Having been burned a few too many times to count, a few friends and I took to creating a special kind of list. It is a list that we call deal-breakers. As insane as it sounds, it’s a list of things that we don’t want in a partner. Yep. It isn’t a blueprint for our forever guy. No siree. Any gal can find a smart, witty someone who makes them laugh, likes to travel, and shares his dessert. They’re a dime a dozen. Heck, I bet you’re best friends with them.
You think I am full of it, but seriously. Take a look around. How many of your guy friends could you define as the greatest guy ever? A lot, I would guess. And are they single? Most of the time. These guy friends are everywhere. Half the time you want to set them up with one of your peeps. And why would you want to pan them off on someone else and not snatch up such a prize for your lonesome ownsome? It’s because you just don’t look at him that way. Why is it that so many of these awesome guys are better off decorating someone else’s arm? Usually, it is the honest to goodness deal-breaker. It is that very tangible something that makes them not quite right in our minds.
Being who we are, we wrote ours down.
In our defense, we are not a bunch of maids trying to bag ourselves a man. Heck, most of us go running in the other direction at the sign of anything more than friends who make out. Frankly, it’s an exercise in reality. It’s an honest look at ourselves. Then again, it lets us itemize the specific traits we don’t want, so that we don’t bother wasting too much energy where it doesn’t belong. Now mind you, we don’t go around to every person we meet and see if they meet up with our standards. Heck, half the time, we toss the list full aware that the dude is not nearly up to snuff. Nonetheless, the list is alive and well.
To be quite honest, the compilation of these lists were an extraordinary undertaking. To write these deal-breakers down can sometimes say something a little ugly about ourselves, our vanity, and our self-image. It is personal. You know what? I don’t think that I want to share my list with you. Sorry. But I will tell you how to make a list of your own.
- Grab your BFFs and a few bottles of wine: We went through at least three bottles of wine, a few beers, and a whole lot of girl drinks during this undertaking. Mind you, while making the list wasn’t the goal of the evening (FYI: It was to get hammered, old-school), we each walked away with a hangover in the making and some seriously comprehensive guidelines.
- Know the deal-breaker: A deal-breaker is just that. It is that something that makes you say, “Sorry, but I am going to have to go over there.” It’s not a nebulous something. It’s not something that you can’t put your finger on. It’s a specific something that draws that brrr/eww/argh/yuck noise for which I can’t seem to find a spelling. But like trash and treasure, it is a completely personal revulsion and not something that should be rationalized, questioned, criticized, or borrowed from the list of another.
- The physical deal-breaker: Sure, we don’t want to admit our vanity, but the physical deal-breaker is exceptionally useful for the gals who don’t want to bother. Some are put off by girth, others by height, and others by goiters. While this is usually a shocking realization to find out you are as vain as all that, it’s usually for the best. For instance, I know with absolute certainty that my friends will never set me up with a pockmarked, small-toothed, delicately featured man, who is shorter than me. The physical deal-breaker is immediately recognizable. It usually takes less than one hour for discovery. Upon recognition, one should just walk away.
- The personality deal-breaker: This is another quickie of a deal-breaker. It’s usually one of the first non-physical traits to make itself evident. It can be as obnoxious as humor ala Robin Williams, irritating as discussing personal finances, or as arbitrary as discussing movies as art. Actually, this type is the one that prompted me to writing this entry. I was told that Erin McKeown was a cross between Rilo Kiley and a folk Prince. Um… Okay. I know and love the grand Ms. Erin, so don’t try to explain something to me that I might already know so that you might seem a bit clever. That, and no she isn’t. What the hell is a folk Prince anyway? Welcome to my newest deal-breaker: unnecessary synthesis.
- The hidden personality deal-breaker: This is one that does not make itself known until a few weeks and many hours together. They are especially annoying because you have already invested a bit of time and energy, and then out they pop. Nonetheless, all deal breaking should be strictly enforced. When they appear, you will know that a saner you would never tolerate these things, and that the crushed out you should probably not make excuses. These can be things like casual racism, anger management issues, and my personal peeve, Asian fetishes. When identifying them, don’t ask yourself, “Is this something that I can live with?” Just cut the fish loose.
- The emotional deal-breaker: With very few exceptions, these puppies usually make themselves known deep in the midst of a, how do you say, relationship. When these monsters come up, the last thing you want to do is consult a list. As cruel as it might be, the list is there for a reason. If you want kids, or you don’t believe in marriage, or do believe in God, well… that’s the reason for the list. So ask yourself, are they hypothetical deal-breakers, or are you pretty locked down. Remember, of all the things that might evolve in your thought process, these are the ones that usually won’t. You can’t ask someone to change their politics, religion, or mind and expect it to work. And frankly, no one should ask that of you.
That’s pretty much the long of the phenomenon that we call our deal-breaker list. In all honesty, it is a heck of a lot more useful than going all Dr. Frankenstein and trying to piece together the perfect man. After all, where can a girl find a slight-of-hand magician who is a sweet, charming, gentleman, with good skin, good singing voice, a mind for trivia, is independently wealthy…
Let’s just say that the perfect guy is as much about what he isn’t, as who he is.
 In my defense, I am only four apples high. As a majority of the adult world towers over me, I don’t think that my standards are that high, literally.