7 Types of Men Single Women Encounter
Before Sex and the City–which, before being a movie, was a television show, and before that, a book, and before that, a series of columns by Candace Bushnell–there was another movie, which was also a book before becoming a screen-play. Written by Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for over thirty years, Sex and the Single Girl created a stir when it came out in 1962.
Drawing from her own experience, Gurley Brown detailed the reasons to embrace the freedom of the single life: the freedom of focusing on one’s career, gaining financial independence, and enjoying men on one’s terms. One of the first things she does in the book is challenge the myth that there are no men to go around: “Actually, the statistics merely state there are no marriageable men to go around. Nobody said anything about a shortage of men.”
We all have run and will run into the seven types she listed then:
These are the guys you could marry one day. They’re single, driven, well-groomed, and introducible to friends. Whether they’re not yet ready to settle or you’re not quite ready to settle with them, the fact remains that they are a possibility. “Whether your chemistry is compatible or not, these men are Possible and their numbers are lean,” writes Gurley Brown. “I’d say you meet two in a good year.”
These men are single, but there is something about them that clearly screams “dealbreaker” or otherwise renders them unsuitable for a long-term relationship–or any relationship at all. “These are the weirdies, the creepies, the dullies, the snobs, the hopeless neurotics and mamas’ darlings.” If you’re a Candace Bushnell fan and familiar with her book, you might include in this group the Toxic Bachelors (self-proclaimed unmarriageables), Modelizers (men who are only interested in models) and Bicycle Boys (a New York City phenomenon that makes me grateful I live in Los Angeles, even if I have to deal with the Prius Pricks every time I have to hit the 405). “The numbers in this crowd are legion,” Gurley Brown warns. “You could meet three a week.”
They make you wild with desire. They’re always there for you, right there, almost real, almost perfect… then they’re gone. “One of the greatest sadnesses of a relationship with a Don Juan is that you lose so much self-respect,” Gurley Brown writes. “It’s not only that he doesn’t want to get married. It’s that you know all the time he is unworthy of you–ruthless and sadistic in his boyish way–but you are too hooked to do anything about it.” He’s the guy who makes you crazy enough to check his text messages. The one who seems to like your jealous fits. The one who can’t stop telling you how much other women want him. But it’s not his fault. He’s just an alpha male. You suck it up because when he wants you, his attentions are unforgettable, the stuff of Hollywood romance comedies. He’s patient, he takes you out to magical places, he doesn’t hesitate to shower you with the kind of language most men are hesitant to even whisper (heaven forbid you confuse a compliment with a marriage proposal!). His tactics seldom vary, but they succeed at making you feel like you’re different than all the other girls. “It will end in one of two ways,” says Gurley Brown. “He will get tired and mosey on to his next prey, or his prey will tire of his subtle torture and flee. It may even require several fleeings but finally one of them will take.”
The Married Men
“I don’t have to describe a married man,” writes Gurley Brown. “He is as available for observation as the common housefly and about as welcome to many single girls as the common cold… It isn’t his wife who doesn’t understand him. She understands him perfectly! It’s his girlfriend. And what she doesn’t understand is how come he doesn’t get a divorce. It’s simple. He doesn’t want one. Because of the children, because of the community property and because in many cases he doesn’t really dislike his wife.” Of course, if you’re not looking to be married, the title of mistress may suit you. Just remember: the married man is never available on weekends or holidays, you can’t introduce him to anyone or vice versa, and you have to live the entire relationship like you’re in a spy film. “It seems to me the solution is not to rule out married men but to keep them as pets,” writes Gurley Brown. “While they are ‘using’ you to varnish their egos, you ‘use’ them to add spice to your life. I say ‘them’ advisedly. A married man is dangerous. A potpourri can be fun… It’s a question of taking married men but not taking them seriously. And not taking them home–too often.”
The In-The-Closet Men
It happened to my friend Simone. She was dating a perfectly charming man. Charming, driven, successful, attractive. Everything was going great–they were talking about getting married. Then I met him and something seemed off. I asked Simone about their sex life. “It’s OK,” she said. OK? First of all, if the sex is just “OK,” it’s not OK. Second, my friend Simone is a ravenous woman. Eventually the truth came out that they didn’t have sex very often. Says Gurley Brown: “Never kid yourself that the man who doesn’t kiss you goodnight is restraining himself out of respect… Or if you date an enthusiastic kisser who never even tries to proceed sex of the border, look to his maleness.” If he isn’t trying to proceed with any other girl, either, maybe he’s more than just not that into you–he may not be into girls at all. It seems like in this day and age we would all be more able to discover and embrace our desires, but that’s not always the case. I’m still on the fence about an old lover who used to write me about how much he couldn’t wait to stuff my penis in his mouth. Kinky or… ?
The Divorcing Men
Oh, the drama. They’re going through a life-changing chapter in their lives: moving out, fighting over kids, fighting over assets and alimony, always a wreck. You’re there for him helping out however you can. Cuddling, making him dinner, trying to help him forget, assuring him that he’s not a bad father, trying to endear yourself to his children. It’s a nightmare. But you’re patient. You figure it will all be over when the thing is finalized, right? “While you figure to get a license the minute he’s free, he figures it’s time to look at some other girls,” writes Gurley Brown. “After all, you remind him of that awful transition period! Count the divorcing man a friend but don’t consider all your problems solved just because you helped solve his.”
In what Newsweek calls the year of the cougar, who can forget the younger man? He may be a better suitor than most of us think. “I know if four happy marriages in which the groom is two to eight years younger than his wife,” writes Gurley Brown. “In three instances, the girls are treated like princesses, pampered, petted and adored. In the fourth, the wife is no more taken for granted than in most marriages.” My experience and that of my friends has been more varied. As with all relationships, take care that everyone is clear about their intentions as early on in the relationship as possible.
It’s funny how little things have changed since 1962. Is this list missing any other category of men?