Let me get one thing straight: I’m not into “hot” guys.
I’ve never had the urge to be with someone really attractive. Brad Pitt? Ew, gross. But I would definitely say I’ve always had a type: dark hair, bearded — looks like he reads a lot and is somewhere between 6’2” and 6’6”. (You’re probably thinking I’m a height snob, but I’m six feet tall myself, so I feel like I have the right to be.)
They say you find love when you're aren't looking for it. I hate this saying.
I was going after these men that looked like the man I always imagined myself with, but there was nothing more to them than just that. It was so important for me that I would often look past that person’s terrible qualities. I found myself thinking, “Oh, you’re a coke head? Well, you’re also 6’3”..." and, "He lives down the block, so…” or, “Oh, you sometimes like to have sex with men? Well, you’re 6’5” and we can make it work.”
There was this guy I dated once who on paper seemed perfect for me: 6’5”, played football in college, did comedy... but we were hanging out for four months and he never once asked me how my day was.
They say you find love when you're aren't looking for it. I hate this saying. I think anyone who has ever been single for a long amount of time hates this saying, but it's kind of true. Maybe love comes when you’re not looking for it, but maybe it also comes in different forms.
I had been bartending at this place in New York City. It was one of my co-workers’ last shifts, so I went to head over to have a drink and say goodbye. It was that weird switch from brunch to dinner service and I was sitting at the bar when one of my regulars came over.
His name was Dan* and I hadn’t seen him in a while. I always enjoyed seeing him and his friends. They would come in for bottomless brunch and you knew when they came that you’d have good company and make good money. I had known him for the two years that I had worked there and I thought he was funny, but that was about it. He was short (well, by my standards, since he was 5’11”), he was kind of balding, and he had a beer belly. Not someone I would usually be attracted to.
But he came up to me and he invited me to do his podcast. And shortly after that, he asked me on a date. I knew we weren't going to end up together, but I liked him as a person and to prove to myself I wasn't vain I said yes. Still, I turned him down for a second date. I wasn’t attracted to him and didn’t think I could see him as more than just a friend.
Two months later, he started coming around the bar again. We started to develop a friendship. My hairdresser started giving me advice on the situation — “He could be the Harry to your Charlotte,” some “Sex in the City” reference I don't really understand because I never watched it (I know, I’m a monster). Shortly after that, I was obsessed.
A year later, I finally understand what it’s like to love another person. No, it’s not a lust-love, and maybe I won't spend the rest of my life with this person, (for other reasons that have nothing to do with appearance), but it is the unconditional love that you have for a person who you want in your life forever, even in a non-sexual way. Someone I can finally be myself with.
With other guys, I was probably scared that I didn’t deserve to be with the person I was with. Which is crazy, because those guys weren’t even worth my time. I’m not saying you should go out and date someone you aren't attracted to because they’ll treat you like a queen; that's the wrong attitude to have about it. But date someone who you can be yourself with. Sometimes the attraction comes later.
When I stopped making looks the first quality I looked for in a guy, I was finally able to meet someone I could let my guard down with — someone I was able to develop a friendship with, and someone that finally treated me the way I deserved to be treated.
*Name has been changed