Thursday, September 24, 2009

Online dating: Red flags and deal-breakers

I finished pretty much all the work I've had to do today. Obviously.

I have two friends who also use the same online dating site, and I keep mentioning them both in my posts. I figure I should give them nicknames. So, my male friend shall be now known as KosherBeef, and my female friend, of fame, shall be known as KeyboardJockey. I'll be abbreviating them KB and KJ. So, there's that.

I was talking with KB earlier today about deal-breakers, and then about things in people's profiles that were not deal-breakers, but that were such serious indications that this wasn't someone we wanted to date that we didn't stay at their profile much longer.

While talking about deal-breakers, we discussed the ways in which deal-breakers are different from person to person, and the difference between a deal-breaker and a red flag. For example, drug use is a deal-breaker for both of us, as is a long-distance relationship, or someone who does not have a college degree (isn't working one either, and has no intention of ever getting one). For him, dating older women isn't a deal-breaker, while for me, 4-5 years older is the most I'll do for now (if you're a 30-year-old guy, why the fuck do you want to date a 23-year-old? What are we going to have in common?). Smoking is a deal-breaker for me, while KB said he'd date a girl who was trying to quit. (Correction, 9/25: "And you left out an important part in the post about deal-breakers...I said I'd date someone who's trying to quit as long as she isn't smoking by the time I kiss her.") It's interesting.

What bothers me is when a guy will try to convince me that my deal-breaker isn't fair to him. You know, because what I want doesn't matter. Or I have no idea what I want. Or he's perfect for me, and my silly little shallow, unfounded deal-breakers are getting in the way of true love. But do you really think I haven't thought about my deal-breakers? Am I not allowed to be able to say "no thanks" when I'm not interested? Can I help that, oh, being 45 makes you less attractive to me? Should I have to date you because you've decided that what I want or don't want is silly?

KJ has experienced this, as I've noted before, when a guy insisted that she was letting distance get in the way of true love. He was trying to convince her that driving hours out of her way was worth it because they would fall in love if they dated. So, not only was distance a deal-breaker for her, but the guy was being such an ass, it was obvious that she had made the right decision in saying, uh, NO THANKS.

KB and I also talked about red flags. One of my favorites was one he's found twice: Too many references to Harry Potter. One of mine is the list of books a guy has read. If he doesn't have at least 2-3 that I'm familiar with, and that I consider good books, that's a red flag. If it says, "I only read WWE magazines," then that's a deal-breaker.

When it comes to deal-breakers, sometimes you do have to rethink them. Currently, I'm not interested in dating someone younger than I am, whereas before I graduated, I'd barely dated anyone older than me. Now, it's not that I think younger guys are icky; it's that I've graduated, and I'm looking for another "young professional," or a grad student, someone who's in the same boat as I am. And as for older, as I get older, it gets less weird, but if you're 30 ... I don't know, it just feels strange. And if I'm not comfortable, then I'm not going to date you.

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