Writing left handed

Let the “Man”thropology Continue: The Pre-Raphaelite Lover

Getting back to the notion of “type” (and those pesky Impressionists in particular) I should confess that I’ve been mulling over my “observations” of the male species for a while now.   I kept thinking “Nah, types are boring.  They’re too personal.  Too subjective.  And no one’s going to want to read about the miserable men who make me miserable.”  But I was wrong.  Also, I completely forgot the whole point of anthropology.

Granted, I’m paraphrasing a bit here (and bastardizing the entire ethnographic discipline in more ways than one) but anthropology is all about understanding.  The entire point of conducting fieldwork is to gain a better understanding of those you’re researching (single men between the ages of 25 and 38 in my case) and as an anthropologist, it’s incumbent upon you to publish your findings so that others may benefit from your “discoveries.”

(The ethics of this can get a bit sticky, however, especially when governmental agencies get involved.  If you’d like to know more about this you can read my totally boring, totally arcane, totally footnoted academic journal article here.  You might, however, take greater pleasure in poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick so I would advise against it.)

Anyway, I’ve been remiss in my anthropological duties.  Sure I chronicle the ups and downs of each date and obsess over the long term ramifications of my little research project but I hardly ever take a step back to analyze my findings and if I did, I’d have noticed a second “type.”

Case in point...

In keeping with my fines arts nomenclature, I’m going to call these guys The Pre-Raphaelites.  I’ve dated several Pre-Raphaelites as part of my current experiment and now that I think about it, I’ve been dating Pre-Raphaelites since my junior year of college.

You’d think I’d know better by now but clearly I don’t.

This is because Pre-Raphaelites are romantic—hopelessly so—and a girl with a taste for nineteenth-century literature can get easily swept away by their Victorian melodramatics.

  • Pre-Raphaelites often come from white-collar backgrounds.  As such, they’re less concerned with the bottom line and because money rarely factor into their chosen career paths, they usually go to school for English literature, philosophy or art.
  • They’re given to composing sonnets, rambling about existentialism, writing love letters and taking trips to the art museum, the ballet, the symphony, and the [insert-your-favorite-cultural-institution here], which is why they’re so damn appealing in the first place.
  •  They run the gamut from effeminate to metrosexual (and this is not a terribly wide spectrum so they’re rather easy to spot).  If this were 1711 instead of 2011, they’d be living in a garret, writing poetry in one of those aptly-named poet shirts.  And even though most Pre-Raphaelites are total fops and spend a lot of time talking about their clothes, they never quite get it right.
  • They worship women but don’t let this fool you: it’s only in a very messed up Pygmalion sort of way.  If you fall from the pedestal upon which they’ve put you (by listening to something other than Wagner, for example) you’re history.  (If you think you might be dating a Pre-Raphaelite, suggest watching “Step Up 2 The Streets” for your next movie night.  See what happens.)
  • Pre-Raphaelites, like the artists for which I’ve named them, are committed to ideals: to beauty, to art and to Arthurian codes of chivalry.  They give lavish gifts (flowers, jewelry, books, beautifully wrapped imported teas) and think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on meals or plane tickets.  (Actually, they think very much of such gestures.  They think “I am Arthur, off to woo my Guinevere.”  This is because they’re f*cked up.  Unlike the Impressionists, Pre-Raphaelites don’t need a woman to confirm their status in the world; they need a woman to confirm their manhood—a woman willing to indulge their romantic notions and make them feel like the knights in shining armor or Homeric heroes that they secretly long to be.)
  • They do that “rapid leap” thing that Jane Austen talks about women doing and because they’re not women, their talk of love/marriage/babies can be rather seductive.  Pre-Raphaelites can fall in love in an instant, or so they think (and so you’ll think if you’re dating one of them).  But they’re not in love with you.  They’re in love with the idea of being in love and this is a very BIG, very DANGEROUS difference.
  • They do a lot of sighing.
  • They have very pretty hands.
  • They’re surprisingly agressive when things get physical.  (Arthurian chivalry, my *ss.)
  • They are extremely bitter about their past relationships.  If you’re dating a Pre-Raphaelite, chances are you’ll learn the names (and perceived shortcomings) of his ex-girlfriend(s) before you’ve even ordered your first drink.  And no, I’m not exaggerating here.
  • They’re unforgiving and easily disappointed.  Pre-Raphaelites invest a lot of emotional energy into their relationships and when their relationships don’t pan out quite the way they’d hoped, they can become rather cruel, rather quickly.

Does this mean that you should never, under any circumstances, date a Pre-Raphaelite?  No.  It simply means that if you’re like me (melodramatic and hopelessly romantic enough on your own) then you should probably steer clear.  Because break ups with Pre-Raphaelites are epic and the relationships, even when they seem to be “working,” are rarely worth the trouble.

Thoughts?  Have you ever dated someone you’d consider a Pre-Raphaelite?

15 Responses to “Let the “Man”thropology Continue: The Pre-Raphaelite Lover”

  1. Jess Killmenow

    Hmm. I think I’ll compose a sonnet about not being a pre-Raphaelite. I do not fit the demographic anyway, but it would still make an interesting poll, wouldn’t it?

    Are you a pre-Raphaelite?
    [insert list of check boxes here]

  2. Zak

    Wow. I am definitely not this type, thank goodness. But I do have some of the same qualities. I can’t wait to read more “types” so I can finally figure out 1) what I am, and 2) how girls react to that type. 🙂

  3. mydatingprescription

    Kat, I have to say your posts on types lately have been the BEST! I have also dated Pre-Raphaelites in the past, and you are very accurate on a lot of points, especially the part about getting knocked off the pedestal.

    Any luck on the 50th date search yet?

  4. Katie M

    I HAVE DATED THOSE MEN! It’s all true. So were a lot of the other types in the last post, but this one scared me the most because it suits a lot of the guys I’ve dated. Except none of mine had a lot of money so I didn’t get the only perks of gifts and events and dinners. So at least you had that going for you!

  5. Surrey gal

    I saw your comment on stevesw’s post about avatars and I wanted to reply, but couldn’t find the link to “comment” so insetead I’ll just write here – it’s so obvious but I never thought about it, that the more scandalous the photo the crapier men respond. I just wanted to thank you for pointing it out. Obvious, but not many girls actually realise that.

  6. awindram

    Hmm, I think I’m a Pre-Raphaelite, or at least I was a few years back – my hands are still pretty though. Just call me Dante Gabriel Rossetti.


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