What does he / she is "not my type" mean?
October 30, 2017 10:29 PM   Subscribe

So, recently I just found a new girlfriend, and just out of pure conversation, I said that I think she is pretty, and then I just casually asked my roommate what he thinks... and his response was that "she is not my type". I got insulted and angry by his comment but I did not show it outwardly, and I just continued the conversation and changed the subject. I thought he was basically say that she is unattractive. My roommate is sort of like a friend because we sometimes hang out together, but now I just feel I don't want to interact with him anymore. Is the phrase "she is not my type" just a polite way of saying "she is ugly", or is it just saying something like "I prefer blonds instead of brunettes" type of comment? I am angry but also really confused because I think my girlfriend is gorgeous and she gets attention from many other guys. And I was surprised by that comment too, and how nonchalant he was about saying it. If someone were to ask me about what I thought about his girlfriend I would say that she is pretty even though I didn't think so, because it is being discreet.
posted by pieceofcake to Human Relations (63 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You should take it at face value: She's not his type, a.k.a. he's not attracted to people with the physical characteristics she has. If she's not his type, perhaps he's not attracted to her for that reason. Attractiveness is highly subjective. Just because you would lie to someone else about how attractive you find their girlfriend to be doesn't mean they would or should do the same.

You asked your roommate what he thinks. He told you what he thinks. Don't overthink this. You don't really have cause to get mad at someone for answering your question honestly. You can feel like your roommate is wrong and not take it personally.
posted by limeonaire at 10:34 PM on October 30, 2017 [44 favorites]

Firstly, why does another guy's opinion about your girlfriend matter so much?

Maybe he's being totally honest - people have widely ranging opinions about what's attractive, and 'conventionally attractive' is just one small part of that. Doesn't mean he thinks she's unattractive, just that, well, she's not his type.

Or maybe he does think she's unattractive, and that's his polite way of saying so.

Either way, does it matter? It seems like you're heavily invested in how your girlfriend is valued by other men - you're concerned about the possibly negative opinion of your housemate, and you reassure yourself with the attention she gets from 'many other guys'. Maybe it's worth reflecting on why this seems important to you, and maybe try to see the value of your relationship more in what you mean to each other, and less about how she looks to the outside world?
posted by twirlypen at 10:37 PM on October 30, 2017 [68 favorites]

Response by poster: On a basic level, it's just plain rude to call someone ugly even if you think so... that's why I would never call someone ugly even if that is what I thought. It's common sense. It has nothing to do with worrying about another guy's opinion. What if someone called your mother ugly, your child ugly, or whoever you are close with? I don't care what he thinks, I think my girlfriend is hot.
posted by pieceofcake at 10:43 PM on October 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

The phrase "she is not my type" signals "I do not have designs on your girlfriend."

Don't be the guy who solicits opinions on a significant other's looks. It objectifies your beloved, and makes you appear insecure.

Which is why your roommate answered the way he did -- to respond oh, she's gorgeous! would only make you uncomfortable ever leaving the two of them alone in your shared living room. You put him in an untenable position by posing the question, as there's no good answer -- too complimentary, and you're paranoid; not complimentary enough, and you're insulted. You live together, he's likely to see her more often than your other friends, so he tried a neutral, hey, not for me, and you're angry anyhow.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:44 PM on October 30, 2017 [275 favorites]

> On a basic level, it's just plain rude to call someone ugly even if you think so...

He did not do this: by your own words in your OP, he did not do this. Don't put words in his mouth. I have friends and friends of friends and girlfriends of friends who are not ugly and they are also not my type, insomuch as I have a"type." People in my life who fit the generally socially acknowledged definition of "pretty" or "gorgeous" (and who I would also call pretty!) are still not my "type" because not every pretty person is going to be my type. Is every pretty person your type? It sounds to me like your roommate maybe responded a little awkwardly, but by your own words he did not call her ugly. He said she is not his type. They are not the same thing.
posted by rtha at 10:53 PM on October 30, 2017 [46 favorites]

Response by poster: That's what I am trying to understand - what does "not my type" mean?
posted by pieceofcake at 10:58 PM on October 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

You asked: 'Do you think my girlfriend is pretty?'

He heard: 'Are you going to hit on my girlfriend?'

He said: 'She's not my type.'

He meant: 'Absolutely not dude, chill.'

You heard: 'She's ugly.'
posted by tavegyl at 11:04 PM on October 30, 2017 [185 favorites]

men say "not my type" either out of politeness or for their own safety. because some guys get irrationally enraged and jealous when they think other men are attracted to their girlfriends -- exactly the way you get angry when you think other men don't find your girlfriend attractive enough. When a guy asks you to assess his girlfriend's looks, and you don't know which kind he is or what he's testing you for, the safe bet is to say she's nice, but not for you. neutral, positive, unenthusiastic.

there is a third kind of guy, the kind who wants to know if his friends like his girlfriend -- like her for real, as a person, nothing to do with her looks. that's a better type to be and a better question to ask.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:05 PM on October 30, 2017 [22 favorites]

If my type is hourglassy women with olive skin and dark hair, and your girlfriend is skinny and blonde, I’m going to say “not my type,” and vice versa.

But it is also a polite way to say “I am not leering at your girlfriend” because it is neither polite to say she is hot nor that she is not.

Either way, take it for what it is, a nice way to deflect any commentary on your girlfriend’s appearance, and please don’t force your friend to give explicit commentary on her appearance.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:05 PM on October 30, 2017 [21 favorites]

I thought he was basically say that she is unattractive.

No. He's saying he's not attracted to her. It is, as you suggested, a "she's a blonde and I prefer brunettes" thing.

"Not my type" is something very commonly said and not an insult. You should not be offended.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:08 PM on October 30, 2017 [15 favorites]

> That's what I am trying to understand - what does "not my type" mean?

I'm not a native speaker of Straight Dude (I'm a lesbian), but based on my straight dude friends, this likely means "I am not going to hit on your gf" and/or "I'm glad you're happy, I don't really want to comment on whether or not I think she's pretty cuz that seems weird" and/or "You surprised me with a 'does this dress make my butt look big' kind of question and I'm gonna fumble with what I hope is the answer least likely to drop me in the shit" answer.
posted by rtha at 11:13 PM on October 30, 2017 [87 favorites]

I think you're basically asking - by saying this, was this guy insulting my girlfriend? I would say no, many people do not feel like saying they're not attracted to someone automatically means there's anything wrong with that person, such as that they're objectively ugly. He (probably) did not intend it to insult your girlfriend and he (probably) didn't anticipate that you'd take it as an insult. (Unless he's an asshole and this is his veiled way of saying she's ugly - only you would know. Either way it's not an inherent insult)
posted by namesarehard at 11:22 PM on October 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also, "not my type" can include things beyond just pure aesthetics. For example, I personally, would describe a Wall Street Bro as "not my type," no matter how attractive. All of my roommates are good looking men and women, but are definitely not my type for various behavioral reasons that I don't dislike, per say, just don't want to date.
posted by Grandysaur at 11:39 PM on October 30, 2017 [19 favorites]

If I were your girlfriend and I found out you had this conversation, I would not at all be worried about your roommate's response— but I might dump you. Your irrational anger, jealousy and possessiveness is worrying. We're happy, so what does it matter if I'm hot or not? Who cares what your roommate thinks? You're treating me like a prize pony. I object to that.

The alternatives aren't good: you're either pissed because you think my honor has been insulted (patronizing much? I don't need you to fight my fights) or you're pissed because your roommate planted the idea that I might be ugly, which you see as a personal affront to your status and taste. We're not Lamborghinis or flavors of ice cream, dude. That's just gross.

"I just found a new girlfriend" ... like picking up a rock at the beach. Great.
posted by fritillary at 11:54 PM on October 30, 2017 [195 favorites]

He didn’t insult your girlfriend at all. If you’re feeling mad about his answer I think you’re feeling insulted because you’re taking it as some sort of judgement on your own taste in women and the value you put on other people’s judgement on your girlfriend. I agree with others that you should take this opportunity to unpack your own reaction. His response was neutral at worst and in no way insulting (if anything he was trying really hard not to pass any sort of judgement at all).
posted by like_neon at 12:06 AM on October 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don't care what he thinks

you literally asked him what he thinks, that's exactly what you did, you asked him. you did it. you. the asker of his thinks.

in the future maybe don't ask questions that you don't actually want to know the answers to.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:15 AM on October 31, 2017 [160 favorites]

Yes, I agree that his response was perfectly reasonable, and yours was certainly not.

Lots of people aren't my type. The usual "conventionally attractive" women as portrayed on the cover of most magazines and in most adverts happens not to be "my type". I just don't find them as attractive as women whom others might judge as "plain". Who cares? Not me, not my wife. Don't worry so much, just concentrate on being a good person.
posted by tillsbury at 12:16 AM on October 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

another one to chime in, "not my type" is the most chill and diplomatic answer he could have given you.

to put it really crudely, its pretty much like asking if your bud wants to get pizza and they're like 'nah - i don't like cheese. lets get thai.' - would you take that personally? does this make the fucking amazing pizza they make around the corner any less amazing? no. its just preference. if anything, this guy is being a bro to you and its nothing to hold a grudge about.
posted by speakeasy at 12:22 AM on October 31, 2017 [8 favorites]

ohh, and a small side note. try not to read too negatively into other peeps opinions - especially if they cause you so much anxiety? not everything is a coded secret underhanded jab to hurt you.

peace and chill convo among roommates is something to strive for! you were doing good! so no more morose sulking about differing opinions. otherwise you're gonna be stuck with a weird fucking vibe for whats gonna feel like an eternity every time you go home.
posted by speakeasy at 12:31 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

what does "not my type" mean?

I personally don't believe in having "types" but it's just a way for people to say different qualities appeal to different people. No one is going to have universally appealing looks.

On a basic level, it's just plain rude to call someone ugly even if you think so

What would offend me more than someone calling me/someone ugly is the insinuation that that has any implication about someone's worth, that it should be something one should be offended by.

What is this, "locker room talk"? Why are you hanging around judging your girlfriend's looks?

If anyone is behaving rudely or ungallantly, it's you for asking the question. I mean, why are you asking your roommate/friend to evaluate your girlfriend's looks? How the heck is he supposed to answer that? (See other commenters for possible explanations of his thought process.) You [arguably] put him on the spot and now you don't like his answer. You mention surprise at how "nonchalant" he was, but you also say you brought it up in "casual" conversation, so how else is he supposed to respond?
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 1:27 AM on October 31, 2017 [11 favorites]

‭You should actually be happy that your roommate doesn’t fancy your girlfriend !

But honestly, dude, unless you’re younger than 21, putting such a premium on your loved one’s outward appearance (and asking others to validate it) is saying more about you than anything else. And that ain’t pretty.
posted by Kwadeng at 2:19 AM on October 31, 2017 [20 favorites]

Why would you even ask your roommate this question? Are you taking a straw poll of everyone you know to rate her hotness and inform whether you should be with her? No? If this sounds ridiculous to you: good. The only person whose attraction matters here is yours.

She’s not your property and others’ perception of her attractiveness are irrelevant and don’t reflect on you. Stop being gross and appreciate your girlfriend for her many amazing attributes other than how many guys ogle her in the street.
posted by wreckofthehesperus at 2:34 AM on October 31, 2017 [11 favorites]

Why are you asking people whether your girlfriend is pretty? To reference your comment above, you wouldn't go around asking people if your mother or your child is pretty, right? Because that's weird. And because saying "no, your mother is ugly," and "yes, I find your mother attractive" are both totally uncool things to say, so there's no good answer! "Pretty" in in reference to your girlfriend is too close to "sexually attractive" for someone to safely answer yes or no. Your room-mate was avoiding the question because its inappropriate.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:37 AM on October 31, 2017 [12 favorites]

Not my type: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling
My type: Sam Rockwell, Lee Pace, Michael Shannon

Doesn't mean I think George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling are hideous.

just out of pure conversation, I said that I think she is pretty, and then I just casually asked my roommate what he thinks

I suspect this wasn't pure conversation or casual - your roommate may have as well.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 3:08 AM on October 31, 2017 [21 favorites]

I feel like there‘s another question lurking behind this one like behind a halloween mask - like, „does my room mate look down on me as a man?“ or „how can I get the validation I need from other people?“ or something. But what question is it?

Figure out what is ACTUALLY bothering you and we can help you with that. This here is just smoke and mirrors.

From your AskMe history you seem unsure of what social interactions are supposed to sound like. You have a history of unintentionally rubbing people the wrong way or being unable to correctly parse what people say or do to you or unsure of how to act in social situations.

I‘m guessing that Having A Girlfriend is a big deal to you and you think it should change your social standing, and that it means something, but you‘re not really sure what. Your self worth is tied up with this New Girlfriend but you haven’t really figured out how. So you‘re looking to your mates for clues.

But dude, in this whole question I think you‘re not once thinking about her as a real, live human being. All she is in that question is a trophy for you. That‘s what‘s alarming all the answerers here and why you‘re getting so much push back. Unless you manage to convey to her (not to us) how much she herself matters to you, not what she can bring to the table, she won‘t stay your girlfriend for long.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:33 AM on October 31, 2017 [63 favorites]

I thought he was basically say that she is unattractive.

No. He said that he is not attracted to her. He expressed his opinion (in response to you specifically asking for it), he didn't make a value judgement about the objective attractiveness of your girlfriend.

Why do you care, anyway? All that matters is that you are attracted to your girlfriend. Demanding that other men validate your choice of lover is not healthy or reasonable in any way.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:13 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

Not my type does not mean he thinks she is ugly, that is a distortion of what he actually said. You are angry over nothing, and this is your problem, not your roommate's. I know lots of objectively attractive guys who are "not my type" and those who are "my type" others may not be attracted to. Let this go.
posted by mermayd at 4:17 AM on October 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

That's what I am trying to understand - what does "not my type" mean?

Words are very clumsy carriers of meaning. There is no one interpretation of any word or phrase; it all depends on context, the mood and experiences of the person uttering the words, and the microculture in which it's uttered. Then all that gets filtered through the experiences of the person receiving the utterance.

This is why tone is so important - it carries a lot more, and more emotionally important, meaning than just words. (Acting is basically the art of adding everything else to bare words)

So, nobody can definitively answer your question. It's possible to say "not my type" and intend a whole bunch of diametrically opposed things.

Someone could get a distracted smile on his face, sigh softly, then look sheepishly at you and say, "She's not my type". Interpretation: If you weren't dating her, I would, but I will respect your relationship.

Someone else could wrinkle his nose, shake his head, and say "Not. My. Type." - that's still wide open for interpretation, but most of those interpretations don't imply that your roommate is a bad person.
posted by amtho at 4:40 AM on October 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

That's what I am trying to understand - what does "not my type" mean?

Most commonly it means what it says - not everyone finds every classically attractive person "hot", pretty much everyone has some kind of preference or bias and for some of us style/personality has more bearing that looks alone. If you want to search for a hidden meaning it could literally mean any of the following:

"I think your girlfriend is the most attractive woman I've ever seen but I respect that she's your girlfriend and don't want you to worry that I will try to make a move on her because I won't"
"I think your girlfriend is the most attractive woman I've ever seen and I want to throw you off the scent before make a move on her"
"I think your girlfriend is unremarkable in looks but I don't want to be rude"
"I think your girlfriend is the ugliest woman I've ever seen but I don't want to be rude"

On a basic level, it's just plain rude to call someone ugly even if you think so...

He did NOT do this.

I don't care what he thinks, I think my girlfriend is hot.

You care enough that you asked him, which is at best an odd question and probably put him in an awkward position in terms of how to answer - if he said yes you might have then suspected any future interaction with your GF as him hitting on her, saying no risked offending you. He came up with what most people would consider a diplomatic non-answer and it has offended you so much that you've posted here specifically describing yourself as angry because you believed (mistakenly) that he called your girlfriend ugly.

It's probably best for everyone if you steer clear of these sorts of conversations in future, it sounds like they make for a very tense household.
posted by *becca* at 4:41 AM on October 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

Maybe she is ugly to him. What does it matter? We're not obligated to think someone is attractive or beautiful because a friend or family member does. Now I'm not going to say that to someone's face but as an ugly person, the idea that we're all beautiful in our own special way is ridiculous. Clearly you are needing some validation and you do care, or you wouldn't have asked such an awkward question (if he says he's not attracted to her you're offended, if he's says she's hot, you'll worry he's going to pursue her) and you wouldn't have posted this question here.
posted by Aranquis at 4:49 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

If someone were to ask me about what I thought about his girlfriend I would say that she is pretty even though I didn't think so, because it is being discreet.

This is the exact opposite of modern Western social etiquette, and I'm not saying that jealousy is a good thing, but is putting you at risk of a serious faux pas if you don't figure that out for your own sake. If someone just casually drops into conversation the question of whether you find their partner attractive, you need to know 100% that they're going to be cool with you saying yes before you say yes. Even if you really do find them attractive. I'm not saying he's lying, here, but social standards with people who are basically acquaintances and not friends would dictate that you communicate something exactly like what your roommate says: Not something that says the person is unattractive, but something that specifically disclaims you having any interest in her.

Not only should you not get offended about him saying it, you should really be ready to tell the difference in other interactions between times it is genuinely proper to talk about a woman being attractive and when it isn't. Saying that your girlfriend is attractive is something you should really save for telling to your actual girlfriend, if you aren't good enough at reading social situations to really know when you're talking to someone who you're close enough with to actually have this conversation. Talking about your girlfriend's looks to third parties who you aren't particularly close to does not suggest that you actually have particularly high regard for this woman or her reputation among your friends and acquaintances.
posted by Sequence at 4:50 AM on October 31, 2017 [8 favorites]

...what I am trying to understand - what does "not my type" mean?

It means that, relating to the context of your roommate's world and personal preferences, he believes that your girlfriend cannot be judged by him (which is what you asked him to do) because his taste is different from yours.

Relating to the context of your own world and personal preferences, your girlfriend is, as you say, "hot". Be glad that there is no conflict of interests between your roommate and yourself; it could make 'roommating' a hell of a task.

In the context of the attention she may or may not get from other guys: if this topic area is seriously important for you as a verification for how gorgeous you find her, you might reconsider your position and way of thinking about the situation. A girlfriend is not a trophy. also, the attention of other competing people for one's partner can be bothersome and is best avoided, or ignored.

Last but not least: Your roommate did not say that she was ugly.
posted by Namlit at 6:32 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

He's not saying she's ugly. OK bad comparison upcoming but one that might help you understand his comment. You & your friend both love burgers. You think a good burger has ketchup on it, your friend does not like ketchup on his burger. He's not saying your burger is ugly, he's saying he would prefer a burger without ketchup. Neither of you are right or wrong.

(Though as an Aussie all burgers need beetroot, pineapple egg & bacon but that's another metafilter question)
posted by wwax at 6:40 AM on October 31, 2017 [7 favorites]

Did it occur to you that your girlfriend may not care at all whether or not your roommate thinks she's attractive? Someone once did the reverse with me, telling me how attractive his friend thought I was. I told him it was gross, to stop talking about me with his friend, and to never do that again.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:27 AM on October 31, 2017 [12 favorites]

"not my type" means "not my type".

For example, based on pure physical attractiveness, Ryan Gosling is not my type. I can see, objectively, why people find him attractive, he is certainly very good looking, but his physical characteristics are not ones that I go for. I can think he's good looking while also thinking I'd never want to hit that because he doesn't do it for me. That's it.
posted by gaspode at 7:27 AM on October 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

But more importantly, I agree with the people saying you should not be soliciting other people's opinions of her attractiveness. You put him in an awkward position.
posted by gaspode at 7:28 AM on October 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't think we can make a judgment here without further context, but it makes for great coffee talk about what that particular phrase means.

Did he use an insulting tone of voice? Is he dating anyone, or have you met one of his girlfriends/partners? Does he even date women, because maybe he's signaling he doesn't? Does she hang out at your place and rant about football all the time and he hates sports?

It could mean a million things, or absolutely nothing. Maybe she's more stylish and he likes women who wear boring dresses. Maybe it's a white lie because he finds her really attractive and is trying to downplay that so you don't feel jealous.

If a comment like that bothers you, why not follow it up with, in a relatively neutral tone, "Oh? Why do you say that?" The answer might be as simple as "I like to think of my roommate's girlfriend, who is around me a lot, that way to avoid drama."
posted by mikeh at 7:29 AM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's what I am trying to understand - what does "not my type" mean?

If a dude asks me if his significant other is hot/attractive, I use "not my type" to clearly indicate to him that I AM NOT GOING AFTER YOUR GIRL. That doesn't mean that I find her attractive or not, it's a cultural signal to indicate that I do not spend time physically assessing other people's significant others.

There's a lot of toxic masculinity ensnarled in men discussing womens' appearances. I've just started to opt out entirely because it's generally either a demeaning way to assess a woman's worth or a loaded question from the asker. It's basically a loyalty/validation test that says more about the asker than the askee in my opinion.
posted by notorious medium at 7:32 AM on October 31, 2017 [14 favorites]

There are plenty of movie star guys like Chris Hemsworth or Ryan Reynolds who are obviously traditionally attractive but are not 'my type'. Finding someone attractive and actually being attracted to them are two different things. Those guys are attractive, but I am personally not attracted to them, therefore they are not 'my type'. That doesn't mean that I'm calling them 'ugly'. They are fine and nice to look at, but they don't exactly get my motor running like a skinny pale dark-haired dude would.
posted by greta simone at 7:33 AM on October 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think the other question you might want to ask yourself is what his opinion, and your interpretation of it, means. It sounds like you're expecting other people to respond to questions in the same way you would, and to value the same things in other people that you do. It's a completely innocuous answer to a kind of awkward question. He's your roommate, and maybe a kind of casual friend, and possibly not the right person to ask this kind of thing.
posted by mikeh at 7:56 AM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's gross that you asked him that. Why do you care what your roommate thinks of your girlfriend's looks? Were you going to value her more highly if he said "yeah I agree she is pretty"? Is having your roommate admire your girlfriend a thing you need, to validate your feelings about her? If he'd said "no she's an uggo" would you dump her?

Every so often my husband will pass on a compliment that someone has volunteered (like they came by his office and made a nice comment about our family pictures) but I'd be deeply mortified if my husband were soliciting other men's opinions about my appearance. Ew!
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:08 AM on October 31, 2017 [11 favorites]

Have you heard the expression: “Hurt me with the truth, but never comfort me with a lie”? Some people (like me), REALLY feel this way; you clearly don’t. You probably come from a world where white lies are encouraged if it means keeping things pleasant -- so if your roommate asked if you liked his tie, you’d simply say “yeah it’s nice” – even if it was totally not your style. Many people operate like this and it’s a very known and accepted way to communicate. But there are also people who prefer honesty over pleasantness. Neither is wrong, just different.

To me, your roommate saying “not my type” means:

a) Your girlfriend has certain qualities that he finds undesirable (e.g. red hair)
b) Your girlfriend is missing certain qualities that he finds highly desirable (e.g. red hair)

Do you see how the exact same quality can be either desirable or undesirable, depending on the person? There is no “universally” hot. Note also that for most people, “type” goes well beyond looks. Maybe she’s soft-spoken and he likes girls who are loud and outgoing. Maybe she dresses up and he likes girls who are sporty. Maybe she laughs too much. Maybe she doesn’t laugh enough. There are a million characteristics that can make a person attractive or unattractive to someone else.

I’ll give you an example from real life: I like to wear heels. I just do. I’m short, but besides, my personal style just lends itself to heels and I feel good in them. My partner values walking, a lot. He purposely lives in a very walkable area and if we’re going out for dinner, 95% of the time he’s going to prefer we walk there. He has lots of good reasons for this - fresh air, exercise, we get to hold hands, we don’t have to worry about how much we drink, etc. And if I wasn’t willing to compromise on my heel-wearing sometimes, he would find that unattractive -- and therefore, not his type.

So while your girlfriend may indeed have qualities your roommate doesn’t like, that’s not objectively wrong or bad – and it’s definitely not the same as calling her ugly! It’s also not rude for him to answer your question honestly. You shouldn’t be offended. You should instead recognize that you both operate under different frameworks.

Also a tip: never ask a question if you can’t handle the honest answer. Anything else is passive aggressive.
posted by yawper at 8:11 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

I think not my type also means "drop the subject", and that it was possibly said with some vehemence, because your roommate really couldn't see any positive outcome from the conversation. So that might be why you picked up on the hurtfulness of it, because he was communicating something negative, even though it was just "I don't want to talk about it".

I'm not sure why you asked, and I'm not sure that you've got a great insight into why you asked, yourself.
  • If you wanted to say "I think my girlfriend looks great and that makes me really happy", you should have said that.
  • If you wanted to say "I'm kind of slightly hung up on my girlfriend's looks, and feel weird about it", then you should've said that "I'm off to go and read some old AskMeFi answers and have a long deep think".
  • If you wanted to say "You get on OK with GF, don't you? It's not bothering you that she's around lots", then you should've said that.
  • If it was just an open ended conversation starter, you should've said "I can't stop thinking about GF. Sorry, I'm soppy".
So there's a few alternative scenarios you can think through.
posted by ambrosen at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2017 [7 favorites]

"Not my type" in this context is most likely "I'm not going to try to date your girlfriend," possibly with a parenthetical "that is an inappropriate question and this is the best answer I could come up with on the spot."

I would be extremely hesitant to continue dating someone who cared whether other men thought I was attractive.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:28 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

There are a lot of men I know are “objectively” attractive (like, who could be models or who obviously workout) who I am just 0% attracted to. If my friend was dating one of them it would be the best case scenario; they appreciate that dude’s attractiveness, and I don’t have to worry about accidentally flirting with her boyfriend!
posted by stoneandstar at 8:31 AM on October 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I also think you should consider whether you’re insulted on behalf of your girlfriend, or insulted at the perceived slight on your social status.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:33 AM on October 31, 2017 [24 favorites]

I think you need to work hard on learning to give the appropriate weighting to any Just So stories that occur to you about what's going on in other people's heads. You can't ever know for sure what somebody else is thinking, and a major part of becoming a competent autonomous adult is learning to accept the truth of that fact and deal with its consequences.

As a decent first approximation, concentrate on remembering other people's actual exact words rather than ruminating on your own paraphrases. There is almost always a wide range of interpretations for any given remark, and the only way you will ever find out which of those are closest to the mark is by spending enough time interacting with the person concerned that you start to get a feel for the way what that person says relates to what they subsequently do.

If you don't know a person well, doing your best to settle on an interpretation of what they said that would yield the smallest possible amount of ensuing drama will be good for your own peace of mind.
posted by flabdablet at 9:41 AM on October 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

I said that I think she is pretty, and then I just casually asked my roommate what he thinks... and his response was that "she is not my type". I got insulted and angry by his comment

It would also pay you, I think, to give some thought to the extent to which you perceive your new girlfriend as a competent autonomous adult as opposed to some kind of envy-inducing personal bling you've chosen to accessorize with. Frankly, it took me a while to find a charitable reading of your casual question, especially in the light of the reported insult and anger reaction to the answer, and I'm still not confident that that reading is entirely sound.
posted by flabdablet at 9:48 AM on October 31, 2017 [11 favorites]

You asked someone an incredibly rude question. You don't get to be mad about the answer, and you don't get to assume it was some profound truth.

Do not ask other people to rate your girlfriend, or if they think she's hot enough, or if they want to fuck her. That's disgusting. You have some work to do.

If you were worried she was bad for you as a person (or if you were bad for her), I could see asking someone - a friend, someone I'd already established it was okay to have these conversations - if they thought there was a problem from an objective point of view. That's extremely different than what you did.

He said something as noncommital and safe as possible to escape your gross question. You should apologize to him and never do this again.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:49 AM on October 31, 2017 [18 favorites]

He's not interested in discussing your girlfriend. This is a perfectly reasonable roommate response to a new romantic partner. FIAMO except don't bother to flag it.
posted by maryr at 10:29 AM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I said that I think she is pretty, and then I just casually asked my roommate what he thinks... and his response was that "she is not my type". I got insulted and angry by his comment

If you asked a question where one out of a normal range of possible responses would make you insulted and angry, then you should ask yourself whether this question was actually as casual as you make it.

I agree with others, it's a little odd to ask someone what they think about your girlfriend because it's a loaded question. If they answer that she's pretty that could be seen as "I want to be with her" If they say she is not attractive, that could insult your choice or her looks.

Your roommate tried to thread the needle and say "She is the not the type of person I find attractive" leaving open the door to where it's appropriate for you to be with her but they are not stuck in a weird negative situation with you (except whoops, they are!)

Part of the "patriarchy hurts everyone" narrative is how these sorts of toxic masculine interactions are really problematic. Your girlfriend is a person, one you find attractive. Hey, great! Your roommate was put in a position of having to indicate he did not find her sexually desirable in order to do what he felt was the appropriate thing here. That in and of itself is not great, but maybe preferable to them saying they found her attractive which is almost always a bad thing to say about a roommate's partner.
posted by jessamyn at 10:30 AM on October 31, 2017 [6 favorites]

You laid a trap and then got angry when the person you laid it for got caught in it.

You asked a question that had one single answer you would accept without getting angry. Your roommate thought you actually wanted to hear his opinion (not being able to read your mind, he failed to ascertain that you were actually fishing for a compliment/affirmation), so he told you what he thought in as benign a way as possible.

So now you're angry and your roommate is probably confused.

You, by yourself, without any need or external prompting, created a situation that had a very high probability of making yourself angry, and the result did not defy probability.
  • Don't set traps for people.
  • Don't ask questions you don't want answers to.
  • Don't ask the opinions of people whose opinions don't matter to you.
  • Don't manufacture drama and bad feelings for other people.

posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:41 AM on October 31, 2017 [9 favorites]

"Not my type" can mean anything from "she's hideous inside and/or out" to "I don't talk about friends' girlfriends that way" to "I'm gay\ace" to "this topic makes me uncomfortable" to "she's gorgeous but don't worry about me creeping on her" to "I literally never thought about this, what social lubricant will make this topic end promptly?" Of all of those, the second, third, and last are the ones I've seen the most often. He probably wasn't calling her ugly unless he said it with a shudder or a gag.

If he thinks she's repellent, or the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, what difference does it make?
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:53 AM on October 31, 2017 [6 favorites]

> Is the phrase "she is not my type" just a polite way of saying "she is ugly"

It means she's unattractive to him. She's obviously attractive to you and others. It's akin to a girl telling you on a date, "she didn't feel a connection" or "chemistry." It's a nice way of saying she isn't' attracted to you.
posted by GiveUpNed at 11:47 AM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

The ironic thing is many -- maybe even most -- people are in wonderful relationshipswith people "weren't their type" until they got to know them.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:56 AM on October 31, 2017

Some people have very specific things they find attractive. Or unattractive. I've had friends find utterly and completely repelling the one thing I found the most attractive on the same person. And vice-versa.

And just because someone has model looks does not mean Every Single Person will be attracted to him/her.
And that's not to mention personalities - which play a HUGE role in long-term attraction. Kudos to your roommate for being able to identify which ever traits he's just not that in to.

Assuming he wasn't just being diplomatic.

You might just be upset because you're protective of your girlfriend. However, his opinion really doesn't matter.
The only person that needs to find your girlfriend attractive is you. Nobody else.
Unless you have that fetish (I don't know the name) in which you can only lust over someone if others are lusting after them as well. If you do, no judgement, it's all good. But your roommate is not obligated to have the same tastes as you. Live and let live.
posted by Neekee at 5:06 PM on October 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's hard to know what your roommate meant, because he was put in a really awkward situation. Asking people to give an opinion of one's partner's looks isn't something that people usually do. It sends a lot of mixed signals: it can signal that the person asking is in massive need of validation, or that they're trying to stir up drama by instigating a fight (how does he know you're not going to flip out and punch him for saying that yeah, your girlfriend sure is hot with an ass that won't quit?), or even that they're trying to set up a threesome. I mean, there you are talking about how hot you think your girlfriend is, and you think you're pulling a super casual move by asking if *he* thinks your girlfriend is hot, and honestly there's not really a way to ask that question that isn't weird... for all he knows, you might be trying to rope him into some weird sex thing that he's not down for. The safest way out of this minefield of a conversation that you tried to start is for him to indicate that he's not into your girl.
posted by palomar at 5:32 PM on October 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm going to guess that English isn't your first language. (Congrats, like most of the planet you know at least one more language than I do.)

'Not my type' is a very flat, non-committal, understated, not at all a big deal thing to say if you're saying it about somebody else and that person isn't there. It means 'particular criteria must be met in order for me to find somebody physically, sexually or romantically attractive; that person does not meet at least one of those criteria, and that's enough to rule them out for me'. And that's it.

It's not a statement about that person. It's certainly not a statement about your preferences. It's a statement about their preferences, and that's it. In this case, thanks to your loaded question, it's informing you that there's not a lot of point asking that person what their views are, because they either don't have one, or it's clear to them that your views about what makes somebody physically attractive are very different, and so not comparable.

It's like drinking wine. Let's say you are a big fan of wine. You know all about it, and you've tried lots of different types of wine, and one day you say to a friend 'You know, this is a particularly fine example of this kind of wine.' And the other person says 'I don't drink wine.' That's all this is.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:00 PM on October 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

Is your type anyone you find attractive? Do you base who you date only on looks? Because there are a number of people I deal with every day that I don’t evaluate on looks at all, and would find it inappropriate to do so. If my coworrke’s husband asked if I found my coworker attractive, do you think I’d say “oh hell yeah, your wife is hot?” Sometimesstatimg your “type”is a low key way of brushing off awkward queries because I don’t even want to think of my coworkers in that way, and if I did have an opinion, it’d be inappropriate to state it.

One of your prior questions was about a coworker who commented on your physique and how uncomfortable that made you. Would it have been appropriate if he made the comments to another coworker instead of directly to you?
posted by mikeh at 7:31 PM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

A). Why are you seeking validation from another man that your girlfriend is attractive? Do YOU not find her attractive?
B). If you care about your girlfriend, why on earth would it ever matter to you what another dude thinks of her appearance?
C). You do know your girlfriend is a human being, and not a statue whose purpose is to be ogled by men......right?
D). He did not say "Your girlfriend is ugly."
posted by a strong female character at 7:51 PM on October 31, 2017 [9 favorites]

It could really be either. She may very well not be his type. For example Cameron diez is someone id say is not my type. But I still think she's attractive. But not my type. Now of course it's entirely possible when saying not my type he was saying he wasn't attracted to her. But either way does it matter? I say take it at face value and leave it at that. No need to be insulted. The only opinion on your girlfriend that matters is your own.
posted by ljs30 at 10:08 PM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Think of the most beautiful celebrity you can think of. Or one of the most. In your opinion.

Now, if you ask a large number of men if that celebrity is "your type," many of them will probably say "Yes!" — but many of them will probably say "No!"

That could be because they tend to prefer a woman who's shorter, or taller, or bigger, or smaller, or younger, or older, or of a different ethnicity, or a different hair color, etc., etc., etc.

So one man saying that one woman isn't "my type" is not an objective assessment of that woman's attractiveness. It's just an expression of that man's personal tastes.

Also, stop worrying about what anyone else thinks of your girlfriend's looks. All that matters is that you're attracted to her ... right?
posted by John Cohen at 12:43 PM on November 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are you two competitive at all? It may be that he finds her very attractive but that he wouldn't want you to know that, so he put her down. Because, if you two compete or he is the jealous type, he wouldn't want you to have someone prettier than he does, etc. Sounds petty but people can be that way at times.
posted by Avosunspin at 12:21 AM on November 29, 2017

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