Dating Red Flags or Deal Breakers
Damn it, just when you like someone, they go and say something stupid. And by stupid I mean something that is a complete and total turn off and a possible deal breaker. Or is just a red flag? I don’t know. I’m getting ahead of myself.
When I’m dating someone, I look endlessly for red flags. Never again do I want to be the girl who gets totally screwed and ends up saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming. He seemed like such a good guy!” And remember how I feel about good guys. That hasn’t changed in the past few months.
So, I look for red flags. I inquire endlessly. I ask too many personal questions. I persist in making sure I learn as much as I can about a guy. I overanalyze, agonize, create dramas and have an ongoing internal dialogue about the possible things that could be wrong with a guy. That way, when I’m right, I feel somewhat vindicated. In the meantime, I come off as insecure and possibly slightly crazy. It’s a tradeoff. At least I’m aware. I’m the most aware crazy person I know.
This past Saturday, I spent the day with Chef. I was really looking forward to seeing him and was already having an amazing day when we met up around lunchtime. Immediately we started making out. And almost immediately, I started to have an allergic reaction to him. Remember the cat? Well, I kidded before that it was going to be problem, but it actually has been. I basically live on Benadryl when I’m hanging out with Chef, or else I break out in hives and my eyes water out of control. Anyway, I was in the bathroom taking some allergy medication and touching up my makeup (aka: covering up my hives), when Chef called out to me, “You know, I don’t like your car.”
I called back, “What’s that? You don’t like my car? Why are you telling me this?” I was confused. I hadn’t asked if he liked my car. In fact, I didn’t care one bit whether or not he liked my car. Even though people have been hating on my car lately, I love it. And it works for me. I do not need someone I have been seeing just a few weeks to pass judgment on my car. He explained that he thought he could tell me anything and that he just didn’t like my car. I dropped it and we headed out for lunch.
When we got into his car, he didn’t open the car door for me. Not a huge deal, as I am more than capable of opening my own door (and happy to do it). But for some reason, I really notice these sorts of things. Inconsistencies make my brain go into overdrive. Every time he has driven in the past, he opened my door for me. Suddenly he didn’t even attempt. I asked him, what, I don’t get the door opened for me anymore? He referenced that the date was too casual and that I was dressed too casually for the door to be opened for me. Nice. Didn’t know my clothing choice so much affected his gentlemanly behavior. Next time I’ll wear a cocktail dress. Keep it classy.
On the way to lunch, Chef told me that he thinks I should keep dating. It’s something that is important to me, so I should do it. Part of me wondered if this was his way of telling me that he doesn’t want to be with me anyway – whether I am ready or not. Okay, keep dating. No problem. Done and done. I’m working on a Fireman as we speak (this was before the Fight with Fireman).
At lunch is when the real red flag popped up. I seriously have no idea how it came up, but at some point, Chef decided to tell me that he doesn’t think a woman should be president. He thinks that because of menopause, childbearing, etc., a woman probably shouldn’t be given the power to lead the United States and the free world. I looked around the restaurant, convinced I was being Punk’d.
This must be a joke. Chef’s read the blog, Chef’s been dating me for a month and Chef knows that I secretly dream of working for the National Organization for Women. He knows I’m a self-proclaimed feminist (although I have my failings). And I can’t imagine how he wouldn’t know that I would find it deeply offensive that he thought a woman should not be president. I asked him repeatedly if he was joking and he said no. When he finally picked up on my irritation and incredulity, he said, “Well, only about 10 percent of me thinks a woman can’t be president. I would have voted for Hillary over Obama.” Great, I thought. Only 10 percent of you is a sexist. Perfect.
He had lots of reasons:
Chef: What if the woman got pregnant in the White House?
Me: What if Barack knocked up Michelle while he’s in the White House? How different is that?
Chef: What if she then needs to take maternity leave?
Me: Do you really think a woman that has worked so hard to become president is going to suddenly be like “Yay! I’m pregnant! I’m off on maternity leave. Hey VP, can you take care of this oil spill and all that craziness going on in Iraq and Afghanistan? I’ve got to go look at paint colors for the nursery! And, I must buy a breast pump ASAP!”
Chef: I’ve seen my mother go through menopause, so I know what it’s like. Do we really need a woman in the menopause age range to be leading our country?
Me: Speechless. I got nothing. Frankly, I’m just happy he didn’t say those pesky periods and that darned PMS would make us too emotionally unstable to be president. I was really expecting that to come next.
In addition, I took offense to the concept that a woman president would just “get pregnant.” Don’t you think a woman who had worked so hard to get to the White House would be smart enough to take a few precautions? Pregnancies just don’t happen on their own and a smart woman is fully capable of taking responsibility for her reproductive organs. Perhaps he missed Sex Ed.
I tried to explain to him that what he said had many more implications than just the presidency. People have conversations about a woman’s ability to get a lead a company, get a promotion, even get a job because of her status as a woman and her age – especially her closeness to childbearing years. There are (illegal) conversations every day where someone says, “Maybe we should hire the other woman – she’s already had her family, so we don’t need to worry about her going out on maternity leave.” Or worse, “We should probably hire the man. She’s liable to get knocked up and this campaign will suffer.”
I asked him to please do his research. Please check out the awesome female leaders throughout the world. Please read the studies that say that women are often more intuitive and capable of building connections and relationships with other people – which would be a huge asset in a leadership position. I asked him to get back to me, and I really hoped he would change his mind.
Throughout the day, I tripped over other red flags. He called me his friend with benefits. I am no one’s friend with benefits. He told me that he didn’t think I would want to be with him anyway, even if I were ready for a serious relationship, because of how crazy restaurant hours are and the fact that I would probably never have a date for Valentine’s Day or New Year’s because he would always be at work.
These all felt like signs he was trying to purposely get rid of me. How to Lose a Guy (Girl) in 10 Days style. I’m all about being up front – if you are done seeing me, just tell me. We’re adults. Don’t purposely say or do things to piss me off. It reminds me a little of this post by Dennis Hong titled, “How I Get A Girl To Break Up With Me.” The post basically details the ingenious ways that Dennis, once he is done with a girl, gets her to break up with him – and she thinks it’s her idea! That way, he’s always the poor shmuck who got dumped and he doesn’t have to do his own dirty work. (Love ya, Dennis, but this post has been haunting me since the day I read it!)
After this Saturday date, I was feeling bothered, but I couldn’t quite pin it down. I visited my friend Dawn, and after I finished recapping the date, she said, “Did you even have fun today? You sound like you are pissed!” And she was right on. I THOUGHT I’d had fun. We had laughed. We’d had some good conversations and definitely enjoyed some time not talking at all … but was it fun?
And had I run across a red flag or a full on deal breaker?
I haven’t seen Chef since. We had a date planned for Monday and he cancelled because of some stuff going on with work. We’ve talked semi-frequently, and I have been very upfront with the fact that his comment about a woman president really bugged me. The other little things throughout the day were really me just being crazy, but the president comment was eating away at me with no end in sight. The worst part is, I like him. Really like him. Overall, he seems to be a great guy and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him. I guess you could say I like 90 percent of him.
Guys, what do you think? Is this a deal breaker? Or a difference of opinion?
Like I said in the beginning: Damn it, just when you like someone, they go and say something stupid.