June 14, 2005

Defining undateable.

Tonya has some idiosyncratic ideas.

UPDATE: One of the commenters writes:
Tonya's exchange sounded like something out of a Seinfeld episode. Man hands, low talkers, one-at-a-time pea eaters...those are all dealbreakers for Jerry!
This reminds me to link to a post Jeremy wrote last week about a friend culling through some on-line dating prospects. One listed "Conan the Barbarian" as his favorite movie. Another has this possibly fatal flaw:
While he is a liberal who greatly dislikes George W. Bush, he would not, himself, name a fondness for George W. Bush as being something that would be a dealbreaker for him in a prospective partner."

I wrote something in the comments over there, and my reference is to Seinfeld and peas-one-at-a-time.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Have you ever had a big affair with someone for a long time only to discover late in the game that one of those dealbreaker facts was true of him (or her)? A dealbreaker for me is believing in astrology, which is handy since so many numbskulls blurt out references to astrology very soon after you meet them. Once I told a former lover that I had met someone I really liked but when he brought up astrology I experienced a sudden, crushingly fatal loss of respect for the man, at which point the former lover said, "I believe in astrology." Now you tell me! How much time and anguish I might have been spared. I told this story to a colleague, a professor at one of the very best law schools, and she said "I believe in astrology." Does everyone secretly believe in astrology? What's wrong with people?


The Management said...

Get out your sexist alarms, but the deal-breaker for me, as a man, is if they're ugly.

Seriously though, I can't stand women who pressure me to make some meaningless decision - only to overrule it (as it were). For example, "You decide where we're going to dinner." (Me) "I don't particularly care." (Them) "I decided last time." (Me) "Ok, let's go to x." (Them) "I don't want to go there. I want to go to X." (Me) "Fine, let's go there then." (Them) "Why can't you make a decision and stick with it." (Me) "Because I don't care. What was this some kind of test?" (Them) "I'm not testing you; I just want you to make a decision." (Me) "Get out!"

You can imagine the rest.

Kid Handsome

Ron said...

Oh, Tonya...y'all have put yourself in the deep freeze before we even got cookin'...

Ann, thanks for the PSA!

katiebakes said...

Management, glad you are honest. But is ugly downright ugly? Or just not gorgeous? Big difference.

Tonya's exchange sounded like something out of a Seinfeld episode. Man hands, low talkers, one-at-a-time pea eaters...those are all dealbreakers for Jerry!

Be said...

I find great amusement in reading online personal ads, mainly because they sound an awful lot like job descriptions (right down to education and workplace skills).

Though haven't been "on the market" in years, I have had the opportunity to live the experience vicariously through my roommate. I swear, from what I could see, his first dates (seldom second dates) had all the romance and spontaneity of a job interview. It was as though the sum of a bunch of niggling "deal makers" would equal a "spark."

Anonymous said...

Only Virgos, Capricorns and Pisceans secretly believe in astrology.

Mark said...

Everyone knows that when the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.

Anonymous said...

Who we get involved with reflects back to us who we are. Ergo - everybody tries to 'date up'. But, no one should waste their life looking for a date that serves as a 'skinny-mirror' (to quote another Seinfeld).

Often Dealbreakers are ways to let one's vanity, pride, or insecurity trump our ability to discover something that _works_. Our hearts/mind/crotches have a natural ability to work out a compromise between themselves and actually, you know, get involved with someone romantically, if we have a balanced view of ourselves.

See yourself honestly and you will find a partner that satisfies you. Make long lists of who isn't good enough/right for you and you are lost in the part of your brain that can only be critical and cautious and cannot be open, warm or intimate. People who make such lists are still trying to find themselves, and will not likely find anyone else in the meantime.

Simon Kenton said...

"What's wrong with people?"

Only on Althouse! What a question at the start of a day of conference calls with contractors all over the country and partway round the world.

There's nothing wrong with people. There's something wrong with me. In other words, we all carry something like an inner template operating in the depths of the heart; people fit it or not. Most don't. But whether they don't or do has nothing to do with them, all to do with the template. Perfectly worthy people don't fit it - they are someone else's husband, not yours. As I commented to Be, the trick is not just to marry your husband rather than someone else's, but preferably to marry your second husband first.

In turn the template has to do with healing deeper layers of one's self; the other is chosen to express mained aspects of the heart. Because they exemplify parts thrust or taken from you, they are chosen for their ability to evoke lost aspects of the self. But those lost aspects were set aside because of the pain they caused, and re-evoking them causes the pain to surface again. Those fitting the template are selected for the qualities that later make you crazy with irritation. Odi et amo. The unfairness is obvious, though not avoidable.

So. Wednesday morning, just before taking out the garbage, that's what's wrong with people.

(Don't blame me, blame Jung.)

MT said...

How's it any different from believing in God, souls and the stuff written in the Bible?

Steven said...

Well, Ann, there is something to astrology . . . delusion, wishful thinking and gullibility.

(Hat tip to Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time.)

Pancho said...

I had a long standing, yet off and on again torrid love/romance/sex affair with a woman, "K", whom I really liked very much. I had a marriage in between and after that ended I called "K" in Santa Fe to check out the possiblity of getting back together.

Well, Santa Fe had gotten hold of "K" and although we had a great conversation, every third sentence was peppered with references to astrology and what my karma was doing.... Needless to say, bells, whistles and sirens started going off and that was that. It was really sad because "K" is at the core a very nice person. It really seemed to me that she had been hijacked by some astrology cult.

West said...

Good god. Considering anything less serious than child molesting or kicking dogs as a 'deal breaker' is unbelievably superficial and adolescent. Particularily 'believing in astrology': you do realize that some people put 'believing in God' in that same category? You have had a 'lover', which I would guess means an extended relationship, and while there must have been reasons for a break up, any and all positive attributes that person may have had
that you thought were worth maintaining a relationship are instantly negated (retroactivly!) by their believing in astrology?

Grow up.

Yogo said...

I agree with Tonya. A skinny, fastidious, vegan man is a definite deal breaker. Actually, I can take skinny, but if he's skinny because of his fastidiousness about his weight and his veganism, then NO. I might as well date the bulemic girl down the street. He's high maintenance and that is just not attractive on a man.

About that astrology. It's ridiculous. We used to read Cosmo magazine's year end astrology guide when we were teenagers, but I always thought of it as a silly distraction. I didn't know people took it seriously. They do. I was commenting to my friend that her daughter was so quiet and sweet. With a straight face she said, "oh she's a Taurus, she has a little mean streak."

What's wrong with people, Ann?

james said...

Distinguish between casual friends and someone you want to be a permanent and intimate part of your life.

Philosophical and religious differences matter when you're talking about reshaping your life with somebody else's (and especially when kids are involved!). I've friends who believe in astrology, but our lives aren't that closely intertwined, and we can easily agree to disagree. Marrying someone like that would be like marrying a Muslim or an atheist--our attitudes toward life would be too wildly different.

Eating styles are just harmless habits, of course. There's almost always a positive view you can find. And you can even get used to snoring...

Walter said...

It's funny, my girlfriend has glasses as one of her requirements for dating. But I expect that has something to do with the fact that her type is "geeks with glasses." If I wasn't a reader, I don't think she would have taken dating me serious.

As for astrology, I'm not interested in dating anybody flightly/"dumb" enough to actually believe in that. I share some of my girlfriends requirements in that I only want to date intelligent people [women].

Be said...

Hear hear, Simon.

"Hell is not other people, but our reactions to them."

-some other Dead French guy.


Since I'm "deal breaker central" (from my stature to my politics to my disgusting laugh) I really do try to lay off of other people's foibles. Usually the whole is greater than the sum of the parts - meaning, sometimes the food snuffler is a great kisser. The regionalist pedant who corrects my (awful Great-Lakes) accent may well also have a broad shoulder for me to lean on at some point. You never know. I'd hate to find myself kicking me years later for having rejected my "prince charming" (if he exists) because of some small annoying habit.

Mom said...

I haven't been tested on astrology as a romantic deal-breaker. But boy, does this issue ever come up with my friends! Half of them seem to believe in astrology, and if they don't, they believe in homeopathy, which is just as bad. Try as I may, this does put a dent in my respect for them. I do my best to avoid the subject, and we stay friends, but it's there.

Why is belief in astrology different from belief in God? On a purely logical level, there's probably no difference at all. But belief in God has, at least, the traditions of most human cultures throughout history to recommend it. Belief in astrology is just plain silly.

Simon Kenton said...

Be -

I never understood the dealbreaker syndrome, but received it. On one first date, I sat in the bar answering questions: career prospects, desire for commitment, future children, care arrangements for future children, home-ownership, etc. I remember mildly reflecting that I had been warped into a Jane Austen novel without the wit, when suddenly, the Inner Coyote was there, and I found myself saying, "Miss. Miss? Would it be ok if I finished my beer before I proposed?"

I also went through a vicarious dealbreaker interview, where the arranging female fronted me with a series of questions referred by the prospective blind-datee. After I answered these and waited while the arrangerette went through a call, I was told that the prospective blind datee felt that I would be "too mature for her. She felt she was very immature."

"Convey my hearty concurrence."

Generally, I like to generalize, and this seems an area where women lavish more energy than men. I've never known a man with a list, so obviously never knew a man to want to spend time comparing lists with the guys. It always struck me as a waste - so many pleasant people out there, why bomb them into the stone age until compelled?

Kathleen B. said...

"Well, Ann, there is something to astrology . . . delusion, wishful thinking and gullibility.
(Hat tip to Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time.)"

Honest to God, I am half way through that book right now! How crazy. It has so many good lines and satirical bits, it could have my own blog just quoting it!

The Management said...

Katie Baker - I was only pseudo serious with my whole "if they're ugly" comment. Obviously, you have to have a physical attraction to someone in order to date them, but I wouldn't say that I have some imposing standard. Beautiful is great, but cute works and average is ok too.

Also, Ann, not trying to get myself in trouble, but for some reason it always bothers me when people refer to former boy/girl friends as "lovers." I don't know why, and it's not a "deal breaker" since I don't really have one, but for some reason it annoys me. Lovers, to me, is a term most appropriately used for a current romantic interest - and then only privately (And I am by no means a prude).

Kid Handsome (Part of The Management)

Ann Althouse said...

There is a special problem with believing in astrology that is not true of believing in God. Belief in God is not demonstrably false, but belief in astology is plainly idiotic. Belief in God connects to long, respected human traditions that people are affiliating themselves with. But worst for me is that astrology purports to assign people to categories based on an irrelevant fact and then proceeds to make assumptions about who they are. That is dehumanizing and digusting. People who believe in God are thinking about the nature of something transcendent -- it doesn't classify human beings into ridiculous categories and assign characteristics to them. (Some religions do proceed to categorize people, particularly men and women. Belief in a religion like that or belief in something like, say the caste system would obviously make a person an unacceptable partner.)

Tonya said...

Walter: I like geeks with glasses too. Even better if they are geeks with glasses and long hair -- then they are kind of a hip geek with glasses.

the management: I just had a conversation last night with a friend about how to characterize a particular male-female relationship. We rejected all of the usual terms -- boyfriend, significant other, partner, husband -- because they simply did not fit the situation. We settled on "lover" as being the most accurate because it reflected that the parties were sexually involved. But, I agree with you -- I have a hard time hearing the term used in public settings.

Smilin' Jack said...

Belief in God is not demonstrably false, but belief in astology is plainly idiotic.

How is belief in astrology more idiotic than the belief that by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a 2000-year-old carpenter you can gain eternal life? That's not only idiotic, it's icky.

Yogo said...

That ain't blood. It's a big 'ol jug of wine in the back closet. I saw it.

Skewed Left said...

Tonya & Kid Handsome: I always associate the term "lover" as the male equivalent of mistress. A mature woman, possibly married but not necessarily, takes a "lover". I just don't think young single women can have them.

Mary E. Glynn said...

Oh, astrology is just cheap fun. Entertainment every day. I bet a lot of people don't really "Believe" just read them out of habit.

Outlier: you should get out some ;)

leeontheroad said...

the management: I wouldn't date an ugly you, as a man-- or a woman, either.

If I wasn't happily married, I might very well go for beefcake next time, too. I don't know what that might be when I'm in my eighties, but, next time, yeah, total beefcake. I've had it with that soulmate thing about friendship, shared goals and values, and comfy sex. Intelligence and humor are good, but the rest, oh so solid and predictable (yawn). I think next time I'll be objectifying, critical, and cranky.

Bruce Hayden said...

Been on the market too long for my own good. In my 54 years, only married for 10, and monogamous another 10 (maybe). So, have dated my fair share by now.

Deal breakers for me:
- not smart
- too easy to walk over.
- hates kids

All the above were learned the hard way. The later, in particular, when I was in Austin, girlfriend there was jelous of my daughter. Identical to what happened in Parent Trap II. The bad girl (Elaine Hendrix) asks the father (Dennis Quaid), Them or me? His response: Them. She repeats in disbelief. He repeats.

When I was in Austin, I tried the video dating service thing. As I like smart women, I went out one time with a bunch of very bright women. No chemistry whatsoever.

I haven't found religion to be an issue. Most of the women I have been involved with since my divorce 11 years ago are reasonably devout. I go to their church with them, and visa versa. No fights over how to raise the kids, as theirs are invariably grown.

Oh, I guess I could add that there are some places I really don't want to live, and that may have been a dealbreaker with one woman. Definately not NYC. Probably not LA. And this was Las Vegas. She loved it. I hated it.

ohnobettemidler said...

Astrology as in "oh, Tauruses are so like that" wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me, but "I'd better not do that today, my horoscope in today's paper said it will a bad day for it" -- that would be.

Similarly with God, actually: believe in a higher power? Sure. Have a personal relationship with Her? OK, maybe. "It's god's will that it is raining today?" Nope, see ya.

Other deal-breakers? For me personally, music is the big one. I'm pretty easy-going in most other areas, but if you've got a significant number of CD's by Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra or Bonnie Raitt -- there is absolutely no way that I would risk having to listen to that, even occasionally, for the rest of my life.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that I probably would not be happy with a woman who did want to live in either NYC or Las Vegas on a permanent basis. Too different.

You can see from my post what I would prefer doing - that was on my male bonding ski trip to BC, Canada a couple of years ago.

Bruce Hayden said...


Ear plugs. Or, probably better, the top of the line ear protectors that you get for shooting. I lost mine in my divorce - but she makes better use of them that I do anyway.

Finn Alexander Kristiansen said...

They helped to establish a new nation; they started some of the early universities in the U.S.;they (in the form of abolitionists)pushed for the freedom of all men; one of them (a Christian in the person of Mother Theresa) cared for the sick; another, (via the voice of Martin Luther King), pushed for equal rights.

One of the most pratical aspects of Christianity (or a belief in a deity) is that such belief usually manifests itself in day to day actions that benefit the wider world. Practiced correctly, Christianity is outward focused (after the inner change). With astrology, the focus never ventures from the self.

As for deal breakers, I am pretty desperate often enough, so if she walks, talks, and breathes, it's thumbs up. However, if she says either "I don't listen to music" or "I don't read" it makes me very wary, like there might be a very bland and illiterate evil lurking beneath her shapely frame and pleasant smile.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oh, another deal breaker for me - Bush jokes. That girlfriend in Austin was an environmental attorney for the state, who had, btw, inherited a bunch of money, so she didn't have to live off of her salary.

In any case, Bush was gov. at the time, and she and I would go out with my brother and his wife. All three quite liberal, and would spend the evening telling Shrub jokes. My brother, I am sure, to get my goat. Ditto for my sister-in-law, but as a second generation (PhD) civil servant, it could be that she really believed them. But the girlfriend actually thought that they were funny. The three of them would almost roll on the ground over the governor's latest slip of the tongue. They all knew they were far smarter than he, and thought that he was quite funny, when they weren't ranting about what he was accomplishing.

So, I guess I need either a woman who is somewhere between middle of the road and conservative, or who is nonpolitical. My ex is the later, so that worked, and my sometimes girlfriend is more conservative than I, so that works too. And a couple in the middle worked because, even though they were somewhat liberal, they never talked politics, so neither did I.

Bruce Hayden said...


Not reading is a problem. Sometimes girlfriend doesn't. Claims that she gave it up when her kids were little and she was widowed, and, being OC, would get so involved in a book that she would stay up all night, then have a hard time parenting.

And it is quite humorous as she is contstantly trying to prove that she is as up as those of us who do read on what is happening in the world. You can only get so much on TV, esp. when the interesting stuff (to me - not the Jacko trial interesting stuff) is really only on in the evenings on Fox. So, there is a time lag.

The reason that it is humorous is that she is an extremely quick study, and has gone through life faking things. Got it from her father, who was good enough that he was able to cover his Alzeimers for years. But after 6 years, I see through it, and laugh when she tries it with me.

But, Yes, I would prefer a woman who reads. I would not mind settling down with one that I could go to book groups with. Maybe that is because it was one of the things my parents did together, and, indeed, my father is still going, almost two years after losing my mother.

Actually, what I do miss most with this woman is the intellectual life. Instead of talking about her grandkids, I would prefer politics, religion, etc.

Meade said...

Did I say astrology? Oh, I meant Tarot. Yeah, that's it - what I'm really into is Tarot. Tarot and hard-boiled eggs cold.

Did I say hard-boiled eggs cold? I meant memes - yeah, I'm heavily into memes. Heard the latest?


Meade said...

But enough about me. I want to know all about you. Here, let me read your palm. What? I did? -- I said "palm?" Heh heh, silly me - I meant "blog."

Judith said...

"How is belief in astrology more idiotic than the belief that by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a 2000-year-old carpenter you can gain eternal life? That's not only idiotic, it's icky."

To quote Zell Miller to Chris Matthews: "Do you know what a metaphor is?"

I think the word "believe" is tricky here. Astrology is a poetic metaphor for various human characteristics, as are most mythological personality constructs, although it doesn't accurately predict anything. however I agree with the other commenters' distaste for New Agey mushheads who babble about it.

Also, religious ritual and contemplation are processes that develop states of mind through repetition, that's why one speaks of a religious or spiritual "practice." When people ask me whether I "believe" in God, I say I experience God sometimes, and while engaged in prayer I assume that someone is at the other end, and this creates a useful experience that I can't have otherwise. (This may be more Jewish than Christian - the English words "believe" and "faith" when referring to religion, don't have the same resonances in the equivalent Hebrew words.)

As for dating, I don't think I am really compatible with someone who doesn't "get" what I just wrote above. That's more important than whether we share the same practice. And militant atheists who set up simplistic straw men like the one that prompted this comment are right out.

mikepearce said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow, okay, I'm sure I get flamed for this, but since we are about 90% water, and gravity does effect development in the womb, there actually is some truth to Astrology. If you have been "created" during certain times of the year, your development have been "formed" by the gravitational pulls of the Moon and planets. Many animals, such as jellyfish, mate according to the pull of the Moon. Why would not personality and mood of a person be altered and formed biologically by the same forces as these other biological tags. I have met many people born in certain times of the year, and yes, they seem to have the same traits in personality. Now, your daily Horoscope might be bullshit, but I do think that many people, such as people born in January (Capricorns) seem to have the same personalities . Gravity can effect many things, and the seasons are a major part of living on this Earth. It's beyond a reasonable doubt that gravity can effect the way you have been formed, and possible your neuro developement, which would in turn effect your personality and behavior. -Dan