Some things are just unacceptable. Some things are so unacceptable that when someone does them in your presence, you suddenly don’t want to have sex with them, even if you were considering it a moment ago.
Like wearing Crocs. Or not tipping. Or living with their parents over the age of 30. Or kissing badly. Or using the word ‘panties’.
When you’re single, these things are called Dating Dealbreakers (when you’re in a relationship, they’re just called Things About You That Piss Me Off, although the no-sex outcome is often the same).
Dating Dealbreakers are the invisible little lines we have in our heads which, when crossed, make the person who crossed them instantly unappealing. Sometimes we don’t even know a particular line existed until it’s crossed. And then it’s too late.
Dating Dealbreakers are responsible for many new relationships not getting past the first or second date mark. This is the time Dealbreakers usually rear their heads, when the ecosystem is so delicate that the slightest thing can cause irreparable damage.
Person One innocently does something that grates on Person Two so severely, that Person Two immediately decides they can never see Person One again. Instantly, sex is off the table.
Sadly, Person Two is almost always blind to the fact they’ve committed a Dealbreaker and Person One will rarely be honest enough to tell them. So Person Two is forced to blunder on through the dating wilderness until he or she happens upon someone with entirely different Dealbreakers. Someone who isn’t bothered by the way Person Two answers their mobile during dinner. Or that they can’t drive. Or that they wax their chest. Or have a monobrow. Or wear too much perfume.
Dating Dealbreakers are not necessarily rational. Nor are they always fair. And they are highly individual. What may be intolerable to one person may be no big deal to another.
“If a guy wears shoes without socks, I’m outta there,” shudders one girlfriend. “I have a thing about cutlery,” rants another. “It kills it for me when a guy holds his fork in his right hand like a spear and his knife in his left.” “Too much fake tan” says a guy friend. “It stinks, looks stupid and all I can think about is how it will stain my sheets if we have sex.”
I once went on a date with a lovely guy I met through work. The chemistry wasn’t exactly electric but we had a nice time. Dinner and a movie. At the end of the night I let him kiss me, more out of sympathy and boredom than actually wanting to. Still, I probably would’ve agreed to another date were it not for the first words that came out of his mouth afterwards. “Oh, what a lovely French kiss”. That was it for me. Deal broken.
But my favourite story ever, belongs to a friend who unwittingly committed a Dealbreaker on her first date with a guy she’d met online.
They’d had great rapport over email and the phone and he suggested meeting on his boat one Sunday afternoon. Dressed in jeans, sandals and a nice shirt, she met him at the marina. It turned out he actually lived on the boat, even though it was extremely small and had no shower. He kept telling her he was very successful – a banker or something – and explained that when the weather was bad, he slept in his office. Fine. She had an open mind. A bit odd but whatever.
Sadly, the chemistry didn’t translate in person and after a pleasant afternoon, she made her excuses and went home.
The next day, she received the following email.
Sorry. I wasn’t a very good date yesterday. It wasn’t very chivalrous of me.
I am just always disappointed on a first date when a woman shows up wearing pants. I realise there’s probably not a message being sent, but it’s a flaw of mine that I think there is. I believe I’m being told that I’m not worth the effort. Sometimes, when I see a woman in a dress out with a man, I look at him and wonder what makes him better than me.
I have always felt that the woman that I’m going to marry will be wearing women’s clothing when we first meet.
I’m actually thinking about putting in my online profile something along the lines of “please consider wearing a skirt on our first date”.
Actually, I wonder why women wear dresses to their weddings if they are against wearing them on dates. This seems inconsistent. A first date is a prerequisite for a wedding, isn’t it?
Anyway, you are an attractive, articulate woman and whoever is with you is fortunate. Take care.
After my friend had picked up her jaw from her keyboard and had forwarded his email to all her friends, shesent Aaron the following reply.
I appreciate your honesty and I thought I should be honest in response. All my life I’ve dreamed of my wedding day and wearing my fantasy bridal outfit…..white jeans encrusted with crystals. After reading your email, it seems I may have to reconsider my dream.
Sometimes I see a man walking down the street with a woman in jeans and I can’t understand what’s the matter with me…. why can’t I get someone like him?
Am I not worthy? I hadn’t thought of a first date being the prerequisite for a wedding, but I suppose you are right and I will take this newfound knowledge with me as I search for my future denim-tolerant husband.
No second date. Deal Broken.