69 Dating Red Flags To Watch Out For

Collage by Danielle Moalem, Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images

We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes, right?

Every single one of us has a 100 percent failure rate with past relationships—depressing to ponder, but that’s why they’re the past. My friend and I joked when he got engaged that he had “won dating” and, come his wedding, will embark on “the unlimited date.” Although personal definitions for dating victories may vary (as they should), there’s a fairly universal understanding of failure: continuing to entertain the idea of dating/sleeping with ding-dongs.

To help save my fellow women future grief, I developed a list of warning signs that should be heeded for the red flags that they are. There’s 69 of them, in fact, so maybe consider this the Summer of 69 Red Flags—and heed them well. Please note that I use heteronormative pronouns only because of my experience as a woman whose dating history entails 99.9 percent dudes. 

So go ahead, familiarize yourself with the following personality attributes, and should you bear witness to any of them, in the words of high priest of dating and everything that is done well Ghostface Killah, “Oh shit, yo, yo, run!” 

1) Looking for “a partner in crime”

2) Has visited a developing country and has the bracelet to prove it

3) Signs Square receipts on an iPad with a smiley face instead of letters 

4) Assumes "Jeezy" is a nickname for Kanye West

5) Wore fashion-y sweatpants "for a joke" for two hours

6) Signs you up for his label’s/zine’s/DIY venue’s/booking company’s weekly e-blasts without asking

7) Increasingly strokes his beard with each drink after he's on his third

8) Asks about your tattoos, but shows you his before you can answer. His are related to The X-Files, Blade Runner, or John Cage by the way.

9) Amazon Primes his rolling papers

10) Two hours after the last set, DMs to say he saw you at the show 

11) Watches two of your Instagram stories before responding to a text

12) Instead of a driving courtesy wave, opts for the peace sign

13) Stores a spare SodaStream bottle in his truck

14) Prefers Waze to Google Maps

15) Is happy to explain any David Foster Wallace book to you, if you have the time

16) Has to occasionally visit the desert/mountains/ocean to “recharge”

17) Opens Gchat conversations with Jay Z lyrics, sans context

18) Wants to take you to New Orleans

19) Studied in London for a semester a decade ago but still slips, every so often referencing his “flat”

20) Adorns his bedroom walls with green paint, a portrait of Princess Di in her red power suit, and nothing else

21) Sends Snapchats of the children he teaches piano practicing C Major

22) Doesn’t want to be "That Guy"

23) Keeps an auspicious fortune cookie fortune in a visible place in his wallet

24) Carries extra maté in his messenger bag; do you want some?

25) Eager to give categorically medium-good head for about three minutes while moaning a whole bunch then missionary with equal bunches of eye contact

26) Shops Sydney Hale candles, befriends the sales girl at the local boutique who sells them, and reads her blog

27) Stacks matches from The Johnson’s by the toilet

28) Suggests splitting the guacamole on the tab—actually? You know what? He’s got this one. Now you just owe him next time ;)))

29) Uses Pinterest only via the app and exclusively in public

30) Has Catholic guilt, which is why he can’t do a third date and feels compelled to tell you all about why via text immediately after the second

31) Lives in a studio with three or more houseplants seemingly solely as a backdrop for Instagramming rare vinyl

32) Spins a monthly ~all-vinyl~ DJ residency at a hotel bar. This month it’s 1970s Persian neo-soul night!!

33) “That’s cool you do comedy. I’ve thought about being a comedian."

34) Talks about getting a cat for a full calendar year before making concrete plans to get one—in three months

35) One of his first three substantial crushes was on Winnie Cooper

36) Plays live music for yoga classes led by women he never hooked up with, he promises

37) Posts Instagram stories of himself cooking Blue Apron meals

38) Wants to cook you vegan tacos

39) Sports any variation of faux or real animal pelts on his king-sized bed

40) Calls himself old-school in his views re: making/receiving phone calls, cuffing jeans, literally anything

41) Will indulge a request for a freestyle. It will last at minimum 90 seconds

42) Double spaces between sentences

43) Goes to the movies alone, but makes sure everyone knows

44) Says “y’all” yet has never lived in the South

45) Currently or has ever played bass

46) Requests a specific hot sauce by brand—oh, y’all don’t carry that? Never mind, he’s good

47) Has a go-to karaoke song that is B-52s

48) Enjoyed middle school or has an REI co-op membership

49) Extremely smug about preferring tea over coffee

50) Refuses to get verified on Twitter, but considers personally faving a tweet A Huge Deal

51) Knows the early morning crew at HomeState by name

52) Substitutes having a personality with hating The Beatles

53) Single-syllable middle names

54) Wants to discuss how to buy correct headphones

55) Refuses to use deodorant because of chemicals; cigarettes are different

56) Keeps palo santo in his car cup holder

57) Sits incredibly far from the steering wheel

58) Calls a brewery “chill”

59) Suggests you bike to the Cloisters as a date

60) Insists on using Japanese brand condoms

61) Had a Really Important Phase with Blood on the Tracks that doesn’t appear to have passed or been a Phase

62) Calls it “cannabis” or offers unsolicited neck massages because “touch is healing”

63) Participates in more than three ongoing group messages

64) Owns a dog named Lucy, Ollie, Bailey, Zoe, Bella, or anything else that points to joint custody with an ex

65) Absolutely never closes kitchen cabinets or drawers

66) Texts you to look at the moon right now

67) Leos

68) Ryan Adams fans

69) Ryan Adams himself


Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds



Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.