March 14, 2006

Date #3: the dealbreaker

A single girlfriend of mine and I got together the other day for a drink and to catch up. This particular girl is one I can count on to be single, like, forever -- which is great when I am also single, because it means I have someone to go out with who doesn't have either:

a)a penis or
b)a curfew because she has to get back to her husband

(For the record, these are both types of friends that are good to have, but tend to make only mediocre companions for a single female out on the town on Saturday nights.)

At any rate, prior to this get-together, she had alluded to having a story for me, presumably about the guy she'd recently gone on her third date with. So, after the standard squealing and work-talk, we got down to the whole reason we'd gotten together: to talk about sex, love, and men.

Based on our conversation about her recent dates with Mr. Now up to this point, I had braced myself to learn that soon I'd be alone in my singledom... he'd thus far been an impressive date and she was hopeful and excited about him. He was the owner of a successful construction company on the Eastside, she is an intern at the UW hospital. The first date had been a drink. They'd met after work downtown. The second, they'd met for drinks and dinner (also mid-week), and a kiss. The third was a coveted Saturday night: he was supposed to pick her up and actually take her OUT. This was a big deal. Everything was going well. I was happy for her, and certain her urgent news was actually going to be the "so, do I sleep with him now or wait?" discussion that inevitably prefaces a real relationship (and leaves me, as I mentioned, alone in singledom).

Me: "So.... how's Mr. Now? What's the news?"
Her: "Oh, God. Don't even get me started."
Me: "That good? Details! Now!"
Her: "Nonono...I found, you know... ::pregnant pause:: it."
Me: "IT?! Oh, no. He carries a pocket mirror? No -- wait -- he cried, right?"
Her: "Nope. Guess again?"
Me: "No way. Just tell me."
Her: "Okay, but it's bad. I mean, really bad. He drives a Hummer."
Me: "NO!!"
Her: "Yes. And on the way to dinner he actually passed two cars on the wrong side of a residential street. It's SO over. Who knew? It was going so well..."

Look, we've all been in that situation: you've had a good date or two. There seems to be hope. He's charming, handsome, interesting, attentive, or at least two out of the four. Until magical date number three.

Date number three is when, seventy percent of the time, the fledgling relationship will come to an untimely and gruesome end because you will discover the thing from which there is no recovery: the dealbreaker.

In my eco-conscious friend's world, the Hummer is a dealbreaker. Macho driving is a close second. She prefers her men a little rough around the edges, but with the testosterone manifesting itself in an abundance of body hair or shows of posessiveness, not in moronic driving or an "I have a big dick" car. Upon hearing the word "Hummer", I realized that the relationship I had been so threatened by a moment earlier had absolutely no hope of recovering. He might has well have dropped trou and exposed his vagina. I was spared one of my best single friends by the dealbreaker, yet again. I was guiltily relieved.

The dealbreaker can come in any number of forms, which vary from woman to woman. I'm sure men have their own lists of dealbreakers, most likely including things like children, disproportionate bodies, severe emotional disorders and addictions to "A Wedding Story" on TLC, but I suspect women's lists of dealbreakers are somewhat more subtle and extensive. Take, for example, mine:

1. Manity (also known as pretty boys, powder-puffers or Poodles) Obvious vanity is a huge turnoff. This includes excessive grooming, makeup, checking out of one's self in storefront windows, carrying a pocket mirror, or, as you all know, SPRAY TANNING. Also falling under Manity is focusing too heavily on my appearance while neglecting my other, less gene-based offerings incuding but not limited to my unparallelled intellect, humor and charm, of course. The arm-candy factor is a big red flag. (My thought is that there are tons of women out there who out-pretty me by far, so getting into a relationship reliant on my appearance alone is precarious and stupid, at best).

2. Displaying rudeness or disrespect for family, specifically mother-figures: The moment a man talks disrespectfully about his momma, I'm out.

3. Listens exclusively to country music: Awful choice of genre. Just awful. Appreciation of select country artists I can get with. Consumption of only country music, however, is surefire sign we will not get along. Ever. No matter how otherwise normal he is. Same goes for those who listen exclusively to rap.

4. Arrogance: not to be confused with manity or humorous self-aggrandizing, which I appreciate, arrogance is an unwillingness to learn and a total lack of humility. To make it in my world, a man must be humble and down-to-earth enough to kick it gracefully and simultaneously with the most intelligent and the dumbest people on the planet (my friends are these colors and every hue in between, and I love them dearly).

5. Bad table manners: Smack your lips while eating or do something crude and it's over in a heartbeat. My meals are sacred, dammit, and chewing is a silent sport. Honestly, this is probably a dealbreaker because of my mother. She was big on table manners growing up and once drove a fork into the back of my hand when I tried to push food on my plate with my thumb. No, I'm not kidding.

7. Dislike of animals: I love them. Talk shit about my dog or cat, and I'll be certain you don't have to come home to them. Which is to say you won't be coming home with me. And what's wrong with you if you don't like animals, anyway? I find that disturbing on a fundamental level. Doesn't that make you automatically more likely to be a serial killer? I think so... or something like that.

8. Lack of passion: I like to be around people who care passionately about things. Well, anything except Monster Trucks, pornography, WWF and their cars. Few things get me more worked up (in a bad way) than trying to have a discussion about something and realizing that there's no brain activity or interest on the other side of the table. Someone who lacks the energy to passionately engage in conversation about a variety of topics (including but not limited to family, politics, bugs, sex, food, sports, violence, travel, literature, giant squid, religion, music, penguins, film, the media, my awesomeness, science, popsicles, education, work, bruising, cocaine, etc...) is a total dealbreaker. I'm feisty. I need to be around people who can at least attempt to match my enthusiasm for, well, everything.

9. Laziness: Self-explanatory.

10. Any three of the following, combined: Girly hands, a lowered car, shortness, an STD, a tobacco-chewing habit, snobbishness, a history of violence, the patchouli-stink, a unibrow, an anger management problem, an unironic mullet, pit stains, unemployment, a habit of wearing black socks with shorts, a fidelity problem, an ex-girlfriend I am related to or used to live with or tapered jeans/too-short suit pants.

I don't want to hear that dealbreakers are superficial or that you don't have them. I have never met anyone who can honestly say there isn't one thing that they could never tolerate in a potential significant other. This extends to friends, too. For example, I can't have girlfriends who are groupies. I hate musician/sports groupies in particular, and would feel ridiculous hanging out with someone who participates in groupie-esque behavior. So let's get over the superficiality right now. There. Don't you feel better?


auntiegrav said...

Question: Does trimming a Unibrow break the deal for being vain or having the unibrow? Or is it just good hygiene?
Some interpretations:
1: Don't go out with a guy who spends more time on his hair than you do.
3: Ayup. Goat Roper Music. I agree with you completely. Some is good, but as a genre, you just play it backwards and get your car back, your job back, and your wife back.
Lots of others just informative. Everyone has some dealbreakers, but for men, there are a lot fewer in general: Bad breath(chill with the Ranch dressing for Chrissakes!), spending habits, whiney voice, LV (looney vegetarianism) (probably make it through a few dates, though), LA (Looney Animal Rightism : Humans are animals, too), CD (Car Dissing) or worse: TD (Truck Dissing-if it's a working truck, that is, not some pussy city cowboy without a scratch in the box - A Hummer isn't a truck, it's a Cadillac without styling: Cheezus, even my 60 yo tractors have streamlining!).
Real Men drive gas guzzling Chryslers with a million cubic inches under the hood(remember inches, not 'liters') and automatic transmissions. A Real Man is secure enough in his manhood to let his gears be shifted for him. (from Real Men Don't Eat Quiche)
Poodles-'nuff said.

auntiegrav said...

P.S. LV is different than someone being nutritionally passionate about good vegetables and avoiding meat. LV is when someone says "I don't eat anything with a face." That's just plain blind faith in hocus pocus spirituality. Animals eat each other, and I think we should, too if we like the taste. We need to respect how they live while they live, though, just as Nature makes sure that predators don't eat all of their food or waste too much of it. Since we CAN think about it, we should be required to do so.

Trebuchet said...

Taking care of a unibrow is just good manners. It's like a bikini wax. We don't need to talk about it; just get 'er done. It's only polite.

Ron said...

yea, so everything you mentioned is pretty much my list of dealbreakers. smoking is a big no no...

Evil Doctor said...

5. Bad table manners: I once broke it off with someone who scraped her fork against the bottom of her front teeth. I can't explain why that bothered me so much.

Mister Underhill said...

Actually, your list is not bad at all.

Noting that you allow one or two from the last list, I even pass it.

It seems like so many women I meet (and also blogs I skim through) have a big, crazy list of things a guy can't have or can't possibly have. Most of the time I probably fit the list, but to me it seems so artificial when a date is basically an interview to go over a checklist of 85 things.

I guess that the roblem is that people are so different in our society it becomes harder and harer to find people that are not totally incompatible....

Trebuchet said...

Evil Doctor: I can sympathize. I was once dating a guy who I just couldn't decide about, until we went out to dinner and sat close enough to each other that I found it -- he slurped his soup and every time he swallowed made this awful gulping noise.

Between the soup, water and coffee afterwards I was so thoroughly disgusted I could hardly eat and before we had the check I'd broken it off with him.

(I picked up the check.)

kojak said...

Since you mentioned makeup, I just wanted to point something out. To the ladies: applying excessive makeup is one of the most distasteful, unattractive things a woman can do. I've written an article on this in my blog. Check it out.

Pat McLellan said...

Is there any particular reason you did NOT reference the Pat McLellan Manity Scale? It could've really helped out some people. No, no it wouldn't have. I just like to see my own name on print. Carry on.

Trebuchet said...

Actually, darling, I referenced SPRAY TANNING, which, if bitten upon, takes our friendly and intelligent readers directly to the origins of the word "manity", which I now use on a weekly basis, because you're a genius.

I wouldn't be surprised if it showed up in the next edition of Websters, really.

Pat McLellan said...

I think it SHOULD be in Webster's! In fact, I'm going to call some of my peeps, and see what we can get done.

Pat McLellan said...

There you with the girly hands again! Damn you, Liz. I would like to clarify that I have piano hands, which are not actually girly. Yes, my fingers are long, but I am just as likely to knock someone out as D-Bo. I think girly hands are established by handerisms more so than general look. I am now going to go slit my girly wrist...

Anonymous said...