Throughout my misadventures as a serial dater and love seeker, I’ve developed a taste for a certain type. And while it might not have been intentional, if I were to put my last four lovers in a police lineup, it’d be hard for strangers to tell them apart. Physically, they’re similar—lanky, rugged, with a mess of tresses and a boyish charm; emotionally, they’re nearly identical—inconsistent, manic, cold, distant, intense, whimsical, and dark. Somehow, I’ve developed a sixth sense for seeking out man-children who could have once appeared on an Abercrombie and Fitch bag and might inspire psychologists to use the words “borderline” or “narcissistic personality.” It’s hard to say why, after each miserable breakup, I went back for more of the same and sought similar traits in new lovers, but I did. That’s the definition of insanity, right? And yet the problem was, my predilection for emotionally unsympathetic men with commitment issues and big arms and good hair was never apparent to me. At least, it wasn’t until I eventually met someone different, someone who would stand out of a lineup of my exes like the sorest thumb.
For that very reason, when we first met, I wasn’t interested. It didn’t matter that he was polite and present, tender and honest; he didn’t play an instrument, he didn’t write poetry in his spare time, and he didn’t have a Netflix addiction. It was a hard no for me. What could we possibly have in common? I thought to myself as I sat across from him. I was closed and judgmental, sizing him up against my usual suspects. For weeks I ignored his attempts at plan-making. I swiped away his sweet messages and turned up my nose at the lack of boxes he checked off. “I know what I like,” I told my friends, who encouraged me to give him a shot. “It’s never worked out with the kind of person you like,” they humbled me. Read more