Middle-aged writer Lois Romano explores how her own dating "litmus tests" and "dealbreakers" differ from those of her daughters. Fine. What about her sons? She has none. Out of respect for gender equality, we present some dating dealbreakers for men.


Lois: "a guy who wanted to cook you a three-course dinner at your place back then was considered a little too domesticated."
Her daughters: "There's something very charming about a guy who can cook. It's says to me, independence, confidence, unfazed by gender roles."
The modern man: The average American should not be eating.

Pop Culture

Lois: "Movies can be a giveaway about the style and taste of a potential soul mate."
Her daughters: "For me, a guy has to at least know of 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report.'"
The modern man: I can recite more than a dozen of the "Rated Rookies" in Donruss' 1989 baseball card series. Can you? I guess we're both ignorant in our own ways, then. Let's just let it go.


Lois: "Does he read a lot? Does she know Jung from Jong... Books — they bring out the intellectual snob in all of us."
Her daughters: "You wrote about checking out what guys have on their bookshelves — whether they have the right kind of literature. No one looks at that anymore. Everything is available on ebrary."
The modern man says: Yes... "ebrary." That.

Paying the bills

Lois: "The sluggish check-payer is enough to give any woman a pit in her full stomach."
Her daughters: "Even if a guy is dirt-broke I expect him to pick me up on the first date and pay for it. After that I'm fine going Dutch."
The modern man: Paying for the first date without complaint or delay is the right thing to do. A good first date could be anything from a walk on the beach, to a day picking up trash along the highway, to a visit to the Whole Foods "free sample" area. Just being out there in nature, together.

Phone etiquette

Lois: "A sure-fire bad sign: When he starts making very important calls as soon as he walks into your apartment."
Her daughters: "If a guy ever picks up [his] phone during a meal, I would never talk to him again."
The modern man: We shall only communicate by telegram. It's steampunk.

'Social media'

Lois: "[The perfect woman] . . . takes a telephone message from your old girlfriend, gives it to you, and never mentions it again."
Her daughters: "Okay, so Facebook is kind of a weird thing — it has many tests. First, let's look at poking. We meet, you think I'm cute, I think you're cute. You friend me on Facebook and a relationship is budding. Then you poke me. I wake up, excited, and poke you back. Then you don't stop. Why are you poking me every five minutes? Now you're getting on my nerves. Then, I'm unfriending you. Next, status updates. Are you trying to get me interested? Then why would you post 'The Mexican I had at lunch is making me sick — been in the bathroom for an hour'? . . . No, we will not be making out. Lastly, irrelevant wall posts tells me the guy has too much time on his hands. We've met twice and we kind of like each other. It starts with funny links to YouTube videos every once in a while. Then it's more like, 'What are you doing?' even though you have my number. Then it moves to inside jokes that we don't actually have. Then I'm deleting your number out of my phone."
The modern man: You're on Facebook? Slut.

[WaPo. Photo via Shutterstock.com]