Dating Red Flags and How to Avoid Having Them Slap You in the Face

Posted on October 25, 2014




A woman who thought she had found  her soul mate on an online dating site, ultimately found herself trapped in the chimney of said man. Last week, Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, 30, was rescued by a team of firefighters after attempting to enter the man’s home in Los Angeles.

Homeowner Lawrence Fernandez said the pair had been on six dates before he broke things off.  “She seemed totally cool until the first (red) flag was her actually being on my roof two weeks ago. Having someone in your chimney is like kind of a weird thing you wouldn’t expect to come home to,” he explained.

Fernandez’ remarks bring up several questions for Life in the Boomer Lane.  LBL thinks that entry into a home via chimney isn’t really a red flag.  Unless one is obese and wearing a red suit, it’s more of a shrieking admission of emotional dysfunction.  And how does one appear to be “totally cool” through six dates, when one’s brain is actually on Full Tilt Boogie Demento?  LBL, herself, isn’t nearly as far along on the Crazy Scale as Nunez-Figueroa was, and yet, she, herself finds it fairly difficult in some situations to approximate a sane person.

Lastly, what’s with the qualifier “like kind of a weird thing?” It wasn’t “like kind of” anything. It was a weird thing.  A very, very weird (and dangerous) thing.

LBL believes that this is a good moment in this post to step back and caution all devoted readers who might have been living in  large ceramic urns in a cave in the desert, that participation in online dating sites (and in dating, in general) takes a certain degree of discretion and perception. For example, if one is having a pleasant dinner with someone who one met recently online, and the topic of relationship comes up, and one’s dinner partner says, “If I cared a lot about someone I would shimmy down their chimney and plop right into their house,” this should give one pause.

LBL hereby provides the following advice for would-be daters and for those who are currently  in dating relationships that seem a bit iffy on the Crazy Scale.  She has divided Red Flags into three main categories. Readers can print this page out and refer to it when on first dates.


Minor red flags, truly minor, occur all the time and there is no reason to become alarmed.  We all exhibit behaviors occasionally that are less than optimal, and we should expect that we might see such behavior from a date. If this occurs, the date should continue to its conclusion, and thought should be given as to whether one believes that one’s date is capable of eliminating such behavior on a future date. If not, there will be no further dates.


1. bad breath/yellow teeth/fewer than the required number of teeth

2. humming

3.  becoming too physically affectionate too fast

4.  taking a call while at dinner

5.  asking you if you are ready to meet his parents

6.  making an unkind comment about an ex-spouse

7. asking the waiter to put all parts of his meal on separate plates.

8. leaves a tip that is less than 20%

If three or more occur at the same time, this behavior immediately moves into the next category:



An intermediate red flag would be one in which your vision for your life differs from your date’s vision for his life. You should pay absolute attention to an intermediate read flag.  This is, in most cases, a show stopper.  Whether to stop the date in mid-meal or to continue to its conclusion is entirely up to you.

1. explaining that he didn’t get crowns or implants because dentists charge too much

2. humming the theme song from Deliverance

3. insisting on sitting on the same side of the table as you in the restaurant

4. taking a call from an ex while at dinner

5. telling you his parents are expecting you for after-dinner drinks

6. using a five-letter word to describe an ex-spouse

7. asking the waiter to put all parts of his meal on separate plates and to bring the doggie bag with the meal

8. leaves no tip

Real Life Example: A woman LBL knows, who shall remain nameless even though she has a perfectly good name, was on a second date with a man she met online.  He asked her how she felt about men who flatulated loudly and aromatically.  She was still trying to process the question when an explosion ensued from his nether part.  She was barely able to choke out “This date is over” before being consumed by toxic vapors.



Advanced red flags are behaviors that indicate that one’s date has issues that demand professional attention and/or  incarceration.  These dates should be ended immediately, and the authorities should be notified.


1. bad breath and a rodent tail hanging out of one’s date’s mouth

2. humming the Nazi National Anthem

3. asking for a private booth in the restaurant, sitting next to you, telling you he isn’t wearing underwear, and asking you for an opinion about a strange rash he has developed

4. taking a call from a probation officer while at dinner

5. telling you that, after dinner, you will get to meet his parents who live in a tent in the woods

6. telling you, in reference to the ex-spouse, that he wants to kill the f-ing bitch

7. accusing the waiter of having brought him the wrong food and telling him to go back to wherever on the planet he came from

8. hands you the check and leaves

Real Life Example: Susan, of Sex and the Sixty-Year-Old fame, was bothered by a man whose teeth were in dire need of whitening (see MINOR RED FLAG above) and who had become too affectionate too quickly on a first date in a public place (ditto). While she was assessing the situation on the way back to her house, her date became irate when a fellow motorist got too close to his car.  He flipped the glove compartment open and pointed to a gun that was nestled between his EZ Pass and his sunglasses. “If that f-cker gets too close again, he will regret it.”  Susan asked him why he carried a gun in the car.  He said, “I have one at home, one on me, and one in the car.  No one will ever mess with me.” Susan asked him if he had ever had a bad experience with anyone attacking him.  He said no. “And no one ever will.”

Follow this guide and one will never have a bad date.  Unless, of course, one’s date shows up in bedroom slippers or leaves midway through the evening to walk his dog or any one of a number of other disturbing behaviors. LBL has tried to do the best she can.  Dating, apparently, has an unlimited number of bases to cover, and LBL can’t cover them all.