Are there parts of your past that you simply refuse to discuss because the shame is just too all-consuming? Like, in college, did you date a white guy who thought it was super cool and ~alt~ to wear a Native headdress at Coachella? Or maybe you smiled through the pain and vented endlessly to your annoyed roommates for countless embarrassing months because the person you were dating "didn't believe in labels." Girl, you have recognized your wrongs. We learn and we grow (though I can't speak for your exes). The point is that throughout our lives, we hopefully begin realizing that there are some kinds of people you should stop dating forever. As we mature, own our knowledge, demand respect, learn about the worlds we didn't experience during our upbringings, embrace our personalities, and interact with more human beings, the kinds of qualities that make up a good person become clearer (I hope). In turn, it becomes more possible to imagine who would truly be good for us. When we acquire more dating experience and learn from events throughout our lives, it is easier to recognize red flags and run for the hills when necessary. In the spirit of preventing dating disasters and putting obnoxious, ignorant losers on blast, here are 11 kinds of people who you should never date:
1. The Mansplainer
Mansplaining is the term used to describe the way some men explain things to women when the women are already aware of the information, if not more knowledgeable about the information than the mansplainer. As Rebecca Solnit writes, it is "the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of [the male] gender gets stuck." Mansplainers may immediately assume your lack of knowledge in an area which is actually your expertise, feel the need to explain simple, mundane tasks to you, magically spit fabricated "facts" at you whenever you prove them wrong, or repeat back your own words in conversation as if they were meaningless until he uttered them himself. As women, we already have to put up with mansplainers throughout our daily lives — at work, with our families, in school, etc. If you are a woman who dates men, why would you want to subject yourself to even more of this tomfoolery? Down with mansplainers.
2. The "You're Not Like Other Girls" Guy
Also for the ladies who date men: the next time a thirsty dude tells you that "you're not like other girls," RUN. It's a common phrase used in the wooing attempts of heterosexual males, and it reveals their immature and sexist manboy understandings of womanhood. They usually utter the remark early on in your flirting exchange (so you'll have time to save yourself), and it is typically in response to statements like "I have a job," or "I have a sense of humor," or "I'm educated," or "I'm a complex, three-dimensional human being." When a guy responds to casual evidence of your maturity, humor, intelligence, and personhood by declaring that you must be unlike every other woman who has ever walked the planet, he is actually telling you that he has never had long lasting, complex female friendships, and he isn't sure what women are like outside of brocentric comedy tropes.
And can we please talk about how this is such an incredibly patronizing, infantilizing, and sexist generalization about women? Lots of us work hard, lots of us are smart, lots of us are funny, all of us are three-dimensional. We don't require approval from shocked male randos in order to recognize our humanity or the greatness of ourselves and our friends. "You're not like other girls" shouldn't make you feel special; it only shows that your suitor thinks women are supposed to be stupid, and you have zero time for that.
3. The One Who Thinks Racist/Homophobic/Transphobic/Sexist/Rape Jokes Are Funny
If a person considers any of these social injustices to be amusing, then that person is probably a racist /homophobe/transphobe/sexist/rapist/rape apologist. In other words, you have absolutely no room for their ignorance and idiocy in your life. It is not your job to educate the person you are dating about their privilege, so please don't consider them a "fixer-upper" either. Another terrible quality that people with this "sense of humor" possess is an obsession with free speech only for themselves. By that, I mean they have no interest in an actual conversation detailing comedic nuances or the errors of their ways, because your words are meaningless/too intelligent. They, however, "can say whatever [they] want."
Another awful aspect of dating these kinds of losers: When you speak up about their terrible jokes, you will often be met with the response, "You just don't have a sense of humor," or "You just don't understand comedy." Lolololol NOPE THAT IS WRONG. You actually have a nuanced understanding of comedy, and of the differences between punching up vs. punching down (meaning making the oppressors the butt of the joke, rather than the oppressed/survivors.) A sense of humor is an important characteristic in a partner, and laughter is a vital component of any relationship. Don't date these kinds of people unless you never want to laugh again ever in your life.
4. The "Nice Guy"
Ah, The Nice Guy Syndrome. Please be advised that I'm not talking about actual nice, respectful, awesome guys. Oh no. The "Nice Guy" is a specific breed of gross and entitled masculinity. Erin Gloria Ryan breaks it down beautifully at Jezebel: "[He] has declared himself to be Nice, and thus deserving of positive (usually sexual) attention from the female of his choice, upon whom he has often projected an elaborate fantasy of perfection and willingness that rarely has anything to do with the subject's actual feelings or desires."The thing about The Nice Guy is that he isn't actually nice. He doesn't really care about your well-being; he cares about getting what is "owed" to him. And in his mind, which has been molded by the #patriarchy, his "kindness" means he is owed sex. When you respectfully deny his advances, The Nice Guy's true/not-so-nice colors come out in full force. He'll probably call you some variation of a stupid bitch, "dumb cunt," as Ryan writes, or an idiot slut. One time a Nice Guy who I'd nicely turned down called me a "Vagina Monster."If you are actually dating a Nice Guy, he is probably using guilt to control your decisions. He has been Nice to you, so aren't you a bitch for not wanting to date him? No. You're not a bitch. He is a misogynistic asshat. Don't date him.
5. The One Who "Doesn't Believe In Labels"
If you and the person you're dating both want to keep it casual or unlabeled, that's one thing. I'm talking about those of you who have been dating someone for a few months, really like the person, and are interested in things becoming more serious. If you express those desires and are met with the response, "I don't believe in labels," GET OUTTA THERE, GURL. Staying in the situation means that you'll be caught in a seemingly endless spiral of heartbreak, jealousy, and insecurity. The problem isn't that your love interest doesn't believe in labels. The problem is that they know they don't want a relationship, but they like keeping you around for company and sex. It's a waste of your time.
6. The Hipster Racist / Ironic Racist
The easy way to avoid dating this kind of person is to stay far, far away from any non-indigenous person who would ever wear a Native headdress to a music festival, as we already discussed. If you want to sharpen your ability to recognize this person (and I highly suggest educating yourself on the subject to ensure that you aren't guilty of it yourself), then you must acknowledge and understand "hipster racism." Hipster racism is a term that Carmen Van Kerckhove of Racialicious coined, "and [it] refers to using racist language 'ironically.'" It is often also describing priviliged white folks. Hipster racists are often the same people amused by racist jokes, foolishly saying, as Lindy West demonstrates in an article for Jezebel, "No, don't you see? I'm just showing how I'm so down with [minority group] that it's totally cool for me to make jokes at their expense. Because we are just that kind of tight bros now." Cultural appropriation is their favorite hobby, whether that means talking about how cool they are because they eat at a "scary" diner in "the ghetto," describing themselves as a "chola," or treating cultural traditions as an accessory (bindis, headdresses, etc.) Hipster racists suck.
7. The Fuckboy
All that you need to know about why you have got to stop dating fuckboys can be perfectly explained by writer and The Read podcaster, Crissle, in her legendary rant from the episode, "Say No To F**k Boys." Fuckboys can be characterized as "weak men of bad faith who betray, manipulate, and mess with women." Fuckboys cheat on you, lie to you, and use you for your money and success. And, unfortunately, as revealed by many listener letters sent to The Read, those who date fuckboys often blindly hope that the dude's behavior will change or have low-self esteem that keeps them from moving on. That's where Crissle's wisdom comes in. JUST SAY NO.
8. The PUA
The PUA, or The Pick-Up Artist, is a fascinating, absolutely terrible kind of person. PUAs, usually straight men, consider themselves professional seducers who treat women as a prize in the game of conquest, rather than as actual human beings. They refer to women as "targets" and often don't even use their real names. Not only do they prey on insecure-seeming women, but they use a gross technique known as"negging." A neg is "a subtle not-exactly-put-down intended to pique a woman's interest and slightly dent her self-esteem." PUAs' backwards misogynistic ideology believes that if a woman's self-esteem is lowered, it then places the man in control because she is now desperate for his approval. BRB vomiting.
9. The One Who Broadcasts Your Business
People who get all up on social media every time that they have an argument with the person they are dating are the worst. If someone tweets and posts Facebook statuses instead of handling the situation privately among the two people it actually concerns, then that person only cares about attention — not about resolving any issues. You don't need that immaturity in your life, and you don't need your personal problems on the Internet for all to see.
10. The One Who Strings You Along
The One Who Strings You Along is similar to The One Who "Doesn't Believe in Labels." This person may be comfortable with titles like "girlfriend" or "boyfriend," but they still have no intention of a real, serious relationship with you. They may keep you around because they fear singledom, because they are unsure of what they want, or because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Regardless, you are far more invested in the relationship than your partner, and that is an unfair waste of your time. Again, they enjoy your company and any sexual benefits, so they convince you that they are happy in the relationship. But really, they are just stringing you along until they find someone new or figure out what they really want.
11. The Bug A Boo
This Destiny's Child song may have been released in 1999, but the wisdom within its lyrics is timeless. While communication is key in any relationship, your personal space and privacy have to be respected. People who bug you by blowing up your phone non-stop and getting angry when you can't respond immediately ('cause, you know, work, sleep, friends, showers, etc.) are a burden that you don't need. So if someone makes you wanna throw your pager (smartphone) out the window or have AOL (Gmail) make your emails stop because they can't bear a second without attention, you ought to remove that bug a boo from your life.
Images: Sarah Zucca/Flickr; Giphy (11)