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Archetypes of NYC daters

We examine characteristics of various NYC singles and couples. Recognize anyone?
Illustration: Dan Park
By Sharon Steel |

Chastity belters

Likes: Serious talks, vetting engagement party photographers, buying the cow
Loose morals, giving away the milk
The chastity belters are not old-fashioned, per se, but they subscribe to a neo-Victorian urban philosophy: While some discuss their sex lives ad nauseam among friends, they demur. While others plan a night out boozing in search of the next lay, they prefer nesting. Wanna mess around after the third date? Great. Wanna stick the p in the v? Give me a drawer and change your status on Facebook. Then we'll talk.


Analysis: Likers are defined primarily by their puppy-dog-like interest in anyone and everyone who displays the slightest bit of affection for them. These individuals may mask wavering self-esteem by being too eager about life, which can come across as strange and suspicious to hardened, cynical New Yorkers. They are often drawn to one another, engaging in a "we adore everyone!" mentality that makes breakups close to impossible. They smile at strangers on the street.


Likes: Making shit happen, being awesome
Articles in highbrow publications that advocate settling as the only way to navigate the dating scene in NYC
Analysis: A strong fringe group among individuals who champion refusing to settle, the unlikers are defined by their roving eyes. Call it the Goldilocks syndrome, call it the need to sow wild oats so much that their entire dating history consists of wild oats. They are the beating heart of the NYC dating world, searching not only for someone to build a life with, but someone to build a life with who is superior to the person whom you have built a life with. For the unliker, trading up is a necessary survival skill, especially when it comes to romance.

Power couples

Likes: The affirmation from friends and loved ones that they are, in fact, a power couple; comparisons to Jared and Ivanka, Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, Jay-Z and Beyonc, etc.
Routines, quiet nights at home, noneponymous business ventures
The shining star of any social gathering is an expertly coiffed power couple: They make you and your friends look cooler for hanging out with them, even though you're all wildly jealous of everything from their haircuts to how you imagine their sex lives, which surely must be as passionate as the secret Tumblr they share to document the various unspeakably hip things they do.

Suburban urbanites

Connecticut Muffin, Zipcars, the 10 o'clock news
Dislikes: When people walk fast, bodegas
Analysis: The suburban urbanites genuinely love New York City, but would actually be a lot happier if they lived in Connecticut, Long Island or Westchester. They move here primarily to prove to everyone that they can live here, citing the urge to take advantage of all the "wonderful culture" and our "amazing nightlife," not to mention the "fantastic bar and restaurant scene." Then they wind up eating regularly at Max Brenner and shopping at Woodbury Commons. Exhaustion, an overwhelming distaste for crowds and an allergy to hipsters are common excuses.

Long-term ballers

Rocking out with their collective cock out, using the terms boyfriend and girlfriend well into middle age, rehashing the glory days of their misspent youth
Dislikes: Societal partnership labels, rings, cohabitation, breeding, when her friends ask why he hasn't "locked it down" yet
Analysis: In the wild, this unique breed is often misidentified as serial monogamists. But the long-term ballers don't necessarily favor lengthy, committed relationships over quick-hit hookups and one-night stands. Often they are simply content labelphobes who may have taken months (or years) of dating and screwing, exclusively, to grudgingly admit that they are, indeed, in a relationship.

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