Red-flagged: these are the girls you need to avoid at all costs From horse girls to hair-twirling vegan athlete-daters who use sex as a bargaining tool. Here's why you need to run from these women.

We’re letting women in on a little secret. Guys make lists too. And, we just made a list that addresses a question on the minds of Western women everywhere: What are the real reason they’re still single?

She’s dated an athlete

I told him, cheat on me all you want. If you get caught, I’m going to screw everybody on your entire team — coaches, trainers, players. I would do everybody on his whole team.

As Tiger Woods can attest, there are millions of women out there who would readily date a man just because he’s an athlete. In fact, Tiger should be thankful that he knows how to golf, because otherwise he’d still be a virgin like most other socially awkward guys with bad haircuts.

Most guys shake their heads in disbelief when we hear stories about athletes crushing mad tail. Whatever happened to having to work for that tang? Dudes who rely on their status or their athletic accomplishments to get women are weak, that’s why we cringe when we hear that some women are still dumb enough to fall for a guy with nothing going for himself other than a fast forty time.

And “athlete,” by the way, doesn’t mean some dude who played JV basketball. We’re talking about the guy who puts steroids in his Wheaties, who lives in the gym year-round, and who wears sweatpants every day in college just because he can. His idea of foreplay is dynamic stretching followed by synchronized jumping jacks and high knee sprints. He can hold a conversation as long as it’s about him or the sports game he just finished “totally fucking dominating.”

So beware of our preconceived notions about meat-head athletes before you drop us that line about how you dated a juco QB a few years ago. We’ll instantly think you’re a cleat chasing ditz. Just because it’s sports-related doesn’t mean it’s information that we need to know.

If you decide that cleat chasing is your destiny, at least be aware of what your sport of choice says about you:

Still on the fence, take our Scumbags & Scandals Quiz to get to know more about the types of guys you’ll be dating on the cleat chasing circuit. Match the athlete with his scandal and report your answers in the comments. Highest score gets you a pat on the back.

She’s an only child

You’re sitting at a bar, nursing a vodka cranberry when a guy comes up and the two of you begin conversing. You’re really hitting it off. You don’t want to seem overconfident, but this guy seems to be really interested in you and you’re excited to see where this is going. As you start talking about family, he mentions his brothers and sisters, and what they do. “How about you,” he asks. “Any siblings?”

“Oh me? No, I’m an only child.”

In a flash he’s gone, spilling his drink, knocking over chairs, and letting out a shriek as he races out the front door. It’s freezing outside and he even left his coat.

You stare and wonder where you went wrong, failing to realize it was your upbringing that sent him running.

Just about every crazy woman we know is an only child. And it’s not some easily disproven theory like “all redheads prefer a guy who drives a Mini” or “all people named Sharon will rip off the antenna of the aforementioned Mini to stab you if you dare to break up with her.”

No, there is an actual reason why being an only child is a massive red flag.

We grew up as kids surrounded by sharp corners that could poke our eyes out, LEGO blocks that could choke us to death, and uncovered electrical outlets that we licked repeatedly until we realized that, yes, in fact, it was shocking the shit out of our tongue each time. Sure, in an ideal world, our parents… would have been there all the time to help protect us from all these dangers. But for those of us with siblings, our parents’ attention (and loyalties) were constantly divided so occasionally we found ourselves in some trouble that we had to figure out how to overcome ourselves. And we’re far more stable adults because of it.

We also had to deal with our parents telling us “no” quite a bit. Most only children, on the other hand, never had to deal with being told “no” by their parents. They got to grow up in a household where everything that they wanted, they got, they were the first to get, and they never had to share it with anyone.

Think back to the craziest girls you knew in high school. You remember that girl whose parents let her stay at friends’ houses for weeks at a time only to find out later that she was shacking up with a 24-year-old club promoter? Yup, she was an only child. How about the girl who would videotape herself every Valentine’s Day setting fire to pictures of all the boys in school? No siblings for her – her parents probably even sanctioned the blaze because “no one rejects Baby on Valentine’s Day.” And what about that girl who spent $2,000 on her campaign to win homecoming queen and then demanded her date buy her a $200 mum? Of course, she was an only child and you can bet that her dad ended up writing both those checks.

Well it’s ten years later now and that high school girl who was shacking up with the club promoter is now chasing married men in hopes that they’ll be a sugar daddy. The girl who set fire to her classmates’ photos is now probably running a blog called the Feminist Manifesto; and that girl who spent $2,000 on her homecoming campaign still hasn’t come to terms with the fact that she lost. We still feel the same way about these women we did in high school, the only difference is now we have a catchy term for that feeling: she’s a Red Flag.

She claims past BFs and male acquaintances have raped her

The more you talk to her the more past boyfriends and men in general will have abused her in some way. Do you really want to become the next big bad rape guy in her future narratives? RUN, RUUN!

She has more guy friends than girl friends

When you have a lot of guy friends and not a lot of girl friends, there are a couple reasons we’re red flagging you, only two of which we’ll readily admit.

First off, you might just be a tomboy. You love sports, crude jokes, and dressing with a masculine touch. If that’s the case, you don’t have to even worry too much about getting a red flag, we usually just consider you one of the guys and put you in the friend zone.

The second reason for a red flag is that your lack of girl friends indicates that you have an attitude that girls can’t stand to be around. Given that all girls are bitches (or so we’ve been told by all girls), it says something particularly damning about your character if women think your brand of bitchiness goes beyond what’s considered reasonable.

Now don’t get us wrong. We know that when girls say bitchy, they actually just mean that you’re a little more self-centered, competitive, flirtatious, and attention-seeking than they are (which plays horribly among women because they all want a share of that limelight), and so they’re quick to send the loudest and showiest girl to the sideline. But they’re subtle about it. They stop inviting you to book club as the first slap in the face, and then they start forgetting to include you on the emails for girls’ night, and as the final insult, you don’t get the invite to their birthday parties.

They essentially force you to find some guy friends if you want to have a social life. They are hating the player, and the game.

But perhaps we’ve misjudged your character. Maybe you weren’t an attention-grubbing flirt. Maybe women couldn’t stand to be around you because you were too nice, too genuine, too honest. Maybe you killed them with kindness and they just couldn’t take it. Maybe you set the bar too high for friendship. Maybe they annoyed you, and you got rid of them. It’s certainly happened before.

If that’s the case, you’d think you were well within reason to give up on befriending women, and instead, you’d think it be justified to focus on finding some good guy friends. After all, guys are known to be less dramatic, less prone to gossip, and more adventurous.

But, alas, the world of red flags is not that simple. There are inconvenient truths you have to deal with. Even if you’ve sought out guy friends for all the right reasons, you’re still getting the red flag. And you can rightfully blame us guys for this one because it’s our fault.

You see, guys are only friends with women who they’d hook up with. They’ll never tell a girl this, but it’s true, for every guy in the world, no exceptions. Even if you’re adamant about a completely platonic relationship, we’ll hold out hope for that one moment of vulnerability when you’re on the rebound and we’ll get a “gee-you’re-such-a-good-friend” hand job. That’s just a man’s nature. We know there’s the off chance of being forever stuck in the “friend zone” as your fall-back movie buddy, but our intentions are all about the nookie, all the time, even if our interactions seem like friendship.

Because of this inconvenient truth, it’s hard for us to commit to women who have more guys friends than girl friends. Since we know that we can’t be trusted, how do we know we can trust all the guys you’re hanging out with? Which guy respects the sanctity of a committed relationship and really is just a friend and which ones are just waiting for you to get drunk at the bar so they can make a move on you in the restroom?

We also have to worry about a situation where you’re blowing off steam to your friends. It’s fine if you want to complain about us to your girl friends and have them console you and reaffirm how much we suck, but if you involve guys there are bound to be territorial and ego issues involved and that could lead to some fisticuffs. Plus, they could have ulterior motives when giving you “advice” and throw us even further under the bus.

Add in some trivial issues like you not having any girl friends to escort you to the bathroom, no one to watch chick flicks with, and no one who can sympathize with you when you’re on your period and it becomes the perfect recipe for a red flag.

And so this becomes a question of trade-offs. Deal with some of the gossiping, backstabbing, and drama inherent to most female friendships and eventually find true love, happiness, marriage, horse & carriage and all that, or give it all up and start collecting guy friends like they’re designer purses and endure a never ending, single life of awkward conversations with guy friends where you explain how you love them like brothers but are not attracted to them “in that romantic way.” Which do you choose?

She owns a horse

A woman needs two animals. The horse of her dreams and a jackass to pay for it.

We know most girls become fascinated with horses at one point or another while growing up. It’s part of the fairy tale, and the thought of riding your own elegant horse next to your Prince Charming is like fulfilling a lifelong dream.

We also know that horses are faithful companions. They communicate their intentions better with their ears than most men do with our mouths. Not to mention, they never complain about how much you weigh when you want a piggyback ride. And, unlike you, they only need one pair of shoes for their entire existence.

So why should we quibble about your equine ownership – and officially throw a red flag on this play?

Let’s face it – a horse ends up having a lot more impact on your life than a normal household pet. To begin with, there’s no way that thing will ever actually be in your household; unlike a dog or cat, this animal is not sleeping in your laundry room in your apartment – if fact you probably have to travel to see your pet. That’s just nutes. Not to mention, the 2,000-pound beast is super expensive to feed and care for. Bye, bye house in the hills, hello outrageous veterinary bills.

And if the astronomical expenses don’t scare us off – then your attitude surely will. Because, let’s be honest, if you’ve had this horse since you were a little girl…you are spoiled. When you were eight, you probably kicked and screamed for a week until your mommy and daddy delivered. And once that bratty behavior got rewarded, it was seared into your subconscious forever. So even though you may be acting like the nicest, most easy-going gal in the world, we know that lurking underneath is a monster that will chew us out the first time we don’t fulfill your precious demands.

Even if we can deal with your bratty attitude, there is one more aspect of horse ownership that we can’t deal with. Death.

Sadly, there will come a time when your horse is ready to head home to that big pasture in the sky. And when that steed rides off into the final sunset, you’re going to be devastated for weeks…maybe months. We’ve seen Marley and Me. We know how it ends. The worst thing is we won’t be able to console you the way our parents did when our pets died – by blatantly lying to you that the horse ran away. Instead we’ll have to be the one to explain why it’s necessary that the carcass be hauled off to a rendering plan to be turned into Elmers glue sticks and leather wallets.

Fortunately, we’re all about living happily ever after. That’s why we recommend you move to a place where good horses never die. That’s right, TEXAS. Friday night football, Saturday night gay-bashing, and Sunday afternoon horseback riding. All dogs go to heaven, all horses trot off to Texas. Take Black Beauty to Texas and she’ll be in good hands. In fact, men in Texas will not only be okay with your horse, they’ll have dinner with it and maybe even take it to a movie.

Your only real problem now is that you’ve got some competition on your hands.

She doesn’t have any good-looking friends

We’re never thrilled when you ask us to join you for dinner with a couple of your girlfriends. But, it’s a more tolerable evening if we can spend it imagining ourselves having threesomes with… all of you.

Have a few cute women in your crew and we’re more likely to make a guest appearance on sushi night. Roll with a bunch of Shamus and Shreks, however, and you’ll be amazed how many of your happy hour invites coincide with evenings when we REALLY have to work late.

Why does it matter what your friends look like? We should only care about what you look like, right? Wrong. We know what’s going on here. Your lack of attractive friends is not by accident. You know you’ll be the one getting the attention at the bar. You know you’ll look hotter with ugly ducklings surrounding you as a backdrop.

But guess what?

We know that you’re insecure, jealous, and afraid of competition. And, that’s a red flag. We want you to surround yourself with kick ass, hot women who push you to improve yourself, not women who kiss your ass in hopes you’ll bump them up in the friend hierarchy.

Having hot friends also makes it much easier for you to win over our friends, which is important if you’d like to have a long term relationship with us. You want our friends in your corner. If a man considers breaking up with a girl who only has ugly friends, his buddies will usually give him a high five, buy him a beer, and get him a lap dance. If he’s leaving a girl whose friends are all ‘doable’, they’ll tell him he’s crazy for leaving her, he can’t do any better, and he’s making the biggest mistake of his life.

Our advice? Start collecting hot friends. To help you get started, here are the five types of cute friends every girl should have:

#1: The Sporty Girl. Good at co-ed volleyball, softball, and kickball. Knows the difference between a touchdown and home run.

#2: The Librarian. Petite, fair-skinned. Wears fashionable glasses. Decent at trivia. Borderline hipster, but without the pretentiousness.

#3: The Joker. Funny, for a girl. Takes no offense to guy humor.

#4: The Make Out Slut. Party girl. Sexy dancer. Makes out with EVERYONE in your boyfriend’s circle of friends.

#5: The Soccer Mom. Brings baked goods to every party. Takes care of our drunk friends. Restocks the fridge and cleans the counter while everyone else is partying.

She went to an all-girls Catholic high school

In theory, the idea of an all-girls Catholic high school sounds kind of hot. But peek under the surface, and you’ll discover it’s a whole bag of red flags waiting to explode at any minute.

We get that your parents wanted to give you a proper upbringing with good morals and a strong conviction to the Lord. What they didn’t realize, however, was that by putting you in such a highly concentrated estrogen-fueled environment with no peen in sight, they might as well have branded you with a tramp stamp to complement your matching loafers and knee-highs.

Remember when your friend Cathy got busted in the 6th grade at recess for… kissing little Bobby behind the jungle gym? Totally acceptable behavior, and critical to the art of proper dating etiquette in the years to come. Unfortunately, while your public school counterparts were carefully honing their seduction skills on the playground, you Catholic school girls were stuck spending those formative years braiding each other’s hair and debating about what color shorts to rock under your jumpers.

We’re not saying it’s your fault – merely that we know when a guy finally did come around, you and your bible thumping besties were more likely to behave like attention deprived dogs in heat rather than a saintly group of Mother Theresas.

So how does this affect you now? In our eyes, this situation usually goes one of two ways: One, you saw the error of your slutty ways, enrolled at Notre Dame and pledged allegiance to re-virginization. Or two, you kept on throwing yourself at everything that moved, possibly dated an athlete and now have one, if not multiple, children by a series of different men. In the off chance that you’re still single, haven’t denounced sex in an adult baptismal service and are looking to land a decent guy, let us offer you some advice.

First, ease the blow by pulling a Britney Spears and letting us know that you might still have that old skirt stuffed in the back of your closet. Assuming that you can still fit into it with minimal pulling, a little fantasy role playing right out of the gate doesn’t hurt.

Second, ditch the Catholic guilt. We didn’t talk much about it here but somehow it always seems to rear its ugly head at the worst possible time. No matter how much of an atheist, agnostic, or holiday Catholic you are these days, years of having the anti-sex message pounded into your head is enough to make anyone question getting down. For our sake and yours, let’s all say it together: “Sex is good. Sex is healthy. Sex is fun. Sex isn’t dirty…until it is…and then it’s a whole new level of fun.”

She’s an “artist”

There’s something mysterious and alluring about the female artist… No, actually there’s not. We just like writing that sentence because when female artists read it they feel proud and vindicated. Back to reality. We thought art class in elementary school was fun too, but the fact that you’ve decided to make it a career is a red flag.

Why are men so turned off by the artist thing? Well, first, let’s start off with how easy it is to attract an artist. It only takes one line: “No, I don’t think your art is that bad, it’s just misunderstood.”

That line alone has Don Juan-ed thousands of artists, and we’re guessing you’re one of them. Notice how we didn’t even have to actually compliment you and you’re already swooning. Artists are EASY.

Once we start dating you, we know everything that happens in the relationship will become a subject for your art.

Your ‘Perfect Storm’ pastel painting is actually the visual representation of our first fight.

Your ‘Collision of Space & Time’ fresco represents our first night of love-making.

And your ‘Redwood Discovery’ acrylic portrays the first time you saw our manhood.

If we tell you that these paintings are anything other than fantastic, you’ll throw a fit and ask if we’re color blind. Artists are APPROVAL-SEEKERS.

They also don’t have a sense of humor. Say, for instance, we suggest that you paint a picture called ‘Blackhole’, which we tell you is the visual representation of your bank account. You’ll try to stick your foot up our “blackhole” and then you’ll invite over your male model friend, Lars, to pose nude in your living room while you paint ‘Redwood Discovery II’ which is exactly the same as ‘Redwood Discovery I’ except it features a noticeably larger tree. Artists are VINDICTIVE.

When we’re three weeks into the relationship and we realize we’ll never actually get to see you covered in body paint, we’ll decide it’s time to break up. To let you down easy, we’ll have to tell you that we’re gay because we’re afraid the truth would upset you too much. You’ve probably already dated several fringe gay guys anyways, so this claim won’t come as a shocker and it won’t send you spiraling off into depression.

The last thing we’d want to do is further depress an artist – there are already so many “creatives” jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge every year that they’re considering adding a diving board. Artists are CRAZY.

Luckily, thanks to the almighty red flag, none of this will ever happen. Rather than go through this whole process, we’ll just have you over one evening to check “artist” off our bucket list (with pastels, of course) and in the morning we’ll expect you to use your artistic talents to do a tracing for us, on our backs, with your fingers. We love that.

She wears a perfectly-matching outfit to the gym

No matter your situation, you have stress in your life that can, at times, feel overwhelming. Maybe your family is going through some tough times, or you’re struggling to pay your bills, or you just broke up with somebody and you feel incredibly empty inside. We all have our issues, which are only further exacerbated by the little things we have to deal with every day. Did I hit snooze too many times? Why is their so much traffic? I just had pizza last night, but I don’t feel like a salad, should I go to Subway or just eat this yogurt? Being crazy is easy.

With all of these every day worries, there’s reason for guys to be concerned with a woman whose pre-workout routine involves laying out 10 articles of clothing prior to choosing the perfect match. And for the record, it’s not that we don’t find you attractive…because let’s be serious, there isn’t a straight guy in this world who would be turned off by the sight of a chick working her inner thighs while she rocks a pink sports bra, tight black lululemon pants, and a pair of pink and black Nikes. But the prospect of actually being your boyfriend?

We wonder just how far you’ll go when it comes to your need to maintain a certain appearance. Do you care too much about what others think? Visions of our days together start with you spending way too much time getting ready for work and making us feel stupid for leaving the house with a brown belt and black shoes. Our meals together will finish with us calculating and documenting calories consumed. And our lazy Sundays that used to involve waking up late and spending the day on the couch wearing PJs and watching mind-numbing movies like Project X and Anchorman will be squashed in favor of a 9am alarm, followed by a couples yoga class, followed by taking separate showers, followed by going to your favorite brunch spot as we wear whatever outfits you have previously determined give us the best chance of demonstrating to everyone around us that we are, indeed, the ideal boyfriend-girlfriend.

So, what’s our advice? Save your sexy outfits for date night or for a situation when getting attention from a guy will involve more than creepy stares while you run on a treadmill.

Whatever you do, though, just don’t take this advice too far and stop the whole everyday-yoga-pants revolution. Now THAT would devastating.

She orders a specific number of limes in her drink

After years of subjecting yourself to crappy collegiate light beer of the Natty, Busch, or Keystone variety, it’s normal to start drinking something that’s a little bit more refined. In fact, most of us graduate our tastes during our post-college years, and whether it’s to a beer that doesn’t taste like water or a cocktail that is mixed with something more exotic than Gatorade, it’s completely fine. But when you take it to the next level, requesting a specific number of lemons or limes to garnish your otherwise perfectly-acceptable order, you may think you’re just being a little OCD or that you just know what you want and it’s not a big deal. We say it’s a red flag.

The typical girl who requests three limes in her drink is ordering a vodka soda or a vodka tonic, which could probably be a red flag all in itself if that’s the only thing she drinks. After all, it is the drink that one defaults to when thinking “I want to drink as much as possible without feeling full”, which can also be restated as “I want to get just sloppy enough to enjoy myself with minimal hangover and maximum calorie-saving”. Well-intentioned, but still a red flag.

If we have to order your “Greygoose & soda with three lemons”, we’d like to congratulate you for so successfully making us feel like complete assholes. Normally that’s something that takes at least one or two dates to accomplish, but you’ve managed to reach this highly-coveted objective with one simple drink order. Unfortunately, our feeling like assholes may not work to your advantage this time and it’ll start with the bartender’s “are you fucking serious?” look of disgust and continue with his sarcastic “good luck with that…” head nod of pity.

Not only is it embarrassing, it’s also an indicator that ordering food and drinks with you will put us through excruciating frustration, and enough internal eye-rolling to make us dizzy. We cringe at the possibility of having to actually go home with the girl who holds up the line at Starbucks when she changes her order from a Grande two-pump-skinny-vanilla latte to a Grande two-pump-skinny-iced-vanilla latte with 8 ice cubes, assuming of course that they are full-sized cubes. And we’d really rather eat dinner at home than have to order our normal-person meal after you spent 10 minutes inquiring as to the exact whereabouts of the farm where your side vegetables had grown, the name of the farmer who picked them (he better be white), and the physical proof that these vegetables did indeed receive 24/7 surveillance to save them from all those horrible chemicals and those dirty, yucky bugs.

What’s worse is when you start applying your strict my-way-or-the-highway standards to us. We wouldn’t be surprised if you try to change us into your ideal guy, altering our appearance to fit an image that’s fixed in your mind. You’ll complain when we get home from work and don’t place our coat on a hanger in the closet within 5 seconds of our arrival; you’ll yell at us for incorrectly stacking the groceries in the fridge and for storing the frying pan on the wrong side of the saucepan; and we can kiss all that morning sex goodbye because any interruption in your bed-to-shower-to-coffee-to-Today Show routine would obviously be an inconvenience. Before we know it, we’ll be rocking a bro-hawk while wearing three-buttoned Henley shirts that you say look “so hot” on Adam Levine; we’ll freeze our asses off in the heart of the winter because we’d rather go without a jacket than to deal with being reprimanded every time we walk in the door; and we’ll be forced to investigate other more “convenient” options to satisfy our sexual desires.

Just consider yourself lucky if we stop at masturbation.

She dyes her hair in multiple colors

Girls dye their hair when they’re bored. So it’s hard to judge anything about their character from the first shade of dye they apply (unless they go aggressive with some Katie Perry blue or Rihanna red and then we assume the worst). Luckily, the women that we so desperately want to avoid, do us a huge favor. They start adding more colors to their hair. And just like that, we have the perfect basis for distinguishing between two very different kinds of women.

A girl who sticks to one color of hair dye can be mostly thought of as a normal, conservative woman (missionary only), with a supportive family, and respectable aspirations to climb the corporate ladder. She may have some red flags, but it’s not evident from her hair color.

A woman who goes for 2 distinct colors (or more), on the other hand, is a little weird, has very little desire to please her parents, and much prefers climbing poles (upside down shimmy to the top, firemen descent, then make that booty drop) rather than ladders. And those are her good qualities, which is why dying your hair 2 different colors is a big red flag.

Dating a girl with 2 colors of hair might be OK if we never had to speak to each other. After all, usually she is pretty hot and gives off the vibe that she’d be awesome in bed. Unfortunately she has Jessica Simpson’s brains, Drew Barrymore’s drawl, and Courtney Love’s potty mouth and thinks these descriptions are compliments. She insists that she’s unpredictable, but really there aren’t many surprises. The tongue ring, hoop earrings, and tramp stamp are there as expected.

It doesn’t even matter though, because she doesn’t care what anyone thinks. She’s going to marry someone famous and get her own reality TV show and prove all the haterz wrong. We can take our red flag and shove it, or better yet, she’ll take it and wear it as a bandana when she’s riding on the back of Kid Rock’s motorcycle. That’s right, he’s playing a show in town next week and she’s definitely going to find a way into his trailer.

She believes in ghosts (a good indicator for all kinds of BS like astrology)

You know what’s scarier than seeing a ghost?

Doing research for this red flag and discovering that a whopping 56% of women believe in ghosts. So next time you’re out at a bar, take a look around you and choose carefully, because eeny-meeny-miney-mo just got a little more dangerous.

56%. Damn. It may not be surprising to women, I guess, but it’s a shocking fact to guys because we have what’s known as “common sense”. We don’t defy logic for the hell of it…and based on our skills of logical deduction, the fact that you have a thing for Casper means your life must consist of all sorts of decisions that are made without the support of any empirical evidence.

It’s also possible that you’re uber-religious, and that you were fed the whole God and Heaven thing so much as a kid that you’re bound to see spirits all around you. Or maybe you’ve heard sounds in your apartment at night – sounds that could absolutely, 100%-in-no-way be attributed to anything other than a ghost. A ghost, by the way, who for some reason decides to only come out at night (isn’t he invisible?) and make the floor creak (wouldn’t he open the fridge and eat some of that leftover lasagna?).

Regardless of how you’ve arrived at your belief – even if it’s “Uh, I don’t know, just because” – it’s time for you to form your own adult beliefs, from your own adult logic, with your own adult brain – not hold on to some special feeling you got when watching Ghost, or defending the unexplainable with something that’s unexplainable, or giving yourself a reason to fill up the DVR with Ghost Hunters. If a guy discovers that your Google search history contains the phrase “ghosts what to do”, he’ll know that you’re also living your life by zodiac signs, or a book written in B.C. with way too many editors, or worst of all… your gut.

She’s a hair twirler

Guys can be somewhat indifferent to certain womanly habits, especially when we’re just trying to get laid. We can deal with the…like…totally awesome stories about you and Michelle and Kristy and Julie when you…like..did that crazy thing and you were…like…so embarrassed but it was like so funny.

We also don’t mind all that much when we’re out and you spend so much time in the bathroom with your friends. We’re not sure what goes on in there, but the view has been disappointing thus far. Walking past a half-open door to the women’s room is like getting a sneak peek of the latest Adam Sandler movie – we could stand there all day, and it’s probably not getting any better.

There are a host of other habits that we can easily ignore, but one that involves you twirling your hair every second as if you have a child’s toy on your head? It’s not sexy, it’s not “cute”, and it’s not a good way to flirt with guys.

We know, we know. You read an article one time titled “10 Ways to Flirt” or “How to Make Him Want You”, and it seemed to work, right? Well, high school is over, and if you’re in the market for any kind of serious relationship, looking like a complete airhead is not a good start.

Also, have you ever thought about how distracting it is? You already know that a guy’s attention span is only as long as his… well, not very long… so the last thing we need is another way for us to let our eyes wander as we forget about everything you’re saying. It’d be like going out with a guy who constantly rubs his chin or something. Rico Suave needs to stop touching that stupid-ass soul patch, already, k?

At the root of the issue (ha), though, is a bigger worry that you are insecure. Twirling your hair adds some level of comfort to you when you’re anxious, and just like pushing your food around with your fork or making besties with your cell phone in social situations, you’re unconsciously reminding yourself of a time when you were a little girl and you felt much more at ease.

If you’re sitting there twirling your hair right now because of how nervous we’re making you… well, it’s probably time to address the underlying issue. But if you’re sitting there questioning this red flag and defending your #1 flirt move or you’re saying “whatever, it’s just a habit of mine”, there’s not much more we can say. But I guess it’s probably better than eating a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey every time you’re nervous, right?

She uses “no sex” as a form of punishment

Consider this: the President of the United States has the power to blow the world to smithereens at the push of a button for any reason whatsoever. His power is tremendous. He could say, “Hey dude in Africa who likes to kill people, why you acting a fool?” and peace out, he gone. Whether it’s a country that’s pissing him off, a republican making a personal attack against him, or somebody scuffing up his Pumas, he can pursue any form of punishment he desires. It’s an extreme example, but the point is clear – there is a difference between having power… and abusing power.

For the women who have refused to have sex as a means of punishing their boyfriend or husband, there’s a major question mark around their appreciation for sex, as well as their consideration that they can dictate when, where, and how the act goes down. That’s a scary proposition for guys.

To be clear, we are by no means saying that your guy doesn’t deserve the punishment. We can be the biggest idiots, assholes, losers, dicks, and jerks. In fact he may have done something so bad that all of those words combined can’t effectively represent your feelings. You may have tried everything already in order to address the situation, and you are confident that you’ll “show him” by taking away the thing he wants most. He’ll learn his lesson, right?

Like a mother grounding her son from playing video games, it doesn’t work that way. It may have a short-term effect, at which point you’ll think it worked, but the long-term implications involve a lot of resentment and pent up anger toward you.

Refusing sex in the name of punishment also begs to question whether you really enjoy having sex, or whether you see it as a means to an end – something you just do on occasion because you are in a relationship, and something you do at a specific time later in life to have a baby.

The kind of woman that a guy wants? He wants the one who wouldn’t DARE deny sex… because she knows she would be punishing herself just as much.

She has changed her allegiance to a sports team

Me: So, you like sports, huh? That’s awesome! Really great. Who is your favorite team?

Her: “I’m a Cowboys fan”

(giving her the benefit of the doubt, I delay my reaction and take a deep breath)

Me: So you’re from Dallas, huh?

Her: “No, I’m from Cleveland. I’m still a Browns fan, though”

(me walking the other way)

Every guy has met a girl like this. It’s the same one that rocks a… pink jersey and black paint under her eyes to show us what a “true” fan she is. The same one who picks teams based on color during March Madness (and of course ends up winning). And, ultimately, the same one that men don’t want anything to do with.

Guys love women who take an interest in sports, but if we find out you’re cheering for a team that you didn’t cheer for when you were a kid, several explanations enter into our heads.

#1 You started following based on some good-looking player

#2 You had an ex-boyfriend who was a fan of said team

#3 You needed a team to follow in order to be part of the sports-watching crowd

#4 Your hometown team sucks and you wanted to cheer for a winner

One way or another, it’s completely unacceptable, and paints a less-than-ideal picture of a future with you. Do you quickly get tired of things you love, in which case you’ll drop me in favor of some dude who’s your flavor of the day? Will you spend your time chasing after the popular things in order to fit in? Will you stop cheering for our son’s soccer team because all they do is lose?

Now, if you’ve already started down this path, you need to understand how important loyalty to a sports team is for most guys. If you think you have a good reason for your switch, make sure to bring that up in conversation.

If you don’t have a good reason, which is likely the case, just be honest about it. By admitting to your lack of true fandom we’ll know that you at least have an idea of what it takes to be a true fan. To us, you’ll be like an injured fawn just waiting to be saved. We can’t wait to convert you into a fan of our team. The image of a gloomy future together will now be bright and beautiful, complete with you on our sideline, wearing our favorite team’s jersey.

She can’t stop talking about weddings

All women really want to get married. It completes them. It lets the world know that a guy finds them desirable. It gives them stability. It gets them celebrated on a large stage.

Some women have figured out how to hide this burning desire to wed. They publicly declare that they’re not in a rush to get married and that they enjoy the freedom of being single. They act like they’re actually excited if their younger sister gets engaged before they do. When Single Ladies comes on the radio, they dance like epileptic baboons. Guys actually like dating these women because they allow us to live in a fairy tale world where there is no pressure to get married. We get to fool ourselves into thinking that the marriage proposal comes on our own terms, on our own timeline.

Other women, however, just can’t contain themselves. The very topic of weddings just works them into a crazed frenzy. If they see, hear, or think about weddings, they touch themselves (and they want us to know). We don’t really care if a girl uses The Knot to aid her self-touching, but when weddings are the only thing she can think about (and talk about), she’s getting a red flag.

When a girl is constantly chatting about weddings, she’s sending out warning flares that she’s expecting to get married very soon. This is the girl who repeatedly lists out all the weddings she’ll be attending over the summer, placing special emphasis on the weddings that she’s in, describing in detail the bride’s color scheme and the Crate & Barrel serving tray that she’s getting for the “lovely” couple. She makes it abundantly clear that she loves everything about weddings: the food, the pictures, the music, the opportunity to meet hot guys wearing ties, the pictures, the love in the air, and did she mention the pictures?

Her life is incomplete without marriage and she’ll definitely be a Bridezilla some day because she has an impossibly elaborate and expensive vision of a wedding where she looks like Cinderella (but cuter), comes down the aisle riding a Unicorn, gets serenaded by Paul McCartney (Madonna’s playing the reception), and the Pope presides over the ceremony while the in-laws who actually like each other are smiling in the front row.

But isn’t there something missing from this vision? Oh yeah. The guy. She couldn’t care less who he is, as long as he says yes to the dress…and every other absurd request that she’ll have.

Any guy who dates her will be put on the shot clock and if the proposal isn’t out of his mouth by the time her buzzer goes off, she’ll leave him faster and with less remorse than when Lebron left Cleveland. She may not be taking her talents to Miami, but she’ll definitely be moving on to some desperate guy who’s willing to sacrifice his freedom, his bank account, and his dignity for the chance to join the fraternity of men who want to have children in a socially acceptable way.

She’s submitted an application to be on reality TV

I hate reality TV. I can’t tell if it’s real or scripted. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh, cry, or be totally indifferent to the story lines. I don’t know if a reality TV show’s characters are going to be around for a decade, a season, an episode, or a segment.

I have met only one girl, as far as I know, who applied to be on a reality TV show. She was a cute co-worker and I made out with her one night on a balcony at a house party and caught a little wood doing so. I occasionally check her Facebook page to see if she still looks decent (she does), if she posts any naughty bathing suit photos (she doesn’t), and if she’s finally gotten engaged to the guy she’s been dating for five years (she hasn’t). She’s a smart, hot, good-natured girl who applied to be on reality TV and she can’t get her man to propose.  Can this be a coincidence? I think not.

Let me explain why her reality TV dreams have turned into a red flag nightmare.

First of all, a girl who applies to be on a reality TV show clearly has not thought through the ramifications of actually being selected.  Once you’re on the show, you’re inevitably going to look dumb, bitchy, crazy or slutty at some point. It’s one of the Immutable Laws of Female Characters on reality TV shows. It doesn’t matter if you’re on The Real Nuns of Saint Mary’s Convent, the producers will still make you look like a crazy bitch at some point in the show.

Putting your reputation in the hands of a reality TV producer whose livelihood depends on his ability to create jaw-dropping entertainment is like stumbling into a body ink parlor and asking the tattoo artist to give you whatever he thinks looks best. There’s a slight chance you’ll escape with a discrete dragon that wraps around your ankle, but odds are you’ll emerge with some Ancient Chinese characters that mean “I love cock.” This lack of perceptual foresight is one of the many reasons that men think applying for a reality TV show makes you insane.

Beyond the insanity, there’s the whole self-absorbed thing. They say most actors and actresses are self-absorbed and attracted to the stage because they want to be the center of attention. Well, most reality TV applicants are similarly attracted to the limelight except for one important distinction, they are talentless. I’ll exclude American Idol contestants because Kelly Clarkson proved that some of those female Idol contestants have some pickle-tickling vocal talent, but other than the few with good voices, the pool of reality TV applicants is filled with talentless scrubs.

Now some of you will think that applying to be on reality TV shows demonstrates that you’re adventurous and spontaneous. You’ll be proud of the fact that you made it to the second round of tryouts for Big Brother or that you were an alternate contestant on Road Rules.

But trust your red flag guidance counselor on this one, if a guy knows you applied to be on reality TV, that information is only going to be used against you. So don’t make it your go-to interesting fact on Speed Dating night. Bury this secret deep down inside and don’t ever let it out. I know this will be hard, especially after your third glass of wine the night he finally takes you to Cheesecake Factory, but this is one secret you actually need to keep to yourself.

She’s a bartender

We can think of a few reasons why some of you ladies might think mixing mojitos is a great gig. The cash flow is decent and you can hide most of it from Uncle Sam. And hey, talk about a social scene, right?  Night after night, you’re where everyone knows your name. And if they don’t know your name, they’ll want to know it – because being a bartender automatically takes you up a couple of notches on the hotness scale.

On top of all the crazy stories you have, you know how to make every weird drink imaginable. Flaming Dr. Pepper, check. Red Headed Sluts, affirmative. Kamikaze…oh you betcha. So what’s not to like?

Well, you’re about to find out.  Let’s look at the scarlet strands that make up this red flag.

First of all, we can say goodbye to good sleep. You’ll come home from the bar all amped up, reeking of booze, ears still ringing, and unable to sleep. Meanwhile, we need to drag ourselves out of bed at 7am so we can go sit in a cubicle farm to work on Monday’s TPS reports. We’re halfway to the promise land of that oh-so-good REM sleep and you’re hitting the pillow wanting to chat about bar dramas and baby mamas.

Your upside down working hours also mean you’ll want to party when everyone else doesn’t. “OMG, it’s Sunday night – let’s go craaaaaazy!” While your enthusiasm is appreciated, we’re about to launch into another week of this “office thing” and anything more than a remote control and a mindless show like Entourage is asking a lot. Sooner or later, we all know what’s going to happen.

You’re going to cheat on us. Between the clean-shaven, heavy-tipping regulars and the random bearded hipsters with double earrings and sleeve tats, odds are good that you’ll find some guy that strikes your fancy. Think we’re just paranoid? Imagine if our job was the Social Chair at a sorority.

Before we give up on you, though, we have a proposition. After all, it is kind of hot that you’re a bartender and you’re probably cooler and better in bed than most girls we date. So let’s try to work this out.

All you have to do is admit to us that bartending isn’t a real job and that team meetings should consist of more than figuring out whether the Tuesday special should be Cranberry Vodka or Rum & Coke. In return, we’ll let you carry on with your story about how this really is a temporary gig and how you’re just saving up for nursing school. This seems fair to us.

After all, it’s the same hand shake agreement we have with our favorite strippers.

She cries from advertising or propaganda

Men don’t like to see women cry. Even the most stoic guys feel a bit heartbroken when they see a woman in tears. By nature we’re protective, and your tears are a signal we’ve failed at our job.

So you can start to see why a woman who cries during commercials can be problematic for us. Besides the guilt that we’ll feel for not being able to protect you, your couch-crying sends signals that you’re emotionally unstable.

Men don’t understand that it’s natural for women to cry fifty times as often as men. They don’t care that it could just be a by-product of your raging hormones during a cycle. All we do is notice that you’re crying, mental note the red flag, and then we go into problem-solving mode. Our likely response to all the questions buzzing around in our heads is to just decide it’s all too much trouble to even think about. Instead, we’ll just never call you again.

She has bangs

Some of you may think we’re crazy for questioning women based solely on their hairstyle, but look no further than the mullet for proof that a hairstyle can be an accurate indicator of one’s personality traits. If we wrote a red flag that predicted a mullet-headed male was an ammo-crazy, backwoods dwelling, cousin lover with an obsession with NASCAR and chewing tobacco, we probably wouldn’t be questioned. Sometimes a person defines a look, other times the look defines the person.

We’ve been told that bangs are all about utility, providing a style that’s relatively easy to manage compared to the frizzy, flyaway mess some women have to deal with. We’ve heard that they offer a more controlled, polished look for work and going out. We’ve also noticed that they are useful in other ways, like protecting against the sun, creating a cool look when paired with a hat, and even making women seem more expressive by focusing attention on their eyes. Unfortunately, men aren’t aware of these things. We just think they look ridiculous and that the woman wearing them is trying way too hard to copy something she saw on the pages of US Weekly.

To understand the stigma around bangs, it’s important to realize that our memories of bangs go back to junior high when girls wore them to cover up acne breakouts. Even though we thought the poofy hair on their foreheads looked a tad foolish, we never talked about it because we felt hypocritical trying to hide our own embarrassing features. Making fun of bangs would have immediately opened up the floodgates to questions about why our voices changed from baritone to soprano every time we spoke in third period English, or why it was physically impossible to get through an entire slow dance without pitching a tent in our Dockers. By the time we had the confidence to talk to women about the kinds of hairstyles we found attractive, puberty had passed us by, taking the bangs look, the pimples, and (most of) the untimely erections with it.

Recently the bangs look has regained popularity and Zooey Deschanel clones have started popping up at every street corner and sports bar, all desperately hoping to convey that they’re trendy, Indie, Bohemian, special little snowflakes. They could have gotten that look by spending fourteen dollars on faux frames at a drug store; instead they spent eighty bucks on a haircut that’s great for an ’80s party, but horrible for getting laid.

She can only cook with an oven

There she sits, across the table, a beautiful girl with seemingly all the qualities of a great catch. After we cover off on the basics, we get to the topic of food and naturally I ask: “So, can you cook?” Simple, straightforward question. With perked ears, I await a straightforward answer. But here’s what I get:

“Do I cook? Why, yes…I just LOVE to bake!”

Wait a second…did she even answer the question? Color me confused. If that’s her answer, I guess it’ll be cool if I answer “Do you like to take out the garbage?” with “Yeah, totally. I love to throw things in the garbage”. There’s a reason they call that spinning shelf in your kitchen cupboard a Lazy Susan. She too, was a baker.

There’s something about a life with Little Miss Easy Bake that is frightening. Maybe it’s because the thought of eating muffins for breakfast, brownies for lunch, and cookies for dinner is downright disgusting. I’d like to get fat on my own accord, thank you very much, and that will involve beer, inactivity, and way too many meatball subs from Subway. I can already see the monthly cupcake parties that you’ll host with your friends. Feel free to hand me the poisoned one, Wicked Witch, as I just don’t think I can take any more.

Watching a woman work a kitchen stove is one of the sexiest things in the world. Like a graceful gymnast, she delicately masters the triple-burner balancing act with unbelievable timing. Green beans on the back right. Mashed potatoes on the front right, next to a 12″ pan filled with bite-sized chunks of juicy chicken simmering in a new sauce whose smell is so enticing it could almost feed me on its own. As she neatly spoons food onto my plate, all she will see is a plate of food. I, on the other hand, will see a masterpiece. And just when I think I have it made, here comes the real icing on top. Perfectly crisped dinner rolls, pulled out of the oven just in time to complement a meal made with love.

Also: she’s a self-described foodie

Guys don’t care whether a woman really appreciates good food, we just care about whether or not she can make it.

It’s fine if she understands the difference between beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes, can taste the earthy notes in a truffle, and is awed by how texture differs in mashed versus pureed potatoes. So long as she keeps these things to herself and realizes no one is impressed, there will never be a problem.

The moment she has the gumption to open her mouth and say, “Oh yeah, I’m a total foodie,” she goes from girl who likes to eat food to weird girl who may experience a foodgasm while eating a bread stick. Not only do we have to worry about her convulsing and hyperventilating at the dinner table, but we also have to remind her that it was just a freaking bread stick.

A “foodie” annoys us because she’s totally obsessed with food and also because she felt the need to anoint herself with a title. It implies that she’s more refined, more cultured, and has a deeper appreciation of food than everyone else. Saying, “I’m a foodie” suggests that other people aren’t. It’s like a guy walking around claiming he’s a total “headie” because he loves getting blowjobs, as if other men consider oral sex to be a major inconvenience. Listen, we all love good food (and blow jobs). It’s not just you. We just don’t consider eating food a hobby worth mentioning.

There’s also the concern that the phrase, “I’m a foodie” will translate to, “I’m a fat ass,” in just a few years. After all, you’ll consider it your duty to check out every Zagat rated restaurant in town and you won’t exactly be ordering from their guiltless grill menus. With all the nights you spend socializing over seven course meals, cooing over dessert soufflets, and Yelping your opinions to other internet experts, there will be lots of time to pack on calories and very little time to work them off. Just what every guy wants, a girl with expensive taste and an ever expanding waistline.

So continue to tell us about how you fantasize about ingredients, eat at the most highly regarded restaurants, and shovel gourmet meals down your throat until you’re burping bouillabaise, just don’t be surprised when the only thing sitting across from you at the dinner table is a big red napkin in a perfect parasol fold.

She’s a vegetarian or vegan

The good news about being a vegetarian is that you’ve probably gotten skinny, reduced your carbon footprint, and saved a few cows from an early grave. The bad news is that the guys you want to date don’t care.

We care more about your shape (waist-to-hip-to-breast ratio) and less about your size (skinny), so we’re not impressed when your figure resembles that of an emaciated giraffe. We’ll recycle cans and try not to litter, but we’re not going to get sentimental over saving the world from a couple of extra pig poots. We understand that you want us to feel some compassion for the animals, but it’s hard for us to apologize for being on the top of the food chain. Don’t think for one second that cows don’t spend every day in their pasture wishing they were faster, smarter, and fitted with sharper teeth and opposable thumbs so that they could turn the tables on us. Bears do it to people all the time; birds haven’t quite figured it out yet so they’ll just continue to shit on us until evolution turns them back into dinosaurs –and then they’ll eat us too. That’s just how the ecosystem works. We’re all competing for the same scarce natural resources and we’re all trying to satisfy our need for protein in the most efficient and pleasurable way possible. For most guys, that means eating meat.

Some women think that being hot saves them from this red flag. It doesn’t. Meeting a hot vegetarian is like meeting a hot step sister. Technically, there’s nothing biologically wrong with dating you, but there’s a moral dilemma that prevents us from trying. While we have some rational and scientific arguments to support meat-eating, we’re not going to pretend to be experts on morality or the long-term impacts of eating meat. That’s not true to who we are, nor will it be true to most guys you encounter on the dating circuit. Instead, what we do know is that a hamburger tastes pretty damn good and dating a girl who morally opposes eating meat means she won’t be making us a hamburger and she might even try to make us feel guilty for eating one.

We know that your soy burgers are just to die for, but imitating red meat won’t be enough to help you overcome this red flag.

Instead you’ll have to demonstrate that you’re tolerant of our food choices even if they conflict with yours, and that you won’t harass us every time we buy a porterhouse. If that doesn’t work you’ll have to get salacious, and eliminate the red flag by telling us you prefer to get your protein from semen.

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I’m single, in my late-twenties, and I have red flags.

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