- Excessively vain. Consider me a die-hard naturalist. There is to me the most beauty to be admired in the natural, unaltered, unadulterated version of things. To this extent, I find the excessive use of makeup, plastic surgery, excessive ‘primping’ all unnecessary and unappealing. I wouldn’t enjoy being with someone who constantly had to fuss over their appearance. Some people appreciate a well made-up woman. The dark red lipstick, the dramatic eye shadow, the bold lashes, etc. For me though, I prefer a natural look. Beautiful was always a natural beauty. She never was comfortable spending too much time on her appearance or using make up or any beauty products. This was perfectly fine by me. I could appreciate and fall in love with her looks and know I was looking at my Beautiful and never had to wonder if it was ‘maybe Maybelline’.
- Too much of a party-girl. I have my vices, of that there is no denying. Las Vegas is perhaps one of my most favorite places in the world to travel to and I visit almost every year for a week at a time. I enjoy gambling and night life and I am not a stranger to a good, strong drink. I built a bar in my basement to entertain friends and mix drinks and I’ve always believed in celebrating the weekend with some libations. But it has always been in quiet, comfortable, dignified locations and I’ve always been responsible and would only ever get really generous with the bottle if I was at home or someplace I knew everyone would be safe and could stay if necessary. I’m not a fan of the big loud parties, of clubs, or that sort of lifestyle. There’s no appeal in being piss-drunk or passing out on the sidewalk or throwing up in cabs nor is there any appeal in the woman next to me being any of that either. I’m by no means a homebody, but you would be hard-pressed to ever see me in a club or bar-scene. On weekends Beautiful and I would grab a bottle of wine or I would mix drinks for us and we’d just get silly and laugh all night, content in the few drinks we had and the many memories we shared.
- Self-centered. Even in the short amount of time I have been dating, I have met many women who have had nothing of interest to contribute to a conversation that did not revolve around themselves. Great, profound, life-changing events that were occurring either locally or internationally would inevitably be reduced to only its effect on herself. I could not draw out of some of these women any form of meaningful conversation without somehow convincing them that it was directly related to their own world. I never felt Beautiful was in any way shape or form like that. She was studying early childhood education in college when we were together. She wanted to be an elementary school teacher. On the weekends she helped out at her Chinese school, she was a big sister figure to many of the younger female members of the club where we met and eventually became leaders of, and she had a natural ability to make friends of strangers. I saw in her the greatest and warmest aspects of humanity; she embodied selflessness and compassion. She felt the needs and pains of the world on a deeply personal and almost cellular level. I fell in love with how she loved so much more than herself.
Whether you have been fortunate enough to find someone who checks off everything on your ‘type’ list or unfortunate enough to have been with someone on the ‘deal-breaker’ list, for most of us there has been at least one or two moments when dissecting our dating past that we’ve simply explained success or failure with the generic ‘the person was just/was not my type’. The truth of the matter is most people could very easily fill up entire pages with lists of preferences from socioeconomic status, job status, and lifestyle to music taste, hobbies, and favorite fast food. But just like soulmates or love at first sight, the prevalence and popularity of believing in ‘types’ is not nearly enough to justify its existence. In fact it is because the belief in personal ‘types’ is so ubiquitous that it merits some explanation. After all it is easy enough to prove with studies and science that there are certain physical traits and types that we find attractive. Universally speaking symmetrical features and a good waist-to-hip ratio are benchmarks of strong genes and the potential for healthy offspring. In men we can say that a masculine jaw and a deep voice are biologically preferred and in women a high voice and wide hips. But when we think of ‘types’ we don’t think of genetics or offspring, and love is often times more emotion than science, gut instinct than scientific conclusion.
So where do we get these types from?
There are many who would argue that our types often reflect back on our own personalities or at least our romanticized or idealized versions of ourselves. Indeed we may find ourselves particularly attracted to certain individuals because we see in them something we desire to emulate and so we desire to be near them, to spend time with them, learn from them, so that we might be more like them. ‘Like attracts like’. There is even a scientific term for this natural preference, ‘homophily’ or ‘love of the same’. This happens in both romantic and platonic relationships. For example, in our social circles we often like to surround ourselves with people who tend to mimic or mirror our own beliefs and preferences. It is the slight differences and deviations that create interest and intrigue and spark growth and curiosity and conversation but ultimately we find ourselves with people whose similarities outweigh the differences. In romantic settings this translates equally when we seek partners with similar preferences and priorities like in terms of marriage, children, careers, and building a home. Therefore it is safe to assume that our ‘types’ can very often be described as our natural desire to find someone who can feel familiar, comfortable, and who we can anticipate will have similar goals and intentions and therefore avoid misunderstandings or conflict. They can possess equally similar or even more heightened or extreme characteristics that we wish to identify in ourselves, like our partners could serve as mirrors where we can see the best version of ourselves by association. This also translates to physical ‘type’ preferences. Though facial symmetry, jawline, physical fitness, etc. can all be described as universal biologically wired preferences, our own personal takes could be reflections of how we perceive ourselves. People naturally want partners who look familiar-either themselves or their family or friends. There was a study conducted at St. Andrews University in Scotland that went about proving this by asking students to rate members of the opposite sex in terms of attractiveness. Of the various pictures presented, researches included a photo of the students themselves only morphed into the opposite sex. Almost always, students preferred the photo that was essentially of themselves.
Now this can definitely seem too incredibly and incredulously narcissistic and self-centered for some. After all, the skeptics will balk, for as much as ‘like attracts like’ we also believe that ‘opposites attract’. And certainly the same media outlets that would highlight couples who fell in love over similarities also love to talk about the incredible stories of couples whose romance stemmed from fundamental differences. Democrats falling in love with Republicans, models falling in love with school teachers, anti-war protesters and soldiers, Beauty and the Beast. Certainly there is some credence in taking the notion of the ‘type’ being an exact opposite of what we see in ourselves. I believe this is more about preferences and priorities than it is about personality. There are some aspects that we know are positive that, if we recognize it in ourselves, we would want our partners to have as well. If a strong sense of family value and upbringing is important to you, there is a good chance that you would want your partner to have the same. If you have an undying and unyielding sense of adventure, you will want to find someone whose thirst echoes your own so that you could muddy your boots together in bliss. But at the same time if your personality is one of adventure but your priority is one of creating a home and starting a family, you may find your ‘type’ shifting to that of someone who is the opposite of you or whose sense of root and foundation can complement your wayward spirit and help you create ties back to the ground. This is why I believe we can say ‘like attracts like’ and ‘opposites attract’ simultaneously, not exclusively. In many ways Beautiful and I were alike. We both desired marriage and family and home. We both valued education and development and career. But she was also the comforting fire of home and hearth to my wayward windy spirit. When I met Beautiful she was curious about the world; she craved experiences and stories and new things. At the time I represented all she wanted to be and do. I regaled her with stories and captured her imagination. I whisked her to places and things and we explored together while she comforted me, held me, calmed me when I was restless or uneasy or impatient or rash. We worked in unison and in tandem.
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