How I happened upon the book He’s Just Not Your Type was completely random. I’d never actually planned on reading it or even heard of it. And to be quite frank, I thought the title was a bit unoriginal, considering the blockbuster novel and recent movie He’s Just Not That Into You. Nonetheless, I ended up with the book from the author’s PR rep and finally got around to reading it last week.
I found it quite fitting that I ended up with dating expert Andrea Syrtash’s book on dating out of your comfort zone. If you know my dating history, you know that prior to moving to California, my few relationships were with tall white males. But after moving to the melting pot that is Southern California, I branched out and dated a few guys of different races and physiques. Not that any of them weren’t my “type”, they were just new experiences for me.
My latest relationship, however, is why I think this book was meant to land in my lap. For nine months I dated someone who was far from anything I considered my “type'”. While the relationship was great, it wasn’t easy getting there. In the four months prior to that period, I struggled with the idea of giving this”nontype”, as Syrtash calls it, a chance.
In the book, the author talks about different nontypes, and there’s a whole chapter dedicated to Superficial Nontypes, “a guy who may be great but falls short in some of the external qualities you imagined your future husband would have.” For me, my superficial nontype is someone shorter than me – or shorter than six feet, rather, because I’m 5’9″ and love wearing heels. Even before reading this book, I knew I wasn’t alone in this requirement. Many of my tall, or even average-height, girlfriends want significant others who are taller than them when they wear heels. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, and neither do 51 percent of the women polled in the author’s survey with OKCupid.com. Many single women list a man’s height as a deal breaker.
Until early last year, I did, too. But after endless talks, much deliberation and overwhelming emotions, I gave this nontype a chance.
And once I did, the proverbial weight was lifted. I realized that when it came down to it, our four-inch difference didn’t make that much of a difference when I thought about how he made me feel and how much fun we had together. Ok, I’ll admit that realization didn’t come quite so easily as it sounds and I conveniently found anew love for Greek sandals and flats. But it’s something many of the superficial nontype daters in the book confirm: Women shouldn’t put so much weight on superficial must-haves that could cause them to turn a great guy – or even a potential soul mate – away.
While I was never 100 percent confident in my monstrous height around my nontype, I became more and more comfortable with putting my arm around his shoulders instead of around his waist. More than than, giving him a chance made me realize that I shouldn’t be so hard fast on my list of deal breakers. I should even considering crossing some things off it.
Syrtash makes a good point (well, many good points really) about how to actually create change in dating patterns. She pointed out how it’s not so important what you do but who you are. “Why is it that in our culture we seem to be more concerned with ‘to do’ lists than ‘to be’ lists? To borrow a turn of phrase from Deepak Chopra: we’re not ‘human doings’.” She goes on to emphasize the importance of being true to yourself. “When you live authentically, you know what to do in life and in love because you know who you are and what you value most. Your expectations and standards are high. You no longer stay in toxic friendships or date men who are unsure about being with you.”
Although my nontype and I are no longer together (I can honestly say it isn’t because of the height issue), I’m glad I put aside my superficial requirements and gave him a chance – gave us a chance. And now going forward, I’ll be more willing to give other nontypes that same chance. The book gave endless examples of successful relationships that were allowed to grow and bloom once the woman let it happen. I needed to (and will continue to) push myself out of my dating comfort zone in that same way.
Note: As I was finishing the book on the exercise bike at the gym tonight, a loud, husky way-older man (a definite Superficial nontype for me) approached me. He proceeded to tell my how mesmerizing my blue eyes are and how I look a lot younger than my actual 27 years. He then noticed the book I was reading and was baffled: “You don’t need to read that; you probably get all the guys.” I told him I was reading it to write a review – which I technically am – I just didn’t feel like getting into why I’m single and how I should be giving nontypes like him (but not him!) a chance. Eventually he got the hint after I kept shoving the book closer to my face and basically told him he was bothering me. I wasn’t ready to start opening up to other nontypes yet 😉