1. Poorly-timed “demonstrations of talent.”
Nah, bro, don’t pick up that acoustic guitar. Everyone’s having a good time, there’s no need to rotate yourself 45 degrees and start breathily performing ‘Wonderwall’ in the general direction of the girl with the tight sweater. We get it, you know how to play an instrument, and that’s super cool. But don’t make the whole party get all tense and weird because you want to directly translate your musical skill into the equivalent number of panties. The party was so chill up until this moment. Wait, no, don’t you dare take out the Moleskin with your handwritten lyrics and play ‘an original jam.’ Don’t you fucking dare.
2. Dick pics.
I’m not here to tell you that you can’t enjoy the errant dick pic in the confines of a consenting, adult relationship where all parties have expressed desire for a gross, pixely snapshot of a penis. But at no point in history has the first (or any) step to wooing an unsuspecting young lady been to stand in front of the world’s most depressing bathroom mirror, place your dick jauntily atop the counter, and, holding up your iPad like the cookie sheet of male sadness that it is, take your picture. It’s the kind of thing that no one wants to see, the snake-popping-out-of-a-can of genitalia that will ruin anyone’s work day. Would you want to just see an out-of-context, poorly-lit close up of a vagina? Actually, you know what? Don’t answer that question.
3. Uncomfortable insertion of impressive information.
While I have nothing but respect for the conversational acrobatics that some dudes will go through to bring up things like their sweet office view, their Ducati, or their salary within a 10,000 dollar range, that shit needs to chill. There is no reason that anyone should have to worry about side-stepping humble brags in the Minesweeper that is early-dating banter. Either the topic comes up naturally, or it doesn’t get addressed at all, but there is no reason to take the Most Materially Impressive Thing About You and wedge it into a conversation. It is the linguistic equivalent of trying to fit into a pair of jeans that is about two sizes too small; it just never looks good on anyone.
4. Weird “Pick Up Artist” tactics.
We know you learned that shit in a book, because it is not the kind of behavior a human being would ever naturally engage in without explicit instruction. When you do that weird “insult, condescend, withhold, reward” tactic, and you are not a finely-tuned Secret Agent with the Don Draper-circa-season-1 looks to go along with it, you just kind of end up looking like a sweaty sociopath. And though it is obvious to most people that women are not a particularly complicated expansion pack of The Sims into which you can enter the Rosebud cheat code and be rewarded infinitely, there are clearly some people who still need to let go of the PUA lifestyle.
5. Penis worship.
No one cares how much of an emotional saga your relationship with your wiener is. Either it’s on the small-to-average side, in which case you bring it up about 1058293875928375 times more than anyone would ever notice on their own, and therefore turn the sexual encounter into a wound-soothing marathon; or you are enamored with its size to the point that all other sexual prowess or curiosity has flown directly out the window and the overall attitude has become “Yeah, girl, I could have had any cooter in the tri-state area but I chose yours. You’re welcome.” Both of these are bad. We probably love your penis, if it’s attached to you and we love you. Just let the worship be done by the person who is actually expected to smooch it.
6. Excessive bragging about their oral sex skills.
Noooooooooooooooooooooo. Please do not go on and on about how good it is. Let that shit be a pleasant surprise. No one hosts a dinner party and then spends the 45 minutes before the meal is served graphically discussing how good the duck is going to be, and all of the various duck-roasting techniques you have learned in your extensive culinary experience, all whilst throwing suggestive looks at everyone at your table as they all tried to avoid eye contact.
7. Aggressive chivalry.
There is always something to be said about a nice act or two of genuine chivalry. But when it gets taken to the level where every last gender norm while on a date is aggressively insisted upon, and there is no room for just being like, “Hey, it’s cool, I’ll pick up the check,” it’s super uncomfortable. No one wants to feel like chivalry is some strange, latently sexual competition for who can be the Most Extreme Gentleman, particularly when all parties involved are capable adults who enjoy paying for things or opening doors from time to time. I know that we have come into a period of less-overt demonstrations of traditional masculinity, but that is no reason to overcompensate to the point where you are a live-action version of Sterling Archer. Okay, maybe you can be Archer, but only if you are actually Archer.