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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

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In Living Commentary

Maybe that joke you heard during poker night with the guys wouldn't best be repeated on a date.

Dating deal-breakers ... from her point of view


Those who watch Tina Fey's brilliant "30 Rock" know all about "Deal Breakers."

For those that aren't avid fans, here's a quick update; deal breakers are traits or habits about a man that would cause you to either refuse to date him or break up with him.

Fey's list is pretty specific, not to mention hilarious, here are just a few:

  • Your man is over thirty and still wears a name tag.
  • Your man practices Jedi moves in the park.
  • Your man has to sneak you inside after a date to avoid his mother.
  • Your man owns seven cell phones but won't give you any of their numbers.
  • Your man gets a face tattoo.

All are very valid reasons to say 'see ya' and pretend you never knew that person. However, being with someone with quirks isn't necessarily an instant deal breaker for me, though it depends on the quirk.

Without doubt there are some things that I simply cannot stand about certain people and, whether they want to date me or not, if they portray a deal breaking trait, it's possible I won't even be able to be casual friends with them.

It sounds harsh, I know, but think about your own deal breakers and if you could be around someone that exhibits any of those traits, habits, hobbies, etc. See my point?

I used to say that one of my deal breakers was a man who hadn't graduated from college. It was a goal in my own life to be a college graduate and I felt like being with someone without a degree would automatically leave a huge gap between us.

Well, as the years since graduation have grown, my strong feelings on this matter have subsided. After all, Bill Gates didn't graduate college and I would love to have dinner with him (though not in a romantic way). Neither did, Paul Allen, Louis Armstrong, Carl Bernstein or Mark Twain.

I don't like judging a book by it's cover and I've found that over the years, as I have met new people and developed new friendships, on the flipside of my once 'deal breaker,' there are plenty of men out there with Bachelor's, Master's and PhD's that I cant even stand to be in the same room with.

I think you have to choose your battles wisely and the truth is you may not know how something will affect your feelings about someone until it happens. (Certain situations excluded of course, because that face tattoo thing is just wrong.)

Here are just a few things that I (and I know a lot of women would agree with me) cannot and will not budge on.

Cheating: Seems like a given right? Well, according to Dr. Phil many people that find out about infidelity in their relationships actually stay to try and work things out. Not me. This is an absolute one and done for me. I would not be able to "work through" that kind of deception. And Tina's seven cell phone rule fits right into this, because he's either got that many cells cause he's breaking the law one way or another, or one of those phones is the one he uses to call his wife... Walk away.

Rudeness and immaturity: I find men -- and I should say women, too -- who do not yet know how to conduct themselves either professionally or appropriately in certain situations to be nothing short of repellent. I was at a dinner party years ago and a guy I didn't know well told a horribly inappropriate and embarrassing joke at the table. I quickly changed the subject and, along with everyone else, pretended I hadn't even heard what he said but it was an instant turn off. I never looked at him the same way again. You don't have to be the most charismatic person in the room but if you have nothing to share but toilet jokes you found on the internet, you are in the wrong dinner party, my friend. I'm no prude but if you're in mixed company you should never take a leap of faith with an off-color joke.

Lacking ambition: A lot of the women I talked to for this piece said that a man without a job is still alright in their book, but a man with no ambition to ever get a job, who's perfectly comfortable living in his Aunt's basement for an undetermined amount of time, is not. It's one thing to be with someone that either hasn't found the right career path or has hit some hard times (e.g., our current economic situation), but is working hard to find steady employment. It is another to be with someone that never wants to better their situation or believes that it's better to mooch then to work for a living. That is without a doubt a deal breaker.

Abusive in any manner: Duh, no brainer. Buh-bye.

Bad habits (Nose picking, nail biting, peeing on the seat, etc.): Well this could probably all be lumped into the rude/immature category, but if you have to worry about your date conducting himself the same way a three year old might at day care, it's time to move on, quickly... before you catch something. Guys, one of the biggest things I tend to notice is ball scratching/adjusting whatever you want to call it. If you're at the gym locker room, or in the privacy of the rest room -- hey... go nuts. But if you're meeting your girlfriend's friends for the first time, at a holiday party or are in the middle of the mall, PLEASE do not ever feel like it's ok to be "adjusting" yourself in public. I have a feeling if women scratched themselves regularly in front of others it would fascinate men but only for a very limited time. Then you would realize how bizarre and embarrassing this behavior is. Come on, if they itch that much it's time to visit the doctor.

Hygiene issues: Well again, this could easily coincide with the previous item, but this is specific to the basics. Anyone above the age of four who doesn't brush their teeth twice daily is someone I cannot date. If I'm going to kiss you your mouth needs to be full of healthy, regularly dentist-visited teeth and if you cannot remember to brush twice during a twenty-four hour period or you just don't think it's that important to do so, I'm sorry but we can no longer speak. Not now because you gross me out and not later 'cause I've got it on pretty good authority that your breath will likely smell like garbage. There are things a person needs to purchase on a regular basis; one of those things is Q-Tips. If you don't own any or worse yet, you don't own any because you don't know what they are for, it's over, and since you probably can't hear me through your waxy build up, let me repeat that. IT'S OVER!

Cell phone hell: If a guy has a better relationship with his cell than he's got with me, I'm out. I cannot stand being out either on a date or even with a friend, man or woman, that spends the entire time on the phone with someone else. If I'm truly that boring, why did you ask me to dinner? Unless I'm on a date with Batman waiting for an important call from Commissioner Gordon, there is no reason to be on your phone during a date... unless you want it to end, now.

Mommy issues: If your man cannot purchase a sweater, order his own dinner or decide on a movie without calling mom, you need to run like hell to get out of this relationship. It's great when a man has a bond with his mother, but if the umbilical cord appears to still be attached, guess what, you will never, ever be the most important woman in this man's life. And if she still does his laundry when he goes home for a visit or if she cleans his house when she visits... say it with me, deal breaker. Get out now.

'Nicknamers:' This can apply to men or women. People that give themselves a nickname and either sign their emails, begin or end phone conversations, or introduce themselves using this self-proclaimed nickname drive me up the wall. First of all nicknames are something someone else gives you, it's not something you just come up with because you want to sound, funny, unique or sexy. Prime example, Jersey Shore's 'The Situation.' Need I say more? Also, if you are the only one that uses this nickname... Here's a newsflash for you, it isn't catching on because people think it's really stupid. People that make up obnoxious nicknames and refer to themselves by those names obviously didn't have many friends as a child and if they keep up this practice they probably won't have many friends by the end of the week either. From now on you will all refer to me as, Tigress! See what I mean.

So that's my basic list.

Here are just a handful of deal breakers that my girlfriends came up with when I put the question to the panel. I don't necessarily agree with every item on the list, but most of them certainly make sense. Some are obvious, but a few might surprise you:

  • Smoking and drug usage
  • Excessive use of porn and/or strip clubs
  • Someone that makes racist remarks and worse, believes them
  • Someone that doesn't "believe in monogamy"
  • Habitual, excessive lateness such as 1-2 hours
  • Wimpy handshake (soft, limp handshake says much about what is in store)
  • Bad teeth
  • Married
  • Religion pusher
  • Never had a serious relationship before (However, there's always a first time.)
  • Doesn't want kids
  • Needs to like watching/playing sports (doesn't necessarily have to be good at them)
  • Pays attention to the television, even when we're getting busy

Lastly, and possibly my personal favorite,

  • When a guy is disrespectful to his mom... even if it is just on the phone. How a man treats his mom is likely indicative of how he treats women in general and how he will treat me specifically.

Stay tuned, because next week the guys weigh in on what they just can't deal with when it comes to women.

Talkbacks

sandstorm | Jan. 23, 2010 at 10:43 a.m. (report)

can somebody summarize Idle1's post for me? i stopped reading halfway through.

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Idle1 | Jan. 17, 2010 at 3:40 p.m. (report)

My #1 dealbreaker for potential boyfriends AND platonic friends of either gender? Not listening! Communication is comprised of two parts: sending and receiving messages. If anyone justs waits for me to finish speaking without hearing what was said, that's it!!

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speakthetruth | Jan. 16, 2010 at 12:58 p.m. (report)

Remove all logic and add unnecessary, invented drama. That describes how most women think...and spells out a successful recipe for a reality television show.

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bdraper | Jan. 16, 2010 at 12:40 p.m. (report)

It says right in the blog that the men's perspective is on the way. Deal breaker, guys that cannot read.

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perilouspete | Jan. 16, 2010 at 12:27 p.m. (report)

From a guy's perspective, I actually like reading these articles. Why? Because then you can know a little better how women think! That's a good thing! I'll be the first one to thank you for posting this.

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