Fu Manchus need not apply

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March 21, 2008

4:22 PM

A few nights ago I had a very heated discussion with my boyfriend about the gender wage gap. There I was, trucking along, spouting numbers and saying that women need to be more economically minded in relationships. But suddenly the conversation took a turn for the worse.

p. Feminist ideology might be his deal-breaker. Dating the hegemony might be mine.

p. It’s a good idea to have a personal list of deal-breakers before diving into the complex world of dating — both within the brick walls of the College and without. It’s always good to have a way to whittle down the droves of suitors at your door. Having deal-breakers is key.

p. Maybe your beau has a Fu Manchu. The solution is easy enough — voice your concerns early and often. “Oh honey, are you becoming a pro-wrestler? Are you in someone’s security detail? Do you want to be part of the Village People?” If this doesn’t go your way, Samson-and-Delilah that mess before things get serious.
Being a sloppy drunk can be a deal-breaker; vomit is never sexy.

p. However, some habits can be conditioned away. I was a PDA-prone drunk until I trained myself to just be judgmental instead. The things I do for love.

p. I once had — and potentially still have — a thing for terrible, terrible people. This wasn’t a problem; rather each relationship had to end because of a minor additional flaw. Such as, say, being embroiled in a sexual assault case — deal-breaker. Or, a marathon cheating spree that totaled five different chicks in a month. My rough calculation concludes that this meant my then-boyfriend slept with two different women who were not his girlfriend in a single week — deal-breaker. Had he been more judicious, perhaps only one a week, I may have let it slide. Or the boy who was the worst gossip I have ever encountered — including during my eight years at an elite all-girls school. I knew things about myself that hadn’t even happened yet — and luckily, never actually happened in reality. Dating a gossip girl — total deal breaker.

p. I’ve been lucky to avoid some awful deal-breakers. I’ve actively avoided smokers, addicts and convicts (though I came close once or twice). I’ve never had an abusive relationship or a boyfriend who, to the best of my knowledge, was mean to his mom. I’ve avoided egregious and distasteful tattoos but, unfortunately, not piercings. By and large the aesthetic deal-breakers have remained intact. Perhaps I just never thought about the ideological ones.
I don’t know if I could date a neo-conservative; I haven’t given it much thought. I know I couldn’t marry someone who wanted a stay-at-home wife, but nobody articulates that kind of thing at the onset of a relationship. When is it appropriate to dive into these questions? They’re embarrassing and revealing and totally necessary — especially when commitment looms in the future.
Close your eyes: Can you imagine the person your parents expect you to be with? I can. There’s a clear set of expectations from social groups too. I have a rough idea of background, occupation and, dare I say it, class that’s acceptable to my parents. But if I try to imagine who I want, in mind, body and spirit — that’s more difficult. So, I guess it’s good to weed out what I don’t want. I’m not currently overwhelmed with potential partners, but as graduation gets closer and the dating pool vastly expands, who knows what kind of creepos I’ll meet. At least I can cut the Fu Manchus immediately.

p. Charlotte Savino is a Confusion Corner columnist. She enjoys long walks on the beach and boyfriends with questionable morals.

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