"Deal Breakers"

By Douglas Cruickshank

By Salon Staff
Published August 9, 2002 7:20PM (EDT)

[Read the story.]

Just read your article on "deal breakers." Have to say I'm glad my Birkenstocks are working as expected -- keeping the shallowest women away from me! Political leanings, dental hygiene, bigotry -- those are reasonable traits on which to make a decision about someone's datability. But shoes?! Fun article, though.

-- Paul Harris

I just want to go on record as woman who was once dazzled by a man who wore Birkenstocks -- with socks that his grandmother knitted for him. The little spirals of baby blue and yellow yarn on his toes just sent me! Didn't hurt that he had a nice build, dark curly hair and dressed otherwise nicely. Ditto that he was sweet natured, helpful and idealistic.

Birkenstocks are heinously ugly, but not a deal breaker for me.

-- Suzaynn

Thank you for your article. It is something I have been investigating a little myself lately. More specifically, I have asked lots of people the following:

Imagine you meet someone you really fancy, things are going well, you end up at his/her place, it looks like you're going to have sex. What music would he/she have to put on to make you change your mind and leave?

Answers vary. One person's favorite sex soundtrack ("Sade") is the next person's nightmare. Personally, Michael Bolton or Phil Collins would make me seriously doubt the mental stability of my prospective lover.

Greetings from Berlin!

-- Jenny

I just stumbled across the article about shoes as deal breakers. Those women only qualify as one thing: high maintenance. God forbid they realize what kind of man actually might wear Tevas ... the ones with strong-enough ab muscles to roll a kayak in 42-degree water at the bottom of a class IV rapid. Ultrarunners. Mountain climbers. Bicyclists. Skiers. The odd soccer player. These are men with the discipline to do the more difficult and challenging things in life and of the mentality that life is to be experienced. God save us from the candy-assed, soft-bellied loafer-wearing slimeballs who populate the bars, malls and other hangouts of the neurotic and overly self-important. Now that's a deal breaker.

-- Antje Spethmann

Girls who are picky eaters, because it indicates they'll be picky about everything. Also, girls who only like yummy foods, because it indicates they haven't matured beyond childhood. Adults generally like mustard on a hot dog, but kids and immature adults like catsup. The worst is women who comment in restaurants that something has too much salt. I've eaten out a lot and never found food that has so much salt that it's offensive, but I once had a girlfriend that said there was too much salt in something about every third time we went out. She was a pain in the butt.

Girls who indicate, at first in small ways, that it's their way or the highway. Relationships have to involve some compromise, but some women have the attitude that "this is what I am and I'm not going to change for you, even on little things, even if it would make you very happy." I might want to slowly undress her before bed, taking time for kissing and all, but she just throws off her clothes and jumps into bed. Because that's who she is. Forget it.

Women who wear very nice, expensive designer suits, especially if their job doesn't require it. They tend to have something wrong, such as being depressed, and they are overcompensating by buying those clothes.

Women who have pets that have weird habits. Like cats who run away and hide for the entire time I'm at their house. The way a pet acts is a reflection of how they are treated. If the pet is happy to see me, that's a good sign. It means she treats the pets nicely and they are happy, and I'll likely be treated the same way.

Women who are overweight have significant psychological problems, specifically regarding an aversion to men. They have a problem with sexuality, so they eat too much, and the result is just what they want -- no more sexual attention from men.

Once you're in a relationship, women who don't feel comfortable giving you a hug and maybe a kiss when you come over to their place. Women who don't like physical affection, sitting close together and cuddling have issues.

Finally, anything, and I mean anything, in their appearance that's "weird." People who are comfortable with themselves and feel good about themselves tend to wear simple clothing and have a simple, normal appearance. Teenage girls can go for the latest fad and have fun, but in general a simple appearance is best. A person who has a "different" type of hair style, an odd watch, or whatever is announcing to the world, "I feel different, I feel odd, I'm not comfortable with myself, I'm a weirdo." A woman or man who goes for a walk in the park on the weekend wearing a regular haircut, a solid-color T-shirt, jeans and running shoes will be a successful, well-adjusted person who's easy to get along with in the long run. The more any aspect of their appearance is different, odd or weird, invariably it will turn out that the more they have personality problems, quirks and disorders. A good example is a man who shows up for a job interview and has a ponytail. He is making a statement: "I know what the generally accepted rules are, and fuck you." Oh sure, he'll be great to have around the office.

-- Greg

Sorry if this sounds insensitive, but halfway through this article it occurred to me why so many women in their 30s complain about their ticking clocks and how "there are no good men out there."

-- Mark Rinzel

As a bi man, my turnoff is a guy who describes himself as cute. All conversation stops. Instant turnoff. Little girls are cute, not grown men.

-- Keith

In the end, narcissism and shallowness bring their own rewards. My deal breakers include handicap-zone parkers and issues of integrity.

-- Chris Sieber

Salon Staff

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