Imagine being at a sleepover with your BFFs, caught up in the excitement of eavesdrop-free gossip and sharing life stories, when the topic changes to your love lives. When you explain that you’re single, your friends whip their heads around so fast you swear you’re in the gay exorcist. In an effort to rapidfire names of people you might be interested in, someone asks you the dreaded question: “so, what’s your type?” It’s a harmless enough question—except, I don’t have one. Really, I have no type! Telling people you don’t have a type often turns into an overdramatic affair—they overreact and immediately interrogate you to the point where you think maybe you should have a type.
“But, if you don’t have a type, how do you decide who to date?”
“Wait, but all your exes have dark hair. Isn’t that your type?”
“Maybe you just haven’t found your type yet.”
This sensation is even worse when it’s lesbians. The idea of only dating butches or only dating femmes for the rest of my life seems so drab; can’t I just explore everything that the community has to offer?!
On behalf of all people (specifically: lesbians) who don’t have types everywhere, I’d like to ask you to calm down and stop freaking out. Not everyone can give you a list of all the traits they like in a person, partially because not all of us know exactly what that list entails and partially because that would be crazy for them to have memorized.
For me and a lot of others, nothing draws us to people other than their individual vibes. So, before you gawk at your friend who told you she has no type, stop and think about what that means. And, for the love of God, please don’t ask them any of these questions:
1. But, really though, what’s your type?
Look, I don’t know how to spell it out any more clearly for you: I don’t have a type. You could list a bunch of traits, both physical and emotional, and I still won’t have a type! I’m not trying to hide my type from you or trick you into thinking I don’t have one so you’ll leave me alone—I just sincerely don’t have one. If you’re going to keep pestering me until I tell you “my type,” I’m just going to describe the grossest person you can think of. Or the person sitting closest to us. Or myself.
2. You dress like X, so isn’t your type Y?
This is potentially the one I get the most, especially from other lesbians. “But, you dress really femme, so isn’t your type butch?” First of all, traditional gender roles and appearances in relationships are so 2000 and late. Second of all, just because I present one way doesn’t mean I’m attracted to the opposite of that. Ever heard of #Femme4Femme? Yes, I enjoy dresses, and makeup, and high heels, but so do some of the women I date! The way that I dress says nothing about the people that I like. Now, I must admit that your level of “masculinity” or “femininity” does have a solid history of signifying who you’re into in the queer community; I just don’t subscribe to that idea. So, unless you’re complimenting how I dress, don’t use it to justify your need to prod me about who I’m into.
3. So that means you have commitment issues, right?
It’s really common for people to assume that, just because I don’t have a type, I don’t do commitment—period. I guess their line of thinking is something like: “Okay, so she doesn’t have a type. She doesn’t like to be tied down by appearances. Maybe she doesn’t like to be tied down at all. Oh! Makes sense! She doesn’t do commitment.” If you’ve ever gone down a train of thought like that, let me tell you something: you’re wrong. Dead wrong! Just because I don’t have a type doesn’t automatically mean I like to play the field. Also, how does that even make sense? Not liking a specific appearance or personality type immediately makes me more likely to prefer casual relationships? Where’s the connection?! Just know that if you’ve ever asked someone this, you’re now on their hit list. So even if that person does play the field, I guarantee they’ll be avoiding you forever.
4. Then you’re all about personality?
This one is a bit of a “you got me!” question. Yes, I’m super into personality, but I’m also into physicality. If I said that I didn’t care how people look, I’d be lying to you and to myself. I’ll ‘fess up to being shallow; how someone looks definitely plays a part in if I’m attracted to them. But, it’s not all about looks to me. I care about how they carry themselves in public, how they treat service workers, and what they think is funny. I care about whether they’re willing to take the L for me at 11 p.m. on a weekend when it only runs every 20 minutes. I care about what makes them smile. But I also care about what their smile looks like. I care about how they dress. Types, in my opinion, are a way to categorize a physical look or a set of traits that you like in every person. Personally, I don’t have a rigid structure for either looks or characteristics; I just like who I like.
5. Okay, but what were your exes like?
You don’t need to know someone’s business like that. If I wanted you to know my exes and what they were like, you’d know. Plus, deflecting my admittance of not having a type by trying to analyze my exes seems a little bit like grasping at straws to me. Even if you could find a pattern amongst my exes (you can—unfortunately I’ve done enough of my own level of analysis on this topic), that doesn’t mean that’s the only type of person I like. What about the people I’m casual with? What about the people I’m talking to? The people I swipe on Tinder? Looking at a line-up of the people I’ve been in a relationship with isn’t going to tell you anything about what I like in a person—it’s just going to make me dislike you for bringing them up. So, maybe leave the past in the past and don’t ask anyone this question.
6. Am I your type?
This question gets an immediate answer: “No.” I seriously don’t know how to make you understand that I just don’t. Have. A. Type. At all! But if I did, inquisitive, nosey, annoying people who won’t leave me alone about it would not be my type. So, no. You’re not my type.