Whether you have been single six months or six years, chances are pretty good that you have discovered an interesting cast of characters written into your single life script. These people are there to remind you that dating is not supposed to be all fun and games. Please meet:
The Flasher. These people never hesitate to let you know how much money they earn.
Arline, 46, of Costa Mesa remembers: "I went out with a man who constantly told me how much money he had. He would say things in public like: 'Does anybody have the right time? Ten thousand dollar watch and the damn thing won't work!' He was really obnoxious."
Ben, 38, of Tustin says: "I dated a commodities trader who was very successful. But she assumed everybody else was as interested in how much money she made as she was. It was really a turnoff."
The Saint. This person, subtle but deadly, is forever telling you how wonderful he or she is.
Faith, 26, of Yorba Linda recalls: "I dated a man who was always telling me how generous, sensitive and kind he was. But I've learned that people who talk a lot about being sensitive are usually only sensitive about their own feelings."
Tim, 31, of San Juan Capistrano dated a young divorcee whom he calls "the velvet steamroller." "She used to tell me how well she had treated her ex-husband and how unappreciative he was," he says. "The poor guy probably never got a chance to tell her because she was always telling him first."
The Snob. He or she is a label-watcher, never wears the same outfit twice in one month, and wouldn't think of drinking a glass of $10 champagne without a stomach pump standing by. These people insist they never watch television, except for occasional PBS documentaries. They themselves might be rated as a "5" but are looking for a "10."
"I know that type!" says Chris, 43, of Capistrano Beach. "I served a bottle of inexpensive--but, I thought, very good--champagne one evening, and he insisted on going to the store and replacing it with a better brand. Up to that point, I think the guy liked me, but I think he decided I wasn't classy after that."
"I can put up with a lot, but I can't stand a snob," says Arnie, 29, of El Toro. "I like women who can have fun whether we spend a lot of money or not."
The Teacher. Never ask him or her a question unless you have a few hours to kill.
Bonnie, 41, of Orange says her former boyfriend was one of these. "His job was to inspect the inside of aircraft: the wings, the fuselage to find cracks or other weaknesses. He once spent an hour drawing me detailed pictures of the inside of an airplane, accompanied by interminable explanations--everything I never wanted to know about airplane guts."
Tom, 32, of Fountain Valley says a recent date with a real-life teacher made him painfully aware of the syndrome. "She treated me like one of her students. If I said, 'Isn't that a beautiful full moon?' she would say, 'Actually, the moon only stays full for one week. It looks full now, but it is really waning. It's an optical illusion.' No matter what you said to her, she could come up with some speech about it."
The Historian. This insufferable boor will attempt to regale you in an exhausting stroll down Memory Lane. You will hear, over and over, boot camp, war, football stories--all interchangeable. Lest you think only men are guilty of this, be assured that women can match them story for story.
"I dated a woman last year who had been in local beauty pageants from the time she was very small," says Phil, 45, of Corona del Mar. "Her bedroom was filled with photographs of every pageant she had entered. I think the highest honor she won was Miss Potato Queen of Shafter, Calif. All she talked about was the past."
Lori, 39, of Huntington Beach remembers an ex-Marine she once dated. "His job was to push guys out of the airplanes in paratrooper school," she said. "This man used to talk as though he single-handedly won the war--but he served during peacetime!"
The Topper. No matter what story, joke or anecdote you can share, this person can go you one better.
Pam, 33, of Fullerton knows the type well. "You can be whipping up a cordon bleu dinner, and the guy will start telling you how he would do it. You could tell him you once climbed to the top of Mt. Shasta and he would have climbed Mt. Everest, without a rope, carrying a injured mountain climber--and pack mule."
The Hypochondriac. This person's favorite entertainment is talking about every illness. He or she will show you every surgical scar. If there's a bone, he's broken it, a rare disease, she's had it--or thinks so, which is often just as bad.
"There's nothing you can do with these people, except run like hell from them!" says Mike, 25, of Costa Mesa. "They are really scary people. I used to date a girl who was always either catching, or getting over, a cold. She probably buys antihistamines by the case."