I Have Weird Taste in Men, Yet I’m Like Everyone Else

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For a long time, I have always been a bit confused about my sexual preferences. Certainly, I am a fan of men, but overall, my tastes are a bit strange. My preferences became apparent in my junior high years and have not changed much since then. If I were to describe the appearance and character of my ideal man, I would say that I appreciate any mix of the following features:

  • A thinning, receding hairline, causing there to be small tufts of lonely remaining hair, much-resembling baby goose down, OR
  • A shaved head that features soft hairs, perhaps resembling short wheat grass.
  • Thin, delicate hands with a soft appearance and some veins visible, perhaps described as musician hands.
  • Soft, smooth facial skin that has a somewhat pallid and clear appearance.
  • A long, pointed nose, devoid of any nose bump on the bridge.
  • Bright eyes, like those of a leprechaun.
  • Most likely over the age of thirty-five, with attractive wrinkles.
  • A thin physique, devoid of muscular tone.
  • Glasses
  • A contemplative, introverted personality with an overall meek effect.
  • An appearance that suggests a waspish, British ethnicity.
  • A theatrical, posh approach to body language, perhaps best captured by those coat-tailed caricatures from The New Yorker, emulating the Victorian era.
  • An atheist perspective of life’s phenomena.
  • An interest in visual artistic expression, especially photography.
  • Typically between the height of 5’4″ and 6 feet. Perhaps strange, given that I am 5’10”.

Am I strange? Perhaps. I understand that no singular man would have all these features I want, but then again, that is the beauty of individuality. I have always taken a singular pride in my taste, perhaps because I truly desire a more realistic man than the average Hollywood fare typically appreciated. But is this realistic at all? I am attracted to so few men that perhaps I am doomed to singledom after all. I digress.

My preference emerged when I was quite young. At the age of eleven, I saw the movie The Cable Guy, starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. At the time, the movie was considered a disappointing dark comedy, and yet it has remained my absolute favorite movie even now. From the creepy karaoke party to the impromptu fight at a Medieval Times restaurant this is still shit I love today. When I first saw it as a kid, I fell in love with Matthew Broderick immediately. He struck me as an introvert, with smooth skin and an overall meekness I like. Eye candy, and personality candy too.

Life is strange though. When I tell friends that I like Matthew Broderick, they instantly say, Oh yeah, Ferris Bueller, right? Understandable, given that that movie features him as a mischievous, sexual entity. But always, I say, No. I liked him in the mid-90s when he was in The Cable Guy and Election Day. I suppose this was when he was in his mid-thirties, and a bit more mature. A full-fledged man at this point.

My next celebrity crush emerged when I was in the tenth grade. At the end of the school year, my school put on a production of “HMS Pinafore,” an operetta of Gilbert and Sullivan, a librettist/composer duo from the Victorian England days. Being a classical violist myself, I took to the music like glue, and then further investigated their other works online. That’s when I learned about the movie Topsy Turvy, a fantastic film by director Mike Leigh from 1999. It tells the story of Gilbert and Sullivan’s collaboration during the time prior to, and during, the production of their most beloved operetta, “The Mikado.” I was completely entranced by the picturesque costumes and sets of the film, for which it had received an Oscar win and nomination, respectively.
But even more, I was blown away by a particular actor in the film, named Martin Savage. He portrayed a certain theater actor in the film, named George Grossmith, who is known for premiering in Gilbert and Sullivan’s beloved comic baritone roles, in nine of their fourteen operettas. Truly, I was smitten with this actor in every way. He was attractive, with a sort of pallid glow as I like. But also, I was intellectually fascinated. The artistry of this actor, with his poses and tone of voice and sense of humor, it was unreal and quite beautiful. Certainly a person dedicated to the craft of acting.

As a teenager, I felt odd compared to my teenage peers, who naturally preferred younger, mainstream American celebrities. They also had those annoying school-girl crushes on various, inarticulate male students. I wondered to myself in confusion, what’s wrong with me? Am I a lesbian? Am I a weirdo?

My tastes left me somewhat socially isolated, although in retrospect, I realize it was not as bad as I thought at the time. I happily lined the inside of my locker at school with computer printouts of both Martin Savage in Topsy Turvy, as well as photographs of the actual George Grossmith. I thought it fanciful, to have a crush on an actor over ninety years dead.

I was unable to find a proper sexual partner until college, when I attended a music conservatory in the Midwest. He was incredibly short, which I found very attractive. It was for the best that the relationship dissipated quickly, though. For the rest of college, I remained lonely and single. I was also truly revulsed with Midwestern social conventions, and by the end of my time there, I had fully realized that I am, at heart, a New Yorker. Not to sound arrogant, but this is the truth. I was born and raised in Queens. Thankfully, I returned home in 2008 and have never left here since.

Dating in New York is another experience altogether. The sheer size of the city allows one to browse dating websites endlessly, which I admit having done many a time, sadly. I would sit before the laptop for hours on end, trying to find a perfect man with the above qualities mentioned, and then finally snap it shut at 2 AM with a forlorn feeling, that no one exists in the world who can satisfy me. And even if I did ever happen upon an attractive chap, his personality would be abysmal.

But where would I find a man like what I want? My taste is out of touch with modern culture! No man would ever try to fit the bill of what I find attractive on purpose.

The only people who qualify for me are usually socially awkward people, who are unable to adapt to society’s current trends. And such people mostly lack the social skills I require to be engaged. I could settle for a nerd although my physically active lifestyle sharply contrasts with one who saves the world with his thumbs.

As different as I like to think I am from the average woman, I realize that I am not different at all. Women today lament that there is not a decent man to be found. Chivalry is dead, they say. No one wants to pay for dinner anymore, they say. And while I don’t mind going Dutch at the sight of a receipt, I do mind when a man refuses to tell his friends about me, as if I am some secret in the closet. I worry at times that I am an unattractive woman, but my friends tell me instead, that my intelligence is intimidating.

Which is the problem many women have these days.

One day, I will age into my forties and fifties, and perhaps I will find a suitably wrinkled man my own age. Or maybe I will find a thirty-five-year-old replica of Matthew Broderick, and then become a cougar. That would be nice.


Neesa Suncheuri

Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York. She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness? A Mental Health Discussion Group.” She also maintains a blog called Unlearning Schizophrenia, and is a regular contributor of poetry and fiction at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly. She is also a singer/songwriter, and an enthusiast of the German language and culture.

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