America, I know it’s hard. You have a huge decision to make. Huge. The biggest decision ever. You have information being thrown at you from all directions. So much to digest and so many news feeds to scroll through.
That’s why I’m here. This is too important to leave up to a BuzzFeed quiz, so we’re going to talk this out. I’m here to help.
Here’s my list of the top things you should consider before catching feelings for a guy (or a woman—we will be using “he” for the sake of simplicity going forward).
Is he smart?
And I don’t mean is he good at math or can he recite that scene from Pride and Prejudice for you (although that would be a definite turn on, right?). What I mean is, does he have depth? Is he interested in the world outside of his little bubble? Does he in fact live in a bubble of ostentatious gilded fixtures and limo rides to the helipad and multiple bankruptcies that he counts as wins? Um. OK. Let’s not be nit picky.
Can he have intelligent conversations about world events? Does he have a working knowledge of international affairs? Does he know how many articles are in the Constitution? Does he understand how the U.S. Treasury works? Does he actually know what Brexit is?
If not, then I’m going to gently tell you to let him go. You don’t need bluster and bravado and superficialities. You need a thoughtful person who can keep up in our fast paced world.
You want, no—you need, someone who can go toe to toe with you (or world leaders) in debates about the coup in Turkey.
You need someone who understands all of the complexities of the Syrian refugee crisis.
You need someone who can discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration and women’s reproductive issues and nuclear proliferation with care and knowledge of facts and all of the nuances that need to be considered.
To put it bluntly, you don’t want a guy who gets all his news from the internet. You want someone who actually reads and I don’t just mean Playboy Mag. The world is a fast changing and volatile place right now. You should not settle for someone who can’t give the time or the concern that our world and cultural events are due.
Is he respectful?
It’s not hard to adopt polite affectations. Any fool can throw on an Armani tux and coax his yellow locks into a comb over. A carefully crafted coif will only get you so far. Anyone can go through the motions of polite society.
But does he genuinely treat people with respect?
Does he callously fire off insults at will? Does he get vicious when challenged? If he responds to disputes or disagreements or questions with attacks then there is not only a lack of respect but an anger issue.
If women are dismissed as menstruating crazy people because they ask hard questions, he probably doesn’t respect women.
If he mimics and ridicules someone who’s handicapped because they contradicted him, he might be an insensitive shell of a person.
All of these things are not only matters of respect, they are huge red flags. Huge.
It’s a slippery slope from cracking a joke about a marginalized people to full-on bigotry in the form of banning a whole religious group banning a whole religious group or painting an entire country of people as rapists. Or lifting Tweets from White Supremacists and retweeting them with verve.
The thing is, he might be treating you good right now. He’s a charmer. He’s good at it. The best. No one’s ever been better at charming than him. He knows how to work it.
But what he does to others? He’ll eventually do to you.
Is he willing to admit mistakes?
We’re all human. We all make mistakes. No one is immune. But if your guy refuses to ever admit that he made a mistake? This is not a good sign.
The ones who claim to be infallible? The ones who twist the truth even when there are indisputable facts? They are the dangerous ones. They tend to care about themselves above all others. They tend to disregard or dismiss the effect of their mistakes. They are more concerned with their image than with doing the right thing. Some people say these are all hallmark traits of Narcissism. People with advanced degrees in Psychology say so.
This is the person who will hurt you.
Ask anyone who’s been in a relationship with a narcissist. It never ends well.
Is his ego huge?
Confidence is attractive. Self assuredness is magnetic.
But if someone’s ego is bigger than the building with his name on it, if he continually crows about his prowess and the size of his crowds and how much money he has and how powerful he is… let’s just say that not only does this feed the narcissism, but it’s a huge bore. Huge.
How long can you stay interested when all he wants to do is talk about himself? Europe in crisis? Blah blah blah, look at my new golf course. Being sued for bilking hundreds of people out of their hard earned money? Eh, who cares about those losers.
Eventually all of the self adulation sucks all the air out of the room. After all, how can he care about you, about the country, about anyone, when he is drunk on his own Kool Aid?
I don’t care how small his hands are, if his ego is so huge that he adopts a different persona to call journalists and brag about his romantic prospects… run.
Run far away.
There are deal breakers in every relationship. Racism. Xenophobia. Antisemitism. Lying. Verbal abuse. Cruelty. These are all things no one should accept in any relationship. To do so is inviting at the minimum heartbreak, at the most disaster.
So, as your friend, I say run. Run far, far away and don’t look back.
You deserve better, America.
Photo: Getty Images