When it Comes to Love: It’s Called a Red Flag. ~ Ronna Holtz

Via Ronna Holtz
on Sep 10, 2012
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“I’m an asshole.” Men don’t always share often. So when they do, listen.

It was one month into my last relationship. We were probably talking about music, horror movies or his day—nothing specific, to be sure. What I do recall is his randomly interjecting “I’m an asshole” mid-conversation. I looked at him rather quizzically and thought nothing of it, other than perhaps his self-esteem was off that day.

A few weeks went by and again, mid-non-important conversation: “Eventually women tell me I’m an asshole.”

This, my friends, is what I call a red flag moment.

I used to see red flags and think, oooooh pretty colors! Like Peter Pan chasing that pixie dust babe. With time in the dating war zone and some experience in the playing field, I see them now. I file them in the section in the back of my mind clearly labeled “warning.” What I should have done in that particular moment was ask him “why?” I should have asked for two reasons:

  1. 1. Not only had I not seen that side of him, I couldn’t even picture it. He was attentive and kind. A bit odd, but I like odd.
  2. 2. Had I asked I may not have been completely floored when he disappeared two months later and ended it via a short email stating how amazing I am.

This got me thinking about flags. They come in all sizes. How clearly do we see them, which ones do we miss and which ones do we only pretend to miss? Henry Rollins? He’s a Black Flag, and not one that should be buried in your closet. Red flags, however…

Here’s one: He spends the first and second dates completely bashing women, primarily his exes. I’m not talking about when someone you’re seeing tells you about an ex, or needs to vent. That’s entirely different. Those are men who trust you enough to share things with you and have the capacity for honesty, both of which are good things.

I’m talking about the guy who belittles women. If he throws around the word whore more than, well, a whore, that is not a good sign. In that event I would refrain from telling him about your deep dark secrets, unless you’d like to be known as the “the girl with a clown fantasy” for the rest of your life. That being said, I’m terrified of red ball noses and over-sized shoes.

He cheated on his last girlfriend. Sugar, that is like a national holiday display of red flags with “In God We Trust Issues” hand-embroidered across every one. If he cheats at miniature golf not only is that fine, I’ll buy him a PBR when he beats me by three points. Everyone should slide the yellow ball into the hole with your foot at least once. It’s half the fun. If he was sliding into his next door neighbor during his last relationship, you have a problem.

You come home and he’s there casing the inside of the apartment to see if the windows open easily. There are a few different scenarios this could lead to and none of them are sexy (unless you planned a night of “no means yes.”)

I love when a man finds me breathtaking in stilettos. I do not love when he asks if they come in a size 11.

He wears a visor. This may not be a red flag but in my book it is grounds for immediate dismissal. Never trust a man wearing a visor (unless he’s your dad or your grandfather) and never trust a woman who carries a Hello Kitty Visa.

Are there red flags that are particular to the bedroom? Probably. Let your boyfriend eat dinner off your back if that does it for you. Honey? Syrup? I’ve seen “9 1/2 Weeks” and the appeal is kind of hot. Full disclosure: I recently did the honey thing and it was pretty fantastic. So is he.

I would really love to tell the story of finally meeting his cat but I’d have to cross post in the erotic section and he’d probably kill me. I digress… My point is that unless you find a secret stash of gay porn or he seems very attracted to anyone under the age of appropriate, I’d consider bedroom red flags, or lack thereof, a matter of personal taste.

He doesn’t do what he says he is going to do. I’ll call you later. Sure, that’s a great idea. Let’s do that. You never do it. This can be a gray area. People can’t always call when the say they will. They have jobs or careers, and hobbies-hopefully not limited to porn and using crystal meth socially. This should still remain the exception and not the rule.

He doesn’t introduce you when you’re out and he doesn’t want you to meet his friends. Not good, not ever.

Men are just human. I don’t suggest a score card. If you’re keeping a checklist that reads “Things He Did Well Today,” you may want to consider a new hobby or a therapist.

I wondered how many times I’d justified red flags in the past.

Maybe they weren’t there. Maybe I’d seen a fantastic red Alexander McQueen scarf. I’m not certain how often that’s happened, but I would wager that I’m not alone.

Sure, we can ignore the signs. Take the flags and hide them under your bed after cutting them into pretty little red paper dolls. Now you’re just the weird girl with red paper dolls under her bed.

We can always keep the blindfold on, but what I’ve realized is that if you have enough faith to take it off what you actually have is an infinite number of possibilities. You have the big picture.

What are we are willing to overlook in the world of love? I’m really not sure. It’s easy to tailor a situation to suit what we believe our needs to be. If what they love about you is your ability to not get nailed in the face with a flag, then what they love is a bullshit façade. And that is not sexy.


Editor: Lori Lothian

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About Ronna Holtz

Ronna Holtz can be found sipping iced tea and playing her guitar in her 1920’s apartment in the shadow of Hollywood Hills. She is a writer and a dreamer who loves love and everything about it. Read her whispers and rants on her blog, Be Like the Moon. Ronna is also the creator of a sexy new elephant love advice column, "When It Comes To Love." Email your burning relationship questions to Ronna at [email protected] She doesn't necessarily guarantee a wise solution, but she will offer an entertaining and down-to-earth view of the problem. Subscribe to Ronna's column and never miss a post.


15 Responses to “When it Comes to Love: It’s Called a Red Flag. ~ Ronna Holtz”

  1. ronna26 says:

    Thank you Bob. That means a lot.

  2. Lauren says:

    Loved the Henry Rollins referrence. Keep it up Ronna, I look forward to reading these!

  3. ronna26 says:

    Thanks Lauren! I knew it wouldn't be lost on you.

  4. Diane Lane says:

    Thank you so much, as if I didn’t already know it but I needed to be hit over the head with the flag. I need a broom and a dustpan to get those red paper dolls out from under my bed….:)

  5. ronna26 says:

    I totally understand….oooh shiny objects!! Welcome to my twenties lol. (and partial thirties)

  6. KristinSLuce says:

    Brilliant and beautiful illumination of what we miss in the name of, whatever. Thank you.

  7. ronna26 says:

    Thanks for reading Kristin. Very well put. 🙂

  8. West says:

    Yeah this is good advice… If a man cheated on his last relationship, it’s really really a bad sign.. There are very few cases I can imagine where there is a descent excuse. It just shows cowardice and a lack of self awareness.. Sexy right?

    I gotta say though.. A man with a hello kitty credit card is adorable. Unless you are into macho dick wads.. even a taste for gay porn, or experience doing gay porn, can be an interesting point so long as a man is honest and self aware of his desire and orientation. Are you really suggesting that bisexuality is a red flag? That my dear is a red flag of your ignorance.

  9. ronna26 says:

    As a part time HIV counselor at Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, I would have to say that no….not so much on the bisexual red flag. I'm far from suggesting other anything than lying and keeping secrets are big ol red flags. I must have hit a nerve….sorry about that.

  10. GreatNorthSky says:

    Great Piece, Red Flags, Hummmmmm, Coming From The Other Side, I Learned A Lot About Them!!!!!! The Hard Way !!!!!!! Jezzz !!!!!! Admitting Being Reformed In This Area, I Always Advised My Female Friends That If They Really Liked A Guy And Wanted To See The Real Deal, Find Out Who He Really Is, Hold Em Off For 3 Months, 6 or longer. The Truth Always Comes Out, Always.

    Thank You ღ♥ღ

  11. Ronna26 says:

    Thanks for reading! Great advice to give your friends for sure! Thanks for your feedback 🙂 cheers!

  12. D.M. says:

    This post, has, as your others, struck yet another chord in my heart. What is it about misogynistic assholes that makes them so damn appealing at first glance? I'd like to think I'm getting better at reading the signs, but I need a direct reminder sometimes. Thanks for making such great observations.

  13. ronna26 says:

    you are very welcome. Thank you for reading as always.

  14. Melina says:

    "Sure, we can ignore the signs. Take the flags and hide them under your bed after cutting them into pretty little red paper dolls. Now you’re just the weird girl with red paper dolls under her bed.

    We can always keep the blindfold on, but what I’ve realized is that if you have enough faith to take it off what you actually have is an infinite number of possibilities. You have the big picture." 🙂