The Definitive List of Dating Offenses


By Dave Horwitz

By Marisa Pinson

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Dealbreaker is a hilarious reference guide to the qualities that, when discovered, transform the “date you hope to go home with” into the “date you pray never calls again.” A “dealbreaker” could be an annoying habit (you talk through movies), a physical attribute (your soul patch), a lifestyle choice (your cucumber melon body spray), a worldview (your delusions of grandeur), and everything in between!

With a combination of good-natured ribbing and sardonic snark, comics Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson have catalogued these characteristics that, though occasionally trivial, serve as early warning signs of possible relationship discontent. Based on their popular eponymous blog, which is gaining a wide audience of disgruntled singles, Dealbreaker is sure to resonate with anyone who has had a bad date or a relationship gone awry.


For our parents, because if they were as picky
as we are, we'd have never been born.

Rough night, huh? Let's guess: you rushed over to your work friend Greg's art opening (who knew he was a painter as well as a file clerk?), only to discover that the gallery was a dimly lit room in a converted warehouse, and that he's not a painter but a "human paintbrush," which means that he flings his acrylic-soaked body at a blank canvas. Not exactly Norman Rockwell, but you went along with it because Greg's friend Mitch was there, and you sort of have a thing for him. Well, three paper cups of Two Buck Chuck later (way to go all out, Greg), Mitch is rambling on about his dream of owning a Hummer in between seismically enormous wine burps. If only he'd kept his mouth shut. Well, it's time to head back to your apartment, alone, and by choice this time.
Or perhaps you met your friends Barry and Curtis at a run-down little karaoke bar for a few pitchers of light beer and a laugh or two, when across the bar you spot the cutest girl in the room, Kim. In the oh-so flattering, dim red light of the bar, she's a knockout. You two hit it off because you have the same zodiac sign (Leos represent!), and because she's a vet tech and you've got a secret soft spot for sick kittens and three-legged dachshunds. Suddenly, your attention is diverted when Curtis belts out a surprisingly tuneful rendition of "Lovely Rita." He's got the crowd on their feet, all except for your beauty, who's covering her ears because she hates the Beatles—never "got" them. She thinks they sound like stupid cartoon music. What? Everything seems to go quiet for a moment. What kind of a person doesn't like the Beatles? The room starts to spin as you realize more and more imperfections in Kim's face until she might as well look like a potato with lipstick. You pay your tab, compliment Curtis on his hidden vocal talent, and get the hell out of there.
So, Mitch wasn't the right one for you, or even the right one for you to make out with in a cab. He might have a perfect five o'clock shadow, but his wine-stained purple teeth and gas guzzling dreams were enough to send you fleeing back to the safety of your room. And Kim's no prize either. I mean, seriously, hating the Beatles is a gateway to uncovering various other worldly horrors. If "Good Day Sunshine" doesn't make you smile, you've probably murdered a drifter at some point in your miserable life. At least you were able to spot these glaring turnoffs before things got really serious, or even before you did something you might regret involving hands, jobs, and gnawing your arm off so you can leave undetected in the morning.
That's just a small sampling of the vast collection of horror stories that lie ahead. If you've ever felt lost in a sea of dating disasters, nightmare hookups, and chance encounters that you'd rather not remember, welcome home. Give us your single, your casual hooking up, your totally jaded about relationships, yet still hitting up bars and clubs on a weekly basis. Give us your disastrous one-night stands and your blind dates that never made it past the breadsticks. We understand, and we're here to tell you: it's not your fault. And that's what this book is all about: Dealbreakers—anything that removes even the slightest hint of attraction you might have for a person. Let the record show, we're on your side. No matter how small the gripe, how minuscule the problem, we know that it can eat away at you until there's nothing left but your dissatisfaction with his wispy bangs, or her inability to chew with her mouth closed. We've heard your cries and your muffled screams, and we've seen the horror poorly hidden on your face.
We are the curators of a veritable museum of obnoxious human behavior, reprehensible character traits, and unacceptable physical attributes. This is our twenty-first century freak show, but instead of a roadside attraction in a dusty old town, these oddities are visible in plain sight: at your gym, winking at you from across the bar at Chili's, or popping up in your inbox. You don't have to travel to the county fair to spot someone you'd never want to share a bed (or even a beer) with.
We've compiled enough Dealbreakers to take you through the entire human population. We're here to represent the voice of a generation faced with an interesting contradiction: we are as obsessed with finding love as we are with avoiding it. This is a group who, unlike our parents, holds less value in our date's moral upbringing than what's on their iPod. Sure, it sounds shallow, but these cues are essential in finding Mr. or Ms. Right Now. Right here at this party. Jeez, lay off me I'm only twenty-eight and I'm not looking to settle down because I've got to think about my career and I've got shit to do like, um, I just started season 2 of Battlestar Galactica and who cares if my sister's twenty-two and just got married maybe that's what she wants right now but she's always had no ambition and that's fine if she just wants to pop out babies and call it a life—no I'm not drunk you're drunk!!

Shall we?

Chapter 1
The First Impression
The prospect of meeting someone you want to get in bed with at night is what makes you get out of bed in the morning.
Your mother was right, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. While she may have been referring to a job interview, the sentiment rings just as true when it comes to dating. Besides, what job is more important than the position of future apartment key holder? Trade your business casual attire and meticulously worded résumé for your lucky cardigan and charismatic small talk. In a loud, dimly lit bar, meaningful conversations are hard to come by, and in-depth evaluations of someone's personality are basically nonexistent. That's why we are limited to judge people on their most obvious means of representation: the first impression—the way they dress, style their hair, smell, and whatever small talk transcends the pumping base. All of this mixing and mingling can be met with indignation, indifference, desperation, or anything in between. However, all you need to know about dating is that regardless of how you feel about it, it is one of the most important parts of your early-mid-late-twenties. It lures you to spend too much time getting dressed and too much money on overpriced cocktails and have too many quarter-life crises. After all, the prospect of meeting someone you want to get in bed with at night is what makes you get out of bed in the morning!
So, here is your chance to shine, and lucky for you it couldn't be more convenient: Birthday Party for Your Best Friend at a Bar Near Your Apartment. You have all the right tools: clever anecdotes about your relationship with a mutual friend, a lighthearted take on politics, a charming story about the puppy you adopted (with accompanying photos on your cell phone). Your style is hip, yet casual, effortless, and approachable. Your friends are quick to describe you as a catch and eager to introduce you to equally eligible parties.
However, the star of this show is the biome of the dating climate: the Bar. Most patrons follow a similar ritual: scan the room, make small talk, check for text messages, go to the bathroom, order drink, and repeat. Men and women at this stage in life aren't particularly coy when it comes to preliminary mating rituals. It is perfectly acceptable to abandon some social decorum in exchange for the potential to get laid. Otherwise respectable men will hoot and holler at ladies who they find pleasing, while otherwise dignified women find themselves dancing on bar tops with reckless abandon. The crowd unites over their common goal, bopping in unison, buying rounds of drinks, throwing in a fist pump to the chorus of "Sweet Caroline."
You are forgiven for your indulgence in vices, knocking back whiskey after whiskey, cigarette after cigarette, nacho after nacho.You attack from humankind's most primitive state of mind with the force of natural selection lighting a fire under your ass. All this so you can hopefully, someday, maybe, like, far in the future, find someone to actually (gulp) settle down with.
Enter your prospect. You squeeze past the crowd for a better look, and as far as you can tell there's no immediate red flags—friendly, attractive, well-dressed, smiling. No dumb accessories as a desperate attempt to fit in with a peer group, no banal small talk, no bad smells. Suddenly you find yourself singing along to the Top Forty, swapping drinks, munching on maraschino cherries, giggling as you judge the room full of idiots. A hand finds its way to a knee, an arm around a shoulder. Could it be? Have you found the one person in this bar that you wouldn't be kicking yourself to be waking up next to? Maybe, but don't be celebrating too soon. They may seem to be miraculously devoid of any superficial Dealbreakers, but you've still got more investigating to do. There are plenty more deals to break and only an hour until last call. Get to work, boss.

Your Missed Connections

So, what you're telling me is that you felt an intense attraction to me when you saw me from across the supermarket as I was "reaching gracefully for a head of lettuce." Okay, well maybe I'm being naive here, but couldn't you have told me that in person? If I recall correctly, that particular shopping trip took me forty-five minutes (I guess that old saying is right, don't go to a grocery store hungry), meaning you had the better part of an hour to approach me face-to-face, or as you'd say, IRL? Maybe that would have been a little awkward, but less so than expecting to make a romantic connection with someone you were too scared to approach in the physical world. What did you think would happen: I would somehow read this (because you think I'm as crazy as you and I peruse Missed Connections looking to see if someone's watching me touch lettuce) and decide that it's time to fall in love with a Craigslist Troll? You don't need to Ask Jeeves, I'll tell you right now: it ain't gonna happen.
Missed Connections
Tan leather in checkout aisle 10 - m4w (Whole Foods/Third Street)
Reply To This Post
It was closing time and I was behind you -- you: tan skirt, tan jacket, dark hair to the middle of your back. By the time I was bagged up you were gone. Was that an engagement ring on your left hand or was I seeing things? Tell me what you were buying and I'll take care of everything else. And I mean *everything* else.
• Location: Whole Foods/Third Street

Your Nonprescription Glasses

At least these are aiding someone's vision: mine. I can see that you are a pretentious asshole.

Your Ironic Mustache

You're right, the funniest thing you ever did was grow a shitty mustache. If you commit to this joke any longer you won't be allowed to live within a thousand feet of an elementary school.

You're a Creep

I'm getting an overall vibe here. It's not necessarily that you're dangerous, it's just that you would be someone that danger would follow. Think person of interest in a murder investigation. Maybe you're not the one who poisoned the drink, but you're the one who provided the poison, or gave a thorough and informative tutorial about how to make it. Does that make sense? Look, I can't help the way I feel, so please don't be angry with me or follow me to my car and make animal noises at me. Not that I'm saying that's something you do, just that it's something you're probably capable of. Like, you could do that in your sleep. Also, please don't kill me in my sleep.


On Sale
Sep 28, 2010
Page Count
224 pages
Running Press

Dave Horwitz

About the Author

Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson met while performing Improv and Sketch comedy at LA’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The two started Dealbreaker, a blog where they could vent their frustrations about their ill-fated dating lives. They now bring their unique sensibilities to Dealbreaker (the book), at the risk of rendering themselves undateable to anyone who Googles them. They both live in Los Angeles.

Learn more about this author