The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures

A girl's guide to Boston boys

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


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.

JP inspires a fierce loyalty, a community allegiance. Its denizens ? quiet do-gooders ? are engaged in social justice, in local issues, in obscure bands from Madagascar and Bali. The gentlemen here tend toward the artsier ilk, members of the famed creative class. They spend their days helping friends with their documentary film projects, their evenings making curried vegetable stews. They know a bit about feminism.

The poster boy: Bearded. Slight of frame. Black-rimmed glasses. Canvas man purse. British three-speed bicycle with front basket loaded with beets and chard from the farmers' market. Plaid form-fitting button down, with silkscreen T underneath. Soft spoken. Headphones. Buddhist leanings.

Where to find him: Forest Hills Cemetery, City Feed, Ula, Jamaica Pond, Brendan Behan, the Midway, Doyle's, vegetarian potluck dinners.

If you're seeking: The rock star (aspiring), the rebel, the skinny-jeaned, the financially not-quite-on-his-feet, the ratty, the renegade, the boy your parents never want you to bring home.

Rock City. Student slum. Living in Allston is, for many, a right of passage. It's where you land for those first few heady, trying, post-college years, where you take full advantage of Allston's cheap food, beer, and rent. The prototypical Allstonite male is age 23, employed (sort of), living with an assemblage of three (or more) friends/fellow Craigslisters, and is a drummer in a band that is starting to get really good, no seriously.

The poster boy: Negligible body fat. Tight, tattered, tapered jeans. Creative facial hair. Questionable hygienic practices. An air of practiced stand-offish-ness. Perfected sneer.

Where to find him: Great Scott, Grasshopper, the Model, the Silhouette, Deep Ellum.

Beacon Hill
If you're seeking: The WASP, the banker, the broker, the golfer, the buttoned-up, the blazered, the pressed.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: , , , More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Harvard University, Brendan Behan, Lily Pulitzer,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   A GIRL'S GUIDE TO BOSTON BOYS  |  September 04, 2009
    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 .
    In Kyle Minor's dark debut collection of stories, personal secrets always exact a terrible price.
  •   ASTA IN THE WINGS  |  January 28, 2009
    Jan Elizabeth Watson was reluctant, at first, to set her dreamy first novel in Maine, afraid of marginalizing herself as a "Maine writer."
  •   DEAD END  |  December 30, 2008
    It's a masterful, devastating portrait of a marriage crumbling and a merciless critique of the torpor and predictability of 1950's suburbia.
  •   GHOST WRITER  |  October 02, 2008
    Salted throughout Kelly Link’s stories, you’ll find Buffy , Bust , Doc Martens, IM-ing, Target, Google, Vicks VapoRub, a T-shirt that reads I’M SO GOTH I SHIT TINY VAMPIRES.  

 See all articles by: NINA MACLAUGHLIN

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group