I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
“Oh, I know someone I could set you up with.” I said.
She looked at me with pursed lips and said, “Eh, thanks but he’s not really my type.”
“What, because he’s covered in tattoos?”
“Well I just have a certain type of guy that I always go for,” she said. “And he’s not it.”
“And how’s that ‘type’ been working out for you?”
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh, shut up, jerk.”
We laughed then I said, “But seriously. You consistently go for a very specific type of guy. You know it can’t hurt to branch out and accept dates from other types of people.”
“Yeah, but I can’t force myself to like someone I am not attracted to.”
“Oh, that I get.” I said, “But not giving yourself the opportunity to get to know other types of people is very limiting. And you would be surprised at how once you get to know someone’s personality it can actually make them even more appealing.”
Years ago, I went on somewhere around 500 dates over the course of a year. Often, three to four dates a day (I even wrote a book about it). I signed up for every free dating website I could find and actually told my roommate at the time, I am going to go out with anyone who asks.
“That is a bold move, sir.”
Truthfully, I went on the dates as a distraction to get over the worst breakup on record. We all use distractions at some point in our lives to help keep our mind off the emotion pain or stress we might be experiencing. It’s the same reason why people need a drink after a long day, or why people lose themselves in addiction – to hide their heart from the pain and memories. But just because I don’t utilize the same distractions does not mean that I am not immune. I dove in headfirst and met people from a host of different backgrounds. Significantly younger, significantly older, tall, short, doctors, lawyers, baristas, and students. I got drinks with a 56 year old conservative republican real estate developer who showed up in a suit and I showed up, well, looking like me. And I made a lot of friends. I met so many different types of people that I had written off. People I judged by their clothing or their careers or lack of careers or the neighborhood where they lived. But soon, I found that it didn’t matter what kind of car they drove or whether they listened to heavy metal or if they were a recovering addict with a trust fund – they all had the same varying levels of insecurity. Some were insecure about their body. Some about how they were perceived by their neighbors. Some were worried that they were losing sight of their dreams. Some worried they would never find someone to love them. And most, well, most people simply wanted someone to love and they were willing to meet up with a tattooed weirdo they met online on the off-chance that he could be the one.
And funny enough, I met some amazing women. Women that didn’t “fit” my “type”. Women that became some of my best friends. Many are closer to me than people I grew up with. All because I took a chance and went out with people who asked, regardless of whether or not they fit into my notion of what I thought would work best for me. I even dated some for months, and even one for years. All the women that moved me, the ones that I took seriously – none of them were well-versed in punk rock history or knowledge of 80’s skateboarders, and almost none of them had tattoos. And it was great. Because so many people believe that they need to have a number of hobbies in common with another person to facilitate compatibility but sometimes it’s just as fun to have the opportunity to sit down with a stranger and have them tell you all about an aspect of their life that you know nothing about. Sure, it’s cool to bond over a favorite band or book, but what’s really amazing is when a person can tell you about a subject you never even heard of. And if you have a curious nature like I do, then sitting across the table from a 46 year old Filipino immigrant who won’t let go of your hand is far more interesting than responding to her email with a no, closing my laptop, and watching reruns all night.
So let me ask you – how has your “type” been working out for you so far?
Has it gotten you where you want to be?
Has it gotten you any closer to finding a happy or healthy relationship?
If so, hey, good on you.
If not, well, come on. It’s time to try something different.
Get coffee with a stranger you meet online. Meet them in a well-lit coffeeshop or bar and ask them questions. Even if it goes nowhere, who knows. You might find a new best friend. Or a business opportunity. Or someone you can trust with a key to your apartment. Or someone to come watch your cats while you’re away on vacation. Because while it would be nice to find an amazing partner to share our spotlight – sometimes it’s just as nice to find someone you can text at 2am with your worries or trouble. Or just to say hi. Because they are a good friend. And you were lucky to have found them… by taking a chance.