Warning: May contain spoilers.
In your dating history you probably have a type -- most of us do. But we can't always see for ourselves unhealthy relationship patterns in the men we choose. Luckily there are Marvel movies, filled not just with common "types," but larger-than-life archetypes, making identifying your hot-button dating issues a snap. Wondering which kind of guy waves your personal big red flag for you? Read on.
Ironman/Tony Stark -- You know it means trouble, but you don't care -- you go for the bad boy every time. You can't resist the sex appeal of a man who never makes himself wholly available, who rocks your world in bed and forgets you the moment you're out of it. You love the challenge of a man who's hard to tie down and the cachet of dating the guy every other woman wants. He's the center of any crowd he's in -- a brilliant, charismatic grandstander who's quick with a snappy one-liner and has the hottest tech, the fastest cars and a whole lot of family money.
He's the guy everyone calls on in a pinch -- and he'll always come to the rescue, but he wants the glory for doing it, and he has no intention of sharing the spotlight. It's his way or the highway, and you're never going to mean more to him than his favorite suit.
Pros: Sexy, smart, and funny -- the holy triumvirate.
Cons: Arrogant, a womanizer and doesn't play well with others.
The Hulk/Bruce Banner -- You know nice guys are good for you, and you're actually pretty attracted to them. And there's something utterly appealing about a shy guy you get to draw out of his shell. On the face of things, this type of guy seems like the perfect boyfriend. He's smart, altruistic, gentle and humble. Not for you is the swagger and posturing of the alpha male; you like a man who's modest and soft-spoken, someone who's genuine and real, uninterested in self-aggrandizing.
But unless there's also a dark side, a thick undercurrent of the bad boy running underneath a man's docile exterior, you can't help it -- you're going to get bored. You like the excitement of unpredictability, and part of you thrives on drama, unable to walk away from the thrilling roller-coaster ride of this type of relationship -- even though you might get seriously, seriously hurt.
Pros: A good, gentle man who's still capable of standing up for you.
Cons: Major anger-management issues.
Thor -- You like 'em pretty. Really pretty. You're also a fan of muscles, hair and, perhaps, power. Not to mention that he wields a really impressive tool. On the surface, this type of guy seems like someone any woman would want to date -- an insanely hot trophy beau who'll treat you like a gentleman, rock you between the sheets, and take you home to mama. (Though those two might be a touch close for your comfort.) He's responsible, honorable and a born leader.
But this type of man has major responsibilities and takes them seriously -- so seriously that you can probably count on always coming second to him protecting his kingdom and people. Planning a special date, or a party, or a vacation? Don't rely on this guy. If something comes up that he feels needs dealing with, he'll be worlds away -- literally. Not to mention that he's pretty firmly convinced that he comes from a superior people and place, which can make blending the families a little challenging.
Pros: Insanely hot. Powerful, but with honorable intentions.
Cons: Literally has a god complex.
Captain America -- No chasing bad boys for you. You've always gone for the "good guy." You like a man who says what he means and means what he says, someone whose word you can count on, and who'll always -- always -- do the right thing. He's not looking for glory or fame or praise -- he only cares about justice and right. This is a guy you can trust -- no games, no hidden layers, no pretense; what you see is what you get. And that appealing all-American handsomeness and rippling muscles don't hurt a bit.
But then again... It's hard to keep up with perfection. How good are you going to feel about yourself when you have that extra glass of wine at night, or indulge in gossip at a party, or run a red light, when you're dating a guy whose biggest flaw is that he's willing to tell a little white lie -- but only so he can go defend his country? What about the night you want to cut loose with your honey and do something crazy -- sneak backstage at a concert, or talk your way into an exclusive VIP party -- and he staunchly refuses to do anything morally, legally or ethically dicey? There's something to be said for reliability and honor... but it can come with a steaming side dish of dull predictability.
Pros: Honest and honorable, loyal, straightforward.
Cons: Saintly... and a little bit boring.
Hawkeye -- You like the mysterious, silent type, men who guard their secrets... and their hearts. On the plus side, this kind of guy can be a wonderful puzzle to solve, a lovely onion to peel layer by layer. But men who play their cards close to the chest might be endearingly afraid to be vulnerable until they meet the right woman -- or they might be hiding a secret wife and family no one had any idea about.
This type of guy is a great team player, always willing to step in uncomplainingly and do what needs doing. And he'll never hog the spotlight -- he's content to let others shine. He knows what he's good at, and he focuses intently on doing only that -- which might, on the flipside, make him a bit tunnel-vision, slow to adapt to a changing world. (One of these days, someone's going to realize that a bow and arrow isn't really in the same league as superpowers, ancient magic, and tech that can obliterate worlds... and then someone's going to be out of job and spending an awful lot of time on the couch.)
Pros: Great in a pinch, and someone you can trust with your deepest secrets.
Cons: Kind of gets lost in the background around his showy friends.
Loki -- You can't help your desire to want to "fix" a broken man. You're drawn in by a painful past and hidden vulnerability, willing to overlook every red flag in your determination to help heal the wounded little boy within.
Pros: Charming and funny; resourceful and smart.
Cons: Utterly untrustworthy.
Vision/Jarvis -- There's something about the new guy in town. You like the mystery, the clean slate of a totally unknown past. Or maybe you like them young -- the charming naivete of a man who hasn't yet seen much of the world, who's so much more easily impressed than a world-weary lothario--with the extra added bonus that he's a virgin.
Pros: Strong, handsome, really, really connected.
Cons: More like raising a child than dating a man.
Phoebe Fox is the author of The Breakup Doctor and Bedside Manners, part of the Breakup Doctor series (from Henery Press). You can find her at www.phoebefoxauthor.com, and have news and relationship advice delivered right to your in-box here. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.