->''"I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?"''
-->-- '''Benedick''', ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing''

If the protagonist of a love story wants a certain type of person at the start of the story, their final True Love will be very different. The guy who prefers the ProperLady will end up with the {{Tsundere}}, the girl who only gets turned on by "[[AllGirlsWantBadBoys bad boys]]" will end up with a [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan nice guy]].

Generally, this is shown in terms of "you don't know what you're looking for until you find it", and, on a more pragmatic level, makes for a better story under the RuleOfDrama. Would you ''really'' want to watch two hours of "person dates a bunch of similar people until they find the one that suits them best"? Or worse, a nice couple who hit it off immediately and hook up without any problems.

One of the most popular variants is the TroubledButCute guy who only dates so-called "easy" girls until he finds true love with the GirlNextDoor -- falling into the old (sexist) adage that "there are girls you sleep with and girls you marry," a popular mantra for parents who didn't mind their son "sowing his wild oats", but [[DoubleStandard didn't want a girl who was less than virginal]] marrying into the family. (The same is, of course, true of women who are presented as making a distinction between "men they sleep with" and "men they marry", although in accord with the DoubleStandard, it's less likely to be brought up as an issue).

The female protagonist often travels along a different arc: they will fall for someone she'd usually consider [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys unsuitable or downright dangerous]] after a string of more sensible partners. Usually, it comes across as "even if a woman decides to date men [[DoggedNiceGuy who can at least spell "morality,"]] they will still get ditched as she falls for the [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys Bad Boy]] anyway."

Most audiences [[MST3KMantra aren't interested in love-as-political-point-scoring]] and will treat the work as a love story.

Occasionally, the True Love will differ even from the preferred gender, with accompanying IfItsYouItsOkay. The double-whammy is popular in tales of YaoiGuys, where not only is one character the "wrong" gender for his partner, but the "wrong" personality type as well.

See also LadykillerInLove -- where the character falling in love ''at all'' is exceptional. Subtrope of OOCIsSeriousBusiness.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/FromEroicaWithLove'', Dorian's preference (if you ignore his love life's status as an [[UrbanLegendLoveLife urban legend]]) is for submissive, artistic, fey(-er than himself) pretty boys. The unrequited love of his life is Klaus - who is macho, domineering, artistically insensitive, and has a volcanic temper to boot.
* At the start of ''Manga/FutureLovers'', Kento dreams of marrying a [[HouseWife sweet and responsible homemaker]] and having a family. He's forced to seriously revise that dream when he finds himself falling in love with Akira, who is as far from the ideal housewife as you can get, [[BoysLove gender included]].
* ''Manga/{{Gravitation}}'''s Eiri Yuki had a track record that consisted of "girls who won't mind if I forget about them post-sex, but who are happy to get an encore should I deign to call them." He ends up with [[ClingyJealousGirl clingy,]] demanding, (and male) Shuichi.
* Sumire from ''Manga/KimiWaPetto'' has it in mind to date a man with her "Three Highs" - [[AllAmazonsWantHercules taller than her, more educated than her, and earns more than her]] because she's learned from experience that NoGuyWantsAnAmazon. Naturally, she falls in love with Takeshi, a short and out-of-work modern dance student.
* In ''Manga/LovelyComplex'', Risa, who's [[HugeSchoolgirl unusually tall for a girl]], wants a boyfriend who's taller than her. Otani, who's unusually short for a boy, wants a cute girlfriend who's shorter than him. Take a wild guess as to whom each one hooks up with in the end. Admittedly, they have a lot in common aside from the height difference, but it takes quite a while for them to get over that mental hurdle.
* In ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic'' Sharrkan's type of woman is the loose, easy kind that a man can have a quick score with. In other words, call girls and the like. However, he fell in love with Yamraiha, a woman who takes relationships very seriously and who is probably the farthest thing from "easy."
* Rei in ''Manga/{{MARS}}'' dates any girl willing to sleep with him, most of them shown as brash, shallow and self-obsessed, until he meets painfully introverted and artistic Kira, who has some serious issues regarding sex and is the first girl not to immediately make for the bedroom.
* Part of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'''s late mother Kushina Uzumaki's dying wish was for him to find a girl like herself. She actually didn't make it clear on what exactly she meant, but presumably she meant a FieryRedhead with a HotBlooded personality. Even more so, Naruto had a [[LovingAShadow one-sided shallow crush]] on Sakura ([[ShipSinking until Chapter 469]]), who is a pink-haired {{Tsundere}} with that exact personality. But the girl whom Naruto [[OneTrueLove truly fell in love]] with and got HappilyMarried to, [[spoiler:Hinata]], is the [[ShyBlueHairedGirl complete opposite]] of what Kushina wished in the end.
* In ''Manga/SasamekiKoto'', Ushio makes it very clear that [[SchoolgirlLesbians she only cares for extremely cute girls]]--much to the lament of her best friend, Sumika, who does not consider herself cute in the least, being a rather tall karate prodigy. Things become rather ... complicated, once Ushio realizes she has developed feelings for Sumika after all.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Heather Douglas, Marvel's telepathic Moondragon has one of the more convoluted stories, starting off as a manipulator who would sometimes use sex as a weapon and always was involved with males. Then to her own surprise she fell in love with Rick Jones's wife Marlo Chandler, but that did not work out. Marlo eventually returned to Rick, and to ensure her future happiness, Heather "confessed" that she thought she had subconsciously made Marlo fall in love with her in the first place. Phyla-Vell, the cosmically aware daughter of Captain Marvel, was so moved by that self-denying lie that she fell in love with Heather, who thus unexpectedly found her true love after all.
* One also could put [[SpiderMan Spider-Man]] and Mary Jane Watson in this category, especially as MJ in her original form was not even intended to be a serious love interest by the creators. Here it took the tragic death of Gwen Stacy, which also affected Mary Jane deeply, and a few other twists and turns until the two realized how well they fit together and could finally tie the knot.
* One ''Comicbook/AstroCity'' comic focuses on a man haunted by dreams about his wife, who became {{Ret Gone}} due to a villain meddling with time. One thing that confuses him about his "dream girl" is that she really isn't what he would normally think of as his type; one of his friends notes the same thing about his own wife.

* ''Fanfic/TheChildOfLove'': In chapter 1 Shinji thinks it is curious he -an introvert- is more drawn to a girl as hot-heated as Asuka rather someone more tranquil like Rei.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': In [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/911299/022/ chapter 3]] [[{{Tsundere}} Asuka]] tells to Shinji that she will be keeping an eye on him, and Shinji wonders why can't a normal, well-adjusted girl say that to him. In [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1046811/029/ chapter 5]] Asuka screams that [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend Shinji is not her boyfriend]], and her ideal boyfriend is completely different from Shinji: her ideal man is manly, confident, beefy, always acts carefully and thinks with lightning speed. Shinji and Asuka [[RelationshipUpgrade got together]] at the end of that episode and [[spoiler:got engaged]] in chapter 13.
* In ''FanFic/{{Shatterheart}}'' [[spoiler: R!]]Syaoran believed that he would always love the SpoiledSweet Sakura, only to fall in love [[spoiler: and eventually get engaged with]] with JerkWithAHeartOfGold Kurogane.
* In ''Fanfic/ThoseGildedChainsWeWear'' Hermione, who prefers kind and caring men, gradually falls for Bellatrix, who is [[AxeCrazy anything but]].
* In ''FanFic/AtGatesEdge'' Roy Mustang is a consummate [[TheCasanova Casanova]] whose type tends to be men and women that he can easily charm without effort and immediately sleep with him. He [[LadykillerInLove falls hard for]] [[CuteGhostGirl Edward]] who is a stubborn, hard-to-impress {{Tsundere}} who takes commitment very seriously, but is physically incapable of touching due to being a ghost.
* In the first chapter of ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'', Asuka stated that she wasn't supposed to fall for a meek, insecure boy like Shinji:
-->"I don't know! I just keep thinking about it! I'm not supposed to be attracted to boys like you! I'm supposed to want a real man like Kaji! I'm not supposed to be wondering what it would feel like to kiss you, to have your arms around me! It's not supposed to feel this good to do it! It's not supposed to feel so good to be lying here with you! I shouldn't want this to never end..." Her outburst ran down into confusion. "Why is it you?"
* ''FanFic/{{Rules}}'': Light Yagami, with his looks and charm, could literally have any girl he would want. He's dated several over the years, and no matter what their status in life, they fawned over him and would do anything for him, including giving up their hopes and dreams to become the perfect, obedient Japanese housewife. [[spoiler:Then comes Charlie. American, foul-mouthed, independent Charlie, who ''hated'' him at first. She fought with him, infuriated him more than anyone else besides Elijah/L. She was unlike any girl he had ever met. It wasn't hard to see that she would be the one he would fall for in the end]].

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'': Princess Fiona dreamt having a typical storybook ending with her PrinceCharming, who would slay the dragon and climbed to the highest room in the tallest tower and break the curse that turned her into an ogre at night. She ends up falling in love with Shrek, an ogre who is a far cry from PrinceCharming, and when the curse breaks she ends up becoming an ogre permanently (which doesn't really bother her since her mannerisms were ogre-like in both of her forms). In the sequel, when Shrek offers her the chance to live their HappilyEverAfter in beautiful human forms, can you guess what Fiona's response is?
-->'''Fiona''': I want what any princess wants, to live happily ever after...''with the '''ogre''' I married''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' Val has a precise checklist for women he dates; "long blonde hair, big green eyes, world class breasts, ass that won't quit and legs that go ''all'' the way up!" (Unspoken is the fact they have three names and the intellects of cheese spread.) He ends up falling in love with Rhonda, a brunette with blue eyes who is rather short and HollywoodHomely. (But at least she has ''brains''!)
* Danny Zuko in ''Film/{{Grease}}'' prefers "girls who put out," only to fall for sweet and naive Sandy (at least, she is until the end of the film, making this a possible subversion where [[BeAWhoreToGetYourMan the True Love changes in order to conform to their partner's "type"]]).
* This is the entire plot, albeit forced on the main character, of ''Film/ShallowHal.''

* This appears to be set up for ''Literature/ConfessionsOfGeorgiaNicolson'' -- despite Georgia's claims that only "Sex Gods" need apply to be her boyfriend, her closest and most constant relationship is with Dave "The Laugh." While he's not as attractive as Georgia prefers, and lacks the status symbols of both Robbie and Masimo (a car/scooter, sings in a band, older than Georgia), she can't stop thinking about him (often remarking mid-monologue "How did Dave The Laugh get in there?") and shows surprising maturity in her reactions to him; Georgia can be [[NoSympathy ludicrously insensitive]] to most people, but she genuinely fears hurting or offending Dave in any way, not out of pride for herself but out of an honest regard for his feelings.
* In the ''Literature/SpyHigh'' books by A.J. Butcher, super-wealthy JerkJock Ben has only ever dated girls equally as privileged and physically gorgeous as him (which in the first series brings him together with Lori), but ultimately falls in love with Cally, who although kind and loving is a wrong-side-of-the-tracks former delinquent and grew up in comparative poverty.
* In ''Literature/AnneOfGreenGables'', Anne Shirley had always insisted that she would only marry a man who fit her ideal. Tall, dark, handsome were non-negotiable requirements. Preferably one who owned a castle somewhere, like Spain. In the end, she winds up with Gilbert Blythe. She had rejected him many times for not fitting her ideal. (Granted, Gilbert ''is'' tall, dark, and the handsomest guy in her hometown -- but he trained as a doctor, he was too much of a [[GirlNextDoor Boy Next Door]], and she [[IDontWantToRuinOurFriendship didn't want to ruin their friendship.]]) [[note]] The BelligerentSexualTension was the focus of the first book, not the rest of the series. At the end of ''Anne of Green Gables,'' Gilbert and Anne talk, Anne admits that holding a grudge for once incident years ago was silly, and they become friends. Given that Anne ''does'' have feelings for Gil but won't acknowledge them and Gilbert is not at all subtle about his feelings, it turns very quickly into a JustFriends relationship where EveryoneCanSeeIt. [[/note]]
* In Creator/LMMontgomery's ''Literature/TheBlueCastle'', Valancy's cousin Olive, after her fiancé dies, proceeds to have a romance with a town bad boy, until her family's disapproval leads to her dutifully giving him up (with non-family gossips saying he was starting to cool on her), and finding a more suitable SecondLove.
* In Creator/JaneAusten's ''Literature/SenseAndSensibility'', Marianne wants to find a man who is as demonstrably passionate about life as she herself is. She finds it in Willoughby, but when he turns out to be a callous rake who [[spoiler:seduced and abandoned a young woman, leaving her pregnant and dissolute]], and then abandons ''her'' in favor of marriage to a rich woman, she instead finds her happiness with the older Colonel Brandon - a quiet, serious, well-mannered man who is much less outspoken about his feelings.
* ''Literature/IAmNotASerialKiller'' has another example that's less "not their usual type" and more "wait, they're actually into someone?" John is shocked and confused by his genuine interest in and affection for Marci-because ''he's a diagnosed sociopath''. [[AntiHero As he well knows]], rules are meant to be broken. He also inverts the [[MadonnaWhoreComplex "girls you sleep with and girls you marry"]] variant-[[TheIngenue Brooke]], ends up being a shallow infatuation, and [[GoodBadGirl Marci]] is maybe the only person in the world he really loves.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The truth of this trope depends where you stand in the [[ShipToShipCombat Shipping Wars]], but all of ''Series/{{Angel}}'s'' [[LoveInterest romantic interests]] were petite blondes (Buffy, Darla, Kate, Nina) with the exception of voluptuous brunette Cordelia. Who, for at least part of the time he was interested in her, had dyed her hair blonde. Dude has a type.
** Make them tough and confident too and you have a winner. Also don't forget some of Angelus/Angel's MALE lovers e.g. Spike, who is also (comparatively) small and blond.
** Lampshaded in the episode "Carpe Noctem" where an old man switches bodies with Angel, and is seen having sex on Wesley's desk. Cordelia isn't suspicious, saying that going at it with "some cheap blonde" is just the sort of thing Angel would do. However, when Fred mentions she was "some cheap brunette" the gang realizes there must be something wrong with Angel, and springs to action.
* Mulder's minor love interests in ''Series/TheXFiles'' tended to be tall, leggy, and blonde or brunette. In the end, he winds up with Scully, a petite redhead.
* Charlotte on ''Series/SexAndTheCity'' spent the first seasons looking for her prince charming and eventually found Trey, who was everything she ever dreamed of, and married him. When she and Trey were divorcing she chose her divorce attorney, Harry, specifically because he was everything she ''didn't'' want in a man, and therefore she felt free to be as aggressive as possible during the divorce. Harry turned out to be her true love.
* Blair on ''Series/GossipGirl'' veers back and forth between jerkasses (Carter, Jack) and (apparently) sweet guys (Nate, Lord Marcus, Louis). Both types treat her like crap. However, resident {{jerkass}} Chuck is the only one who she's interested in for longer than a night.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'':
** The insecure Chandler was terrified of commitment and went through MinorFlawMajorBreakUp with his few relationships. Then he fell in love with his best friend Monica, and not only accepted her 'high maintenance' faults but felt good about dealing with them. With her help he forged through his own issues and proved to be an unbelievably sweet boyfriend and later husband.
** Monica previously stated she preferred 'mature' and sophisticated guys, but appreciated how Chandler's humour relaxed her. It's especially noticeable when her ex-boyfriend [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter Richard]] appears and, despite him being her previous ideal man, she still picks Chandler. The pair established the [[HappilyMarried happiest relationship]] on the whole show.
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Before meeting the short, blonde [[ThePollyanna Leslie]], [[OnlySaneMan Ben]] apparently had a type:
-->'''Chris Traeger:''' You always like tall brunettes.\\
'''Ben Wyatt:''' Not exclusively.\\
'''Chris Traeger:''' Historically, yes, exclusively.
* On ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' Penny always dated the dimwitted JerkJock type. Her on-again off-again relationship with [[HollywoodNerd Leonard]] made her realize what she really wanted was a NiceGuy who challenged her intellectually (in other words, Leonard).
** In one of her "off again" phases, we got to see her current boyfriend. Who was dumb as a post and pretty self-absorbed. He was ''friendly'' enough ... he just didn't put a lot of thought into preserving other peoples' feelings. Which basically made him Sheldon without the high IQ.