Advice

Please Advise: How do I date outside my “type” without lowering my standards?

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I want to broaden my horizons, not lower my defenses.

Each week, the inbox of our venerable advice columnist, Miss Information, is flooded with queries. And although she makes a valiant effort, she can't answer them all. To deal with the surplus, we've decided to turn to you. So, don your spectacles and help this woman out — give her advice in the comments below.

Amongst all the wise advice I hear about how to find love, "let go of the idea that you have a type" or "date outside your type" is a common thread. Hearing this always makes me think, because I've always had a very, very specific type. If you were to put all the men I've ever dated in a room together, it would probably look like a computer-programming conference or some kind of facial-hair convention. Even my very first twelve-year-old megacrush grew up to be a bearded computer programmer. I don't know why this is the case — I assume it has something to do with the personality of people who go into tech-y professions rather than a deeply ingrained desire to receive free tech support, and fortunately my dad doesn't have a beard so there's no creepy Electra stuff going on, but it still really is very odd.

I wouldn't necessarily think my hyper-specific "type" was a problem, except these adorable beardy computer programmers also tend to be massive manchildren. Immature, commitment-phobic, unable to communicate. It's hard to write that off as a coincidence when everything else about my "type" is so consistent as well.

So it seems like getting outside my type might be a good way for me to get into a better relationship. But I have no idea how to do this. I've gone on dates with men who aren't my type, but I either end up not being attracted to them, or they end up being more of a subtle variation on, rather than actually outside, my type. It's not like I go out at night thinking "I'ma find me a bearded computer programmer!" but if there's one around, I will inevitably wake up with him in my bed. How do I actually get outside my type without dating people I don't find attractive?

— Locked In 

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