Girlfriends and Gangsters
James Gandolfini was my favorite typecast gangster/actor. Mr. Gandolfini played other roles, but to me, and to the millions of his fans, he’ll always be remembered as Tony Soprano. His gangster typecasting was a phenomenal success.
Singles frequently typecast their dates, but with far less success than typecast actors. We create a rigid standard of physical qualities that defines our type. Online profiles can be so physically specific that the number of acceptable dates is limited. Our mental image gets the final vote regarding whom we date and whom we don’t. But if we haven’t successfully met a life partner, that level of certainty regarding our type, may warrant another look.
The strangest aspect of typecasting dates is that it doesn’t seem to matter whether it has ever worked. We may convince ourselves that our dating problems aren’t related to our type, but rather that we’ve simply picked the wrong people who happen to be our type. We stick to our guns, even knowing we’ve automatically eliminated a large percentage of potential dates. Typecasting is a self-limiting dating strategy.
A Woman From Another Planet
I have firsthand knowledge about typecasting. I dated the same woman with different names for years. Even though none of these relationships worked, I never considered that my type may have been problematic, or more importantly, that another type might work. I lost count of the number of short, blonde, curvy, women with ski jump noses I dated, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I questioned my dating strategy.
My typecast blinders had kept a treasure trove of terrific women hidden for no reason other than they weren’t my type. When I finally opened up to the possibility that my perfect woman might not look anything like I’d imagined, I met my partner Sarah, who is, for lack of a better expression, the woman of my dreams.
Sarah is tall, wiry/slender, has very curly brown hair, and a prominent nose, not remotely my type, right? When we met, her face seemed warmly familiar, and she reminded me of the girls I’d dated in my early teens. Sarah was strikingly beautiful in a way that took my breath away. The only bad feeling I had was that I’d foolishly held on to my type for so long. Coincidentally, I wasn’t Sarah’s type either, which was very tall, big and burly.
That we fell in love and have been inseparable for nearly a year seems a fair reason to reconsider typecasting dates. We still laugh about our initial coffee date when we looked at each other like we were from different, but vaguely familiar planets. We were both clearly excited our planets had collided, and we gladly ditched our typecast fantasies since it was clear something special was happening. The sense of excitement that began developing over coffee didn’t feel like a rocket ride, a mode of relationship transportation with which Sarah and I were only too familiar. If felt more like a gently, rising balloon.
On our first actual date, dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, we laughed non-stop, and quickly discovered how much we shared in common, including having identical core values and beliefs. What has evolved into a friendship between two best friends, began over dinner that evening.
When our relationship became sexual, it was off the charts hot. Sarah loves that we fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and my heart races just watching the long, lean, curly haired woman, sleeping next to me. We’re in a sweet, joyful relationship in our sixties that’s a welcome and unexpected surprise.
Take Another Look
What’s remarkable is that we skipped over each other’s online profiles for a year before I broke my type-pattern and emailed Sarah. You may want to consider whether you’ve outgrown your typecast box. Finding out is simple. Look at your next date with what the Buddhists call “beginner’s eyes.” See this new man or woman you meet as if they were the first man or woman you’ve ever seen, instead of immediately comparing them with your typecast fantasy. You might discover you have a new type, or that your old type isn’t infallible.