What's Your Petty Dealbreaker in a Relationship?

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'This date is over, starting now.' (Getty Images)

Love is blind, as the saying goes, but in reality, we all have dealbreakers — rules so deep-rooted that we know we can't date someone who violates them. Maybe it's that they snore. Maybe they have a grating laugh. Or maybe, if you're like John Waters, they don't read books.

For this Valentine's Day, I got curious. What were my coworkers' dealbreakers? Not actually important things, like who someone voted for in the election, or if they still live in their parents' basement. I wanted the petty stuff, those specific pet peeves felt so intensely that you know it would ruin the romance, and that you're better off calling it quits before the waiter brings the check.

And so, to remind our audience that it's OK to be picky, we at KQED come clean with our most minor-seeming but ultimately really, really important romantic dealbreakers. Don't judge us. You know you have some too — let us know what they are in the comments.


I had one where the guy didn't like saxophone. I myself don't play saxophone, but I love it. And like, he couldn't listen to Eddie Money! I love Eddie Money! What's wrong with him?—Ainé Henderson

I don't think you can really trust someone who doesn't like Prince. I've stated that before, publicly, in print: If you don't like Prince, you're probably an asshole. I was driving with someone once and he said he didn't like Prince, and I almost drove off a cliff.—Janelle Hessig

For me it's if you're in favor the designated hitter in baseball. 'Cause it's the principle of it! The idea -- in a way, it's everything that's wrong with society! There's this person, it's their only job to do something flashy. None of the hard, unappreciated work. Do you want that in a partner? No.—Amanda Stupi

I went on one date with a girl who I was pretty keenly interested in, until she was asking me for help in understanding Garcia Lorca, and she said "I don't like poetry." That was a dealbreaker. It may seem supercilious, but as someone who loved poetry passionately, it seemed to be a defect.—Michael Krasny

Someone who wears “feet shoes," like the Vibram trail-running shoe. Creepiest footwear ever. They're oddly futuristic but then also, like, from the Stone Age. Hair could grow from them. No one wants to think of feet when they look at shoes. The point of shoes is to hide the feet!—Whitney Paneuf

If I were to sleep with a guy, and afterward he were to simply send me a text that said "Yo," that's it. We are done.—Rachael Myrow

I have three rules. One, he has to drive a stick shift. Two, thigh circumference has to be larger than mine. I don't wanna crush somebody. And three, he has to have rhythm. That's the important one. Those are my three! Nothing else, really, has served as such a helpful weeding-out process.—Victoria Mauleon

I would have to draw the line at man buns. You never know what it's gonna look like when that rubber band comes off. I realize it's harsh, and shallow, but it just reminds me of Cousin Itt.—Scott Shafer

If you leave your hair clippers next to the sink, we cannot date. I'm a put-things-away person. If you're a leave-things-out person, it stresses me out. Like, I'm gonna die someday because someone left their shoes on the floor, and then I'll fall and hit the door of the dishwasher that they left open, and go to the hospital because I'll break my neck. Put the hair clippers away!—Olivia Allen-Price

My pettiest dealbreaker would be if someone truly loathed Jackass. I know it's puerile and witless and dangerous and dumb, but I'd be so deeply skeptical of anyone who can watch a grown man getting hit in the face by a giant hand and not laugh just a little. I'd worry they took themselves a bit too seriously, to be honest. Which is the opposite of sexy.—Carly Severn

I had this huge crush on someone for months and months and was convinced we were going to end up together. Then, I found out that he was the biggest fan of Pink. All of the romance was sucked out of the situation, and he was no longer sexually appealing to me. He was like, "She does aerial acrobatics, it's really inspiring," and I was like, "We are done."—Emmanuel Hapsis

Someone who chews with their mouth open. I just... I have an irrational... it does something to me. I can't rationalize it away, I can't think through it, I can't justify it. When someone chews with their mouth open, it's all I can see or hear.—Paul Lancour

If they didn't like spicy food. Is that too petty? It just seems like it would mean they'd be unadventurous in other areas too. And I can't imagine them at any of my family dinners. Korean food is super spicy! We just wouldn't really connect.—Mina Kim

If you are a Boston Red Sox fan, then you are a terrible person and cannot date me.—Adam ("Lifelong Yankees Fan") Grossberg

One of mine has been consistently, in this country, men who make comments about my accent, who choose that to be a thing to talk about. It's just so obvious and boring.—Chloe Veltman

If you do not like boxes of old crapola, then what do you even like? Newspapers from 1938, flyers from 1994, old books, photos, magazines, VHS tapes — I'm the guy with boxes of old crapola everywhere! I love it! Do you like having tons of boxes of old crapola everywhere? No? Then let's save ourselves the trouble and call the whole relationship off right now.—Gabe Meline

Someone who wears too many startup-branded T-shirts, hoodies, hats or schwag. I don't think it's too much to ask that they should learn how to dress themselves outside of free clothing that they get from their employers. There's such a lack of creativity and fashion sense there.—Siouxsie Oki

A weird thing that I find unattractive is someone who wears dirty baseball caps in nightclubs. Even if it's Friday, come on, I obviously went home and changed and looked good. And he's in a T-shirt and ratty baseball cap? He should look nice! He should try, a little bit!—Christina White

Your online dating profile contains any reference to the activity of “fire twirling.” Even if you bury it at the end of a slideshow filled with normal-looking scenes of hikes and beers, I will find that time-lapse photo of you spinning a fire staff. And this will tell me that you think paying hundreds of dollars to do drugs and roller skate around an inhospitable desert somehow accomplishes a goal of radical inclusion. Next.—Sarah Hotchkiss

I don't care if someone splurges on a pair of Yeezys here or a Bape hoodie there, but if Supreme can convince you to spend a thousand dollars on a literal construction brick just because it says "Supreme" on it -- no thanks.—Nastia Voynovskaya

If he watches Real Housewives, then sorry, the TV gets moved into the garage. It's just reality TV, that kind of TV, in general, where it's just like drama over nothing -- why do we celebrate these kinds of people? Why is it a good way to spend your time? I don't get it. It's not that it's trashy. I love trashy movies! But I just don't see how Real Housewives is entertaining at all.—Robert Chehoski

I've got one: if they were really into Deep House Yoga. It's just like, why? It's also $25. I love plenty of house music, but to me its spirit has nothing to do with exercise elitism or health narcissism. It feels like disrupting the dancefloor in a tech sense. Naw.—David Marks

Bad lighting. Like, if their place has overhead fluorescent lighting everywhere, I can't spend time there. It just gives me deep anxiety.—Jessica Placzek

For me it's always about bad music taste. Like, what's the Shaggy song about being caught red-handed? "It Wasn't Me"? If you liked that song I'd be worried. It sounds bad, the melody sucks, I always have to change the station when it comes on.—Ariana Proehl