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In college, you have the frat guys, the foreign exchange student, or the guy who lives at home. We all have dudes on our list who we’d rather not remember pretending to be into weird samurai movies and eating ramen noodles on a dorm room floor with; that’s for damn sure.
The only thing that changes once you’re off campus and into “real life dating” is the fact that there isn’t an RA banging at your door around midnight-thirty to take away your illegally procured wine coolers. You aren’t counting your spare quarters to be able to afford the 7-Eleven hotdogs your munchies want so badly and you can actually afford to eat dinner where the wine comes from bottle instead of a jug and with a label that says nothing about “Fuzzy Navel.” The surroundings change, but unfortunately, the people on either end of the table aren’t too different.
Regardless of our ability to afford actual dates now, it doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we aren’t able to pick decent guys. I used to think because of my own less-than-stellar dating history I was in the minority, but sitting down with my girlfriends and listening to their own dating sagas makes me realize that it’s kind of an epidemic. Perfectly nice, attractive, funny women cannot for the life of them seem to get a nice, attractive, funny guy.
We’re all Carrie Bradshaw, Season 2, sitting in a therapist’s office: we pick the wrong men.
And a lot of us tend to pick the same types.
The Tortured Artist
It always starts so magically with an artist type. He’ll send you poetic texts at three in the morning talking about your “aura” and your “soul.” You’ll often find him in the living room in the middle of the night when he can’t sleep, writing in a journal by moonlight because “he just feels like the night is where he’s most in his element.” You feel like a character out of one of his short stories, tangled up in his sheets that smell like incense and whiskey and walking home with him after a poetry reading wearing his worn in leather jacket that’s too big for you.
And then the sun comes up.
What once looked all charming and bohemian is now just, well, dirty. You realize that his sheets smell like whiskey because he only works part-time at a distillery and the rest of his days are spent drinking Evan Williams and watching Futurama in bed. And the sheets are covering an air mattress that’s just laying sans bed frame or box spring or any sort of elevation on the floor surrounded by American Spirit butts and “ironic” Playboys. If you stopped to reach into the pocket of that leather jacket, you’d find an obviously expired, off-brand condom and several other girl’s phone numbers scrawled on the back of match boxes.
The Tortured Artist is just looking for someone to pet his ego while he brags about his overpriced degree from an art school and lives off his mom’s credit card that he memorized during his victory lap at said school. He’s not interested in a relationship so much as material, a girlfriend so much as someone to tell them how deep he is (or was. HEYO!).
Once he decides he’s going to “pick up guitar” and you find him pathetically plucking out “Good Riddance” by Green Day, channeling his inner Billy on your living room floor with some 2006 guy-liner, it’s time to find your dignity and bounce.
The Cubicle King
Every day he’s going to be rocking the same JCrew sale section button downs and khakis just counting down the minutes until he can meet you at the local Dave & Buster’s happy hour. He’ll constantly be bitching about what stupid forms Rick from HR was making him fill out and how his VP is always breathing down his neck. Part of you digs his responsible nature and stability while part of you wonders where the line between Good Hairstyle and Third Reich Comb Over is.
The Cubicle King is the guy you know you should be with. He’s a grown up. He actually knows how to fill out his W4 without calling his mom or Googling it. He has a savings account with more than the mandatory $50 to keep it open in said account. He goes to bed at 11 p.m. on weekdays and actually knows what “escrow” means.
But eventually, as with all things beige and mundane, you get bored. You get tired of going to the same chain restaurants and watching the same episodes of It’s Always Sunny on repeat. You feel too young to be perusing the aisles of hand towels and cutlery at Bed Bath and Beyond on a Friday afternoon. You still want to close down karaoke bars, slam jägerbombs with bartenders, and not worry about the Monday repercussions.
Plus khaki was just never really your color.
The 30-Year-Old Intern
For a long time you make excuses for this bad boy.
“He just changed his major a lot.”
“Marketing is a really challenging career path.”
“After a year of this there will be so many doors open he’ll be able to just choose exactly where he wants to be.”
You get with the overly old intern because he makes you feel young again – even if you’re in an age bracket below his. Something about buying him groceries, sorting his laundry, and listening to him talk about his day like a kiddo talking about his favorite class in school just melts the cockles of your cold, jaded heart. He doesn’t understand, or at least acknowledge, that he’s free labor and that makes you feel like you need to take care of him.
But then something is going to happen. Something like you needing to be driven to the ER because you cut your hand open and he’ll be fumbling over talking about your blood type while still trying to flirt with the nurse. He’ll need a cosigner on a lease, and he’ll ask you to do it even though you haven’t so much as gone Facebook official. There’s a fine line between boring and too childish, and someone willing to intern and not have a night job to be able to pay for his own pitchers on Thirsty Thursday has crossed that line.
The High-School Sweetheart
One day you’re sitting on your couch, listening to Kate Nash, and flipping through your high-school yearbooks and you see his face. You remember how much fun the two of you used to have smoking pot in playgrounds and talking about the meaning behind the movie Magnolia. Plus he was a really good kisser – at least you think he was? You were like, seventeen so really who the hell knows? You close that yearbook and send the worst of the “harmless” texts.
“Hey I was just thinking about you. *smiling emoji*”
Next thing you know you’re swept up in this whirlwind will-they-or-won’t-they relationship. Everyone around you is comparing the two of you now to the way to two of you were ten years ago and it’s honestly a lot of pressure. You want to believe that it’s possible you met the guy you were supposed to be with when you were 16 but you really could care less about what his actual interests are – you were just wine drunk and feeling lonely and tired of masturbating when you sent that text.
He isn’t the interesting, emotionally intelligent person you remember from high school because *surprise* you aren’t sixteen anymore. Plus, you aren’t totally sure if he ever actually learned anything new in bed and now going back to taking care of yourself isn’t sounding half bad.
Just like every bro has a Britney, every girl has a Chad. And every girl regrets their Chad. .
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