The red flags

This week, I’ve written about Dealbreakers and Deal-sealers and honestly I was getting pretty excited at the thought of not having to write “deal” again for a while. But then I realised that I’d missed out on a crucial element of the Dealbreaker phenomenon–that of the red flags. Red flags, as the name implies, are the smaller, less egregious warning signs that foretell of a Dealbreaker to come. Here I have compiled a list of some of the reddest, waviest flags of all. Beware!

1. They don’t have any same-gender friends.

This is because they’re awful in one of two ways. If a dude, it means that they probably fall within THE WIENER TRIAD (jealous-needy-insecure). If a girl, it means she’s a straight-up bitch. I’ll elaborate:

Dudes who are within The Wiener Triad often can’t have male friends because they A) blow them off as soon as they have a girlfriend, and B) concoct strange, jealous fantasies in their heads ABOUT said male friends and their girlfriends. This kind of guy “prefers” to be friends exclusively with girls–but woe betide the girls in his life, because you’re NEVER just friends with a Wiener. No matter what your present relationship circumstances, in his mind you’ll always be his unrequited love, tragically kept apart by time and circumstance. Wieners will often bill themselves as “Nice Guys” and say things like “Why don’t girls like me? I’m always the friend.” But really, they’re opportunists disguised as friends who cannot take “no” for an answer and really want to bone you.

Girls who have no female friends are a problem in another way. Despite what you may think, it’s really not hard for girls to make friends with each other. I have friends who like me based only on my nailpolish or because I gave them a tampon in the bathroom once. The only reason for a girl to have ZERO female friends is that she is a grade-A, balls out, godawful bitch of the highest order. Even chicks who gossip, backstab and carry on like they’re in high school will still manage to have a couple of equally awful friends. For a girl to have no female friends, it probably means that she gets so jealous about boys that all other females are “competition” and must be eliminated. She may also actively pursue guys already in relationships, because as I said, other girls are “competition” and therefore don’t matter.

Basically, both variants are horrible and need to be avoided AT ALL COSTS.

2. They are taken.

This should be branded on the forearm of every single person over the age of twenty: If they’ll cheat WITH you, even emotionally, then they’ll cheat ON you. If you want to wait around for the relationship to end, then wait through the long, difficult healing process, that’s on you. Generally though, it’s less painful to go out and find someone who’s equally awesome AND ALSO SINGLE.

3. They abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

Sometimes, you need to get drunk. Note that I said “sometimes” and not “six nights a week and by nights I mean days also, and also do you have any coke?” These people are trouble; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. First, it’s really boring to be around someone who’s entire life revolves around getting fucked up. Second, people who are drunk or high suck to be around when you are neither. Finally, people who abuse drugs or booze are not often trustworthy or considerate. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to “save” or “fix” them; all that will happen is that you’ll get dragged down too. Detach with love and walk away.

Disclaimer: For me personally, this is a total Dealbreaker. I’ve listed it here because I know that most of the world isn’t as zero-tolerance as I am. Probably most of these people didn’t have an alcoholic parent growing up and have never been seriously afraid of their friends overdosing and dying.

4. Poetry.

My friend Helena suggested this one, and I don’t think I could phrase it any better: “Have you ever written a poem? Have you ever considered writing a poem? Have you ever thought about considering writing a poem?” With painfully few exceptions, poets are a dangerous cocktail of angst, false entitlement and flakiness masquerading as “an artist.” Unless you want to get a really ridiculous break up email written in iambic pentameter, skip it.

5. They talk serious shit about their ex.

At this point, “the psycho ex” is a stock character in all of our personal stories. We smooth over the complicated parts and tar these people that we once loved with the crazy brush. Fine, it’s a talking point and a shared experience, I get it. What I don’t get are the people who REALLY HATE their ex. If someone is breathing fire when they talk about their last relationship, it either means they have a problem with maturity (and possibly anger) or that they aren’t over them yet. At worst, this means you either get to be the emotional punching bag or, ugh, the rebound; at best, it could be you they’re trashing in public someday.

6. They’re think they’re Tyler Durden.

I’ve never met someone who got in fights on the regular and who I wanted to date, be friends with or even talk to. Being able to defend yourself is hot and all, but starting barfights or scratching matches on the weekend is lame. You’re pushing thirty. Go find someone else to shriek at or bleed on.

7. They don’t read.

Everyone has a theory on how the world is split: Cat people/dog people, The Beatles/Elvis, inside people/outside people. My binary division? Readers and non-readers. I am a reader, and I cannot understand how non-readers could possibly live. When someone tells me that they don’t have a favourite book because they don’t really read, I have to fight the urge to ask what’s wrong with them. How do they learn about the world? How do they find words for things that are otherwise indescribable? Don’t they feel like they’re missing out?

They don’t, of course. But then, it’s a shame that one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. (But if they did, of course, they could name that book.)

8. They saw UP and didn’t cry.

What the fuck. Are you made of stone or something? I never cry at movies, and this one had me weeping bitterly for the first twenty minutes straight. If anyone can deal with that love story without tears, I’m pretty sure it means they’re a robot. Maybe also evil. Because GODDAMN.

Also, run for the hills if they don’t have the motherfucking cockles of their heart WARMED at the following picture:

Loves you!

6 thoughts on “The red flags

  1. Another thought that hit me while I was primping… flags can and probably should be applied to friendships too, not just dating. I think a lot of people say they are picky about the people they associate with but when it gets down to it, they never actually follow through on it and then end up with toxic friendships!

  2. Eh, I disagree with 4, but that’s just because two of my close friends are poets. And I heartily agree with 7. And even *I* cried because of UP and I NEVER CRY DURING SAD MOVIES WTF.

    Also, that picture is awesome.

  3. I stopped writing poetry because I was tired of dealing with attitudes like yours. You write something you’re proud of, either you try to get it published/take it to a reading and deal with the consequences, or you keep it to yourself because of the stigma related to writing poetry. I used to put just as much work into my poems as I do my academic papers, if not more. You write, you edit, you write, you scrap entire passages. It’s real work.

    I’m honestly shocked because you’re usually so openminded and you’re also a writer yourself. Don’t disrespect people who write in a different way than you do and don’t presume that everyone who likes to work in a certain style is a bad partner.

    1. First: this article (and the two that precede it) is 90% satirical. There are serious points, like “They talk shit about their ex” and jokes like “they aren’t Spock,” “they write poetry” and “they didn’t cry at UP” mixed up together. I really love poetry and always have, and I am sorry if your personal experience means that you didn’t see this point as the joke that it is. I wish someone would invent a *JOKING* font, but until then, context clues will just have to do.

      Second: this article is from 2011. Now that I write for a wider audience on a regular basis, I’m less likely to make jokes like this because I realise that many people won’t get them or find them funny (as you didn’t). I would hope that all people grow and mature over the course of three years, as I have.

      Finally, you really shouldn’t quit writing poetry, ever. Not if it’s in your heart. Please don’t let jokes stop you from doing something that makes you happy ❤


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