In the most recent Misanthropologist post, Elizabeth recounted the tale of a romantic endeavor gone terribly wrong. Yes, I do consider his feeble attempts to strut his stuff a “romantic endeavor.” I envisioned this all happening at Rick’s Café Américain. A broken man hoping for love with a beautiful woman he stumbled across in a bar and pulling every trick out of the bag to impress her…but I digress.

Reading her story of this cocktail-hour disaster made me think of my own run-ins at bars and what rubbed me the wrong way. And being the opinionated bloke that I am, I’d like to offer you girls a laundry list of turn-offs that will cause me to pump the breaks and steer clear of you.

Here are a slew of them that I will take note of right away:

  • I’m a man and I do have manly needs. Of course I am willing to sleep with a girl on the first date, or, as a college kid, have sex the first time we “hook up.” Any man who says he wouldn’t is lying as a part of the sensitive guy routine or sucks in the sack and is hoping to hook you some other way. Would I consider a serious relationship with this girl after? Absolutely not. She stamped her booty call card the moment her lacy thong made it lower than her knees.
  • Table manners. Ladies, this is simple. Not small fork/dessert spoon manners. I’m talking about chewing with your mouth open. And having a napkin that resembles a baby’s bib at meal’s end. If you aren’t able to keep the food on the plate or in your mouth, then learn how to. There has to be cotillion classes for grown ups out there. Seriously. And for god’s sake, be aware of small things like food on your chin or bad breath. Excuse yourself to the ladies’ room before leaving the restaurant to give yourself a once over. Or if you’re at a bar, don’t order shots right away. Mixed drinks are perfect, or lighter beers. Keyword: lighter. Please don’t talk about how much you love that local brewery’s IPA. I don’t care.
  • My friend Jack recently explained during a “guys tell all” that he was turned off when girls didn’t wear their emotions on their sleeve. I would have to agree. No, this doesn’t mean we want you to cry at the dinner table or laugh uncontrollably in the movie theater. But be willing to laugh instead of telling us “you’re funny,” or if you like us, let us know. There are times when we aren’t able to read the signs, regardless of how big they are. And be outwardly appreciative of compliments. Believe me, nothing prods us more than the nagging doubt of thinking that you brushed whatever was said off.
  • Driving stick. No, I don’t have an answer as to why this is a turnoff for me, but it is. It scares me. Does this scream insecurities? Probably. The “strong, independent woman” gig is great and all but don’t girls want to be girls? Was Cyndi wrong? Is it time to quit taking everything pop stars sing about to heart? What happened to sitting in the passenger seat of my convertible with the top down and your hair blowing in the wind?
  • While I am definitely an ardent supporting of girls dolling themselves up, there is a fine correction-pen red line of looking good and looking like a prostitute. When you’re going to a bar with your girl friends, be sure to tone down the hooker look. You may think men want that snazzy glamourous I’m-a-twenty-something-sex-kitten type, and they often do, but for a one and done. If that’s what you’re after, go for it. If you want good conversation without his eyes below the chin, then take a step back and ask if you’d ever go to a work cocktail party dressed that way. If you wouldn’t, time for a change of clothes.

Now, many these turn-offs are admittedly superficial. But having been raised in the Midwest in a patriarchal family, I have traditional tendencies that have me wandering aimlessly in the seemingly wrong place at the wrong time. I often feel as if I was born in the wrong era, that I am more suited for the roaring twenties when hypocrisy was fashionable.

Are most of these out of date and out of touch with reality? Well, if my experiences with girls backhanding me after explaining why I didn’t call them is a hint, then apparently yes. The truth is, I do want you to be your own woman, to have your own passions and even you own vices. But, for me, it is frustrating that the recent trend has been to throw out the formerly established “rules” of dating. At the end of the day, I want to be the clear-cut man in the relationship. Is it too much to ask for you to not scrape the plate with your fork? Yes, this is something of a double standard, hence my previous mention of hypocrisy.

I’m not asking for you to read this as a “how to be a lady” handbook as I’m probably not a good voice for the general population of men. I’m sure many guys would disagree with me. But this is my honest-to-god insight into pet peeves that I have in young relationships. Take it or leave it, but know I’m not the only one.