Monday, May 5, 2008

Out-Shallowing the Shallowest: Deal Breakers

A recent article in the NYT Book Review had an interesting essay on the issue of literary taste dictating romantic 'deal breakers' (as well as a sweet blog full of embittered, pretentious reader comments) which made me contemplate my own demons of Seinfeld-ian superficiality.

Most discussion of 'deal breakers' reside predominantly within the sphere of female analysis, with books dedicated to the topic advising women of the warning signs of "deal breakers" that may make or break one's idealized dream boat. And as Ms. Donadio alludes to in her article, the male species is of course ill-equipped for such discourse, what with us being all illiterate, insensitive, and what not. (I'm not trying to sound sarcastic; I'm actually with her on that point.)

Now as a self-serving service to one's personal social defects (as well as a counterbalance to the burgeoning masculinity of the Brown Cary Grant's recent post) here's a rundown of my favorite deal breakers I've accumulated through first, second, and hell even thirdhand experience:

Faux Literary Ability :
Nothing warmed the heart and precipitously cooled the jets faster than my ill-fated "she's cute + she's a writer = therefore, she must be a good writer" syllogism. We're all victims of our respective idealized projection from time to time, but thinking someone must be a great writer just because they have a decent taste in books, write in their private journals religiously, and aspire to write 'the next Great American Novel' does not defend their penchant for pompous IM/Twitter messages or an unflinching devotion to all things Samantha from "Sex and the City."

Constantly Questioning One's Blackness:
I'm presuming this is not a common deal breaker for many, but having one's 'blackness' or urban cred constantly called into question can be quite the turner offer. When the one testing your "streetness" attends an elite predominately white educational institution, has less melanin in 'em than you, and then proceeds to bag on your "straight hair and shit," you too may be questioning why you went through a Huey Newton period in your life.


Empowered Independence Undermined by Dependence on Daddy Warbucks:
I love strong, opinionated women. And not in that bullshit manner in which a lot of guys claim to want an independent woman, but in reality just want a cute Rosie the Riveter wannabe to parade around and a June Cleaver to come home to. No, I LOVE in your face, fight with you till-the -cows-come-home women, with a strong point of view, and thoughtful arguments to back it up. Which is why it pains me to come across really bright, intensely introspective personalities who are brought down in a hail-fire of "oh crap, female empowerment can't afford that, but Daddy sure can," rationale.

Fetishizing Your Ethnicity:
It's perfectly fine to be attracted to people of a certain tone or ethnicity (Outside the bounds of rigid ethnocentricity and out and out racism). But to date a person primarily because "I've never had one of you" or to proceed to go so far as to proclaim "I totally love (Enter Here) culture and only date your people, cause you know, it's not like you're allowed to fuck me over or anything" is a sure way to end the night's festivities and further proliferate the hatred of one's own fetishized culture.

Genuinely Enjoying a Heinously Awful Guilty Pleasure Band, then Making You Feel Guilty for Making Them Feel Guilty for Liking Said Band:
Okay, obviously this is aimed toward my pretentious hipster brethren, but that being said, Christopher Cross and Steve Perry do not qualify as music you may blast in my room post coitus the morning after. (And obviously I'm referring to Perry's solo work and not Journey, because that would just make me an asshole.) And no, my admiration of Hall & Oates and ELO is not the same. It's like comparing apples and Steve Perry - not the fucking same.

Seasonal Social Awareness:
I'll admit it; I've faked supporting a social cause or two in my youth (damn Catholic guilt) but nothing burns the loins more than someone who seems really pro-active about something. Maybe there's just something attractive about someone with drive, determination, selflessness...or maybe it's a total fucking lark and you're doomed to evenings spent with pseudo-revolutionaries who plan on saving the world, all while resting on the security of the trust funds their yuppie parents have awaiting the passing of their rebellious stage. Either way, save the world, and shut the fuck up.

Inability to Have Serious Conversation Without Invoking "Like" Every Fourth or Fifth Word:
I know this is nitpicky, but it blows my mind how many people approaching the age of 30 (or over) are incapable of consciously editing out the word "like" during even the most sobering discussion. Most horrific example: "I was just, like shocked, you know? Like, he was dying there right in front of me, on like, the subway platform, like totally fucking bleeding to death, and like, no one was like, um, like doing anything. It was like, crazy. Like, this was guy totally stabbed to death." (And this person is currently working on a Masters in English Lit. =\ )

Invoking "Like" in an Intentionally Ironic Manner:
Yes, haha, I get it, they sound stupid. Seriously though. Stop it. Please? And does it really warrant an ironic T-shirt?

In the end, lists like these only serve to entertain, antagonize, and hell, maybe ignite monotonous gender divided debate and discussion till we all finally settle in, with our own respective dream guy/gal who of course meets absolutely none of the aforementioned criteria.

Such is the hypocrisy and wonder of life. Love, love, love it up. Till you hate anew, of course.

0 painful displays of affection:

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