When I first started dating after my divorce, I had a wish list of things in my mind that I wanted. The list was something like this: tall, dark and handsome, intelligent, witty, nice but not too nice, grounded, loves dogs. You get the idea. Add bonus points if he had happened to be Jewish, with some spiritual and emotional connection to the world that was greater than himself.
Gasp! Four years have gone by. It is safe to say that I'm no closer to finding my guy than when I jumped back into the dating world. I have come to realize that swiping in today's world is not about looking for what I want. Such an approach is the equivalent of looking for a needle in a haystack. Can you imagine how many profiles you would need to swipe to find Mr. Dream Guy? Instead, dating in the modern age has become a matter of eliminating what I don't want.
In my mind, I have focused on four or five things that I know are deal breakers for me. I have come to think of these things as allergens. Just as someone may be allergic to pollen or fur, I am hypersensitive to certain allergens. My body will experience an adverse reaction if I am exposed to these annoying and dangerous allergens.
My top five allergies are as follows (in no particular order):
1. Married men
I hate to be the one to say this, but ladies "Hold onto your husbands!" There are two types of men that fall into this category. The first is the married man who hides that he is married and pursues a woman. A few dead give-aways for recognizing this man are if he has two cell phones (Don't laugh, this really happened), is only available to meet at odd times of the day or never wants to go to his place. The second type is the married man who ignores the fact that he is married and tries to pursue a relationship with a woman. Perhaps "situationship" is a better description of what this man wants.
I am convinced that Los Angeles leads the country in this category of men. How do you spot one quickly and move on? On your next date, spend some time gauging how much time a guy spends talking about himself. Listen to what he has to say. He's the guy who thinks he is more attractive, more intelligent and better than anyone else. Insecure? He doesn't even know the meaning of the word. His Instagram account is a collection of selfies in super hip locales with the coolest people, all with the singular theme of "Look how great I am." What's shocking about this category of men is that they usually know they are narcissists and fail to recognize why it would be a problem. Use caution when dating a narcissist because he will quickly decide that he can do better than you and run off in search of it.
I will be the first to admit it. I have no real idea of how to spot a player. My player radar is pretty much zilch. If anyone has some other suggestions for me, please send them my way. Through trial and error, I have learned a few things about players. First off, they are overly flirtatious with everyone. A player knows no other way to be. If you are dating a player, he will preserve his options by keeping his relationship with you on the down low. Second, they tend to wait until the very last minute to make plans, especially late at night. Just know that when a player contacts you, he has already been through many contacts in his address book that night. The final thing that I have learned about players is that they tend to run hot and cold. A player will start with the sweet talk and flattery right away. Maybe you have a great date together. Then all of a sudden the texts and phone calls stop. Then he pops back in your life with more sweet talk, as if nothing happened. A player promises nothing but heartache, and maybe good sex if that's your thing.
I pride myself in not being a flake. I don't want to date a flake. Who does? At first, I considered a flake to be guy who is always late, cancels at the last minute or just never calls when you were penciled in to do something. Yes, true, those are all things to avoid. I have come to recognize another type of flake. This kind of flake is a man with no awareness of who he is or what he wants. Recognizing a flake has to be on case-by-case basis, but a few red flags are the men who are making a mid-life career changes and "between gigs," the guy who just left his wife or girlfriend, or the guy who is ambivalent about wanting a real relationship.
Welcome to LA, baby. It's a big, bad world out there. Be careful.
If my cynicism shocks you, it should. I'm shocked by it, too and to tell you the truth saddened by it. Yet at the same time, I think the switch in approaches has opened up a world of possibilities for me. As a result of changing my dating approach, I might now have to swipe right on the short, fat blond guy who is a Scientologist, has worked at one dumb job in his entire life and loves his cats. Of course though, it can't go much further if he is married, a narcissist, a player or a flake.