Dating Don’ts: The Do-Not-Date List

Common knowledge of the dating variety dictates that unless you’re looking for heartache, you should stay away from musicians and bartenders.* While, yes, within every stereotype there is a grain of truth, I don’t think it’s fair to paint all these guys with the same bourbon-soaked brush. I know many perfectly sweet guitarists and gin-slingers who’d sooner commit themselves to a cubicle farm than cheat on their girlfriends.

The dudes you truly have to watch out for are the types you’d never guess were players or cads because they appear so straight-up, and seem so normal. For example …Smarty Pants

Even though most campuses frown on, or outright ban, student/teacher relations, working in academia has taught me that professors are some of the biggest players on the planet. This is by no means scientific fact, but every male professor in the social science department I worked in was cheating on his SO with one or more students. Even the hideous jerk I’d nicknamed Roast-Beef Head, on account of his ginormous, mottled noggin, had a gorgeous grad student at his disposal! And from what I heard, the English department was even worse. Unless you feel like competing for your man’s attention with every starry-eyed Lolita with a daddy complex, don’t even bother.

Men Of God

You’re always going to come in second (or worse) with a man who’s committed himself to the big guy upstairs. Then there’s the sexy times—or lack thereof. T, a painter I interviewed, dated a young seminarian for almost a year and never got the nookie off him, no matter how hard she prayed. And he wasn’t even wearing a collar yet. Obviously there are plenty of Men o’ the Cloth (hullo, Jimmys — Swaggart and Bakker!) who get busy, but a vow of celibacy, whether it’s premarital or permanent, is something you might want to (re)consider.

Revenge Of The Nerds

Ever since geek chic happened and even cuties like Johnny Depp began donning glasses in an attempt to appear smarter, the dorky dating pool has been seriously diluted (and deluded). Gone are the days when the pocket-protected computer whiz was grateful to date a nice normal girl such as yourself. Now he has adult movie stars pawing at him and Mark Ronson DJing his birthday bash. Delete!

(On) Top Chef

Thanks to the Food Network and guys like Anthony Bourdain and Todd English, chefs have displaced bartenders as the rock stars of the service industry. What lady hasn’t fantasized about coming home to a scruffy, macho hottie, whipping up a piping hot boeuf bourguignon for the two of you to share over a rustic French red? Unfortunately, the reality is very different. For one thing, do you really think he’s going to want to cook on his night off? And unless you’re also in the industry, chefs are problematic partners. Their hours are atrocious; the drugs and booze, copious; and the coworkers, adorable. And when there are late nights, hot colleagues and various intoxicants, there’s trouble.


Full disclosure: I’ve been publishing first-person stories about my love life for the past decade and while I never name names, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to date me. Writers are ruthless. We’ll pick your brain, “borrow” your stories, and God forbid you ever cross us; we’ll change your name to Wilbur and tell the world about that time you wept like a girl after sex. Because I’m nothing if not a willfully blind hypocrite, the reality of how obnoxious I was didn’t hit home until an ex started blogging about me on an extremely popular website. Gulp.

Obviously for every wild generalization I’ve made there are dozens of exceptions to the rule. Except for the one about writers. No. Seriously. Save yourself. Don’t go there.

*Pro athletes and politicians are also on the do-not-date list, but most of us will never get close enough to Cristiano Ronaldo or Rahm Emmanuel to test that theory. (Though Tiger Woods and Peter Orszag seem fairly accessible.)