A girl's guide to Boston boys

Stop looking for love in all the wrong places
By NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 4, 2009

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READWelcome Back, a newcomer's guide to Boston.

Autumn opens itself wide with possibility. And Boston begins to crackle with fresh energy (you'll feel it), as the city spreads its arms to thousands of new humans. New brains and bodies abuzz with all sorts of anticipation. The feeling of fall: potential.

It's an atmosphere that lends itself particularly well to new romance (fuck spring fever with its moisture and buds). Thing is, you've got to know where to look. Boston's not a big city, but its neighborhoods are many and varied. And, no surprise, you'll find that certain types of specimens haunt certain types of 'hoods. To wit, if your ultimate heart's desire is an amply inked, messy-haired, strong-calved lad with bike grease under his nails, you will be much better served ducking into the Otherside than, say, Cleary's. Forgive us, though ? you'll have to allow for a little bit of stereotyping, both character-wise and geographic. What follows, a primer to steer all you Juliets in the right direction for your Romeos.

Harvard Square
If you're seeking: The scholar, the lefty, the trust funder, the striver, the pedigreed, the poet (the trust funder), the bookish, the brainy, the blue-blooded.

The young men of 02138 are a confident lot, ambitious and focused, engaged and articulate. Or, read another way: arrogant, competitive, and highly self-centered. (What? Some chicks are into that.) Harvard looms large, of course, and draws to it people serious about their studies, committed to their fields, and seduced by the big-name brand. They're discriminating in their tastes, while also often harboring a nervous inner nerd.

The poster boy: Six-two. Lean. Perfectly battered leather bag. Trousers of vaguely European cut. Footwear varying between low leather boots or statement sneakers. Hair in (deliberate and not unkempt) need of a trim. "Oh, I know it's getting long, I've just been so caught up in Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology and its split with Platonic assumptions that I haven't been able to get to the barber." Also, scarves.

Where to find him: Harvard Bookstore, Shay's, Grendel's, Café Algiers, the Brattle, Widener Library, Daedalus, Darwin's, Pinocchio's.

Kenmore Square/Fenway
If you're seeking:
The athlete, the sports fan, the communications major, the Bud drinker, the keg stander, the gym-goer, the dude's dude, the jocular, the jock.

Frat boys get a bum rap. Is brotherhood all bad? The guys around Kenmore, they're like the pals of your best friend's older bro. Rowdy, enthused, slightly higher than average levels of testosterone surging through their veins. Often spotted in packs, they're meat-and-potatoes boys, out for a laugh, just trying to have a good time is all. Boston sports inspire a singular level of fanaticism, and our storied ballpark serves as epicenter and eye-of-storm for the city's rampant, rabid fandom. Who you'll find in the shadow of Fenway reflects that.

The poster boy: A little extra meat on the bones, muscled shoulders with a bit of a belly. Strong clean-shaven jaw. Khakis, wrinkled. Youkilis T. Quick to smile. Quick to receive and reciprocate a high five. White socks.

Where to find him: Cask 'n Flagon, Game On!, Sunset, Spike's, the Dugout, Gold's Gym.

Jamaica Plain
If you're seeking: The vegan, the sculptor, the DJ, the earnest, the environmentalist, the record collector, the filmmaker, the fey, the sensitive modern man.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Harvard University, Brendan Behan, Lily Pulitzer,  More more >
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