If you missed them, Part 1: Ladies’ Responses and Part 2: Men’s Responses came first. But below is the Big One—the post that contains the Mac-Daddy mortal sins. See, in pulling this together, I realized this: Parts 1 and 2 may contain some pretty harsh offenses, but true dealbreakers? Maybe not all of them. I’ve seen some pretty normal people date some pretty questionable characters in my day—myself included. Some of the previously mentioned offenses can be classified as good old-fashioned red flags. And sometimes they pile up before you start over. But when it comes to the below list—the stuff my respondents seemed to find especially non-negotiable—here's the difference: would guys dump Angelina for a few too many Facebook posts or wearing a one-piece? Don't hold your breath. But if she doesn't like your dog (see below, #3)? Slaps him around when you're not looking? Now, that could earn that screen siren a pink slip.
So here they are. The brazenly bad behaviors that men and women agree on—the flagrant fouls, the egregious offenses, the things that just don’t fly.
The Worst of the Worst Dealbreakers:
10. You Tell Me
I know, lame. But help me out—for this final list, I only had nine. So the 10th is up to you. Please comment below on your most critical turn-off, even if it’s already on the list.
9. The Ones Who Are Too Important to Put Their Phones Down
“True story...I was on a first date once, and my date answered a call...FROM HIS EX!!!!” (This is a terrible idea for another reason: see #2)
“Answering a cell phone or texting in the middle of a date... dealbreaker.”
“I once had a guy show up to pick me up at my house. He knocked, I opened the door, only to find… he’s on the phone. Charming. Did he first consider bringing flowers, then think no, wait, I've got something better. I’ll bring my phone.”
8. Political Operatives and Other Debate Team Daters
I got several responses along the lines of, “Conservatives suck. Libs are awful. FoxNews watchers are out.” And I get it—some lines are tough to cross. The bigger issue seems to be hauling these views onto a date. (Sigh.) Isn’t there other shit to talk about? It’s dinner, not Hardball. I know, I know: you’re passionate, you’re a devoted liberal/conservative, this means a lot to you. But launching into an impassioned sermon on anything—religion, right, left—on a date is tiresome, egotistic, and hard to transition out of. “…and for those 26 reasons, I oppose sending troops into Syria. So… Where are you from?”
And then there are the amateur trial attorneys. Over drinks with a guy, the subject once came up that I’m Catholic (he asked). Sweet Mary in heaven, the interrogation that followed over church doctrine nearly made me renounce my faith altogether—just to make it stop. Finally, I think I said something like, “Listen! The Catholic school I went to was in Jacksonville, not the Vatican. I never said I was good at it!” Silence.
So please. Turn off the harsh, interrogation-room spotlights, get off your idealistic high horse, and tell me about your grandfather’s dairy farm.
7. The LiLos, the Charlie Sheens, the White Hot Messes
(Note: This is the cocaine-snorting cousin of #4. Most of my respondents referred to the two dealbreakers separately, so I did, too.)
If you’ve accidentally fallen in love with a drug addict, and you’re intent on dating him/her, it’s probably wise to just go ahead and develop a drug habit of your own. As a
wise man once said (two offices away, a second ago): “It’s not that you're promoting dependency—you're promoting co-dependency.” Because really, this is the only way it's going to work, and it’s also why the non-rehabbers I surveyed say they don’t even touch these trainwrecks. If you do, get ready for lots of circular conversations, manifestos scrawled on your bedroom wall while you sleep, marathon trips to the bathroom, bail money, awkward dinners with your parents, spontaneous shaving, shoplifting, and routine amnesia. And maybe this:
“While in South America, one guy I dated actually drugged me with Xanex to get me to fall asleep so he could go do blow with the natives.” Awesome.
6. The People Who Talk in Weird Voices
I know it seems like an odd “don’t” in a sea of well-established social sins, but here’s why it matters: We expect married people to do this—to talk to each other in their “special language” (read: grown-up baby talk). And they give their cat its own voice, et cetera. It’s weird, but totally accepted. For the dating class? We consider ourselves fortunate not to be part of this. Don’t F that up.
“Talk like a real person. Two coworkers at my office talk in baby voice to dogs, children, and/or relatives. It’s like nails on a chalkboard.”
“Dealbreaker? If they add a 'y' to the end of every phrase to make it sound cute: 'Time for a little napp(y)?' 'Would you like a little snack(y)?' Yes, he was British and should have been given a little more slack(y), but I couldn't get over it.”
5. Food Lecturers
Does anyone think Michael Bloomberg would make a fun dinner date? Me neither.
“I once went to dinner with a guy who spent half of the evening telling me that the food I'd ordered was really bad for me. I knew ahead of time that he was a vegetarian, so since it was our first meal together, I wanted to order something that wouldn't seem really offensive to him. I ordered the crab dip appetizer. He proceeded to tell me how unhealthy it was; he even picked up a package of the accompanying wafer crackers, and after reading the ingredients lectured me about the chemicals I'm putting in my body.”
“When you point your finger at my burger just as I’m about to take a bite, and start telling me about the dangers of animal proteins, you’re killing the mood. And me. Save this lecture for your kid, your 350-pound dad, and your letters to the health department. I’m just a guy you’re on a date with. I didn't invite the food police.”
4. The Lushes
The disappointing thing about this one is that these dates usually start awesome. You're thinking: “Normal, good-looking, fun, single, jackpot. What's the catch?” One hour and seven White Russians later? “Ohhhhh, okay. I get it now. And when he/she wakes up from their table nap, I’m going to totally tell him I get it.”
“I love a good cocktail as much as the next person, but when you can't stand up and you're slurring your words, you may find me leaving you at the bar.”
“Chaperoning a drunk on a date gets old quick. You keep trying for normal conversation but everything goes back to the words, ‘Dun ya jis loooooooooove this train? (hiccup) I mean, bar?”
3. The Animal Haters
“Anyone who doesn’t like dogs. I’ll judge you immediately.”
“If I see you sneering at my dog, I’m also picturing you hitting her with your shoe when I’m not around.”
“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like dogs. Cats, okay. They don’t like you either. But dogs? That’s a sign of bad character.”
Quick author disclaimer: This was a little hard to write because I’ve been accused of this exact hate crime. But I don’t dislike dogs. A coworker’s puppy has been coming to the office for a month now, and he/she’s SO cute, I’m thinking of petting it soon. I just happen to have the same policy with dogs as I do with people: if we’ve just met and you maul me, climb on me, lick me, or otherwise get too close upon first meeting, I'm not on board. I panic. As in: too close--I don’t know you--can’t we talk first--why isn’t anyone helping me--call the authorities--SLOW. DOWN. But that’s another blog.
2. “Well, I Have This Ex…”
I never would have guessed this many people talk about their exes on a date, but judging from the answers as I got, it’s like a bizarre, viral version of Tourette’s. I’m no psychiatrist, but I can think of only two other explanations for why the person across from you is tossing the Ex-Factor into your date: 1) He/she’s not over it or 2) They want you to know that someone, somewhere—in this galaxy or another—found them acceptable enough to parade around with on a regular basis. As in: See? Someone tried it.
“Any mention of ‘an ex’ or ‘the ex’ on a first date... dealbreaker.”
“Talking about their ex on the first date. The. Entire. Time.”
“I can't believe how many guys find it completely acceptable to continually talk about their ex-wives or ex-girlfriends. I mean, I get it. You were together for three years, she broke your heart. If you're interested in me, do you think I really want to hear about every nasty thing she did or said to you? It doesn't take long for me to take her position; I clearly see why she dumped you. Exit, stage left!"
1. Rudeness to Servers
Wait, you didn’t know this? That being a condescending a-hole (even subtly) to servers, valets, clerks, bartenders, flight attendants, or anyone else “helping” you is the reddest of flags—as in fire-engine, red-hot red? Okay, then you might be one. Because everyone else seems to know it. I got this answer in droves.
See, we can argue about whether it’s a cardinal sin to tat yourself up or bunk in your mom’s basement—that’s fair. But if going to dinner with you makes us feel like we’re trapped in a scene from The Help, normal people won’t go out with you again. Partly (okay, mostly) because people like Hilly Holbrook get served shit pies. Alec Baldwin’s probably eaten his share of poop, Anna Wintour, Justin Bieber, they've probably developed a taste for it by now. Eating with these types is risky. But also, short of stapling a sign that reads “douchebag” to your shirt, dismissing a waiter with a flick of the hand or a haughty reprimand is the quickest way to tell others you are one.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to respond below with your #1 dating offense.