“What’s your type of guy?” she asks. “I don’t really have a type” I respond. My mind races; I would probably imagine he’s of Mediterranean decent, 6-foot-3, 80kgs, long dark-brown hair, bronzed skin, light eyes, Roman nose, sumptuous lips, slim build with a light covering of body hair and a scattering of tattoos. He’s thirty-two years old, most probably university educated, successful in business, speaks several languages, dresses like a GQ model and has the wit of Russell Brand coupled with the boyish charisma of Harry Styles” I respond. As it turns out, I certainly do have a type!

“What was your last boyfriend like” she inquires further. “English, short blonde hair, 5-foot-10, smooth body, 20-years-old, with the style of a surfer and the wit of a doorknob” I reply. As it turns out, my ideal type of guy and the guys I actually date are completely incongruent. Why is this the case? Why is it that our ideal type and our actual type are often entirely different? Can we do anything to bring the two into alignment? This is something with which I have been struggling of late, compounded by the big “three-zero” which looms on the horizon.

What began as a creep towards the age of thirty has now turned into a full-blown gallop and as I approach the next milestone in my life I become increasingly anxious about the type of men that I find myself dating. When I was in my early 20s and dating guys similar in age to me it was fun and carefree. It didn’t matter much to me what their long term goals and aspirations were or even if they had any. Nor was it of much concern whether or not they were the type of people I would be happy to introduce to my parents or friends. Now that I’m in my late 20s and still find myself attracted to those same guys, the things that never seemed to bother me back then have now become of greater importance. Yes he’s pretty but what else does he have to offer? Yes he is full of youthful energy and always up for a good time but does he think that Palestine is a new fragrance by Kim Kardashian? Yes he’s great in bed but would he be able to keep up with the conversation at my family dinner table? As I become older, I would like to think that I have become less superficial. But have I?

Nowadays I say that I would prefer a man who is mature and motivated, with a sense of style and a sense of humor, who is intelligent and worldly. If he just so happens to look like David Gandy then that’s an extra bonus. Why then do I still find myself attracted to guys who are quite the opposite? Is it because 6-foot-3 well-educated David Gandys are in short supply or is it because there are other inexpressible qualities that come into play when we are attracted to someone? While the logical, rational side of our brains may say one thing the emotional, sexual side of our bodies may say something different. More often than not it is the sexual side that wins. It is this disconnect that continues to plague me when it comes to dating in my late 20s. My rational brain wants a mature man with personality and charisma that could be the father to my children but my body desires what it’s always had.

The question though is how do we change our type or rather, do we need to change our type? If we are attracted to 20-year-olds but know from experience that they don’t offer much in the way of long-term relationships then how do we adjust our attraction? Perhaps I just haven’t met the right 20-year-old and should stop using age as dating criteria or perhaps I need to train myself to stop chasing the wrong people? For the moment though I do not have the answers to these questions. Hopefully, “the one” will appear from the dark abyss where all the perfect men are hiding to teach me that the concept of having a “type” is a fallacy. Until then I shall put forward my intention to find my David Gandy but if a handsome 22-year-old happens to cross my path then I may have no choice but to temporarily diverge from my route.

Josh van Sant is the creator of The Modern Gay Guide to Life, the internet’s first premium gay lifestyle blog.

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