9 Male Archetypes Pop Culture Assumes I Find Attractive, That I Don’t Actually Find Attractive
Last night, if you missed it, I wrote an article examining the way pop culture creates certain kinds of girls that are assumed to be the kinds of girl men find attractive. I find this practice stupid and abhorrent, and so I wrote an article that I hoped would show young female readers that it is foolish to try and live up to these stereotypes, A) because they don’t exist and B) because a ton of guys aren’t even attracted to the myths of women these ads perpetuate.
Some people got it. Some people called me a sexist pig, I guess for besmirching the fictitious females that exist in beer commercials and sitcoms. (Ah, Internet. How I love thee, how I hate thee.) Before I go on, then, I should take the time here to earnestly apologize to all the fictional characters I offended in my article last night. Smoking Hot Bartender in Beer Commercials Who Seems To Want To Sleep With Every Patron of Her Bar, I am truly sorry. I was wrong to say I was not personally attracted to you in your fictionhood.
One good thing that came out of the article was that Twitter friend @kellyemeren pointed out that the dude archetypes presented to us in pop culture/advertisements were just as awful as their female counterparts. Of course she is totally right. Good for the goose, the gander, etc. So now, without much more ado, the male archetypes that pop culture assumes I find attractive, that I don’t actually find, you know, all that attractive.
(Quickly — I’m writing this from a straight male perspective about other straight males presented in pop culture. I could write about gay male archetypes [or gay female archetypes, of course] but I couldn’t speak personally to it and I think I’d rather wait for Ryan O’Connell to go all in and write the greatest take down of these stereotypes ever… if he hasn’t already done so.)
(Lastly, please remember that I am talking about fictional character types here that seem to reoccur often in pop culture. I am imagining if these types actually existed in real life, and asking myself would I want to spend time with them.)
The guys in matching suits
We discussed this last night in the article, but what is with these groups of dudes, usually in vodka commercials, but sometimes in movies, who go out together in matching black suits? Have you ever been ready to go out with a group of your friends, turned to them, and been like: Yo, what if we all wore matching black suits and sipped Grey Goose all night? Does anyone say yes to that?
The guy with the catchphrase
Sitcom staple for years. Also seen in commercials for dude things (meat/football/beer). Again, why is this considered something males should aspire to be? I have never heard a man drop a catchphrase and thought, “Man, that is someone I want to get to know better.” I went to a professional football game last year and the guy sitting behind me, for four quarters, several hours, repeatedly dropped the expression, “Come on, MAN!” He did this whenever anyone did anything remotely questionable, whether it was a fumble by a player on the field or if someone in his section jumped up for The Wave a second early. I can honestly say I did not enjoy the day because of that guy.
The guys that make fun of everything
Another sitcom staple. The guy who makes fun of everything. Everything is lame. Everything sucks. This can be employed either to show that he has a tough external guard up against the world that needs to be broken down, or that he’s just so cool this world is not for him. Either way, he’s always quick to make fun of whatever anyone is doing.
This guy is wonderful on TV shows. (Early Chandler Bing on Friends, Larry David on Curb, and whatever the hell Neil Patrick Harris’ character is named in How I Met Your Mother, are all great examples of this character.) In real life, though? This person must be a fucking drag. How annoying must it be to be friends with someone who thinks EVERYTHING sucks?
“Hey man, let’s check out this bar tonight.”
“No dude, that place is lame.”
“What about seeing the new Woody Allen movie?”
“The review on Gawker said it blew.”
“Uh, well, Sharon is having a birthday party we could check out.”
“Sharon? Seriously? Just kill me. “
The guy who throws the amazing secret parties
This is the guy in movies and commercials who knows every bouncer, is friends with every DJ, has the password to get in to the sold out club, etc. He is the one who finds an abandoned ballet studio and throws the world’s greatest Studio 64 theme party. In pop culture, this guy seems totally awesome. A person to get you in wherever you need to go, like a magical key master who knows the way.
I think I would find these people exhausting. Not for any bad reason. People like this are actually pretty amazing. I admire them for their ability to create great times, for remaining positive, for refusing to take “no” for an answer when they want to make fun happen.
That doesn’t mean I have to get down with it. I just find it tiring to try and find these parties, sneaking in to crowded clubs, driving for 45 minutes at three in the morning to locate some afterhours spot. Again, I’m not saying these people are bad. They are pretty awesome. I’m speaking from the perspective of a 26-year-old Jewish writer with bad sinuses whose top hobbies are a tie between napping and finding a new soup spot in my neighborhood. I just don’t have the energy to stay with these people.
The guy who is constantly annoyed by his girlfriend
(Another hat tip to @kellyemeren for this one.) We’ve seen this so much on TV it’s just become sort of accepted as American pop culture gospel. Girls nag. Dudes get annoyed by them. Thus, dudes need to go out drinking with their buddies to escape the nagging of the girlfriend.
Does this really happen? Yes, of course it does. But there’s nothing that infuriates me more than seeing a guy consistently/constantly point out how annoying his girlfriend is. No one is forcing you to date this girl. If she is awful, leave. It kinda reminds me of people who read a website every day, then negatively comment on every article. (Too soon?)
The lone wolf
This is the guy in movies and advertisements who does things his own way. His background is a mystery. He often wears leather. His bad boy exterior is a cover up of years of hurt and angst.
If I ever met someone like this in real life, though? Can you imagine what it’d be like to talk to this guy?
“Hey dude, how’s it going?”
“The wind goes…the wind blows…”
“What was that?
“Oh, OK. So, um, what’s your name?”
“What is a ‘name,’ really?”
“Ha. Yeah. Good point. Well, I’m Nate.”
“…When I was nine years old my father gave me a pigeon. He told me it was a turtledove. Ha. The old man always had a few tricks up his sleeve.”
“Yeah… listen dude I’m getting a beer, can I buy you a…”
“But when I finally met that girl down in Buenos Aires, you know what I realized?”
“I was the pigeon. I was the pigeon.”
Flings hair over his shoulder, storms to a dark place. Aaaaaannd scene.
The “funny” guy
This is a cousin of “The guy who makes fun of everything”, but instead of just thinking everything is lame and terrible, this guy just makes jokes. Jokey jokes. All the time. Everything is good times for this guy, who never lets the funny times stop rolling. (Actually, this would probably be a better description of whatever the hell Neil Patrick Harris’ character is named in How I Met Your Mother.) (I’ve seen the show like six times. Forgive me.)
Another person, who if I ever met in real life, would probably annoy the hell out of me. Dude, my uncle just died. This is not the time for a “that’s what she said” joke. Give it a rest.
The guy who goes running at five a.m.
He’s in every advertisement for New Balance and Gatorade and Nike. And there’s nothing wrong with him at all. I admire his resolve. I wish I had his discipline. He is someone I aspire to be. However, in the meantime, he still makes me feel like a lazy sack of shit.
The guy who high fives unironically
There’s nothing really wrong with this guy either, I just find it funny when people high five unironically.
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This is the first part of a book that I am writing for Thought Catalog. This is a fiction book about young people in New York City. A lot of it is not fiction, and not made up, because I am not sure if I am very good at making things up.
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