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My dating deal breakers

By Audrey Irvine, CNN

Sometimes it takes only one mistake to sink your chances at getting a second date, columnist says.
Sometimes it takes only one mistake to sink your chances at getting a second date, columnist says.
  • Columnist Audrey Irvine puts her foot down on some men's behavior
  • She won't date a man whose grooming takes longer than hers
  • If he talks but doesn't listen, or has to top everything you do -- he's gone
  • If he's "always on," displays too much public affection -- that's a deal breaker
  • Dating
  • Relationships

Editor's note: Audrey Irvine is a senior assignment manager for CNN. Her experiences in the dating world inspire her "Relationship Rant" column. Check back every week for her take on dating and relationships.

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- Liz Lemon, the self-professed relationship neurotic character on "30 Rock" recently became famous for her book on deal breakers.

In one episode she listed many, including if you're over 30 and wearing a name tag at work, "that's a deal breaker!"

The most common real-life deal breakers: married, gay, not sure he's gay, serial cheater.

Here are my top 10 deal breakers for dating:

1) Spending more time on personal grooming than I do

When I consider how long I sit under the dryer sweating profusely at the hairdresser, I cannot imagine any man spending this much time at a barber shop, or better yet with a stylist. If you are cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and styling as long as me or even longer than me, then something's up.

I'm not discounting all that metrosexual men go through to maintain their fabulousness, but you should not take as long as a woman.

2) Life was better in the past

You know this guy who always talks about college like he graduated four years ago. Seriously, after the 10-year mark, you really need to stop referring to college memories as if they just happened. This includes dorm life, fraternity life, discussion points made in class. I mean there's nostalgia and then there's just let it go.

3) Starts every phrase with "back in the day"

If your "back in the day" statement requires way too much explanation, you need to leave that memory where it belongs, the past.

A guy once told me that "back in the day" he played football and was a wide receiver. My response was "oh really" because there was nothing at face value that made this guy look like a football player. He continued explaining that it was some years ago and he had been really good. I was so tempted to ask if it was Pop Warner when he complained about the long walk to the car at the end of our date.

4) The topper

With this guy, it's always a competition and he must always be on top.

If you ran a half marathon, he's run a triathlon. If you plan to go to Spain, he's already been to Spain and plans to tour the Mediterranean. It's never enough for you to have individual experiences; all his experiences have to be bigger and better than yours.

Hey, some women love a little competition in their relationship. But I believe it can be exhausting. Just consider the next time you celebrate your big promotion at dinner, he's already trying to figure out how to top you.

5) Like Sesame Street, his favorite letter is "I"

Ever talk to someone who asks how you are doing only to realize they didn't stick around for the answer? I have a dear friend, but at the end of each conversation, I realize that I'm exhausted because he spent the entire time talking about himself.

He might throw me an occasional bone and let me say one or two things. However, it's usually in response to a question he has about himself. If someone doesn't care about you enough to hear about your day outside of "it was fine," then that's a deal breaker.

6) The serial yes man

There's yes and then there's the serial yes man. You can do nothing wrong and he avoids conflict at any cost by killing you with yes. Any partnership requires give and take and might have some conflict. Disagreeing, or more importantly, agreeing to disagree, is what makes dating and relationships interesting. The serial yes man may stroke your ego initially, but after too many yeses you will realize you may as well date yourself.

7) The chatty plus 1

He's the perfect accessory for that work dinner or networking party. He says all the right things and knows which fork to use. He's charming, funny and witty and is the envy of all the women because he's so attentive. Here's the downside: He's ALWAYS ON!

Every dinner, every date, every interaction with you, he's always the chatty plus 1. I know a couple like this. We could go to dinner at the neighborhood bistro and he asks the waitress if he can meet the owner. Seriously, it's a neighborhood spot. Let's just eat, and who exactly are you trying to impress? This is a person who you can only take in small doses, so consistent interaction with the plus 1 warrants deal breaker status.

8) What does Mom think?

This isn't necessarily the stereotypical momma's boy, which is an oldie but goodie in the deal breaker category. And no woman wants a man who doesn't love his mother.

However, the man who needs his mother's consultation and approval for every single move he makes can prove to be exhausting.

9) The overly unnecessary affectionate guy

I love a romantic, affectionate guy who is secure enough to express his feelings. However, you've seen that couple who feels the need to express their feelings EVERYWHERE! It's anytime, anyplace -- wherever the spirit or feelings hit them it is up and out for all to witness. I recall watching a man tell his wife I love you over appetizers, kiss her during a play and repeat I love you while parking the car! That was all in one night!

As far as I could tell she didn't cook the appetizers, wasn't starring in the play and didn't rush out of the car and hold the parking space. It felt totally insincere. I don't question whether he loves his wife, but seriously, all this extra affection felt like a dog wagging his tail after receiving a treat. Advice for this man is simple: "Down boy!"

10) The 'Oh wow' guy

I was on what seemed like a great date years ago when the conversation turned to "Where do you work?" At that time, I worked for a well-known 24-hour sports channel. His response "Oh wow, that must be so cool." Then I spent the rest of the date answering questions about this place, from "What's this anchor like?" to "Have you been to a Super Bowl?" to my absolute favorite: "Can you get an autograph for me?"

Each time I answered it was punctuated with an "Oh wow." Ladies, if the guy is more impressed with you than you are, combined with way too many "Oh wows," run don't walk.