’s type is just whomever they’re interested in at that time.  People date outside their type all the time.  I hear girls saying constantly “it’s weird because he’s not my type but he’s so great.”  If you end up with someone who’s not your type, did you ever really have a type to begin with?

I know there are certain traits that make people more or less attractive to each other.  But how often have we fallen for someone that we were completely uninterested in at first.  Doesn’t that disprove the type theory?  It seems to me that there are two ways people use the term.  The first is to refer to physical type, as in people who only like blondes.  The second is the type of person, as in people who like outgoing free-spirits.  I think both of them are meaningless and essentially the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you tell yourself you’re only attracted to doctors, what happens if there’s a great guy right in front of you who is a vet?  Recent research has suggested that scent is a powerful force in determining a woman’s attraction to a man.  This argues against any physical or personality determinative factor.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon in myself of course.  In high school and college, I definitely had a type.  I only wanted to date brooding tortured artists who smoked cigarettes while drinking espresso and writing poetic song lyrics in their moleskin notebooks.  And so I did date quite a few tortured artists.  But once I realized I was dating just a bunch of depressed bohemians without jobs, my fascination with type wore off.  I started to be open to the idea of dating anyone and I truly have had feelings for all sorts of men.  I’ve dated a man so poor we had to jump the turnstiles for the subway and I’ve dated an heir to one of the largest American fortunes.  I’ve dated younger than me, and much older than me.  I’ve dated all-American blonde minor league baseball players, African-American football players, and French writers.  I’ve dated carbon-neutral obsessed atheists and Catholic surfers with new Range Rovers.  I’ve been on a Ducati with an entrepreneur, and a Harley with a lawyer, been to Spago with an agent, eaten vegetables from the backyard of a DJ, read poetry with academics, and justified anarchy with reactionaries. 

So I’m trying to think if they were all alike in regards to some other characteristics.  Some were the nice guys and some weren’t.  Some were the gregarious outgoing type, some were the wallflowers.  Some liked me noticeably more than I liked them.  Some didn’t.  Some pleased my family, some didn’t.  Some were loyal and trustworthy, some were mysterious.  I guess for the most part I thought they were all smart so perhaps my type includes intelligence but that one quality doesn’t seem like much of a type. 

At this point, I have to say I have no preconceived notions whatsoever about whom I should be with.  I don’t have a type when it comes to a type of guy.  As for the physical type, I don’t fare much better.  I’ve dated across racial, hair color, and body type lines.  Maybe there is at first an appearance I’m more drawn to than others, but this changes for me so much depending on the personality of the person.  I’m never that attracted to anyone until I get to know them and then once I’m attracted to their personality, I can find my physical attraction heightened exponentially. 

I suspect that for men’s attraction, the physical type may carry more weight.  They tend to be more visual than women and much research suggests that a man’s physical attraction to someone has to do with some sexual reaction separate from the brain, whereas women’s attraction originates on a more emotional or intellectual level.  So I feel I should give guys some leeway when they say they are only interested in a certain physical type.  But can this be swayed?  It seems like we all know a man anecdotally that fell for a woman not his typical type which suggests to me that part of the type thing really is just a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Men tell themselves they like a certain type so they only get to know that type.

Well I’m against type.  I don’t believe in it and I think it’s limiting our own experiences.  I encourage everyone to date against their type.  Why would you limit yourself to dating the type of people you’ve already dated and with whom it didn’t work?  I believe we don’t have a type until we’re in love with mind, heart, and body of the person who’s meant to love us forever.  Our lifelong partner should be our type.  At least for me, my answer to the type question is ineffable for now.  I don’t know what my type is yet.  Because really in the end my type won’t be one in a category of a type of man at all.  My type will be a category of one.

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Tamara Shayne Kagel is a twenty-something fixture on the Los Angeles scene currently living in Santa Monica.  Currently, Tamara is a successful freelance writer (just ask her...

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