6 Men Who Will Break Your Heart

Every woman knows that not every guy is going to be "the one." But where is it written that every other guy has to be a complete disaster? Sure, there are hundreds (probably thousands) of self-help books out there full of nifty dating advice, but that doesn't seem to stop even the sanest of us from making the same mistakes -- and choosing the same kinds of men -- over and over. Maybe it's time for a humorous approach. That's why Cynthia Heimel, author of From Advanced Sex Tips For Girls: This Time It's Personal, has put together this foolproof checklist, designed to help you spot a heartbreaker at 30 paces. Here you'll find out why some men are only to be dated at your own risk:

These are men with just a whisper of something askew that needs to be carefully evaluated. Like, oh, maybe he worships Satan. Do not, at your peril, neglect the following warning signs:

  • He calls you a "classy lady," a "special lady" or a "special classy lady."
  • He visibly needs dental work.
  • He doesn't have a dog because it is "too much responsibility."
  • He still has his ex's makeup stashed somewhere in his bathroom.
  • He swears he only watches PBS.
  • He can't eat unless his napkin is folded like a swan.
  • He uses the adjective "delicious" to describe people, not cake.
  • He paints stripes on his face prior to attending sporting events.
  • He wears fur.
  • He wears tight pants. Or leather pants. Or tight leather pants.
  • He sports visible hairplugs or even wears an actual hairpiece, which is only okay if he's an actor.
  • He suggests candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and describes himself as "youthful," or exhibits other behavior that suggests he's Mr. Personal Ad.
  • He's bald, yet he has a ponytail.
  • He's a stockbroker, yet he has a ponytail.
  • He is clean-shaven, except for a horrid little tuft of hair right above his chin.
  • He really loves his mother.
  • He really hates his mother.
  • He wears Italian loafers without socks.
  • He remembers and tells you his SAT scores.
  • His checks have a pastel background of kitties playing with yarn.

You may think, "Oh, so what, his pants are tight," or even "Why should I care if he's missing a front tooth?" Yet these little traits are simply the tip of a big personality iceberg: A man who is afraid of the responsibility of a dog will most likely leave you out in the rain. A stockbroker with a ponytail has a yen to be involved in organized crime. A man who says he only watches PBS usually suffers from herpes. Always remember: If she is anywhere, God is in the details.

On the other hand, there are geeks out there, and they, as geeks, have no social skills at all and would have fared way better had they been brought up by wolves. It is totally possible for a geek -- anyone who has ever, in any sense, written "code" -- to exhibit all the traits listed above and still be perfectly fine, since he simply read the wrong "how to be a human" manual and can be easily led away from the Sansabelt slacks with a judicious cattle prod.

Suitors with More than One Job

There is something very swoony about these guys. You know, the carpenter/musician, the housepainter/sculptor, the dentist/photographer. This guy exudes a certain brooding poetry, a vulnerability, and a disarming zest for sex anywhere and anytime, including fields and stairwells. And he'll write a song about you, because even if a "/" guy is a plumber/poet, he still plays the guitar. They all play the guitar. Accoustic. Without such guys, no women in NYC would have had a date for the past three decades.

Our guy will thrill us when in his twenties and early thirties. But he will undoubtedly not be so cute in his forties and fifties, when he will still be wandering around vaguely with plaster in his hair, clutching his beloved fifty-year-old Gibson guitar. It is the law that when a "/" guys hits forty-five, he must move to Berkeley or Austin, Texas, and smoke pot until he dies.

Yes, he does have the capacity to form a permanent pair bond, although he will never actually mature. You will be supporting him. You will also spend an awful lot of time listening to him pick out Richard Thompson tunes on the guitar, bobbing your head, snapping your fingers and closing your eyes in perfect bliss, even though you're secretly thinking about handbags.

I myself have spent approximately three decades sitting on sofas, smiling with a bright rictus of appreciation while assorted men serenaded me. There was a huge parade of them -- junkies, accountants, editors, plumbers, even actual card-carrying musicians. One thing went through my mind the whole time: Stop playing already! I really only wanted to joke and make out.

The scariest guy like this I've ever met was a carpenter/professional storyteller. This guy is in his fifties, lives in Berkeley, has a wife and three children. His wife supports them, even with the carpentry/professional storytelling. Every Christmas he buys her Birkenstocks. The scariest part: All their children are SINGER/SONGWRITERS! This woman always looks just a tad glazed, as if she's on a full-spectrum antidepressant cocktail. I believe the only reason she hasn't killed herself yet is that she is just too tired.

Self-Proclaimed "Renaissance Men"

I forbid you to go out with this guy. I forbid you to even ask him for directions. Any fellow who defines himself as a Renaissance man is telling you, in shorthand, "I am full of a quite yet all-encompassing knowledge and no matter what you know, I will always know better than you and will chuckle with a quiet condescension whenever you challenge me and I might even smoke a pipe. Plus, I don't make any money ever, but that is not my fault. It is the fault of the system."

You may think your Renaissance man is not like this. But they are all like this. The underlying theme of the Renaissance man is that his entitlement expectations are off the chart. Once when I was working on a sitcom my friend Marco and I went out to dinner with Meg, an actress, and Brad, her R.m. husband. We were talking, as all sitcom writers will whenever they can open their mouths, about the stupidity of the networks, how no good sitcom goes unpunished, etc. Brad looked at us pityingly.

"We need to find a way to liberate the sitcom from television. We can do sitcoms in the park if we have to! In fact, I already have a project to do sitcoms in the park. A lot of the more edgy producers who have been burned by Hollywood are interested. If it's good, and of course it will be good, people will come. Interested?"

Oh yeah, we were interested. Interested in checking him into the nearest NUTHOUSE.

"Brad is such a Renaissance man," Meg said fondly. She is no longer with him. She is now -- I swear this is true -- with a Baldwin brother.

Convicts and Married Men

I'm sure everyone knows this but, just in case, do not decide that any of the following could be kinda maybe okay if only you could change them a little bit, or maybe if they had a good woman's love:

Convicted felons are never appropriate. God only knows what they got up to in jail. Yes, drug dealers and inside traders do fall into this category. Even if we ignore any morality in making a decision, these guys' lives are way too big and unwieldy. They'll never fold the laundry.

Also, while it may be true that, as a group, serial killers are better-looking than your average man, hell, some of them are dishy, do not decide to become engaged to one.

Warning signs that your date is a serial killer:

  1. Hates animals
  2. Antisocial
  3. String hair
  4. Eyes snap open in the middle of the night
  5. Not on a bowling team
  6. Often really cranky

Almost as bad as serial killers are: Married Men
Unless of course you're also married, in which case you suck for cheating on your husband. Leave him and get it over with. But if you are single, it is NEVER appropriate to date a married man because:

  1. He's cheating on her, he'll cheat on you
  2. You only think you're seeing his real personality
  3. He's a big liar and is morally flawed
  4. You'll be a bit player in someone else's soap opera
  5. He'll have plenty of them, but no excuse for why he's married to someone else is ever really true. He's married to someone else because he wants to be.
  6. Don't be a sap.

Guys with Mental Problems or Addictions

And this I can say with the utmost authority in the world. Beware of:

Men Who Are Out of Their Minds

All of them. No exceptions. You really wouldn't be happy with the guy in Cuckoo's Nest.

You especially want to stay away from guys with borderline personality disorder, suicidal tendencies, even a tad of schizophrenia. No funny lovely manic-depressives. No adorable damaged narcissists. Okay, maybe a damaged narcissist or there will be no one at all.

But make it your code never to date anyone more mentally ill than you are.

And, finally,

The Addicts

Here's why you should never date anyone who is an alcoholic, a drug addict, a big ole gambler or a huffer of glue: Because, no matter what, he will break your heart.

Contrary to movies of the week, most addicts do not look or act like psychotic mass murderers with Bell's palsy. Your basic addict is not a bad person but is, in fact, too charming. He's sweet, intuitive, pretty and he gives incredible head, since an addict is sensitive, he feels things deeply, he is all exposed nerve endings and empathy.

If he walks down the street and sees a lonely soldier sitting on a stoop, he doesn't just walk on by. No way. He walks on by with his heart breaking, goes home and writes a song about a lonely soldier sitting on a stoop watching a fellow walk by. We did more drugs than I have even seen since. Jeez, those were the days.

But it didn't mean anything because he had a girlfriend back at home to whom he was being unfaithful. The drugs I took made it easy to be in total denial of this. I tried to believe we had something because we joked and laughed and the whole band became my friends and I got to sit backstage in my fishnet stockings.

But one time we were at a hotel, sitting on the floor, he was talking on the phone. He reached out, took my leg in his hand, stroking the stubbles on my calf with absentminded tenderness. The sweetness of the moment overwhelmed me then, it overwhelms me now. It was just a random gesture, but I was so hopelessly hungry for sweet affection that I tried to get the same from a womanizing unavailable drunk singer/songwriter. When that happened, I knew for sure that I was doomed.

Not all singer/songwriters are alcoholics, but all alcoholics think they are singer/songwriters.

Hell, just stay away from anyone who makes you chronically unhappy.

And always remember, it is way, way better to be unhappy on your own than to be unhappy with some loon.

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