Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ten people not to date.

Very subjective, I'm sure it's not 100% true in every case, etcetera. But I think these are good guidelines.

1) Anyone who out-and-out says that they're not what you're looking for. Someone who says that he's not in it for a long-term relationship or she's not good at being faithful... probably means it. I'm amazed how many people ignore this.

2) Anyone who's "the jealous type." If they're jealous before you're even exclusive, they're going to be bugnuts obsessive down the road.

3) Anyone who has a major sexual incompatibility with you. Minor ones can be worked through, vanilla and willing to experiment can definitely find love with kinky and patient, but if one partner has a fetish that they must act on and the other one will not try it, then it's not going to work. I don't think it's fair to assign blame in this kind of case, to call either partner a demanding perv or an uptight prude, it's just that they're not right for each other.

4) Anyone who states they think most men/women are assholes/bitches, but you're different.

5) Anyone who won't use a condom. Yeah, I know they're hell on boners, but they're also extremely non-optional until you have a lot of trust in the relationship, not to mention STD tests and birth control. And any woman who refuses condoms has something funny going on.

6) Anyone who makes you feel like you're their mom/dad. This is a trap I used to fall into a lot--the "fixer upper" boyfriend who just needs a little encouragement to be sociable or take care of himself or put in job applications. This kind of person never gets fixed; they become simultaneously dependent and resentful as you run onto your last nerve.

7) Anyone who's hard to get ahold of. I know quite a few people who are tons of fun when they're around, but they don't check their email and they don't charge their phone and it's freakin' impossible to find them when they don't feel like being found. These people do it on purpose and they don't get better just because you're dating them.

8) Anyone who has a problem they're not taking care of. Someone with financial/health/mental health/family problems isn't necessarily a basket case--someone who isn't paying their bills and taking their meds is. Baggage happens to the best of us, but the best of us deal with our baggage.

9) Anyone who has a tale of woe. I don't care that everything in the tale was totally unfair and random and not their fault--the longer the tale of woe and the earlier they tell it to you, the more full of shit they are.

10) Anyone that no one understands but you. Especially if they actually say that.

I've dated about nine of these. It never ended well, but more importantly, it never middled well. I can look back and see a long period before the breakup where I wasn't enjoying him so much as dealing with him.

I think #10 is the biggest trap, especially, but not only, for very young women--there's a sort of romance in thinking that the common folk just don't see his/her inner beauty. When I volunteered at the Humane Society, I noticed that nothing adopted faster than a three-legged dog. A beautiful, well-trained, affectionate young purebred would sit in a cage for weeks while people (especially, but not only, very young women) went all wibbly for a grouchy unhousebroken mutt on three legs.

Don't date a three-legged dog.


  1. "most men/women are assholes/bitches" Umm we are. The problem is with the "but your different" part. Quantity and quality vary. It is in us all. Pick one that fits you.

  2. Vinnie - Call me crazy, but I really don't want to date a person that doesn't like people. One of these days they're going to wake up and realize that I'm people too. I'd hate for that to be a dealbreaker.

  3. All-in-all I think it's a pretty good set of rules (though I've certainly been the 'fixer-upper' boyfriend before!) I think the only place I differ with you is on the three legged dog bit. A friend of mine has a three-legged cat named Ahab who is the cutest thing EVER. And I confess I do have an awful big soft spot for mutts over purebreds. But I probably wouldn't date one.

  4. #7 is so very true. That one got me into a snag that I really, really should have seen coming.

  5. I didn't say I didn't like them. I just said we all have that streak. It is a matter of degree and type of asshole/bitch.

  6. Lawrence - I have nothing against Li'l Tripod, but I don't think you should adopt a dog just because he's got three legs. The urge to take care of the poor thing shouldn't outweigh your judgement of how much you actually want it.

    Jane - Was he always late for everything too? My #7 was a master at being 2 hours late with no call and no excuse.

  7. It's not so much that it's untrue that a large proportion of men and women have some degree of asshole or bitch in them- hell, I'll cop to having a pretty big misanthropic streak- it's just that the kind of person who lets you know that they're exempting you from holding your gender against you is invariably someone who will revoke that exemption the second you displease them.

  8. There's a flip-side to that #7 coin, though: the person who can't stand to be away from you for ten seconds (possibly addressed to an extent by #2). I have a friend (no, really, it's a friend of mine and not me) whose partner monopolizes all of his time. The second he's not around, she's calling everyone to find out where he is. The result: sometimes he turns off his phone and disappears for a few hours. They're so compatible that they're getting married this summer.

  9. Sort of. More like he'd wait until a few minutes before we had plans, then cancel them mysteriously by text, then not respond when I called. Such a dodgey fellow.

    I did get a random text message breakup after not hearing from him for a couple weeks, with no explanation whatsoever and facebook blocking. Who even *does* that?

  10. Ah, #8. Started dating him when he was on Prozac and getting counseling for depression. He decided he didn't like the Prozac or the counselor anymore a few months into dating me. He actually said that I was his Prozac now... Then he refused to accept that maybe the lack of counseling/anti-depressants was why he failed all of his classes, lost a job, and started picking fights with me. He actually got offended when I suggested that maybe he should look for a new counselor. Glad that one's over.

  11. 11. Anyone who needs you to function.

    Covered to a degree by a couple of other points, but I think it's worth re-stating. If they're going to fall apart or kill themselves without you in their life, they're poison. This is tough, especially for young women, because it seems very romantic until you decide you want to leave...

  12. I'm sort of both #8 and #9. Except the "tale of woe" of #9 is basically that the baggage of #8 eats virtually all of my spare time and money, and probably won't ever go away without outside help - which is unlikely to ever occur because while real, it's not very believable. This is why I don't get involved in long-term realtionships. Because I know I'm bad for people.

  13. Good list! I especially like #1. I've told a few women who I was seeing I wasn't interested in anything long term or that I was only interested in sex. I meant it, and none have ever believed it. That just causes me to lose all respect for a person when they 'just don't understand' when I don't want to date anymore and/or all I want to do is have sex.

    If someone says they're only interested in sex don't nod and smile and assume that they'll change. Odds are they won't. I have only once, and that was because I was having a lot of fun with the person with no pressure to stay if things stopped being fun.

  14. Oh #9. Why are there so many of them? It is huge step when you can realize that you're not a jerk for not wanting to attempt a relationship with the sob story guy. If they haul out the sad story right away, before they've even figured out how much you like them, how bad will it be once you're stuck hanging out with them on a regular basis? Bad.

    Also, #9 usually leads to #10... and is often combined with #4. As you can tell, I've been involved with it more than once!

  15. Guilty on 7, 8, and 9. "specially 7. I think Major Major had the right idea with his office hours. Owhell, I don't like you other humans any more than you like me.