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Why You Should Date Someone Who Isn’t Your Type

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Collage photo by George Marks/Getty Images

Sometimes Mr. or Ms. Wrong can actually be very right

Throughout my misadventures as a serial dater and love seeker, I’ve developed a taste for a certain type. And while it might not have been intentional, if I were to put my last four lovers in a police lineup, it’d be hard for strangers to tell them apart. Physically, they’re similar—lanky, rugged, with a mess of tresses and a boyish charm; emotionally, they’re nearly identical—inconsistent, manic, cold, distant, intense, whimsical, and dark. Somehow, I’ve developed a sixth sense for seeking out man-children who could have once appeared on an Abercrombie and Fitch bag and might inspire psychologists to use the words “borderline” or “narcissistic personality.” It’s hard to say why, after each miserable breakup, I went back for more of the same and sought similar traits in new lovers, but I did. That’s the definition of insanity, right? And yet the problem was, my predilection for emotionally unsympathetic men with commitment issues and big arms and good hair was never apparent to me. At least, it wasn't until I eventually met someone different, someone who would stand out of a lineup of my exes like the sorest thumb.

For that very reason, when we first met, I wasn’t interested. It didn’t matter that he was polite and present, tender and honest; he didn’t play an instrument, he didn’t write poetry in his spare time, and he didn’t have a Netflix addiction. It was a hard no for me. What could we possibly have in common? I thought to myself as I sat across from him. I was closed and judgmental, sizing him up against my usual suspects. For weeks I ignored his attempts at plan-making. I swiped away his sweet messages and turned up my nose at the lack of boxes he checked off. “I know what I like,” I told my friends, who encouraged me to give him a shot. “It’s never worked out with the kind of person you like,” they humbled me.

This rang true enough for me to decide to get in touch with a certified sex and relationship coach Myisha Battle to talk more about types and why it’s so hard to break our own molds. She told me that a lot of our issues with type-casting our partners is that we get warm feelings for things that are familiar—despite the fact that familiar is not always synonymous with good.

“A lot of our attraction to our partners is due to our unconscious roles we developed in childhood. We are often drawn to partners who feel comfortable to us and have similar values,” she explained.

Once I understood this and saw Mr. Not the Same again, things changed. His differences registered as attributes. His individuality was not out-of-line, but, rather, intoxicating. Giving him a second chance was more than a second date, it was ending a non-functioning cycle of insanity in my life. My new response to this person who seemed so far from the type with whom I thought I was meant to be, felt incredibly evolved and progressive. Like I had broken a curse I’d placed on myself. The more time I spent with him, the more my perception of compatibility expanded. After a few dates, I felt like someone who was colorblind but was now seeing every individual color of the rainbow and each delicate shade in between. And at the same time, I was mad at myself for wasting so much time chasing my mistakes in circles. That said, according to Battle, a lot of these tendencies stem from childhood and are subconsciously ingrained in our programming. Battle further explains:

We all carry the roles we play out in our family into our relationships. For instance, if your family is very argumentative, you might be as well, or you might be the mediator or pleaser that tries to help everyone see each other's side. While these are totally natural traits to have, they may affect who you choose to partner with. You may find yourself attracted to argumentative, strong personality types of people. Does it feel natural to play out your role with them? Sure, but is it the role you actually want to play in your romantic relationship? When you step out of your comfort zone, you will discover new ways to be with other people. Dating outside your type is one way you can do this.

We’re so worried about expanding ourselves and the risk of opening up to the unknown that we’re more comfortable living within a provincial mentality. But dating someone outside of your type not only has the potential to open up your romantic opportunities, but it challenges you personally and gives you an opportunity to grow within yourself, too.

“Being able to date outside your type is quite freeing. It allows you to look at others holistically rather than as a series of ideal qualities and exposes you to a whole new perspective. It can also be really exciting to learn about other ways of living that aren't informed by our own value systems,” Battle encourages.

So this year, consider getting rid of the boxes and erasing the confining parameters of your “type.” Give someone new a shot, someone you don't immediately understand. Maybe for you, this means swiping right instead of left or saying “yes” to that second date you’re tempted to skip. Open yourself up to someone who makes you giddily shake your head and wonder how you ended up where you are. Let people surprise you, and surprise yourself not just with who they are, but with who you are destined to be.

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

Sounds fake, but okay

In a new interview for Australian Vogue, Kendall Jenner makes the claim that being associated with the Kardashian name was a setback in her modeling career. Hmmm, that's funny, because power and influence usually works in their holder's favor.

In the interview, Jenner addresses skeptics who doubted that she would make it as a professional model. "A lot of people assumed that because I came from a 'name' that it was a lot easier for me to get to where I got, but actually it's the completely opposite," she says.

"I've always been the person to prove [critics] wrong, even when I was younger," she says. "I've always been a hard worker: that's in my blood. My parents raised me and my little sister to be that way and the rest of my sisters, too." In the profile, it's revealed that Jenner used to attend castings "simply as 'K' or 'Kendall' to distinguish herself from her famous family."

But keeping her name off her portfolio wasn't going to fool anyone, really. Her face has been on television for years, and it seems unlikely that a casting agent wouldn't know who she was even if Kendall didn't come out and say it. Perhaps Jenner was more closely examined and more readily criticized by people who doubted her, but I'm not sure I believe that she had a harder time gaining a modeling platform or booking big jobs, even if she didn't use her last name.

After all, Jenner was likely able to get into those big casting rooms right away because of her family's connections, and she was able to devote her time to pursuing that career because of the wealth they have. She would've had a much harder time making a name for herself if she didn't come from an influential family. She probably wouldn't get to be so selective about which shows she walks, and she definitely wouldn't be the highest paid model in the world.

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Screenshot via Hulu

Introspection is not a bad thing

In Look Back at It, we revisit pop culture gems of the past and see if they're still relevant and worthy of their designated icon status in our now wildly different world.

"It just seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, for no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you?"

Iconic '90s show My So-Called Life is filled with existential questions and observations like this, with many, if not all of them, voiced by high school sophomore Angela Chase (Claire Danes). They're delivered with a familiarly annoyed tone, as if Angela can't believe things are the way they are, and that they're unlikely to change.

Angela lives with her parents and sister in a comfortable home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spends her time navigating the social scene of Liberty High School. She's undergoing a big change, having switched friend groups and fallen in with a cooler crew, namely Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer) and Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz). Thanks to them, Angela dyed her hair from blonde to a "Crimson Glow," and is encouraged to indulge in her obsession with Jordan Catalano (a pre-Gucci Jared Leto), the kind of guy who's constantly applying Visine and has a limited chance of actively graduating.

From the first moment of the first episode, Angela's voice is pure, unadulterated teen angst. The melodrama can, when watching as an adult, feel like it's too much. And then there's other times, like when Angela talks about the agony of Sunday evenings, that it feels unnerving to relate so much to a 15-year-old:

"There's something about Sunday night that really makes you want to kill yourself, especially if you've just been totally made a fool of by the only person you'll ever love, and you have a geometry midterm on Monday, which you still haven't studied for because you can't, because Brian Krakow has your textbook, and you're too embarrassed to even deal with it. And your little sister's completely finished with her homework, which is just, like, so simple and mindless a child could do it. And that creepy 60 Minutes watch that sounds like your whole life ticking away."

Angela is nothing if not an over-thinker, preoccupied with very teenage problems like zits and gossip and who to talk to at parties; her thoughts on the most simple of relationships are extreme, like when she thinks about how she felt before she became friends with Rayanne and Rickie: "it seemed like if I didn't, I would die or something."

Sometimes, her melodrama feels suffocating—particularly when related to Jordan Catalano (it's imperative to say both his names). Angela wonders: "Huge events take place on this earth every day. Earthquakes, hurricanes... even glaciers move. So why couldn't he just look at me?"

As an adult, it's easy to think that, of course, Jordan should look at her: She's smart, witty, open-hearted, pretty, has good taste in music. But then, there's no way to make sense of how crushes work. As a sophomore in high school, I also pined after guys who I felt were out of my league, and after the only girls who were out... but who were dating each other. My thoughts probably (definitely) sounded a lot like Angela's, and I was similarly dissatisfied with my life.

At the time, that dissatisfaction felt oppressive—and I wouldn't want to relive it entirely. But that introspection was also what saved me. By questioning what was around me and interrogating how I really felt, I was able to reject the trappings of my conservative town, figure out my own politics, and accept my own queerness. My teenage dissatisfaction with the way things actually are made me grow as a person, and it shaped me into who I am. Thinking about Angela now, and how her angst fueled her, reminds me that I should also let myself indulge in some teen angst—even as an adult.

In one of the show's final episodes, Angela pauses to reflect on the value of her overthinking. She's ringing in the New Year with her friends and decides her resolution could be "to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts, because I'm like way too introspective… I think." But she decides against that idea, because "what if not thinking turns me into this really shallow person?" Same, Angela. Same.

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Courtesy of HBO

Thanks, I hate it

In an interview today with The Cut, Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder blessed readers with some of her thoughts on HBO's Game of Thrones, and since we can't get enough GoT talk, we were excited to see what Schroeder had to say.

And, in case you're wondering if Schroeder is a fan of GoT, don't: She's actually such a massive fan that she refers to her fans Khaleesis, and they call her Khaleesi right back. So!

Anyway, after the wide range of responses to Daenerys' fiery mayhem in the show's penultimate episode, The Cut wanted to check in to see how Schroeder was faring, and ask what she thought of it all. While Schroeder's opinion on Dany is mixed (she found the Dragon Queen's "crazy" actions to be relatable, but she didn't think it followed Dany's character arc), it wasn't, like, a bad opinion, just a bit muddled, if not so different than those of the majority of viewers.

Schroeder's real hot take, though—what we feel comfortable calling the worst GoT opinion we've heard—is about another character altogether: Arya Stark. Here's what Schroeder had to say about our favorite blacksmith-banging, Night King-killing, proposal-denying assassin in all the Seven Kingdoms: "Arya, I feel like she probably should have just married whats-his-name [Ed. note: Gendry! His name is Gendry!!]. What's wrong with being a lady and a badass at the same time? You don't have to choose just one."

And, like, sure, you don't have to choose just one, but Arya would never choose to be a lady. That's not her! So, if we're still talking about characters behaving inconsistently, Arya saying yes to a proposal (a rushed one at that) would have been absolutely bonkers. Arya's not about to change her entire personality just because some dude drops down on one knee and proposes, and to want her to do so would be like wanting Dany to act like a sheep, instead of a dragon.

All to say, you know nothing, Stassi Schroeder.

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hoto by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

Our favorite grouchy girl died today

Today is a sad day, because it is the day Grumpy Cat died. Also known as my personal favorite feline celebrity, Grumpy Cat died from complications following a urinary tract infection. The super relatable cat—real name, Tardar Sauce—was only seven years old.

Grumpy Cat was first introduced to the world in 2011, back when LOLcats were everywhere. Grumpy Cat's downturned face (the result of feline dwarfism, according to her owners) was the subject of a huge amount of memes—she was even the 2013 Meme of the Year at the Webby Awards—and was the subject of her own Lifetime movie, in which she was voiced by the Grumpy Cat of actresses, Aubrey Plaza. But, though we loved her for the memes, we loved her even more because we related to her mood.

Grumpy Cat was so relatable because, like us, she was completely over everyone's bullshit. Unlike us, Grumpy Cat didn't hide her feelings with a smile. And while that was because Grumpy Cat literally couldn't do that, we like to think that she also just didn't want to do the emotional labor. Which is why, in honor of Grumpy Cat, have the courage to roll your eyes at someone today, instead of forcing a fake grin. And just think about how Grumpy Cat's probably frowning at us from some sort of kitty afterlife, utterly annoyed that everyone is mourning her death.

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Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes www.youtube.com

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