(As seen in November 2010 issue of Darwin Life Magazine)
Dating is a dirty business. Despite not dating for ages due to marriage, I have some single friends out there who are reporting back from the frontline, so I’m actually armed with all sorts of fresh intelligence. Truthfully nothing’s changed much. It’s still awkward and exhilarating and nerve-wracking and exciting all at once.
The purpose of a date is to establish chemistry. Without that; the date and any future together is doomed, which is why on a first date alcohol is dangerous. After a few drinks you have chemistry with EVERYONE. Like the waiter. And the policeman on horseback. And the horse. Everybody is witty and charming – especially you so it creates some confusing false starts with people who should never have made it past “Thanks, nice to meet you, goodbye.”
Instead you make an empty promise to call, or worse – give your date a pity pash.
However what happens when you DO feel that connection, when there IS chemistry, but there’s a ‘BUT…’
What happens when there’s attraction, good conversation, and fun times, BUT she has dirty fingernails, or he has bad breath, or she abuses the waiter, or he starts playing air guitar at the table, or she has an annoying voice, or he shows you his tattoo. Of the Collingwood footy logo.
You know… what happens when you like them. Like, REALLY like them. But there’s something you just can’t get past.
We all have our own interpretation of what makes a prospective partner, a mental list of must-haves where we say to ourselves, “We may just have a deal.” Likewise, we all have our unique list of turn offs. Not the turn-offs you experience when you first meet the person. I’m talking about turn-offs that despite attraction; just keep getting in the way of a future. Or as I call them: The Dating Deal breakers.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, there are entire websites dedicated to the phenomenon. www.datingdealbreakers.com is my favourite. People log on and share their broken deals. Some are funny. Some made me want to cry and almost traumatized me beyond repair. Thankfully my experiences are mild in comparison.
Back in the day I dated plenty and came across various deal breakers. Clearly anyone who belched in my face immediately after his last forkful of garlic chorizo was a goner. Same as the guy who continually referenced the waitress’s fun-bags.
Sometimes it was just me being fussy. “He really likes basketball,” I would tell my friends. “Like A LOT.”
“What’s wrong with that?” they would say.
“The outfits: The baggy t-shirts. The below-knee length shorts. The backwards caps. The basketball boots worn at all times… even with jeans!”
Shallow? Yes. But most dating deal breakers are.
I once dated a guy who at the time adored me. He was tall and attractive, sporty but also studying to be an accountant, polite and friendly to everyone, funny, and he even dressed nicely. But his hands!!!! They were so feminine to me! Hairless, petite and clean hands that looked like the hands of a 10 year old boy.
I ended it. Only to move on to a Lebanese dentist (nice big strong manly but clean hands) who used to tuck his shirts into his pants WAY too much. And although it was he who dumped me, it probably wouldn’t have lasted – what with all that tucking!
Truthfully, sometimes my dates were well behaved, well groomed, well dressed and well… almost perfect.
So I created a ‘deal-breaker test’ whereby my date’s reaction would determine a pass or fail. It certainly made things interesting and often made my date cringe.
Yes, it was ridiculous. I became the Hey Hey It’s Saturday of dating. But it really helped to weed out the keepers from the dregs.
If I liked where the date was going, I’d work in a little musical verse by Madonna. If he gave me the ‘Where’s your straight jacket?’ look following my performance, it was a No Deal. But if he was amused, bewildered or entranced? It’s a yes from me.
I was pretty much mentally in love with the concept of Madonna as a dude sorter.
Of course there are deal breakers you WISH you could ignore. Like with John.
John was tall, charming and hotter than a tabasco fiasco. John was excellent company, intelligent, funny and brilliant at keeping a girl amused.
John was 19.
John, who was in kindy when I was starting university, never got to see my underpants.
John was the broken deal I’ll never forget…