At one time or another we’ve all felt the need to fulfill some type of expectation, whether it’s our own, our parents’, or those of the person we are trying to impress. This is often an issue we talk about women facing, but let’s not forget about the fellas.
Somewhere along the way some asshole told you guys that you had to fit into some tiny little box with a neat little label on it—I’m here to tell you that you don’t. You don’t have to be the mother-loving man with a great credit score, the macho guy with a mortgage, or the dude who does it all, and you definitely aren’t required to have all of your shit together. (Who does, anyway?) Still not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s a list of the eighteen guys you don’t have to be, and the one you should be:
1. The Asshole
Long, long ago someone started a nasty little rumor that playing mind games was the way to get the girl (or whomever you are attracted to), and people believed it. Treating people like crap is no way to live your life, and it is certainly not the way to win a girl over. “Moves” such as the silent treatment, blowing people off, and talking to the girl at the bar’s friend instead of the girl at the bar to make yourself seem more desirable is just plain shady. (Yeah, we know about those strategies). Sure, sometimes these tactics work, but they aren’t the techniques you base a real relationship on, and they are certainly not appreciated. Come on now, you know this.
2. The Gym Rat
Physical fitness and overall health are important, but you don’t have to spend every waking moment lifting, curling, squatting, or talking about amino acids, creatine, or the difference between whey and soy proteins. Men, let me be clear: You do not—I repeat, DO NOT—have to look like Zac Efron or Channing Tatum in order to be desirable. Believe it or not, some girls like guys without washboard abs. When it comes down to it, health and confidence are key.
3. The Intellectual
Have you read Thoreau, Plato, Twain, or Dostoyevsky? No? Well, neither have I—well, nothing further than SparkNotes would take me anyway. At the end of the day, women would like a man who they can have a conversation with. We don’t need (or expect) you to break down String Theory or define transcendentalism; we just want to talk.
4. The Hopeless Romantic
Though you may not admit it, I’m sure there was a day in your life when the only thing on was a 24-hour RomCom marathon and you watched the whole damn thing. It’s OK. It wasn’t your choice, but even if it was, you’ve been fooled, my friend. I could name few, if any, women that expect a flash mob proposal or a bedroom covered in rose petals and candles (let’s be honest, that is a huge fire hazard and quite the mess to clean up). Should you do your best to remember anniversaries? Yep. Birthdays? Definitely. That new promotion we’ve been working years to get? Probably. Ultimately, women want to know you care, and that is as simple as picking up our brand of fat-free, lactose-free milk at the supermarket or making a late-night tampon run.
5. The Mystery Man
You don’t have to have an accent or shadowy backstory to catch our eye. Sure, not knowing every single detail about someone allows you two to learn and grow with one another, but not everything has to be a big ole secret. No one wants to date an enigma, and everyone wants a wee bit of certainty.
6. The Manly Man
Do you like monster trucks? Do you hunt? Do you wear flannel? Do you have a beard? CAN YOU BUILD A LOG CABIN WITH YOUR BARE HANDS? If you said “no” to any of these, do not fret. You are a perfectly capable and more than adequate human being. Don’t let societal norms of masculinity make you question your testosterone levels. Would it be cool if you knew basic skills like how to change a tire? Yeah. But you don’t have to be Bob the Builder or Mr. Fix-It to be considered a man, and anyone who says otherwise can shove their gender roles and ideals of masculinity where the sun don’t shine.
7. The Metro Man
This was a relatively big movement a few years back which labeled men who knew their labels, color-coordinated, and manscaped as “metrosexuals.” Now we just call them men. Whether you like to groom or care to go full-on grizzly is none of my business—nor is it anyone else’s for that matter. Like I tell women all of the time: Your body, your rules.
8. The Bad Boy
I don’t speak for all or even most women when I say I like tattoos, leather jackets, and motorcycles on a man. You are not required to go all James Dean to attract a mate. I love a good success story, but you don’t need some deep-seated backstory about your days in juvenile detention to get me going. Most of us can hardly handle the thought of jaywalking or speeding, let alone grand theft, so before you go out and get yourself a Hog or a neck tattoo, check your values, man.
9. The Doormat
We’ve all seen this guy, know this guy, or have been this guy. He lets his S.O. walk all over him, order him about, and treat him as if he is a sorry excuse for a (hu)man—and it is not OK. If you ever feel that you have to sacrifice your self-worth to fulfill your partner’s needs, then you two need to have a talk, or you need to get the hell out of there, because you’re worth much more than you (or she/he) is giving you credit for.
10. The Cultured Guy
“When I was in Prague…” “My journey through Nepal…” “One time in Thailand…” Blah, blah, blah. You definitely don’t need to be this guy. In fact, he can be a bit pretentious at times. If it has always been your dream to visit the Alps or see the Sistine Chapel, then by all means go for it; just know that it is not expected of you. That being said, it would be rad if you knew how to pronounce “quinoa” or “gyro,” but really, who knows how to say those, anyway?
11. The Flirt
You’ve come across this guy at one time or another; the one who winks from across a crowded bar, sends “Hey, beautiful” texts to every Rachel and Becky in his phone, and is just downright insincere. This act works for a short time, if at all, and is ridiculously evident. Sometimes it’s nice to be flirted with, but women rarely go for a guy who gives compliments out like candy; it’s sweet until he overdoes it.
12. The Fake
This guy takes The Flirt to new heights. He’ll do all of the above and then some to get into bed with a woman. I’m not sure if this is to fulfill some need or because an older brother led him wrong in his formative years, but whatever it is, it needs to stop. If you want to have sex with someone, that’s fine—do it, as long as you two are safe and the sex is consensual, then go for it. There is no need for trickery, mischief, or shenanigans—we’re all adults here.
13. The Unicorn
This poor guy feels as if he has to do it all—and trust me, he shouldn’t. Maybe you’re better at conversation than you are at changing oil, you may have a mortgage but no car, and maybe, just maybe, you have a job but no time to volunteer on your days off—and that’s fine by us. No one is perfect—or magical, for that matter—and there are only 24 hours in a day.
14. The Sensitive Guy
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: we know you aren’t dead inside. We know you cried during The Fox and the Hound and at the end of Gran Torino because we did, too. There is nothing wrong with showing your emotions or even admitting that you are capable of having them. You should also know that you are not obligated to wear them on your sleeve; we know they are in there. Let your emotions come to you as they may and express them as you choose; all we ask is that you let us in every once in a while.
15. The Breadwinner
Most girls don’t expect you to surprise them with a weekend in Aspen or some other grand gesture (I have no empirical proof on this; you’ll just have to trust me). You don’t need six figures, or even five; you don’t need a foreign car or a vacation home; hell, you don’t even have to pay for popcorn to be considered a man. I’m sorry that people expected you to fulfill these ideals for so long; it was wrong of them. So go on your merry way, young fellow, and know that any girl who demands this much of you is not worth your time (or money).
16. The Quirky Guy
This is the guy you typically see in RomComs (think Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Michael Cera) who has an odd sense of humor, disheveled locks, puppy-dog eyes, and a love for records but doesn’t own a record player. You don’t have to be this guy. We’re all weird in our own special ways and that’s what makes us unique, but you don’t need to go out of your way to find some obscure hobby to impress a girl. This isn’t a college entrance essay; it’s life.
17. The Do-Gooder
Dropping some change into the Salvation Army bucket around Christmas is always nice, but you’re not obligated to teach orphans in a foreign country to be a good person or to win anyone over, for that matter. That being said, spending your days off volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating more than a twenty to charity does not make you Mother Teresa. So before you go out looking for a high horse to saddle up, focus on being the best person you can be, and we’ll pick up on that.
18. The Funny Guy
We all know (and love) that guy who has a witty comeback for every occasion or a stockpile of GIFs suitable for any situation, but there comes a point when we wonder if there is more to him than pranks and one-liners. You’re not expected to be a comedic genius, let alone happy, 24 hours a day. We all enjoy the company of someone who makes us laugh, but we also want to know you can be serious when it’s appropriate. But don’t worry, that first joke you used still works on us, even though we roll our eyes.
1. And the one guy you should be…
You had to see that one coming. You don’t have to fit one type, every type, or my type; you just have to be yourself. If that doesn’t do it, then move on to the next one. No one expects you to know it all, do it all, or be it all, so walk tall, my friend, because your type is the only one you need to be.