What broke the deal?

A photo of Oliver North, wildly untamed pubic hair, a guy who kept pronouncing "phallic" as "fay-lic" ... and other discoveries that ended the date.

Published October 15, 2003 9:04PM (EDT)

I met a woman through a personals ad in a local free newspaper. Our first date was an amazing time for both of us -- we spent over 28 hours together, napped in each other's beds (and no, we didn't have sex), went to a party at a friend's place, where she got to meet some of the cool, smart people I count as associates. A classic great time.

I should have known that this couldn't be sustained.

The second date was weird from the moment it started -- and the ending was the killer. I was in her living room while she was in her kitchen, making tea. I noticed a picture of her with a guy who looked oddly familiar. He had his arm around her waist, and they looked quite cozily friendly. Squinting and leaning in for a closer look, all of a sudden I realized the identity of the guy. Calling out to her, I asked, "Hey, is this guy..."

Before I could get the name out of my mouth, she leaned out of the kitchen, saw what I was looking at, and snapped, "That's Ollie [as in Oliver North], and I don't want to talk about it."

At that point, I asked her if she had any strong political tendencies I should know about (the topic of politics never came up on the first date).

She planted her hands on her hips, assumed a defensive body position, and said, "I am a conservative Republican."

To which I responded, "And I'm outta here."

I remember the stunned look on her face as I raced out the door.

I left and never looked back. I'm not an angel, but I'll be damned if I'm going to get involved with someone who slept with a demon.

-- David

My AA sponsor Tom, of all people, persuaded me to accept his invitation to dinner. He was 40, single, fit and somewhat attractive. I'm a vegetarian, and Tom appeared to be a gentleman, so he suggested that I choose the place.

We met at one of my favorite restaurants, a funky vegetarian place with cheerful modern art on the walls. During the appetizers, Tom let me know that he hoped to convert me to his brand of fundamentalist Christianity -- I'm Buddhist. When we started the main course, he tried to persuade me to eat meat and told me a long story about working in a turkey slaughterhouse where they played classical music to calm the birds, and said their deaths were quick and painless. When I finally managed to change this odd dinner conversation, he told me proudly that he lived in the basement of a rented townhouse, with 17 -- count 'em, 17! -- computers and four different networks.

After the one-hour-and-15-minute dinner, which was one hour and 14 minutes too long, he tried to persuade me to go out with him again -- but I declined and got away as quickly as possible. Sometimes a date is nothing but a series of deal breakers.

-- Anonymous

Marc was tall and blond with great physical presence. Losing his hair but in just the right way. Electric blue eyes. But there was something he did that was odd. Every other word he said was "phallic." Phallic this, phallic that, phallic phallic phallic. But the really grating thing about it was that he mispronounced the word. He pronounced it, "FAY-lik." Now I'm not judging the guy for being consumed with phallicism. We all have our quirks. But if you're obsessed with something, you should at least be able to pronounce it.

-- Kim

I'm a fairly funky girl -- writer, designer, vegetarian, political liberal, etc. So I'm on the turnpike one day when I run out of gas. The state trooper who finally showed up was adorable, and we seemed to really hit it off. I know what everyone always says about law enforcement, but I just couldn't resist. He told great stories, and he called me three times the first chance he got!

Well, we start going out, and although I gave him my deal-breaker test early on (does he like animals? will he give oral sex?), he wound up not only breaking the deal by lying about his answers to the above questions, but adding insult to injury by saying that my house smelled because of my dogs (it doesn't; I'm a clean freak, and they're poodles, for God's sake), and that I was selfish because I wouldn't give him oral sex (only because he wouldn't reciprocate!). And then, if that weren't enough, one day he said the fateful words that meant we couldn't even be friends: "Did you happen to listen to Rush today?"

-- Jennifer

The eight deal breakers that did us in:

1. She had a Mel Gibson poster.

2. She was a Christian, which was fine, but she was reading one of those Revelation novels.

3. Her son was arrested for sexual abuse.

4. Wouldn't trim pubic hair, at all.

5. Didn't brush teeth at night.

6. Wanted to see a Brad Pitt movie.

7. Made quilts all the time.

8. Wanted a luxury car.

-- Anonymous

I was at a date's house and she asked me to get some ice from her freezer. Things between us were heating up that night, and altogether it had been a nice evening. While getting the ice, though, I found her dead ferret frozen right next to the ice cube trays. She tried to explain ("I'm from Wisconsin and I want to take it home to bury it") but all I could think of was seeing that little shriveled paw sticking out of the aluminum foil.

-- James

I had a blind date one time with a woman who told me within 10 minutes of meeting me that she hated to use condoms. This seemed like a really good sign: She's comfortable talking about sex; she's comfortable talking about sex with me; and when we do have sex, it's gonna feel real good.

Things were going pretty well half an hour later, until she announced, "What I really want is to have a baby." I put 2 and 2 together real fast. Needless to say there was no second date.

-- Steve L.

She was smart. She was urbane. She was brutally attractive, and she knew it. She was from New York, and I dug that. We'd met at a singles' happy hour, exchanged business cards, and after the appropriate amount of time had passed, I called her and set up a date.

I picked her up at her apartment, and as we drove to the restaurant, she began bitching about work from the moment she set foot in the car. Her cellphone rang, and -- horror of first-date horrors -- she answered it. "Hey ... Nothing, going to dinner ... No waaaay!..."

Two miles, two strikes. This was not going to go well.

At the restaurant, the bitching continued, although the topic had moved on from occupational dissatisfaction to lower back pain. Stolidly munching my salad, I prayed to Jehosephat, Zoroaster, and anyone else who might intervene to make this woman please stop talking. I'm a start-what-you-finish guy, so I was determined to make it through this date, but alas, the third strike came before the main course arrived.

"Excuse me," she said to our server as he passed by.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Do you work for tips?


"I said, do you work for tips?"

"Yes, ma'am, I do."

Her glass of iced tea was nearly empty, and she waved at it. "Well, you wouldn't know it from the way you're letting this glass get empty."

"I'm sorry, ma'am, I'll just go get..."

"No! I want a fresh glass!"

I excused myself to the men's room, where I made a phone call, and returned to my seat, which was facing the front of the restaurant. Fifteen minutes later, when the Yellow cab pulled up out front, I reached in my wallet, tossed my date a $10 bill, and said, "Your ride's here..."

-- Jim in Dallas

When I was 20 I worked in a country and western bar near Seattle. It was upscale and catered to those folks that thought that putting on a pair of cowboy boots and jeans was a crazy way to break free from the coffee and indie rock drudgery that prevailed in the mid-'90s. I was thin, had a chest that stopped traffic, and took to wearing a cowgirl hat to help liberate the dollars from the drunks' wallets. I had quite a few regular customers but never took interest in dating any until I met Ty. He was tall, too thin and so persistent that I finally agreed to go out with him. He took me to lunch and then to the ocean to walk on the beach. He was trying his best to be charming and considerate, but I wasn't at the stage of my life where I wanted someone nice. I was still dating men who treated me like dirt, spent my money, and screwed around on me. How dare someone try to treat me like a lady!

So I'll fast-forward to meeting him at his apartment later that night. We talked, he showed me pictures of his kids, and talked about how great it would be when I met them. Yikes! Kids? Me? But I'm only 20 and this is only our first date! This is not the deal breaker but, in hindsight, it does start the decline down the road of "see you later." So, we begin to make out on his couch. It's going well, he's a good kisser and that's always a big plus. Things begin to progress toward the bedroom and I think to myself, "Why not? I've got nothing better to do tonight."

We're in the bedroom, clothes are coming off, and I'm very impressed with the size of his package. Actually, that's an understatement -- I'm almost shocked at its size. I'm the kind of girl that likes to get down to business and bypass the touchy-feely stuff. Give me the dick or get out. So, here's the deal breaker -- this guy was obsessed with the downtown action. He was so into oral sex that I had to actually kick him off me so that we could have some real sex. He had this creepy stoned look on his face when he came up for air and that was all I needed to grab my clothes and get out of there.

I saw him at the bar many times after that but in true, mature fashion, I just ignored him until he left me alone.

-- A. Weber

It was a first date with a guy I met at work -- he was cute, nice, smart, interesting. And very dedicated to his night security job. After a long afternoon playing foozball, he wanted to show me his bedroom. He wanted to show me his "collection," he said. For some reason, I agreed.

Turns out he was a sword collector. His closet was full and he showed me each one, telling me about the name and history of it. Then I noticed he had several large swords tucked between the mattress and bedsprings that I was sitting on. He said they were for "home protection," looked me deep in the eyes, and let me in on his "secret": He believed that it was his destiny to be a modern knight and protect the innocent. And he saw me as the first innocent he could dedicate himself to protecting on a full-time basis.

Everything gets a little hazy at this point. I know I made it home with some excuse, and after that just nodded hello to his hangdog face at work.

-- Claire S. Callow

By Salon Staff

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