**this article is part of iMag's special series, "The Dating Game."
We see it happen on TV over and over again — women repeatedly falling for guys that diss them, dump them and totally bewilder them. And in real life, we have our own Mr. Big, McSteamy, Justin Bobby and Chuck Bass types (hopefully minus all that argyle.) So, how do you survive the dating game? Know the key players.
The Serial 1st Dater
Watch out for this one. He’s sweet, charming and will take you on the perfect first date. That’s because he’s been going on this exact date since 2002. He chose a cozy, dimly lit bar (oddly close to your apartment), and is on a first name basis with everyone that works there. He’s either extremely picky, or is just looking for some action, not a girlfriend.
The 3 Month Threat
A lot of guys I know reach the three month mark in a relationship and their internal “dump-o-meter” alerts them time is up. Signs he’s a "3 Month Threat" include: decreased phone calls, a recent unwillingness to watch The Hills with you, and no interest in planning well thought out dates. He’s not ready to commit and you shouldn’t waste your time trying to change him.
Men that lie about who they are before you meet are beyond me. Umm, hello? If you post a picture of a Ralph Lauren model on your Match.com profile and pretend it’s you, it’s not going to bode well when you meet at a bar two days later. The jig is up, buddy.
“It’s Not You, It’s Me…”
I asked my friend (and former prom date) Jay to explain what goes on in a guy’s head when it comes to dating. He said, “I ask myself, 'Can I spend hours with this girl and not keep checking my watch?' If the answer is outright no, then no second date. If the answer is maybe, then she'll make it to second rounds. Other deal breakers? If we have little in common, if I can’t have an intelligent conversation with her, if I don’t feel chemistry, if she doesn’t challenge me, if I don’t find her attractive (generally in the case of a blind date), and if she's bad in bed (or rather, I get the impression from our first date or two that she WOULD be bad in bed). The answer is always however, no matter what the real excuse, "It's not you, it's me.” Ouch.
Other lines that help him and his friends nip it in the bud include, "I'm really busy with work/school and I don't feel like I'd be giving you the attention you deserve. I'm not ready for a serious relationship. Of course I have feelings for you, we're just having fun though, right?" Jay, please don't forward this to your mother.
Jen Halloween, Debbie Christmas
Another one of my guy friends saves the numbers of women he meets with a little clue that helps him keep track of them. (He was also the inspiration for the “3 month threat — shocking.) He associates their name with the job or the holiday in which he met them. “Stephanie Lawyer” is my favorite. How many Stephanies does he have in that phone that he can’t remember the one from last week? I hope one day he meets someone he has to save as “Julie Rosh Hashana” or “Anastasia Senior Creative Applications Specialist.”
The 2 Week Wonder
This one comes out swinging! He calls, he texts, he wants to meet your friends. You’ve gone out at least four times in two weeks and you smugly told the girls he might be the one. There was even talk of you accompanying him to a wedding next month. And then — nothing! Nada. Zippo. He just fell off the face of the earth. We've all been stung by The 2 Week Wonder. Mind boggling, isn’t it?
Ahh…the famous words, “Want to Watch a Movie?” No, ladies! You do NOT want to watch a movie. I don’t care if he tries to woo you with the new Patrick Dempsey flick. Don’t fall for it on a first date! If you want to watch a movie that bad, sign up for Netflix.
There are two versions of The Recycler. Exhibit A: You two date at least three times over the years and for whatever reason, it fizzles out amicably after a couple weeks each time. On your "re-dates" you think, “Well, maybe now the timing is right.” Yet, that's rarely the case. And apparently you're both recyclers, since you were up for round two and three as well. The reasons it didn't work out the first time surface yet again. Bummer. Exhibit B: This guy has no shame! He just hops from friend to friend in a group of women, which can put some friendships to the test. But, I don’t think The Recycler means any harm. He just likes to stick to his comfort zone.
The Conversation Hog
If a guy is self absorbed, it can really put a damper on your date. Enough about you dude! It would be nice if you had any interest in learning a little bit about me! The only good thing about being out with this guy is that if you black out from boredom, he won’t even notice. You might even be able to get a good game of BrickBreaker in. He’ll still be yapping away about why he’s cutting carbs this week.
There’s always that guy that doesn’t know his limit and winds up slumped over in a booth, blabbing incoherently about how much he loves cheeseburgers, as he spills all over your expensive new tank top. Hail a cab and send him home as soon as possible.
There’s a big cast of characters in the dating scene — which if nothing else, makes for great stories to tell your friends over brunch. Is there hope for The 3 Month Threat? Possibly. Should Debbie Christmas steer clear of him for now? Definitely.
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