I want to be open to what the universe has in store for me in the love and romance department. But I, like many other women, have an idea of the qualities and characteristics I want (or think I want) in a man. That being said, there’s a certain deal-breaking trait that automatically knocks any man down a few notches in my belt: not knowing how to spell. An immediate turnoff and a definite panty-blocker, not knowing how to spell is akin to kryptonite. Is my deal breaker unreasonable? Perhaps. Unfair? To the English language, obvi. More importantly, could it keep me from getting to know an otherwise great man? My Magic 8 Ball says, “Anything is possible.” But so is knowing how to spell. Now before you accuse me of being classist and egregious, allow me to explain my reasoning.
Y-o-u-apostrophe-r-e, as in “you’re,” exists. It’s not some made-up word that a select few of us use because we want to add a little spice to the otherwise humdrum y-o-u-r. Similarly, there, their and there are three different, non-interchangeable words. Ditto for to, too and two. These are all words that sound alike, but they are also ones we should have learned about in elementary school. By middle school, we should have perfected our ability to use them, and by high school, we should have been pros on their usage. Our schools are doing us a disservice if we’re not getting this basic stuff down. I haven’t even added grammar and punctuation to the mix because that’s a whole other beast in and of itself. But I give major side-eye to anyone who operates on the false premise that punctuation is a suggestion. Needless to say, failing to use or improperly using any combination of the above can alter both the meaning and understanding of a sentence. So now I’m confused because you’re confused, and if I check you on any of this, it reflects poorly on me and I’m accused of being a snob. It’s a lose-lose situation if ever there was one.
In my defense, I am also fully aware of the fact that I write more than the average adult. In addition to my own creative musings, I have had several jobs in which correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation errors was my primary function. And while we all slip up from time to time, an alarm goes off in my head any time I see those kinds of mistakes. Trust, it has proven to be both a curse and a blessing.
I’m not equating an inability to spell with a lack of intelligence. It’s just that we have so many resources available to us nowadays – ahem, spell-check – that there’s really no excuse when your texts, emails and the like are rife with incomprehensible errors. The same errors, over and over again at that. This is one of the reasons why online dating can be so challenging. It’s the land of one-word emails and broken not-even-trying English. Full, complete sentences are unheard of. If you get enough half-assed emails in this vein, you can get fed up rather quickly. And I like to compare the exchange of emails in the online dating process to finding a job. An employer wouldn’t consider a candidate whose cover letter lacks attention to detail and is filled with all kinds of spelling and grammatical errors. They would have every right to deny an interview on that basis alone. Why, then, should I give you the time of day if you can’t compose your thoughts in a cohesive, non-piecemeal manner? I’m not expecting writing that is worthy of a Pulitzer, but some effort and understanding of the English language would be nice.
Having said all that, there are exceptions to the rule. We’ve all grown accustomed to slang and abbreviation when texting or posting on certain forms of social media where you have fewer characters available to get your point across. But it’s the lack of knowledge that’s the deeper problem. If you consistently use slang and abbreviated language that’s harder to read than the actual words they represent, that’s both a concern and a turnoff.
You may be thinking, why not help a guy out if he’s struggling in the language department? Because there’s something about taking a red pen to someone’s writing that’s a killjoy for both parties involved. One ends up feeling slighted, the other, petty. Both people can obviously recover – this isn’t life or death we’re talking about here. But we do have our preferences, and a man who knows how to spell is mine. (Oh, but if English is not his first language, he definitely gets a pass. Many non-native English speakers I’ve encountered want to learn and appreciate the opportunity to improve their comprehension. I respect that.)
What are some of your deal breakers for you when it comes to dating and relationships?