How to figure out your type

“He’s fine and available. But does he match the requirements for your perfect love match?” (?????) — Seventeen, April 1999

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When I was 12-but-almost-13, I believed a magazine quiz could tell me everything I needed to know about myself—perfect lipstick, dream job, ideal date, you name it. (And you name it, there was a teen magazine quiz for it.)

If you had asked me then what my “type” was, I would have been ready with an answer, because that’s something 12-but-almost-13 year old girls talk about constantly. I would have told you, confidently, that my type was blond athletes. To this day, I’ve never dated a blond athlete. I have to think really, really hard to remember if I’ve ever even spoken to a blond athlete. It’s possible, because at 12, there are a lot more male blondes than at 30.

Since blond athlete wasn’t an option in Seventeen’s holy-grail type quiz, I wanted to be part Pretty Boy, part Nature Boy. It was aspirational of me. (But so was blond athlete.) Attractive and excellently dressed, but could also build a fire at a moment's notice? Ideal. Plus, I liked a guy in plaid when I was in the sixth grade. (Still do, though I prefer now that it doesn’t have the Tommy Hilfiger flag logo that I always searched for on guys’ chests back then.)

I wish I could say I was into The Intellectual when I was young, but the smart guys where I grew up did not dress like...this. They still wore puff paint dinosaur t-shirts in junior high (they’re all married now, don’t worry).

I was also never into The Artist, though there weren’t many (any?) in my small rural hometown. Regardless, both then and now, I'd be mortified if a guy wrote a sonnet for me at 2AM (Did things like that actually happen in '99? Because the only 2AM writing dudes do now happens in the DM.)

I don't believe in having a type anymore. I once went on at least 10 consecutive first dates with writers—all varying degrees of success and insufferableness—and for a second I thought my type might be “writer who is broke but went to a fancy liberal arts school which means he’s broke and his parents are inevitably paying for these drinks I’m consuming.” (And that’s if he picked up the tab…)

One of those guys once made fun of me, in a way that was cruel, not cute, because there’s a difference, when I mixed up Walt Whitman for Whit Stillman. It was mortifying and made me second-guess my own state school education. That Whit Stillman Adam Brody movie was about to come out. So sue me! If a guy can't forgive a little O.C.-adjacent confusion, we're not meant to be anyway.

I just took this quiz again, and FWIW, I got equal parts The Intellectual with Nature Guy. I think that means I've evolved since I was 13? Or that I'm still just really good at gaming quizzes.