We can debate whether love at first sight actually exists.
(I say no. Lust at first sight, yes. Attraction at first sight, yes. Chemistry at first sight, yes. Love at first sight, no, even though all of those things can turn into love. But I digress.)
What is not up for debate is the instant turnoff. Things can be going along fine and then someone says something or does something and poof! The magic is gone.
NATE: I tried a telephone-based dating service, where you can post your ad, listen to other peoples' ads and, by calling a 900 number, leave a message. I responded to the ad of a woman who was eight years older. I was 21 at the time, and she was 29. We talked a lot over the week, and I thought I'd met my soul mate.
We arranged to meet, and I was really excited. In she walked, and I got a wee surprise. She had a bad haircut, she was a terrible dresser, and she had a very prominent scar under her nose, most likely from a cleft-palate repair. Well, guess what? The surprise lasted all of two seconds! I was so in love with her, and as we talked face to face, I thought I'd found my true love at last.
Then I noticed a funny-looking mark on her hand. There was a lumpy, badly drawn tattoo right below her thumb. She said she did it herself and showed me her others. Her arms, legs and, according to her, her stomach and one of her breasts were covered in these terrible tattoos. They were hideous, and I'm only talking about the ones I saw.
I love tattoos on women, by the way, but hers were horrible. They were a total turnoff. It was like she drew all over herself with a felt-tipped marker. I was not turned off by her face, her bad hair or her thrift-store-reject sweater, but this was too much. I never spoke to her again.
Looking back, I see it this way: When you tattoo yourself, the artwork should be worthy of the canvas. Otherwise, it demonstrates a lack of self-respect.
HAILEY: I was so judgmental when I was young. There was one guy I was out with who used the expression "okey-dokey." That was it for me. Another had a really bad haircut. I couldn't see past it. One was so serious I wrote him off as boring.
Well, the guy I thought was so serious is now the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I doubt his wife finds him boring.
BEN: I met Emma in college. We went out once, and she talked about how going to this college and living in the dorms was beneath her. She'd had her own apartment in San Francisco before transferring here, and she didn't like that in these dorms, she had to show her ID to the guard. We were art majors, and she said the coursework was beneath her and it was really for people who were not mature in their talent.
My friends and I, who were going to college full time, didn't have an income that would have allowed us to have our own apartments. How she afforded hers was unclear. Needless to say, I never asked her out again.
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