What Deal Breakers Do I Possess?: Reasons Not to Date Me

10912929_10204491640828512_775329358_nI totally forgot to cut my employee ID badge out of this photo the first time.

One of my Super Librarian duties is to create displays. Naturally, as 2015 takes root, I’ve put up a resolutions display. In doing so, I found the above title and I was just too curious to let it go. While the title is intentionally scandalous, a good deal of the advice within is pretty sound. Directed toward older single women, in the 35-dead bracket, the author’s perspective is pretty damned defeatist. I mean, for realz yo, were I single at 34 and reading this, I’d take up cutting again. Basically, the author is telling women to get off their high horses and acknowledge that the men they’re dating are human, while there are still men to date. It’s advice from a woman 15 years older, who wishes she’d known this stuff 15 years ago. Fascinating point of view. So, thinking back over my dating history, I tried to decide if there were any good men, who I may have passed up prematurely.

Geologist. This was perhaps the meanest post I’ve written about a man, chiefly because I admitted that the guy looked just like Gollum. It wasn’t just that he was unattractive, though. I mostly didn’t feel like I could relate to him on a personal level, at all. If I’d been less judgmental, could something have formed? Would it have been fair to continue seeing him, regardless of my lack of interest after three dates? I really don’t know.

Engineer No. 94. This guy was nerdy, not particularly attractive, loved anime and I was totally cool with that. We had a great conversation and I really put myself out there, by making it crystal clear that I wanted to see him again, but didn’t hear from him all weekend. In the online dating world, that really felt like the brush off to me. Just a text telling me he had a good time would’ve kept me from feeling rejected and I definitely would’ve been more encouraging when he mentioned meeting me again, rather than doing a fade away. Should I have addressed the issue instead? Was there possibly an explanation that he didn’t offer for some reason? I don’t know, but if I had it to do again, I probably would’ve gone on date number two.

That’s pretty much my list beyond Soldier, who was my first date after my divorce and helped me to realize that I was so not ready to date. In hindsight, I’m really not plagued by what might have been with anyone else I’ve met. There was always a clear deal breaker that I still find relevant, more often than not being that he was an asshole. I am a good practicing Catholic girl, though and very much believe that God brought this book into my life at this time, for a reason. I’m also pretty damned sure that that reason is Electrical Engineer. I’ve vaguely hinted that I’ve kinda, sorta, maybe got something going with a new guy and while I’m sure I’ll share the details at some point, that’s a different blog post. This one is about keeping a healthy, non judgy perspective while I get to know him.

I’ve already realized, in the past year or so, that I need to give guys more of a chance. So, as I’ve gotten to know Electrical Engineer, I’ve reminded myself to look beyond stupid little things that I might’ve dwelled on in the past. After reading this book, however, I realized something: I’m not the only one looking past inconsequential issues in an effort to get to know someone. That’s gotten me thinking. What, exactly, is Electrical Engineer looking past? What will he (or anyone else I get serious with) have to deal with in a relationship with me? What deal breakers might bring to the table? Well, in the interest of self-awareness, here’s what I’ve got.

I’m 27 and have been divorced for four years.
I don’t intend to share this on a date, but zetus lapetus I have soooooo many psychological issues in regards to this.

I say the wrong thing… all the fucking time.
“Ugh. This pie is terrible… I mean, unless you made it, in which case, it’s just not my thing, cuz… I don’t like lime?”

Also, Gaily informs me that “shankraped” isn’t an appropriate word to use in an Olive Garden.

I’m loud and opinionated.
It’s not that I don’t respect your opinion. You’re just going to need a strong personality and voice for it to be heard… especially at family events with all of my aunts.

“It’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size 2.”
By American standards, I’m not fat, but I could stand to lose 20 pounds. There are certainly fitter women on the dating sites. 

I suck my thumb.
Not only is this super weird, but it’s also rooted in a history of abuse, which I’m sure seems less than stable.

I have mommy issues.
See above. Also, see the scars on my leg from all that cutting in high school. The plan is to hide these things until someone loves me and then he’s trapped.

I’m a know-it-all.
I base my thoughts and opinions on facts, but it can be exhausting to hear them on every single subject ever.

I’m more educated than most people.
This isn’t bragging. I have actually met men who clearly have issues with my education level.

I have a master’s degree and all the loans that go with it, but only work half time.
Between substitute teaching and my position as a librarian, I work my butt off to pay my own bills, but it’s an awful lot of school not to be full time. It’s unlikely a man will know right off how competitive my field is and that I’m moving along quite nicely. Regardless, I’ll never make the kind of money people often associate with a graduate degree.

I handle negative emotions poorly.
Seriously, there are some jokes normal people just don’t make. See above cutting joke.

I’m a terrible driver.
No, really. I will kill us all.

I’m nerdy and love nerdy things.
I have to remind myself that my Harry Potter/Superman obsession is to some, what another’s anime obsession is to me. If you’re not into those things at all, they can seem too nerdy, even juvenile. “Zetus lapetus” doesn’t help my case.

I own a lot of pink.
Me: “Can you hand me my wallet?”
Gail: “The pink thing?”
Me: “Well, that doesn’t really narrow down the contents of my purse, but sure.” 

While my favorite color doesn’t feature prominently in my decor or wardrobe, it does in my accessories. A man who’s interested in dating an educated woman could easily find this childish or annoying.

I’m extremely sexually insecure and inexperienced.
I’m like the least experienced non-virgin ever and I’m really not comfortable with that fact.

I won’t shut up.
I love to talk and, sometimes, have to make a conscious effort to listen, because I know that what I’m saying is interesting.

I’m too analytical.
Watching a movie or show with me is exhausting. I will point out historical inaccuracies and comment on how much everyone in In Time did not look 25. Not even close.

I don’t read bestsellers.
I’m a librarian. Pretty much everyone assumes this means I’ve read Gone Girl and The Kite Runner. I have not. I will not. I read articles and memoirs if I want heavy reading material. If it’s fiction, it’s going to end happily ever after with great sex. A man intrigued by my job title might be disappointed by my interest in highlander porn. 

I’m a perfectionist.
I will unravel the entire damned hat because I missed one loop. Crochet is another interest to jot down on the nerdy list. Also, who wants to take a quick trip to the mall 20 miles away and return this shirt, because one of the buttons is a little loose? Anyone?

I can be neurotic about weird things.
There is a place for the red plates. My media is organized by format and then alphabetically.

When I break, I break.
I can maintain emotional control better than most people. I really can. I can be mistakenly called “laid back.” However, when I reach my threshold, I am a complete drama queen. There are tears and wailed hyperbole. At the end of a really rough day, I require at least 30 minutes of silence and dark.

I’m redundant.
I repeat the same stories and jokes over and over again, because I forget who I’ve told.

I interrupt people.
Again, loud and opinionated from a family of same. We all talk over each other and no one thinks anything of it, but I have to put in genuine effort not to do this with everyone else and I often fail. I just get really excited about the subject. 

I listen to terrible music.
“Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes…”
I sing it… poorly… and I blare it.

I watch terrible movies.
The Worst Witch. YouTube it. The entire movie is available and I can sing along. 

I have money issues.
I hoard food, just in case. I will drive to four different grocery stores just to save a few dollars. I’ll want for something for months, before talking myself into buying it, even though I’ve had the money all along. I sleep with my wallet within reach, because I had the worst marriage ever. 

… and I’m sure there are many more. I think making this list has been really helpful. It’s certainly going to help me overlook minor issues I might have with men, because really, if they can give me a chance, I can give them one.

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“I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

Me: “All I want is someone who’s nice to me and likes his job. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
Gail: “That is not all you want.”
Me: “Yeah, it is.”
Gail: “Fine. I challenge you to go home and message every single person who fits the description you just gave me.”
Me: “Fine. I will… as long as you give me the chance to revise that list.”

women arguing

In my last two posts, I addressed the (often ridiculous) demands of women on online dating sites. More often than not, my issue was with presentation, rather than intent. For example, at my last-ever-on-Earth Match event, one of the friendly gals who invited me to sit with her made the statement “… but I have really high standards.” My concern was not with said standards, so much as the wording. What are high standards? Are you looking for someone tall, broad, and wealthy to boss you around in the bedroom and bend to your will in daily life? Do you want a man who will not only change the oil and mow the lawn, because those are Boy Chores, but also do the dishes and make sure the vacuum lines are even, because of Equality Yo?

equality yo

Honestly, when I hear the words “high standards” from a woman, the above is what I conclude, because this is such a blanket term. This is no double standard on my part, either. I read the words “I know what I’m looking for” on a man’s profile and nastily think “… certainly not a girl who knows not to end a sentence in a preposition.” It rubs people the wrong way when you give the impression that you have a clear test or checklist and if they don’t pass with satisfactory results, you’re not interested. That may not be what you intended, but until you meet, online dating is 100% about presentation. It’s important to remember that anyone who does not fit any clearly stated requirements probably won’t bother to contact you. So, if you’re going to list absolute deal breakers for the dating world, then you need to make damn sure that they are, indeed, absolute deal breakers.

This week, I’ve decided I’m serious about dating. Maybe this is because Aerospace has not yet sent me a picture of his tinkle. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading too many Red Pill blogs. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on another paranormal romance kick. I don’t know. Next week, I’m sure I’ll decide that I want to stay single forever, eat Fruit Loops and sweet potato fries for dinner, and buy a lot of boots. For now, however, I’ve decided that Gail has a point. I’m actually trying… but for me that still entails never dating anyone with whom I cannot see any future. So, here are my absolute deal breakers.

Appearance

I like to fancy myself someone who puts more stock in career focus and lifestyle than appearance, but I’d also like to fancy myself as having the body of a porn star with wings.

victoria's secret angel
Google that. I dare you.

I have to be attracted to someone. It doesn’t have to be a swooning moment from the get-go, but it has to be possible. Physically, however, men, are horrible at representing themselves online. They’re either topless in the bathroom mirror or they have no idea how bad that lighting/angle/ex-girlfriend/blow-up doll in the picture makes them look. I try to keep that in mind. I’ve even regretted doing so, such as when I went out with Gollum from The Lord of the Rings… three times.

gollum 2
Seriously, guys, lose the fucking hat. It completely changes the way you look.

So what are my requirements from someone’s appearance? Well, for starters, I’m short. I am a whopping 5’5.5″ tall and I just want someone taller than I am, if I’m wearing heels. Assuming he’s not barefoot in this scenario, that means 5’7″-5’8″ and that’s not very tall. I just don’t think I could be attracted to man shorter than I am, because that’s really short. Do I prefer 6’4″? Why, yes. Yes, I do want to be a dainty little lady, but I also want to be…

victoria's secret angel
We’ve talked about this.

After height comes weight. This is where I’ve noticed men, in particular, suffer from the most unreasonable expectations. They want “slender” or “athletic and toned” regardless of the fact that hauling around all of their weight does not, in fact, make them “athletic.” You cannot ask for something that you do not offer. Furthermore, if you think it’s possible to be attracted to someone a little further to the chunky side of average, regardless of your own standing, make sure your profile reflects that by either not mentioning weight, such as on Plenty of Fish or selecting “curvy” or “a little extra” on Match. I’ve said it before: after reading a man’s “No Fat Chicks” paragraph, I don’t want him to see me in a parka, let alone naked. However, my ex-husband was morbidly obese. I’m not talking about size 3XL shirts. I’m talking about 6XLT. When we met, he was closer to the former, but by the time we divorced, the man could not sit in your average booth, ride a roller coaster, or walk up some stairs. He was 23. Now, I was no pixie in those days either. I was a big gal, particularly for my aforementioned height, topping out at 260. I have no idea how whales have sex, because I’ve tried it and those parts don’t fit together particularly well when both people are 100+ pounds overweight. Because of our weight, all fun things ever were off limits and it sucked. I mean, the guy was a soulless prick, too, but had he not been, the weight would’ve still been a problem

So, for me, a man needs to be, at most, overweight. I, myself, weigh 174 pounds, today. I can tell a man’s weight from a picture, though, so I don’t include any kind of description in my profile. Honestly, I really don’t mind a little bit of a belly. I can even be attracted to it, though I’m sure you’re not allowed to tell a guy that. I’d just like someone active, so if he’s a little chubby, but doesn’t mind walking around the zoo all day, we’re good. If we can try more than the three sexual positions I’ve ever experienced, we’re golden, Ponyboy. My celebrity crush is Seth Rogan. I’m talking from his Knocked Up days. I don’t need the man off the cover of my romance novels. In reality, the wings would get in the way, regardless of who’s wearing them.

archangel's storm
No joke… I have read this book.

Education

This one is a touchy subject. First off, I’d like to clarify that Gaily does not match my level of formal education and she’s the person with whom I’m closest on Earth. She’s far from unintelligent and I’ll admit she dwarfs my knowledge on politics, finance, and how to disappoint your family by wearing the pants in a relationship.

back to the kitchen

Oh, come on, Gail. I can’t praise you without insulting you. That would be far too emotional. Don’t be obscene.

She’s huge on self-education, to the point that it makes her an exhausting best friend some days. Additionally, Niki drives a school bus for a living and not once have I thought our conversation would be more enlightened if she had a greater level of education. That being said, I’m never marrying either of them. I value formal education, in part, because our society values it. I’m actually horrified by the level of education required by many careers, but it is a fact of life and after a marriage to a man who would not work, I just can’t do it. I can’t attach myself to someone I feel does not have a secure career and education helps provide said security. In the Midwest, many, many men who date online, work on oil rigs. They bring in more money now than I ever will. What happens next, though? Oil work is notorious for coming and going and most of these men are lucky to have an associate’s degree. What happens when he’s out of work and everyone requires a bachelor’s degree? I’ve been there. I didn’t want the fucking t-shirt. Just no.

It’s not just job security. There was also that date with the guy who was clearly threatened by the fact that I was getting a master’s degree. He had a bachelor’s degree, in a field about which I know nothing. I don’t even know what an engineer does. The reason I have my master’s degree, is because librarians have to have a master’s degree. When I enrolled in the MLIS program, there was no regard for status or bragging rights. I just wanted to be a librarian and that doesn’t happen without a shit ton of student loans. Them’s the rules. The end. Choosing someone with a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field far from information studies, so we’ll never feel as though we are in competition, will help me avoid another awkward moment where a guy mocks my fucking master’s degree. It also increases the likelihood that we’ll be an intellectual match and educational gap is a factor in divorce statistics.

Career

He’s got to enjoy it. I don’t want to have to worry about a “change in plans” just after I announce my second pregnancy. I don’t want to have the conversation where I declare that no, it is not worth it for him to take this time to figure out what he enjoys doing, because he’s committed himself to a family. I will never again be the woman begging a man to fucking do something to contribute to his home life. No. Not happening. He must have his career chosen and intend on keeping that path for the forseeable future. When we’re in our 50s and he decides he wants to open a specialty store selling handmade classic television show figurines, what-the-fuck-ever. At least the mortgage will be paid and the kids gone.

steve carell painting figurines

Religion

Growing up Catholic in the Midwest sucks balls. My freshman year, I was taken aside and asked to stop telling people that we sacrifice lambs on the alter at Mass. I was so sick of correcting the misconceptions that I thought it would be funnier to encourage them. It’s sort of like that time I accidentally spread the rumor that I gave myself an abortion so that people would stop asking why I’d been out of school so long after my breast reduction. Oops.

I don’t expect to find a Catholic man. Sure, it would be glorious not to explain Advent, because then I’d have to Google Advent. It would be nice to avoid the “birth control is a sin” discussion and just have it be understood that we’re getting married in the church where my grandpa’s funeral was held. All of that would be terrific, but of the 11 Catholic men I actually know, only one is single and he’s gay. I actually bought a subscription to Catholicmatch.com and I’m thrilled that it supports the archdiocese, because it is entirely useless in this part of the country.

The thing is, Catholicism isn’t that different from most Protestant religions. There are a couple of theological issues that really aren’t up for debate, but the big picture about Jesus and Mary and the cross and such… that’s all the same. I’m cool with that. If he can believe the big picture, we don’t have to discuss the details. That big picture, however, is far too big to ignore. Not only do we worship Jesus in my house, we don’t giggle at people who worship Jesus in my house. I’m not even going to try that relationship, because I know it will end in tears.

crying jesus

Politics

I sometimes wonder if this would be on my list if I worked in a less liberal field. I hear so many extreme political views in a day that, I swear, it’s actually pushed me further right. I would consider myself Libertarian more than anything, but libraries are tax funded and staffed by Democrats who want to help people. We got degrees to help people and regardless of political affiliation, we all mean well. I just disagree that a lot of their ideas are practical. On rare ocassion, I disagree that their opinions aren’t supernaturally stupid. For example, I once told a pretty conservative coworker that I thought it would be a good idea to itemize food stamps, as WIC checks are done. Her rebuttal was that “you can’t tell people how to spend their money.” I did not respond.

It’s not their money!!!!! It’s taxpayer money and it shouldn’t be spent on fucking chips and soda!!!!! I even know many, many far left individuals who agree with me. It was infuriating.

I don’t want to get into a political debate with you, because I don’t fucking care. You won’t change my mind. I won’t change yours. So, instead, let’s just look at a picture of a puppy to calm our nerves.

wittle beagle
It’s just so wittle!

Better? Good. I am not printing out said picture of a puppy and holding it up every time my beau and I disagree on fundamental political values. I understand that we won’t agree on everything, but the core points have to line up. Part of the reason is because political values tie in so closely with religious values and we’ve already talked about that. If we don’t agree on abortion, what happens when I get pregnant after three months and his solution is vastly different than mine? If we can’t see eye-to-eye on gun control and he’s uncomfortable with the fact that I sleep with my Smith and Wesson 681 revolver, what happens when I tell him to suck my big fat furry dick? Sure, I may be willing to put the gun away, since it’s only in my bed because my ex-husband broke me, but I’m not fucking selling it. I named it, for crying out loud. I can’t even imagine being in a relationship with someone who’s opinions on Obamacare and the shutdown are polar opposites, regardless of what I believe. I don’t like to fight. I also don’t like to debate over core political values that reflect core religious values, when no one is going to change their mind. I spent such a large portion of my first marriage fighting, in general, that I now shut down when conflict arises. I stop talking and figure we can agree to disagree, especially if it’s about politics. I can’t do that with an entire relationship and maintain it. No one can. 

democrats vs republicansSo, there you have it. I’ve narrowed it down to five absolute deal breakers. I am, of course, not including obvious factors, such as a racist comment in a profile or a confession of crippling loneliness during message three. I focused on the things people get hung up on and I’ve set some reasonable guidelines. Jane will tell me I forgot age, because I recently told her I wouldn’t date anyone younger than I am, but I’ve come around. If I can find a guy in the same place in life that I am, at 25, I’ll give him a shot. The important thing is, I’ve barred the collectible model airplanes, the love of Seinfeld, baldness, or affinity for tabletop board games from this list. That’s only fair since I wouldn’t want a guy to list things like no thumb sucking, singing to the dog, or wearing wings during sex, amiright?