Exploration of my “Type”
November 8, 2011 § 27 Comments
NOT from yesterday’s Times (my column had to make space for something else but is back next Monday), so just one of my usual kind of thoughts for the day:-
I had a fourth date with Smidgen. He was lovely. We talked and laughed and spent a good three hours together.
It’s a strange thing. I never thought I had a “type”, because I always thought having a type was for unimaginative people who couldn’t and didn’t want to see beyond their own prescriptive “tall and dark” or “rich and thick” or “charming shit” or whatever combo happened to ring their bell. But then I became a plankton and I came across a certain amount of men whom I very much know are definitely NOT my type, and one or two elusive ones whom I do fancy and so I suppose who are. So now that push has very manifestly come to shove, I suppose I must reluctantly admit I do have a type. And Smidgen is not it.
OK, so I am now going to plumb the depths of my staggering shallowness and admit that, with hindsight, I can now see that the “type” I have always gone for has been, in no particular order: glamourous, talented, good-looking, intelligent, charming, funny, warm, Bohemian, unconventional, vaguely artistic. As for kindness, fidelity, honesty, loyalty, generosity of spirit etc., of course I liked those but saw them, always, more as an addendum to the top qualities, a bonus if you will, rather than completely fucking crucial. (How deluded can Youth – I – have been?) The first lot were – are? – the top qualities which for me, if I have ever been able to find them under one roof as it were, have added up to irresistible. Other qualities which tickle some women – status and power, for example, and vast wealth (though, as you know, I have come to see the joy of solvent as I have grown older; though even solvent never remotely featured in the past) – leave me completely and wholly indifferent. Power? Some ego-centric, narcisscist wanking on? Nah! Not for me. Go so far as to say, sometimes an actual turn-off.
But I had some rip-roaring flings and a handful of wonderful longer-term relationships (including marriage) with men of the top qualities listed above. Long Shot is all of those things. The trouble is, these qualities often, though by no means always, like to pair up with selfish, irresponsible, adventurous, intense, unreliable, neglectful and immature, among other less endearing ones. When you are young, you make your choices and decide that the advantages of glamour and looks and so on outweigh the disadvantages. I do not regret any of the associations – short or long – that I have experienced with men who encompass many of the top traits. Unfortunately, the bad traits that almost invariably accompany those particular good ones – along with my own not inconsiderable list of short-comings – contributed to the fact that none of the relationships lasted, and partly explains my morphication into the original Plankton-to-end-all-planktons. I know in my heart of hearts, if I were to get anything off the ground with Long Shot, the same would apply. He has very much carved his own path all his life. A man who has never settled down at nearly fifty, for all his engrossing qualities, can hardly be regarded by someone of my advanced years and uncertain wisdom, as a Safe Bet.
Smidgen, on the other hand, is another case entirely. Of the top qualities listed, I think he would be the first not to lay claim to glamour and the looks of a Greek God. He is not my physical “type” of old. But he is the following in spades, again in no particular order: funny, charming, intelligent, unconventional (in a conventional sort of way), warm. He is also, I am discovering, generous and kind and a good colleague to his colleagues, and a wonderful friend, and all those things transcend my former, more superficial considerations. I do not deny that he, like LS, is also a bachelor d’un certain age (a smidgen younger than me, as it so happens. What’s not to like?) but at least he has shown he can settle down and commit to something (ie. his job), the very same of which mightn’t be able to be said of LS. I could almost say that Smidgen loves children and animals. Well, the first is certainly true, and I couldn’t give a fig what he thinks about the second (we know my views on cats and dogs), though I have a hunch he’d be in favour.
Anyway, it must be that Smidgen is emerging at the forefront of my notion of a Good Thing because my mother emailed me this morning and told me that she thinks he “sounds the best of all my various suitors”. (All? My mother was never one to rein in it comes to the tempting business of exaggeration). So I must have been giving off something to her for her to have concluded as much. It seems, he might be becoming my new “type”, whilst LS is my enduring but maybe diminishing former one? Even she, who was charmed into a stupor by LS, has her reservations about LS as a reliable prospect.
Anyway, this is all a very long-winded and round-about way of saying that Smidgen and I are at last meeting up next week in a manner which is given to a conclusion of one sort of another to our lengthy and protracted Phase 1 and I am already much looking forward to seeing him. And if it doesn’t go the way I have been labouring under the illusion that it might, then that will be the end of the matter and there is unlikely to be a Phase 2. If so, then I shall probably look back some years hence and think, you should have stopped faffing about with your absurd and reactionary notions of your “type”, and not been fazed by his mixed messages because, more fool you, he was a gift-horse staring you in the fucking face and you let him – a very good one – go.
I’ll let you know.