You’ve Got a Type

Don’t tell me you don’t have a type.

If you do, I’ll have to disabuse you, as I did a friend of mine who insisted her past partners didn’t represent any consistent set of physical characteristics until we lined up a few pictures and I pointed to the similarities.

My brother tells me that I have a type. At first, I protested, because I truly have found quite a variety of men attractive. Yet I concede: I do recognize a pattern in the physical characteristics of guys who grab my attention.

I did a little research to determine from whence stem these preferences. The theories range (and this article covers them all fairly succinctly):

  • Women like men with broad shoulders and men prefer women with hourglass figures as indicators of reproductive value and provider ability.
  • Culture plays a part: Rail-thin flappers had a vogue in the ‘20s; today, people find lean women attractive anew due to the scarcity of thinness in a world of easy excess.
  • Our preferences imprint in childhood based on what we hear and experience and the people with whom we spend time (especially family).

Playing on the theory in the last bullet, Ken Page, a psychotherapist, posited in Psychology Today that our type would likely mirror someone who hurt us in childhood, someone whom we wish we could get to love and accept us.

I have no idea if that’s true. I can’t see it in my own preferences. But the notion gives me the creeps. At least Page’s article offers guidance on how to kindle attraction for people who don’t fit your typical type.

My take?

I think type attraction stems from our individual genetics and resulting body chemistry—we instinctively seek someone who complements us in some elemental way—and branches further due to formative experiences and early-life romantic crushes.

But I have no scientific proof of my theory.

Why do you think we have types?