9 Literary Character Types You Will Meet in New York... and Absolutely Should Not Date
The more New York changes, the more it stays the same. There are archetype crazies that this city has always attracted... and will always attract. They’re sexy and dangerous — and somehow they manage to maintain insanely large egos in very small, well-curated apartments.
But they are not to be dated. They will squash your ego until it resembles a splotch of split pea soup left on the kitchen counter. No one said dating in the city would be easy. It's a shame, really, because the nut jobs are incredible people to be with — for a while. There is an allure to the overconfident older person, especially if he or she can speak intelligently about an issue that matters to you. Oh, and then there are the actors. The actors.
Really, the best way to go about having these relationships is through fiction. You can dig into the gory details of their sordid lives without having to cook them dinner or loan them money. Plus, when you’re done, you can take a look around at your life and you can say, “Maybe I don’t have everything on Earth I ever wanted, but at least I’m not married to a man who would sell my womb to Satan.”
Here are just nine of the many all-too-real characters that you should never, ever let buy you a drink.
1. The Underground Man
Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Who he is: The guy who didn’t make it big in New York and is super-pissed about it.Where you’ll find him: In his dirty basement apartment in Queens or at a nearby dive bar doing his angry drinking.How to spot him: He’s got a pout and a bald spot.Why you must not date him: He’s more hostile than a guest FOX News pundit on The Daily Show.
2. Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Who she is: One of those New York people for whom everything goes right all the time. You know, people who work for magazines.Where you’ll find her: Don’t worry, you won’t. When not traipsing off to India to pray (humph), she’s dining at a restaurant you’ll never get a reservation at/be able to afford/be let inside.How to spot her: She has a flawless yoga body, her eyebrows are shaped by an expert and her outfit cost your rent.Why you must not date her: Her life crises become book deals. Who can compete?
3. Amelia Sedley
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Who she is: That woman that orders the salad and club soda when you have a burger and drink beer.
Where you’ll find her: In a Pilates class, at the greenmarket, or taking 20 minutes to order a nonfat, no foam, pumpkin spice latte.How to spot her: She has an upturned nose and no sense of humor.Why you must not date her: She’s a morality lesson on why women shouldn’t be ambitious. Man up. Date Becky.
4. Professor Herzog
Herzog by Saul Bellow
Who he is: The walking midlife crisis who thinks it would be really healthy for you to date a father figure.Where he can be found: Columbia University.How to spot him: You’ll know him by his tweediness.Why you must not date him: He takes pleasure in your being so much sexier than his ex-wife and so much less intelligent than he is. He’s happiest when you are either praising his wisdom or cooking his dinner. This is not what you came to New York for.
5. Nate Piven
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Who he is: Brooklyn. Where he can be found: Brooklyn.How to spot him: He’s wearing a hat when a hat is not necessary.Why you must not date him: For the same reason you don’t want to spend your whole life in Williamsburg. It’s no fun being lectured to about modern literary critique by a guy wearing a Lundberg Stetson, even if you are drinking really good whisky.
6. Esther Greenwood
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Who she is: The poet with the torn soul and the über-self-destructive habits.How to spot her: You’ll know her by the bags under her eyes and the purposefully ugly shoes.Where she can be found: Unpleasant places. Or feeling suicidal in the bath.Why you must not date her: You’ll think you can fix her. But it’s not gonna happen.
7. Sherman McCoy
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
Who he is: The A-hole responsible for your parents’ underwater mortgage.Where you’ll find him: At any bar below Canal Street that starts with “Mc.”How to spot him: He will be saying facts very loudly at other universe masters who are saying facts very loudly back at him.Why you must not date him: Sure, he could buy you a car, but then you’d have to drive around with him.
8. Mr. Goodbar
Looking for Mr. Goodbarby Judith Rossner
Who he is: A murdererWhere you’ll find him: On Craigslist.How to spot him: In his ad, he’ll offer to murder you.Why you must not date him: He’ll murder you.
9. Guy Woodhouse
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Who he is: An actor — a bad mix of desperate, confident, and morally lax.
Where you’ll find him: Auditioning, mirror-gazing, or selling your unborn Satan child to the neighbors.How to spot him: Look down, he’s quite short. It’s where his whole ego problem stems from.Why you must not date him: Actors are so self-involved. Oh, and the Satan thing.