Once, after my mom came home from a date, my sister and I asked her how it went. She promptly replied that she didn’t see a second date in the cards because, in her words, “his sports coat was too long. It looked goofy.” Lena and I, then teenagers, laughed heartily at this. “What?” she asked, “It looked bad, and I don’t know if I can be with someone who doesn’t know how to dress.” In contrast, she’d ended her previous relationship because the guy didn't believe in evolution, which, sure! Very valid reason! But "his coat was too long" seemed, to us, an incredibly minor thing that two mature adults could've worked through easily. What is dating if not an opportunity to fix someone’s flaws?
But my mother knew a red flag when she saw one. Here, in her eyes, was a man who would never know exactly how to take care of himself in the ways she’d expect. Why set yourself up for disappointment? Of course, most people don’t even know how long a sports coat is supposed to be, so I still don’t quite think this was her most sound judgment in retrospect. There are, however, some universal red flags we can all watch out for. Below, a fairly comprehensive list of things that should make you think twice about a second date:
- They text to make sure that the bar you’re going to is cool with concealed carry.
- They bring a friend to the bar with them. Jay-Z did this to Beyonce according to “713,” and it still worked out, but your date is not Jay-Z, and even he admits it was a bad move.
- They don’t ask you a single question. The closest they get to asking you a question is upping their intonation at the end of saying, “We should do this again sometime?” which is probably a result of them doubting that should actually ever do this again.
- They spend more time hitting on the bartender than talking to you.
- When politics comes up, they don’t really care one way or another.
- They didn’t like Paddington. (Run, don’t walk.)
- The date started two hours ago, and they keep insisting they’re “on their way,” which is way worse than just not showing up because if you sat around for even an hour and no one came, you would gather up the coconut shavings of your dignity and head home to wallow, but instead you’re trapped in almost-date limbo, waiting alone in a restaurant, sucking your gut in.
- As you walk in, you spot them putting their wedding ring in their wallet.
- During the appetizers, they ask if it’s ok for them to FaceTime their mom so you two can “meet.”
- They have a full back tattoo of Charles Manson.
- They didn’t like Paddington 2. (R-u-n.)
- They don’t eat any bread out of the bread basket.
- Later, when you replay the night, you realize that they kept making comments about your appearance, and in particular, your favorite shirt, which is unfair because you think you look pretty fucking good in your favorite shirt and if you don’t, you really didn’t need to know about it and now the memory of this person is kind of ruining your favorite shirt.
- They’re judgmental about people who watch reality TV.
- You jokingly, in a semi-off-handed-way, mention something your ex did, and they take your ex’s side.
- They keep texting their “friend” about plans to meet up later.
- They mention info, or reference a picture, that can only be found on your old Myspace page.
- It becomes clear they dated the waiter/bartender/someone who works in the establishment, and you are part of a complicated revenge plot to make said employee feel bad.
- When you try to pronounce haricot vert they tease you about it, even though you are doing your very best!!!
- When they pronounce bruschetta they say it the Italian way, with the hard ch sound, but they’re extremely not Italian. (Ditto for anyone who studied abroad in Barthelona.)
- They tell you about the time their stitches popped after their gallbladder surgery while you’re eating.
- When the bill comes, you offer to pay, and then they pick it up and say “Whoa, you’re a generous tipper,” which means not only are they probably stingy, but they also have some questionable social etiquette standards.
- They take your leftovers home.
Originally Appeared on GQ