I’m pretty good at learning what people like. I observe, pick up on clues, and make valid predictions. I know what my boss is going to say. I know the exact second my dad will pretend to laugh at a joke.
But my talent is best used when determining, which man, in a sea of penises, my best friend is going to want to make out with. I sometimes do it without her, just for fun.
Tall, stocky, scruffy, nerdy white guy who knows how to dress himself. I can spot him a mile away, before she opens her mouth to make the comment.
The Bestie, like a lot of us, has a type.
I used to say that I had no type. If I were to sample the men with whom I have kept company in the last couple of years, it would look something like this:
- average brown-skinned middle-aged slave-descendent with kind eyes and a paunchy gut
- tall, lanky dark-skinned former-model bartender
- tall, lanky white Staten Islandish boy with buzzcut
- miniscule Nigerian with great fashion sense
- tall, tan Puerto-Ricanish looking bodybuilder
I like boys. Men of all colors, styles, races, BMIs, etc. There is always something that catches my eye. I pride myself on being an equal opportunity employer (although Kelly, Inc. does have affirmative action).
I can’t be typecast.
Or at least I thought so until this week. Tuesday was one of the weirdest days of my life.
I went apartment shopping with a coworker who was planning to move to Brooklyn. Over the course of 2 hours, we looked at a variety of places, and she finally found the one that was best suited for her. The broker dropped us off at a non-descript office to process her paperwork.
When we got through the door, I thought I would fall through the floor. There, sitting on the other side of the table, was my ex. Not just any ex, THE ex (so far). The one I thought I would marry. The one I lent money to, the one who I let move in with me, the one I supported for over a year…until he unexpectedly brought a woman into our home whom he introduced as his wife. I always fantasized about running into him.
…with a tractor trailer (while I was wearing a turquoise ball gown).
It was definitely a shakeup. I felt unsettled, and immediately knew that night, of all nights, I didn’t want to be alone.
I called a couple of people to come console me, but was met with cold results. They either didn’t want to make the trip or explained that they were out, with other women.
Late that night, when I was alone in the bathroom, trying not to cry, it hit me.
I DID HAVE A TYPE.
I’m always falling for the dude who is utterly unattainable. The men of my immediate past may not look-alike, but they all have that in common. They are all fixer-upers. They can’t keep decent jobs. Won’t look for decent jobs. Can’t stay sober. Can’t save money. Can’t commit. Can’t move out their parents’ house. Can’t keep it up. Can’t keep it in their pants. You name it.
There’s always a good excuse. Racism. Poverty. Not having a dad. Having an overbearing mother. Having a girl who crushed their heart before. Having a traumatic childhood. Something that pulls at my nurturing instinct and tells me that I can help them find a job, move out their parents, be emotionally available, love (or at least screw) only me.
In the end, it crumbles, and I am the one who needs fixing.
Or maybe I don’t. I’m a stable woman, with a stable job, a retirement account, and a dog. I love hard and am true to my family and friends. It wasn’t always that way. I was alone. And I fixed myself. That’s the only way it works. You have to fix yourself.
On Wednesday, I did something radical. I deleted the numbers of all those lost boys. I wrote eloquent emails telling former/current/potential lovers with no promise that I was done. I did both them and myself a favor. Maybe there are other women who can and want to fix them. I don’t know. I don’t care. I’ve been a woman focused on building lives for men, when I realize that the perfect man for me will want to build something with me. Something that he won’t tear down.
He may not come. But even if he doesn’t, I’ll continue my work on someone worth fixing…