I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

My Dating Deal Breakers

Almost two years ago I wrote a relatively pessimistic (and hilariously retrospectively ironic) post about my dating deal breakers.

Since that post, I’ve grown as a person, and I think I’ve learned to appreciate the differences in people a little more. I thought this might be a good time to reexamine the deal breakers I came up with last time.

In 2008, I said:

Does your ad have any misspellings or poor grammar usage?
It’s like an error on a resume. If you aren’t even going to put enough effort into your ad to make sure that it’s error-free, you’re either lazy or stupid, and I have no interest in either. Likewise, if your ad contains any abbreviations like “u” for “you”, “wut” for “what”, or you include “lol” or “omg” anywhere in your ad, you’re a fucking retard.

In 2010, I say:

I agree with the basic sentiment. If you make an error because you’re typing too quickly, I’ll forgive that. But a complete inability to comprehend the rules of grammar and spelling is an absolute deal breaker.

In 2008, I said:

Do you have a college degree?
I have plenty of friends without college degrees who are successful people, but if I was going to date someone, she’d have to have a Bachelor’s at the minimum. Graduate education would be ideal, although a MA or MBA really is a worthless degree. An MD, JD, or PhD would be even better.

In 2010, I say:

I completely reverse my opinion. I wouldn’t date someone who isn’t intelligent, but they don’t have to have a college degree. Most of my best friends either don’t have a college or graduate degree or don’t use it in any way, and I don’t know why a degree would make any difference in their attractiveness as a date.

In 2008, I said:

How many tattoos do you have?
One that’s discreetly placed is no big deal. Two is starting to push it. More than two and I slowly lose interest. I’m not sure why, but I just have a problem with tats.

In 2010, I say:

I really don’t care if you have tattoos. I’m not nearly as anti-tat as I used to be. I still wouldn’t get one, but as long as you don’t have ink covering most of your body, I really wouldn’t consider it a deal breaker.

In 2008, I said:

How many kids do you have?
One that’s between 3-10 would be okay, although if they’re a spoiled little shithead, I think I’ll pass. More than one, and I just don’t think I’d get the attention I deserve. Plus, I generally don’t like kids, so that just increases the chances that I’ll hate yours.

In 2010, I say:

Kids are kind of awesome. Yeah, they can be obnoxious and bratty, but generally speaking, the fact that you have kids doesn’t make you someone I wouldn’t date. If your kids are little shitheads and you don’t discipline them or care about their behavior? That would be cause for concern.

In 2008, I said:

Do you watch television?
If you’re one of those people who tries to tell me that television has no value, I’m not interested. Just like with any other media, there are good parts and bad parts to television. It’s like reading a well-crafted novel vs. a Harlequin Romance. If you like the good parts of television – the smart shows, the well-written shows, the clever shows, and recognize the bad parts – the reality television, the stupid game shows, the cliched sitcoms and dramas – then I might be interested. Tell me you love American Idol, though, and it’s over. A corollary to this one is whether or not you like to go to the movies. If you don’t, I’m definitely not interested.

In 2010, I say:

This one is still true. Although if you like American Idol, I’ll still talk to you. I just won’t watch it with you.

In 2008, I said:

Do you have a driver’s license?
I wouldn’t have even thought about this until Craig brought it up, but it’s true. A lack of a driver’s license means someone who would be dependent on me to drive them around, and I have no interest in that. Besides, in today’s society, it’s kind of weird not to have a driver’s license at all.

In 2010, I say:

This one is still true.

In 2008, I said:

Do you have a sense of humor?
No sense of humor, no sense of sarcasm, no sense of irony – those are immediate deal breakers. I don’t know anyone who would consider those to be winning characteristics, though.

In 2010, I say:

Agreed. Still a deal breaker.

In 2008, I said:

Can you support yourself?
Would you have to put off a date because you can’t quite afford gas in your car until payday? Would tickets to a comedy show be something you’d have to think about before agreeing because of the cost? Sorry, but I need someone who is financially stable and able to pay their bills without having to count the pennies in the couch.

In 2010, I say:

I still agree with this a little, but if a tough economy has affected you, I’m not going to hold that against you. It’s just as easy to pick up a few movies and order pizza in.

In 2008, I said:

Do you drink alcohol?
Drinking alcohol is a must. I don’t trust people who don’t drink. That might sound a bit hypocritical, since I don’t drink, but generally speaking, that’s a good rule to live by.

In 2010, I say:

My opinion on this has changed, but mainly because I do drink alcohol now. Not regularly, but I don’t shy away from it in social situations anymore. Would I trust you if you don’t drink? Yeah, I would.

In 2008, I said:

Is your favorite book the Bible or your hero Jesus?
If yes, you’ve just demonstrated that you have no real education, no exposure to the real world, no real life experience, and you are as naive and stupid as they come.

In 2010, I say:

I think that saying that someone is stupid because the Bible is their favorite book is a little harsh now. I still wouldn’t want to date you if that’s the case, because I think we’d have very little in common, but I’m not going to judge you for your poor taste in literature. I would date you if you read your Bible every day and saw it as inspiration or a guide to your life, but there’s something about calling it your favorite book that just rubs me the wrong way.

In 2008, I said:

Do you have bad breath?
If I met someone for the first time, and she had bad breath, I’d turn around and leave. Get some fucking lessons in proper hygiene.

In 2010, I say:

I agree.

In 2008, I said:

Are you ugly?
Is this shallow? Yes. I can’t help it. I’d be okay with someone who’s heavy or thin or tall or short or blonde or redheaded or brunette or with glasses or with limbs missing, but if you’re hideous looking, I can’t progress any further.

In 2010, I say:

This is still true. Personality and your eyes are the two most important elements to me, but I can’t get past someone who I don’t find physically attractive. Which I know is totally subjective.

In 2008, I said:

Are you computer illiterate?
Being able to use email, checking it more frequently than once a month, understanding how the internet works, and having a comprehension of how stupid chain emails are – these are all essential characteristics.

In 2010, I say:

Hear, hear.

In 2008, I said:

Do you have really long fingernails?
If you can’t dial a phone properly because your nails are too long, piss off.

In 2010, I say:

Another one I agree with.

In 2008, I said:

Do you smell like smoke?
I don’t mind smokers, but if your hair and clothes constantly smell like smoke and if you smoke in your home, I’ll probably vomit. And I hate vomiting more than anything in the world.

In 2010, I say:

I agree with this, too. The smell of stale smoke on someone who smokes in their home and so it pervades everything they own is a smell I just can’t stomach. I don’t mind smokers, and I like the smell of fresh smoke, actually.

In 2008, I said:

Do you like animals?
Thinking animals are better than kids is a huge plus. But even if you don’t think that, viewing animals as a part of the family is essential. If you’re just not an animal person, you’re not an Avitable person either.

In 2010, I say:

I don’t think animals are better than kids anymore, but I do think that they are part of the family. My dog is just like my kid, shared custody and all.

In 2008, I said:

Do you enjoy going out to dinner?
Going out to a restaurant for a nice meal and seeing it as a fun experience is very important to me. If you see it as an obligation or would rather go out to McDonald’s instead of a nice sit-down restaurant, we are not going to have any fun.

In 2010, I say:

I don’t go out as much anymore, but it’s still something I enjoy doing on occasion. Trying new restaurants and going to eat nice food is always a good experience and I’d want to share it with you.

In 2008, I said:

Do you have enormous boobs?
I like smallish breasts and couldn’t date someone with huge knockers.

In 2010, I say:

I’m a little torn on this one, and I think it’s because it makes me feel shallow. If you’re relatively fit and you have a big rack, I would consider you a possibility, but once your body type moves from average or a few extra pounds to obese, I’m not interested. I know that might seem hypocritical since I’m not exactly a tiny guy, but fuck you. I can’t help who I’m attracted to, and large women just don’t do it for me. There are BBW sites for fetishists who only want obese women, so there is definitely someone out there for everyone.

If you’re single, what are your deal breakers? If you’re not single, what would your deal breakers be?

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101 Replies to “My Dating Deal Breakers”

  1. Jen the Trephinist

    My dealbreakers include conservative politics (the “victimless crime” kind that suppress the freedoms of others, anyway–gay marriage, etc.); most religions (I don’t have a problem with it in theory, but honestly, we won’t get along); men who seem vain about fashion (uh, you won’t like my ever-present track pants, then); continual snobbery of almost any kind (like, I would rather die alone than date a guy who is always crowing about how Macs are amazing and PCs suck, or vice versa, or how awful a certain band is, or whatever … good grief, who even cares anymore?); and just a general attitude of arrogance or self-absorption.

    Like you, my tastes have changed over the years, and I value things like humility and compassion a lot more than I once did. I think I’ve just gotten too old to hate everything, and superiority is kind of exhausting to maintain. I realized with horror recently that I have become the sort of person who would say things like, “Can’t we just have a nice dinner?” Hi, I’m fifty.

    • Avitable

      @Jen the Trephinist, yeah, I think I’d add hardcore Republican to the list of dealbreakers, too. Someone who’s middle of the road might be okay, but I couldn’t be with someone who thinks gay marriage is wrong, to use your example. And there is nothing wrong with a nice meal! Want to share my Geritol?

  2. Lisa

    I’m not single, but when I was I had a lot of deal breakers.

    I absolutely cannot be with someone who chews with their mouth open. I can’t even watch those people in a restaurant. Ditto mouth breathers.

    I agree with the intelligence requirement, and I don’t care what degrees a person has until they use it as a weapon of superiority. Then we’re all

    Self confidence is a must. I can’t be with someone who puts themselves down repeatedly or obsessed about their shortcomings. Conversely, they also need to have some humility.

    Wow, I could go on and on it seems!

  3. Blondefabulous

    Oh well, I lose out on the boob part. DD’s all the way baby, and losing 60 pounds last year has made them look bigger.

    My deal breaker was someone who couldn’t hold an intelligent conversation. Too many “uh’s, ya know’s, well’s, etc” really turn me off. If you can’t understand a sentence I’m saying without pausing to ask me to define the words I’m using, you obviously have the wrong girl.

  4. B.E. Earl

    It’s kind of hard to think about what my deal breakers would be since I’m not single, and it’s been a while so I don’t really recall what they were when I was. I think a raging, far-right Conservative might turn me off. Unless she had really big boobs, of course.

  5. Grant

    I’m not so sure about the driver’s license thing. It’s odd in the Southeast of the US, but I’ve met people from large Northern cities and Europe who don’t bother because public transportation, bikes, and walking are enough and cars are impractical. In my book, bunny would definitely trump no license.

  6. leel

    good post! interesting to think about. tough question, what my deal breakers would be. i would put a) has to love live music, but my husband doesn’t and i’m ok with that; b) must love creating and the outdoors, but my husband doesn’t love either of those things either. Turns out I don’t have as many deal breakers as I used to now. Turns out those things are now My Things and he gets to golf and watch battlestar while I do them with friends. Before I was married 4 years ago I dated a few guys who avoided all deal-breakers in theory but holy shit did they suck in real life. Lesson learned.

    My deal breakers that stand today:
    a) Say Nuclear. If you say it wrong, we can still be friends, but I can’t Be With you. I will judge and mock. Behind your back.
    b) Are you right wing hard ass conservative, think only women can be feminists, don’t recycle and homophobic? Go away. I hate you.
    c) I’m so with you on the Bad Breath. Add B.O. to that. And gross dirty nails. Wash dammit.
    d) Porn aficiandos. I can tell if you watch too much porn. In Bed. And no I don’t want to be treated like that girl in the movies. Go away.

    I will limit this list to 4. You get the point.

  7. Miss Britt

    Actually, considering all the work you’re doing to be healthier, the idea that you want someone who is ‘fit’ or at least trying to be fit makes more sense now than it did in 08. 🙂

    I’m glad you can admit you don’t hate kids now.

  8. MFA Mama

    I’m not single, and I actually met and fell in love with my husband online (god, I know, but we didn’t meet through a dating site or anything and there were valid reasons why we didn’t meet face-to-face for such a long time; I’m honest enough to admit my hypocrisy and say that I totally judge people who fall in love online, too), so I didn’t get hold up my own personal yardstick of judgment and I’m glad because he is perfect for me.

    That said, if I was single, here are a few dealbreakers:

    1. Nuclear: I’m with leel on this one: say it incorrectly once and I’ll point it out nicely because ignorance is fixable but keep mispronouncing it and I’m done.
    2. Holding others responsible for your emotions: It’s not my job to make you happy and if you’re losing your junk don’t blame me for “pushing your buttons.” We’re all responsible for our own happiness and if you’re old enough to date me you should have some fucking self-control. Also, if you’re that vulnerable to external influence you probably aren’t very interesting anyway and/or have no personality/spine. Puppeteering isn’t one of my hobbies and I’m not interested in being part of a triad so if your mom/best friend/ex’s hand is up your ass that won’t work either.
    3. Fighting: I don’t mean bickering, I mean fistfights. If you’re over the age of thirty and have started a fistfight recently (self-defense and professional boxing are different) I don’t want to know you. Grown-ups use their words.
    4. Intelligence: I hold a terminal degree and teach at the college level, so you have to be smarter than the average bear although a degree is optional. Plenty of idiots have degrees and a lot of the smartest people I know do not. As long as you’re curious about the world, well-read, and can examine issues logically with an open mind we’ll be okay.
    5. If you admire any of the following people, fuck off. Fuck off and die, in fact. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200: George Bush (either one), the late Jerry Falwell, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Jenny McCarthy.
    6. Laughter: I like to laugh. You not only have to have a sense of humor, you also have to be able to laugh at yourself when you screw up in funny ways. Gallows humor is a great tension-breaker. There’s pretty much nothing I can’t find the humor in and you need to be able to do the same because I don’t want to be the only one giggling inappropriately.
    7. You have to know your flaws. It’s okay to have them, we all do, but if you don’t know what you tend to do wrong (in relationships and in general), you aren’t self-aware enough for me to be interested in you.

    • Avitable

      @MFA Mama, I’ve met some amazing friends online, so I don’t judge anyone that way. I think that finding someone online might even have a higher chance of lasting because you get to know the personality before seeing if there’s physical chemistry, and if you have emotional, intellectual, and physical chemistry, you’ve met a good match.

      • MFA Mama

        @Avitable, True dat. My husband and I were good friends for two years online before we ever considered each other as relationship material or exchanged photos, and didn’t meet for another six months after that. I think part of why we “work” as a couple is that we were totally honest from the get-go in the way we tend to be with innernet people when nothing is at stake, and knew each other inside and out. The one drawback is that when we finally did meet face-to-face it was the most naked I have ever felt, even before anyone took their clothes off. It was PAINFUL, I tell you! But worth it 🙂

  9. radioactive tori

    I really like the changes in your list. I love that you are honest enough to admit that you changed your mind on some.

    I have several dealbreakers I’d love to write here but since they all pertain to real life stuff going on right now I am going to leave them off. But one of them that I will name? If your wife has/had cancer and you drive her to a scan and then get annoyed when they find something because you will have to miss more work? That is a dealbreaker. I guess my dealbreaker is when someone has their priorities all messed up and can’t even recognize that they do. When work is more important than people, that is a huge dealbreaker.

    And I guess I did vent a little here just now even though I didn’t mean to. Sorry!

    • MFA Mama

      @radioactive tori, That sucks immensely, and I’m so sorry. I think the moment my first marriage died was when I found out a serious, painful, difficult to treat and potentially fatal illness I had “beaten” once was back, called my ex-husband in tears to tell him that my absolute worst fear had come true, and he replied with “this is NOT what I need today, FUCK, okay I’m on my way but can you at least try to find a sitter before you leave and call around to find a cheap cab company to take you? That way I don’t have to deal with the kids in the car plus I don’t want one of our cars sitting in the hospital lot for god knows how long.” Ummmmyeah.

  10. Finn

    Look you, growing and shit. 😛

    My deal breakers? Oh, wow. How long have you got? Essentially, you have a lot of fine lines to walk if you want to be with me. Jen The Trephinist touched on a few, and Lisa touched on a few more.

    I’m complex and very picky. It’s a damn good thing I’m married.

  11. Sybil Law

    I’m just happy that you’re growing in general as a person. People who don’t change their lists are people who haven’t grown!
    You already know my deal breakers. 🙂
    I had to laugh at the fast typing clause. Haha! Still – on something like a resume or online dating site or whatever, proofreading is generally recommended, and if someone still has major spelling or grammatical errors – ugh!

  12. fiwa

    The fact that you’ve changed/grown as a person that much in two years is one of the sexiest things about you. My list is pretty short. Good sense of humor, intelligent, kind to others (because if you aren’t kind to others at some point you probably won’t be kind to me), generous, fairly liberal, and no bible thumpers.

    Sometimes I listen to my single girlfriends and their lists/requirements and I think “No wonder you’re alone.” I think you have to be flexible with people and realize not everyone is perfect.

  13. Jay

    I can’t remember if I did a dating deal breakers post back when you did yours or not. If I did, I might update it too since we all follow your lead on these things. But, I can say that I still prefer animals over kids. I don’t really know if anything else has changed, but I do know that one hasn’t changed for me.

  14. Nancy

    Wow. Now that you’ve lowered your standards, I’m totally in your range. Oh wait, I’m in love with Steve and there’s that whole like 2000-mile difference thing. Hmmm. Bummer.

  15. Mrs. Hall

    Before I met Mr. Hall I had a list of deal breakers.

    1. Dude has to have a job.
    2. Dude has to have a car.
    5. Dude has to be nice to me and not yell.

    Seriously, we women folk often settle for the biggest losers. AND THEN ONE DAY I SAID FUCK NO, I AIN’T STRAPPING NO LOSER TO MY BACK AS I CLIMB UP THE MOUNTAIN!

    Then Mr. Hall appeared and holy good LORD!

    beyond my wildest dreams 🙂

  16. GrandeMocha

    I’m married but I do have a list. Just in case. They have to have a job, live on their own, like kids & animals, have a life outside of work, be nice and NO CRAZY RELATIVES! I have considered making orphan a requirement so that I don’t have to deal with CRAZY RELATIVES but I think that’s too restrictive.

  17. Miss Grace

    I think that making blanket generalizations about someone’s life is going to find you wrong more times than you might expect.
    I think that there are places you can live where it’s still okay not to have a driver’s license. I don’t think anyone should ever say that animals are more important than children, even back in 2008. I think my dad’s a high school drop out and my mom has a masters degree in chemistry and they are equally intelligent, happily married, and well matched and education doesn’t say that much about whether or not you can talk to a person.
    I think that you’re kind of an arrogant asshole, although I like you anyways.

  18. Aunt Becky

    I need someone to make me laugh. Not like a fucking clown or something because seriously clowns are fucking scary, but you know, I like to laugh. A lot. Also, you have to respect me. Sounds simple, no? It’s not so simple. I’m sure you know that.

  19. Kim

    Deal Breakers – smokers, shorter than me, yucky teeth, and a guy who doesn’t keep his nails/hands/feet clean.

    And Becky you crack me up. Adam and I can’t date either- my boobs are too big! ; )

    • Faiqa

      @Faiqa, Or. I could use it as a marketing pitch.
      “Buy Swiffer, or die lonely.”
      “Eat Reeses or die lonely.”
      “Vote Democrat or die lonely.”

  20. Sheila

    Two years ago I said :
    “We were either made to live happily ever after together or we should just not be friends at all.

    I haven’t had to worry about deal breakers in almost six years. Actually, other than my husband, I’ve only had one “real” boyfriend.

    I typed out all of my deal breakers but they make me seem even more shallow than most people already perceive me to be.”

    (And yes, I really did look up my comment because I’m a weirdo like that.)

    Today I say :

    “I still don’t know why we’re friends….maybe we should get married.”

  21. muskrat

    I like the old Avitable’s snobby list better.

    The night I met Deb, she said I had to do 3 things before I could go out with her. I only remember 2, because it was New Year’s and I like to drink, but she said I had to be liberal and recycle. I have always recycled, not because I’m particularly green, but because I really hate waste. I’ll never be liberal, but I told her I’m libertarian, which is liberal on the important stuff. She obviously capitulated.

    For me, I can’t stand being in a messy car. Messy houses are awful, too, but I never make it to the home if the car is disgusting. Also, awful grammar is a no no. I have corrected girls’ grammar, which turns them off before I have a chance to tell them they’ve turned me off, so not an issue. I too always wanted someone who liked to exercise and be adventurous. I don’t sit in the sand on vacation–I do stuff. If your resting heart rate is 150, you’re not going to be able to keep up with me. Finally, and most important, since I was 18 I’ve said I needed to be with someone who appreciates in me what I appreciate in myself.

    There are many other factors to put on such a list, but things like “be intelligent” and “don’t stink” are uniform for all normal people, so no need.

  22. Sexy Is As Sexy Does

    A MAJOR and immediate deal breaker for me is if a MAN is 35+ and has never been married OR engaged. This shows that this man has become an expert at dodging commitment. And the older a MAN is, the more pathetic it is. And since women grossly outnumber men, I am A LOT harder on a man of 40 who has never married as opposed to a woman of 40 who has never married. Since men are advantaged in terms of number AND quality, I have learned to be suspicious of such men. With ALL of the women out there, surely there must be ONE that these men could have thought of as “wife” and potential “mother” material. And frankly, men 35 years old and older who have never married, I believe are selfish, closet homosexuals, or have chronic, unresolved mommy issues. I am 40 and recently went out with a man who I believe is in his late 50’s or early 60’s. When I asked if he had ever been married on our first date, he said, “I used to live with someond and I almost married her but she died in a plane crash on her way to Jamaica.” When I asked when this occurred, I learned that this accident happened 25 or 26 years ago!!!!! LOL!!!!!! I IMMEDIATELY knew that this man was a complete waste of my time. Yes, this man looks VERY GOOD on paper. He has a doctorate, is intelligent, articulate, cultured, and has 2 condos, and 3 cars, BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT……..heaven help the woman that gets emotionally invested in this man. On our first date he talked about how couples are too dependent in relationships. The TRUTH of the matter is that this man is 100% selfish. I knew this when the waitress asked us if he wanted coffee or dessert after our meal, and he immediately said “Bring me the check.” And I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted that hot sundae fudge cake!!! So now that I think of it, that was Deal Breaker #2. This showed that he was NOT attuned to MY wants. I would STRONGLY recommend women to keep these men as PLATONIC FRIENDS but whatever you do, DO NOT SERIOUSLY DATE THEM WITH A VIEW TO MARRIAGE.

  23. Mary

    We’re quite compatible – except that the grammatical errors in this post (“if I was going to date someone, they’d have to have…” and “Just like any other media, there are good parts and bad parts to television,” for example) bother me.

    • Avitable

      @Mary, I noticed those errors when I wrote the most recent post, but decided not to edit my original words. Even someone such as myself needs a proofreader, even if it’s future me two years later. Having someone else mention them who’s even more tightly wrapped and obnoxious than I am when it comes to grammar, though, encouraged me to correct the errors.

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