Dating is growing ever more complicated by the minute. The sea is vast and there are a lot of fish in it. And now there’s Tinder. How can you navigate the waters with ease and expertise? Arm yourself with a proven strategy for spotting jerks, duds, and crazies right from the start.
1. He calls his ex-girlfriend a “psycho:” You should talk about your old relationship to a new date the same way you’d talk about an old job at an interview — don’t trash it. In my experience, a guy who describes his ex as a psycho still engages her text messages, still checks up on her Facebook on the regular, and might still be in love with her. Beware.
2. He’s rude to the important women in his life: Pay attention to how this guy talks to and about his sisters, mother, female friends — even coworkers. If he calls his girl friends sluts, run. A guy I once dated called his mom the c-word — YES, really — on the phone, and I couldn’t find the door fast enough.
3. He’s never had a pet: Look, I’m just very, very wary of people who don’t like animals.
4. He gets really messed up every time you hang out: Whether it’s insecurity, immaturity, or a combination of both, you can’t be with someone who’s getting sloppy-drunk during the “Getting to Know You” phase.
5: His Facebook page is full of pictures of his car and/or abs: Remember MySpace? MySpace was full of these types of dudes. You’re older and much wiser now — don’t date this guy.
6. He describes you as “a fun girl:” This is Guy Speak for “I like hooking up with you, but you’ll never be my girlfriend.”
7. His friends start every story with, “This one time, when Mike was soooo drunk…:” The good news is, you’ve met his friends! The bad news is, you’re dating a glorified frat guy with a moderate to severe drinking problem.
8. He doesn’t add you to his Facebook page because he “doesn’t really do Facebook.” I’m not saying he has to make it Facebook Official — but if he has a Facebook page and doesn’t want to be Facebook friends, there’s a reason.
9. His car lease costs more a month than his apartment: Nothing reeks more of insecurity than a status car — and the only thing worse is insisting on driving one he can’t afford.
10. He texts you unsolicited d*ck pics: They aren’t hot; they’re creepy. We’re just going to show our friends at brunch, like, “WTF, did I show you guys this?” and never take you seriously again.
11. He feels threatened by the fact that you’re not a 1950s Stepford Wife: I once dated a guy who yelled at me for walking in front of him on a busy sidewalk, never let me drive, and tried to tell me what to wear and not wear. It’s not about feminism; it’s not about being a fist-pumping Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman” — it’s about respect. Get some.
12. He tells you the things you like are dumb: You don’t have to participate in all the same things (UFC fights, pottery classes, aerial yoga), but you do have to show respect to the things the other person cares about. You have every right to feel hurt when he rolls his eyes at your hard-won Katy Perry tickets, and you have every right to find someone who won’t. Because trust me, as the relationship grows, this problem will only do the same.
13. He hasn’t read a book since … well … he can’t really remember: This is totally just a personal one, but reading is sexy. A haphazard bookshelf or a Tower-of-Pisa-like stack on the nightstand is a total turn-on for me. Maybe this goes along with #12, but I love books, and if you think they’re a waste of time, well, I think you’re a waste of time.
14. He’s always SO busy with work/the gym/ studying/his buddies: Listen up, because this is the truth: If someone wants to spend time with you, he or she will make time. When you’re really excited about someone, you create space in your life. When you’re not that into someone, life becomes the easiest excuse.
15. He’s a fixer-upper: Whatever his pain may be — a bad breakup, a personal loss — you’re not the Florence Nightingale of Relationships. Be a friend, be a shoulder to lean on, but don’t try to date a fixer-upper until he’s past the renovation stage.
16. He’s a professional athlete: I abide by the “no actors, no athletes” rule of dating. Unless you like being one of a roster, in which case, carry on. (Before you yell at me, I’m not saying there are NO respectable, faithful professional athletes out, OK! There are 7.)
17. He’s giving your friends a bad vibe: When your judgment gets clouded by New-Guy Goggles, your friends are still seeing clearly. So listen to them when someone rubs them the wrong way.
18. He leaves his cell phone on the table at dinner — and checks it: I don’t care if you are President Barack Obama, this is the rudest thing ever.
Most important of all — trust your gut. TRUST YOUR GUT. When it feels like a lie, it probably is. When it feels bad, it probably is. Going back to square one can seem like defeat, but think of it this way — you just saved yourself two, three years of heartache and headache down the line. And when you meet the right person, you won’t have so many (or any) questions.
Now go forth and date with confidence, my friends!