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Elizabeth Jayne Liu

Are You Dating A Jerk? An Assessment Checklist

It’s weird to write about dating since I haven’t been in the dating game for a minute. I’ve forgotten the fine art of giving out my phone number and then waiting and sometimes staring at my cell phone, willing it to ring. Ok, that’s a lie…those experiences are burned into my brain the way an image of a fat man in super small stretched-out Speedos running along the rocky sand of a cold dirty Los Angeles beach still gives me chills at night.

I have a lot of single girlfriends. Some are single by choice. Others are single by chance. And I talk to all of them about what it’s like to navigate the Frosty Waters of Dating.

I find myself holding my tongue a lot. Mostly because I’ve found that when a girlfriend is sprung on some new flavor of the week, no amount of levelheaded advice is going to get through to them, but also because there is a very slim (VERY SLIM) chance I could be wrong about this new shady fellow. I’m all about chances. Ok, no, that’s a lie too. I’m not all about chances. I’m just all about keeping my friends because if you’re dubbed The Nagger Friend, then you’re pretty much on The Outs when it comes to all the good gossip, and let’s be real here….I live for gossip. In fact, if you have some juicy news you want to spread, just email me. I could use a little bit of sparkle in my life.

Checklists, I dig. They’re simple. Throw an article at me about String Theory, and I won’t be able to digest one word. But put the same information in a checklist and I’ll rattle off the basics of theoretical physics like it’s the plot line from my favorite Nicholas Sparks movie. Don’t hate. That Nicholas is a pimp.

Jerk Assessment Checklist:

1. Is he saying things that would normally alarm a rational thinking person?
Most of the time, men tell you exactly what they mean. Really, they do. Sometimes, it’s a little indistinguishable because the alcohol is making them slur or they’re coming down from a really bad cocaine binge, so you have to smash the phone really hard into your ear and walk into your closet to hear the under-enunciated words. But if he’s saying it, you should probably listen. Phrases to watch out for include: “You’re not the one for me,” or “I don’t know what I’m doing with you here,” or “I can’t really accept who you are.” I’ve heard all of those lines said to me at one point or another. Guess what I did? I just ignored those tidbits and kept right on. And guess what happened? Nothing. Because eventually, the words become louder and totally unavoidable and before you know it, you’re watching the Academy Awards and you see your man walking down the red carpet with another girl on his arm who isn’t you and you’re thinking….”Wait just a minute here….”

If you hear any of these things being said to you, RUN. Seriously, just put on those flip flops and get the hell out of there as fast as you can, girl. You’ll thank me later. Trust me.

2. Are you a secret? Is he a secret?
Step back and honestly assess this one, friends. Are you pretty much a nonexistent entity in his life except behind closed doors? Do his friends even know you exist? He doesn’t need to make paper flyers declaring his interest, but if you’re not on his public radar, then you’re probably only on his pubic radar.

Conversely, are you ashamed to tell your friends about him? Maybe he’s immersed in a whole bunch of questionable or illegal activities. Maybe he’s been to jail. Now, I’m not saying everyone who’s been to jail is a bad person. Frankly, I’m a little surprised I haven’t spent some time there myself, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before I’m known to my community as Inmate 217 (which, coincidentally, used to be my pager code because “217″ is “Liz” upside down and backwards. I know, I have way too much time on my hands).

3. Is it one-sided?
Does he ever ask you about your day? Is it all about his happiness? Does he even give a care about how you feel…about anything? You don’t have to think too long about these questions. It’s obvious and apparent when someone has an interest in you and your well-being. Maybe he remembers to ask about work when he knows you’re having a stressful day. Maybe he asks you about your family when he knows some stuff is going down, and you’re secretly devastated on the inside, but you’re doing that whole martyr front so you look all strong and grown-up on the outside.

4. Does the mofo not call you?
Maybe you’re the one making all the effort. Who’s calling whom? Are you trying to know someone who only bothers to talk to you Monday- Friday while he’s spending those tortured hours at work, and he can’t watch porn on the company computer so he asks you to send him a little picture here and there to pass the time?

5. Do all of his ex-girlfriends hate the shit out of him?
Look, if you’re talking to someone who had to change his home address, phone number or place of employment after a relationship because the newest person he screwed over happens to want him dead, then he’s probably not right for you. Sure, you can kid yourself and claim that you’re going to be the one to change him, but let’s be real…who has that kind of time these days? I don’t even have a dog because I can’t tame an animal. I sure as hell don’t see what kind of wonder-woman has the time, patience and wherewithal to change a man-child. Don’t be delusional.

If you answered “yes” to ANY of these questions, then you should probably do this:

RUN LIKE THE WIND, GIRLFRIEND, RUN LIKE THE WIND.

What did I miss? Ever dated a jerk?

THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Jayne Liu blogs at Flourish in Progress, which she started on her 30th birthday to chronicle a yearlong shopping ban. Surprisingly, she survived her project, and now chronicles a series of small weekly challenges called "Monday Dares." She fails a lot. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband, who she married after dating for eighteen days, ...

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