“What’s your type?” and other impossible questions


One of the most common questions that all young single people get asked, usually without dignity, is what we look for in a boyfriend (or girlfriend or partner). You know, what’s your type. That sort of thing. It’s also one of my most hated questions.

I recently had this conversation with a friend who recently broke up with his girlfriend. After I stumbled through the question unenthusiastically because I just don’t really know how to answer that, I flipped the question onto my friend. What do you look for?

We both agreed that the ideal relationship would be someone who we could see once or twice a week.

Someone who has their own things going for them; Who we could respect for what they’re doing independently.

Who doesn’t need a relationship to define them, because life is full of definers and we all have multiple roles.

Someone who wouldn’t need to text every day.

After my last relationship, my ex and I talked about some of the best & worst things about our time together. “I hated that we had to talk every day,” he said. I laughed. “I fucking hated that too,” I agreed. “Some days I just didn’t want to talk to you. And that’s fine!”

(We dated again after that. We texted every few days, and did something together once or twice a week. And it was perfect.)

I really need someone who is okay with the fact that I’m an independent person, and I have other stuff to do than just be in a relationship, I told my friend. Between my job, my volunteer work, and my other friendships, I just don’t have a lot of time to give someone else. But, I still have a lot of heart and devotion and care to give to someone. And that’s even more valuable than time.

I also need someone who can cool me down. I’m fiery and loud and need to talk through things incessantly. I can be moody and petulant, and I need someone even-keeled, calm, and stable. My ex was a pro at diffusing a situation. He’d watch me rant and get angry and moody, and he’d just take it all in and then smile and talk me down with reason and heart.

(Note: This isn’t a post about how great my ex was. Or how perfect for me he was. He was also a heroin addict who walked out on me time & time again. Let’s not get carried away with his perfection to my imperfections.)

So, maybe I do have a type. Maybe I like the guys who are calm and stable. Who are independent and have their own things going for them. Who like their own space and don’t lose confidence if their girlfriend has a lot of other things going on. But, I also know that when the moms at my church ask me about “my type,” they’re not asking me to spout out wisdom on what characteristics I’m most compatible with.

So, if that’s the case: I like my guys over 5’9″ and brunette.

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