Jamie Shupak is the Emmy-nominated traffic reporter for NY1, the Big Apple cable network that’s the end-all and be-all on all things Gotham for New Yorkers. She’s also a beautiful, single woman navigating New York’s treacherous (and hilarious!) dating scene. In her weekly column she shares her war stories and offers her advice and admonitions.
Chew your food too loud? My friend Jessica won’t date you.
Have nose hair? My intern Christina won’t date you.
I have other girlfriends who refuse to date bad spellers, guys who don’t like dogs, have road rage, long fingernails, tattoos, or wink too much. (Yes, there really was a “winker” my friend went out with once. “Every time he says something he thinks is funny or cute,” she told me, “He winks at me as if to say, ‘Hey baby, aren’t I funny?’ And like, ew, no. You’re not.”)
So into the dating graveyard he went.
Joining him in the cold ground was a guy I went out with once who my friends actually warned me about. “We know him,” they said, looking at each other with slanted glances, and then back at me. “A girl in our office went out with him and he wears really terrible shiny shoes.”
So when I met him I looked right down at his feet—phew, matte loafers. Score! But alas, he was carrying this awful bag with a plastic window in the front showcasing his business card.
It was like a kid on an elementary school field trip with one of those, “If found, please return to...” stickers on him. I just couldn’t bear it.
Ah, dating deal breakers. Seinfeld enumerated some pretty famous in his day: man hands, the woman who ate her peas one at a time, the guy who only referred to himself in the third-person, the close talker, and possibly my personal favorite, the low talker. Remember, that’s the one that led to him wearing the puffy shirt!
Sure, most of these are hilarious and even ridiculous to some, I’m sure. But don’t be so fast to laugh them off. These are attributes, habits, or—dare I say it—flaws, that you just know you cannot live with.
Take for example the dude with the ugly bag. Of course it can be construed as a superficial criticism of his style, but doesn’t it actually also suggest something about him as a person? Isn’t advertising your business card so loudly, and in such a tacky way, also advertising that you’re a potentially shameless self-promoter? Maybe impossibly lame?
Deal breakers are easy to laugh at because they sometimes seem superficial. But they're often no laughing matter.
Even in the case of literally laughing out loud. I cannot, will not, ever date a guy who uses “LOL.” In text, email, tweet, any form—total deal breaker. It tells me so many things about you, the worst of which is, you can’t think of something funny to say back. I don’t just want you to laugh at my jokes, I want you to throw one right back.
But then there are the ones that come with the Jerry-Elaine-George–Kramer-style quips. They will keep you and your friends laughing for days, like scenes out of a Larry David script.
Let’s call this episode “The Heart Attack.”
I had arranged with a guy I had been out with a few times to drop something off at my apartment for me. When I got home I saw he left the package with a handwritten note. (I know: a note! From a guy I liked! This couldn’t be bad, right?)
Not so fast.
Turns out this note was actually no note at all. It was a love letter. A sweet novella, if you will. There was nothing wrong with what he wrote per se, though it was a little long and gushy considering our short courtship thus far.
What killed me was the valediction. He signed the note with a then a comma, then his name.
A heart? Really? Dude, you're in your thirties. Don’t do that.
Also, we had gone out maybe twice and known each other all of two weeks, if that. Isn’t a heart a bit much at that point?
Here’s another thought: why did you even sign your name at all? I know it was you. Remember? We set the whole thing up together. You're the only person who was going to be in my apartment that day.
If you’re thinking that this poor guy is getting crucified for signing his name with a heart at the bottom of a letter, my apologies. But to each his own, right?
Sorry, deal breaker.
My close guy friends agreed. When I recounted “The Heart Attack” to one of them, moments later his response was, “Oh man, he’s toast. Next…!”
I always preach about the importance of keeping an open mind when dating. But when it comes to deal breakers, be honest about whether you can really live with the other person’s nuances or not.
I recently asked a guy I’m dating to name one of his deal breakers. He told me that she has to like and appreciate the beach. Lakes, mountains and rivers are fine, but he's a beach bum at heart. If a woman hates getting sandy or salty—or at the very least, getting her feet wet—well, he would either have to convert her or (ahem, figuratively) send her out to sea.
My only advice to him was that if you ship her out with a note, please don’t sign it with a heart.
Next Week: Humor is hot