One side effect of being single for almost a year is that people are always trying to “set me up” with their friends but before they can do it they always ask the same question – what’s your type? It’s a hard question for to answer because without going into a long winded rant about my sexuality and all the sordid proclivities I have, I’ve never really noticed a theme to my boyfriends.
I don’t really have any preference to a particular body type or age range, I don’t really pay attention to the colour of someones eyes or how their hair is, and contrary to popular belief, I prefer a dusting of stubble to a full grown beard any day of the week. I started thinking about “my type” when I got home from work today, nursing a crush on a guy that I’ve just met that definitely doesn’t fit into any of the boxes that I’ve constructed before and it started making me wonder whether or not I actually HAVE a “type”.
So, irregardless of my crush I have a date this week with a guy that my friend (and I quote) thinks I will love and after spending the week looking like a paint coloured golem and existing on coffee, vape juice and good music, I was brushing my teeth and looking at myself in the mirror wondering just what in the world someone would see in me that would make me THEIR type. And I came up at a loss. I spat my toothpaste out and went about painting my kitchen floor (because I’m in THAT stage of finding myself) and whilst I was going about my task with aching muscles and sand in my eyes yet unable to lose momentum, I started thinking of all the beautiful boys that hung so proudly on my walls when I was a teenager before thoughts like the ones I had tonight would have even crossed my mind.
All these guys used to make me weak at the knees and I spent most of my adolescence watching videos of them and listening to their records (because all of them are musicians, but I promise, that wasn’t intentional) and wondering what it would be like to kiss them. It seems innocuous now, the blossoming of my sexuality and the awareness that I even wanted to kiss a boy but in retrospect each and everyone of these men shaped my type, for better or for worse, and whether I choose to acknowledge it on a conscious level every day – I will always look for shadows of these men in my partners.
There are patterns here, don’t get me wrong and a lot of these men can be grouped together to form a singular type but comparing number one to number five would just leave you confused. I don’t know if this has helped me get any closer to understanding the type of man I want or indeed the type of man I find attractive, or if it’s helped me get to grips with the inherent value of even discovering that knowledge but it made me feel better to look at them with older eyes and a harder heart and know that each and everyone of them still have the ability to make me feel sixteen again.
And if that’s not love, then I don’t want it.
If there was ever a man that inspired me to be a better person, it’s Bruce Springsteen. He sings about working hard and being humble and there are lyrics I play in my head over and over when I’m having a bad day that always seem to make me feel better. He has dragged me kicking and screaming out of so many holes that I’ve fallen into and I’ve never met a problem that singing Sherry, Darling at the top of my voice can’t fix.
He’s rough round the edges and a true working class beauty that always, especially in his younger years, looks like he needs to wash. There’s a callousness about him that etches the gentler sides of his personality clearer than most because even though he isn’t covered in tattoos and he doesn’t wear eyeliner, I’m still sure that Bruce could kick anyone’s arse and I think it’s that brutish benevolence that I’ve always found so appealing.
If Bruce was to represent something that I look for in a man it’s his work ethic. The guy is circling around seventy and he still plays a four hour set and doesn’t miss a beat. He’s proud of where he’s from and it’s never gone to his head which is why he is still loved now as much as his songs. The true voice of never giving up or giving in, Bruce embodies self empowerment and the pride that comes from never forgetting where you started.
I couldn’t choose, okay! I hate to put them together but they’ve always been together in my mind ever since I was a teenager even if it’s only now as an adult that I’ve realised the true extent of Paul’s attractiveness, always favouring Joe because, really – who wouldn’t? He’s Joe Strummer. He’s the front man of one of the most influential bands of all time and it’s hard to find eyes for the bass player when you’ve got such a charismatic dude holding the microphone, all shouty and sweaty.
By the standards of today they’re not as edgy as some of the newer heart throbs out there and some would say that even by the standards of this list they are not the most unique, certainly even in comparison to their peers if I’d put John Lydon and Sid Vicious on here they wouldn’t look nearly as “punk” as the word seems to be defined, but when I think of the music, and more importantly, the movement, it’s always Joe and Paul I see and my heart still liquefies when I watch them play together.
If Joe and Paul were to represent something that I look for in a man it would individuality and the shamelessness that comes from embracing yourself fully, for how you are, even if no one else really gets it. They don’t have blue hair or safety pins through their face and they didn’t have to scream fuck every second word to communicate their messages of dissension and social injustice. I spent much of my life thinking I liked bad boys but in the past couple of years I’m starting to realise I like the boys the are only bad when they have to be, and of course, for the right reasons.
The first of many not typically “handsome” fellows on this list, I’ll never apologise for my enduring attraction to Tom Waits. When I was a teenager, in amongst a lot of loud and some would say, terrible, music Tom was the only artist that my mother ever told me to turn off and that just kind of made me love him more. His voice still gives me goosebumps and the only time since quitting smoking that I ever feel like I need to have a cigarette in my hand is when I’m listening to Tom at three o’clock in the morning battling the voices in my head and the whispers in my heart.
His originality is beyond compare and when you hear Tom’s voice you know that it’s voice. Some sound like him and some try to sound like him but no one will ever get close to the hot, raw barks and brays of the one and only. His music has a physical effect on me that I can only liken to shooting hard liquor. It hits me in my ears then starts seeping all over my body until I can’t concentrate on anything other than him. In a way that the others who radiate individuality on this list don’t, Tom doesn’t even seem to notice the trails he’s blazed or the changes he’s made to face of music because Tom doesn’t care – he’s just here for a good fucking time, man.
If Tom was to represent something that I’d look for in a partner it would be the way he commands my attention. You can’t not hear his voice whether it’s in a movie or in the background at a party, he makes you stop and say “hey, this is Tom Waits” and I’d love to feel that way about someone in real time. Watching as the entire room turns to look at this ramshackle rebel with a trilby tipped low to hide his eyes, hidden in a cloud of smoke, mysterious and unattainable – and mine.
On the other side of that coin, is Jon Fratelli. He came to me at a very pivotal moment in my life and the first music video I ever saw him in was the infamous Chelsea Dagger clip where he’s wearing a top hat and looking directly into the camera singing lyrics that still don’t really make sense. His razor sharp jaw line shrouded in a cloud of hectic curls and his eyes that never seem to be the same colour in any two different lights. Safe to say, it was love at first sight and it’s been love ever since.
As I got older and I learned more about him, I started to understand his lyrics a little more and as he grew older, we somehow met in the middle and the last two albums that The Fratellis have released have without a doubt changed my life and become fast favourites. There is a vulnerability to Jon that I find appealing in the face of the confidence that the previous entries on this list have garnered and it’s probably because I don’t usually find those traits attractive that the way I feel about Jon is so strange and wonderful, and most of all fulfilling.
Because if there is anything that I would look for in a partner as a result of knowing Jon’s music it’s that though I’ll always be a sucker for a guy with a cigarette in his mouth and grease on his jeans, I am also massively attracted to sensitivity and self awareness. I feel almost protective over him and the pieces of his heart that he lends to mend my own with every song he sings and I genuinely believe the world, and myself, to be better for knowing him.
Another slightly less rugged and manly entry, Jarvis Cocker is everything I’ve ever wanted in a boyfriend and never had. It sometimes feel like I came out of the womb a Pulp fan because I don’t ever remember a time when Jarvis wasn’t famous (or infamous) and his music has been there through every major and minor moment of my life. I even (yes, I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this) had my first real grown up orgasm whilst Pulp was playing. Maybe there’s a connection somewhere?
He’s creative and eccentric and doesn’t seek validation from anyone other than himself, and though he’s not a brutish kind of man he exudes masculinity from the sheer quantity of shameless confidence he has. He’s stylish and outspoken, but carries himself in a quiet, dignified manner that has always been thoroughly intoxicating to me. There’s a wildness in his eyes that offsets the softness of his presence and even after all this time listening to his music and watching him speak, I still haven’t got Jarvis figured out – and I think that’s all part of the joy.
If there was something from Jarvis that I’d look for in a partner it would be that rare and beautiful manifest of confidence completely void of arrogance or explanation. Jarvis has the ability to be a total douche bag yet in my humble (and some may say, bias) opinion he has never fallen into that trap and it just helps make him even more fucking spectacular.
Aww, Rory. This man holds a significant place in my heart because I saw looming shadows of him in my first boyfriend, who also happened to be a fan of him at the time. There’s a nostalgic kind of love here that’s tinged with bitterness as most failed facts of the heart often are, but a lot of good came of the relationship with the guy that dressed like Rory and tried his damnedest to play the guitar like him and one of the things that endured, untainted by all that followed is my lasting love and appreciation of Rory.
To hear him sing, you’d think he was your run of the mill cock and balls blues guitarist with loud riffs and heavy lyrics, oozing with funk and threat it’s real baby making music. It’s quite possible my baby WAS made to this music as it was her father who reminded me so much of the man in question. To hear Rory speak, however, you’d never put the musician and the man together and that has always been what’s made me melt whenever he’s (rarely) brought up in conversations about music or men.
If there was one thing I’d take from Rory when looking for a partner it would be that not all people are who they appear to be on first inspection and that hiding under all that noise and hectic haze can be the sweetest and softest of people, the kind of people that I’d give my heart to tomorrow if they’d let me. I’ve had enough of the flannel wearing fucktards – I want me a Rory, and like another man on this list once said, like every time before I got close but, ultimately – missed.
The name says it all really doesn’t it? He’s not the only guy on here masquerading under a slight cooler name than the one he was given, but Butch definitely lives up to his nickname. Still one of the best musicians I’ve ever seen live (seven times I believe) Butch never fails to leave me gasping for more and a little weak at the knees. Like Bruce that came before him there’s a ruggedness to him that appeals to the slightly less feminist woman in me that wants a man to be able to hang a shelf and deal with renegade wasps in the living room on cool summer evenings.
And Butch could do that. But Butch is probably one of the most sensitive and definitely one of the most emotional musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I saw him play a set a few years back after the death of his father in which he cried for much of it and by the end of the night, strangers were hugging strangers and the whole room was very quiet and very still, heightened by emotions that only people like Butch give you the power and the permission to feel.
If there is something I would take from Butch and look for in a partner it would the ability to laugh at themselves and tell ridiculous stories about the things that they’re not proud of without regret or embarrassment. There’s an openness to Butch that is infatuating, an honesty that bleeds through everything he does and just makes you love him irrevocably for all he is, and for all he was.
Aside from writing songs that literally saved my life (no hyperbole for once) Frank Turner is one of the most approachable and down to earth musicians I’ve ever known. The joke is that he’s always on tour, but it’s not much of a joke because he actually is always on tour, playing to massive crowds and tiny crowds and never losing any of his power or personality in between.
He’s not loud (in a sense) and he’s not audacious and were you to stand behind him in a queue in Tesco you probably wouldn’t know you were standing in the presence of an actual real life rock star because he doesn’t wear his occupation on his sleeve and there has always been this thought in the back of my mind that even if Frank was a cashier in that very same Tesco, he’d still be fucking awesome because it’s just what Frank does. He’s engaging and enthusiastic and writes with such conviction and intelligence that once you hear him, preferably live, I don’t think you’ll ever quite be the same again.
If there was anything I could take from Frank and find in a partner it would be his energy. The spontaneous enthusiasm that he seems to approach everything with and his faultless yet entirely endearing optimism that’s infectious. I’ve had my share of pessimists in my time but sometimes you just need someone to tell you that everything’s going to be okay, even if it’s not.
And last but by no means least, my most beloved of all – Brian Fallon. I found this guy when I wasn’t really looking and it was indeed number one on this list that paved the way to my favourite musician of all time. Aside from the songs he’s given me and the moments he’s kept air in my lungs, I’ve also spent much of the past ten years looking for him when I feel absolutely isolated and hoping, from well garnered experience, that he has the words I need to get through and so far he’s never let me down.
Brian has changed a lot since I first saw him live in 2009 and that’s how I know that my appreciation and adoration of him is genuine. So many times I get caught in the “habit” of loving someone or being interested in something that I feel like were I to be honest with myself and move on or let it go, I’d be compromising the person that I’ve tried so hard to become and a person that has always contrasted so glaringly against “others”.
If there was something I’d take from Brian and search for in a partner it would be his ability to evolve without ever changing the essence of who they were. Change happens to everyone and it’s been the catalyst of most of my relationship breakdowns, so to find someone to grow with and get better with, to share in successes and huddle down in failures, well kids – that’s the dream.
This was a lot harder to pin down than I thought it would be. It originally was a toss up between George Harrison and Frank Zappa and then after more thought in between sitting down and compiling this list, I found myself wandering more towards Dhani Harrison and Dweezil Zappa. Maybe I’m learning to find people closer to my age more attractive, or maybe it’s just because both of these guys have awesomely magnificent fathers who taught them how to be good men (the looks passed on to both of them too…) but after much debate, there can only really be one wildcard.
The choice has been made. And it’s…
You see, out of all of them men of this list there is one thing that I want more than anything else in a partner and that, quite simply put is – forever. I want a family. I’m comfortable saying that now although a tendency to cling on to any vestige of Kerouac-esque “roading” has tormented this decision in my subconscious for years. The suburbs used to terrify me and the idea of home improvements and bed time stories, let alone sleeping with one man for the rest of my life was a fate worse than death.
But as my daughter has grown and I’ve seen how my influence has helped shape the way she sees the world, I’ve learned to love myself through her eyes and I now know I want to do it all again. The morning sickness, the labour, the breastfeeding, the changing, the random bouts of crying from sheer joy and exhaustion at the drop of the hat – I want to do it again. But not with just anyone, and not with one isolated character trait from this list but with an amalgamation of all of them.
And Dweezil is the missing piece. To me he symbolises the kind of peace and humour I long for so desperately in my forever and though he’s from one of the most insane families in the world, he’s still proud of his name and all that it stands for. He symbolises, to me, a perfect mixture of all the character traits that everyone else on this list represents but at the core of Dweezil, what I see, is family and above all else – that’s what I want. (He’s not bad on the eye either, but that’s neither here nor there…)
But in all seriousness, I think what I am in for is a long time alone waiting for the right person to come along, a person who I will meet and in time will trump every black and white beauty on this list, because however much you can idolise and adore a stranger, the guy I’m set on spending the rest of my life with will make how I feel about these men pale in comparison.
Because that’s the right thing to do isn’t it? I’ve spent the past ten years of my life settling for anyone who could bare to be around me for longer than a day and I’ve strangled parts of myself close to death to make myself alluring to them, and for what? Broken hearted bad dreams that wake me up in the middle of the night with sweat all over my body and a heap of empty sheets beside me.
But I feel…different now. My last break up will always be my worst, but in a lot of ways it’s also my best because there was no hate there to cloud the real reasons why it ended. To say it ended on good terms would be a lie and my heart still sometimes pangs in the small hours of the morning for the lump of a man that used to occupy the sheets beside me, and sometimes, even after all this time, I find my hands groping in the dark for him but when they come up empty I smile, all be it sadly, roll back over and drift back into sleep knowing that he’s there when I need him, as a friend and a mentor, and that that is probably what he was always meant to be.
Because he couldn’t give me what I wanted even if I could have given him what he wanted.
And that’s the great injustice of it all isn’t it? That somewhere out there is a man who is looking for all the character traits that I have and wants everything that I want. He’s taller than me and he sometimes forgets to shave and he smells like muddy grass and silk soap. He plays guitar (badly) and he hums when he makes tea in the morning. He dresses like a roadie and can hold his own against me in a game of one tequila, two tequila, three tequila FLOOR and he makes amazing pancakes. He loves his mum and is adamant that his music is better than everyone else’s even though he’ll sometimes pretend to like Bob Dylan because he knows me well enough not to argue about Bob. He’s ambitious and lazy all at the same time and he holds my face when I cry and kisses my forehead and promises me promises we both know he can’t keep that in those moments plug all the holes in my heart and stop it aching just for a moment. His hands are rough but his nails are clean and when he sleeps he doesn’t snore but he breathes really deeply and I can feel his lungs expand as I sleep with my face on his chest.
And when he laughs it sets the room on fire.
A love like that?
Worth the wait.