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Where romance is involved, we'll use qualifiers like a person's past relationships, political leanings, or shallower traits like height or body type to weed out the dating duds. But we also totally judge people on their careers. And quite often, the jobs we keep are making -- or breaking -- a person's attraction.
Here are careers that will ruin relationships, according to people who lived to tell the tale. Accountant “I’d heard about accountants being cheap, but I never believed it. We’d go out with a group for the evening and the bill was always short and I’d end up putting in more than my share to cover the mysterious missing $20. He lived in a basement apartment with a roommate, despite making good money, and hinted about gas money constantly. He forgot his wallet at least twice, and I paid.
It was always time to go home when his round came up at the bar. Instead of shelling out the cash and buying me a card for Valentine’s Day, he cut out letters from magazines (which he found in someone else’s recycling) to create something akin to a ransom note from some sort of serial killer.” - Ana, 25, administrator Actor “Everything is all about either getting the acting job, and once they get the job, the character they’re playing.
It was a series of constant let-downs and me having to stroke her ego back to life. When she would play love scenes with other actors, I was never able to understand how she could separate from her real feelings. I was always really paranoid about that.” -Will, 33, carpenter Animal control officer “I love animals, but dating someone who works in animal care is overwhelming. My ex regularly came home smelling of skunk, and with wounds from being bitten by rabid animals.
She was constantly bringing home sick animals to nurse back to health -- which was sweet, I guess, but how many cats should you really have in your apartment at one time?” –Nick, 36, human resources Athlete “It’s ALL about the game, no matter what...
having to either train for the game, or how the game affects his life. My problems were secondary to him and the sport. On top of it all, if he was playing poorly, his world would start to crumble because that was his livelihood and I had to be there to pick up the pieces. It was exhausting.
The worst was when he would get minor physical injuries: I had to be there to mend it physically, and try to uplift him emotionally and mentally. Basically, if you are not the sport, you don’t exist.” -Kate, 30, law school student Bartender “My fault for dating the bartender at my nearest, local bar.
There were a lot of naps and burning the candle on both ends. On weekends I'd end up closing the bar down just to hang out, then she'd be all wired up after a long shift, and we'd end up hanging out until 4am just drinking...
I can count the number of traditional dates we had on one hand.” -James, 32, director “Being a 9-to-5 professional and dating a bartender is completely incompatible. On a typical weekday I’d work and then at around 8 I’d head to the bar and hang out with my girlfriend who was working. I’d go home around 11 and sleep, but wake up each night at 3am when she got home.” -Scott, 36, business analyst "Career" student "As a guy, particularly in early dating, it's expected for me to pick up the tab most of the time -- which is fine.
However, in my experiences dating people who are career students, you end up paying a lot of the bills with little to no reciprocation. Because they are often not working, or only have part-time jobs and are in debt, you end up paying for absolutely everything. Sometimes it feels like you're getting used for a free concert ticket, drink, or meal instead of as an equal partnership... It takes a lot of the fun and romance out of it." -Jason, 28, office manager “I can’t respect anyone who goes to school for a specific career and never really gives it a fair go.
It’s one thing to choose a career, try it out, and change your mind; it’s another when they don’t even really try and then make no actual career decisions after their first failure to launch.
Lack of career direction -- and a need to return back to school again and again -- seems to spill into other important areas, including lack of personal goals and inability to make important life decisions.” -Tara, 38, paralegal Magician “I am definitely a one-and-done for magicians. My initial experience definitely demonstrated how self-centered and arrogant a person could be and maybe that says something about someone who is alone in the spotlight often.
There's a reason magicians have assistants and not partners, for sure. At least he was honest (brutally), open and willing to communicate (about himself). He was an excellent magician though -- he made me disappear pretty quickly!” -Amy, 34, private investigator Visual artist “She used to collect dead animals to de-flesh and enhance for sale. Actually, her finished pieces are eerily beautiful -- and yes, there really is a market for this work.
Time spent digging trenches in the yard and carrying home partially decomposed animals (ranging in size from as big as a deer to as small as a turtle) is a hard smell to physically stomach, and remove from your car, hair, and clothes.
Nothing is more disturbing than figuring out that pot on the stove is actually raccoon pieces.” -Tim, 30, teacher Vague subcontractor/entrepreneur = drug dealer “If they really aren’t able to describe what their job is, they’re likely hiding something... warning signs include not being allowed to travel outside of the country for a reason that is somewhat illogical, pockets filled with random prescription analgesics and either a very large sum of money or literally no money at all.
In the short amount of time it takes to recognize you are dating a career criminal, their deranged ex-lover will have already broken some of your property.” –Betty, 33, receptionist “My drug dealer ex-boyfriend called me one morning at 8:30am and said he’d be over at 10, so I got up, got dressed and waited.
When he showed up that night, just after 10pm, he reminded me that he never specified am or pm. Clearly, punctuality and my time were not important to him.” -Laura, 42, transcriptionist. But really, just don't be unemployed “Chronic unemployment is a dealbreaker. My ex was unemployed most of the time we were together. I’d also add anyone who has never had a real job without using a family connection or influence getting them there as undateable.
They need to have paid their dues in some way to appreciate what they have, they need to earn it!” -Heather, 33, teaching assistant
best undateables dating agency jobs near me - Going out on a date, complete with TV crew
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On their first date at the zoo, Sam discovered that his wallet was empty and he couldn't pay for Jolene's drink. Then he fluffed their goodbyes a little by not suggesting what they both wanted – that they should meet again.
But he made her laugh, a lot, with jokes about the lynx and the lions, and they both had a great time. Since then, they've met in a pub in London, at a house party and on the white cliffs of Dover, where Sam tentatively asked if they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
Now they are on their sixth date in the unromantic surroundings of Channel 4's headquarters, accompanied by Sam's dad, Malcolm and, even worse, a nosy journalist. The weirdest thing about this lovely, ordinary romance is the television cameras that followed them on two of their dates. Sam Barnard, 27, lives with his dad in Dover, supports Gillingham FC and has Down's syndrome.
Jolene Sampson, 28, lives in her own flat in north London, works for a charity and has learning difficulties. They were set up on a blind date by , a dating agency that seeks to match people with learning difficulties, and the results were filmed for a new documentary, . The show has already drawn opprobrium for its attention-seeking title and promotional billboard, which pronounces that love is "blind, disfigured, autistic".
Unsurprisingly, some people have condemned this premise but I suspect those views will change when the series is broadcast – the films are warm and sensitive. Outgoing and witty, Sam went to college and has had acting roles in EastEnders and the Inbetweeners ("I went on a rollercoaster 14 times without being sick," he says) but he is less confident around girls. The idea of sex scares him and he had never dated and certainly not had a girlfriend until he was introduced to Jolene.
"I was quite keen to give it a try. I had my doubts but I overcame those doubts – about having a girlfriend and ringing them," he says.
At first, Sam was sent on a speed-dating event for people with disabilities. "Sam chatted to one girl who was very extrovert. She got him on the dancefloor and then proceeded to cavort very provocatively and Sam ended up hiding behind the cameraman," says Malcolm.
"I was collapsed with laughter." "I didn't find it funny at all," says Sam, deadpan. Sam and Malcolm have great repartee, and Sam is always winding up his "old and retired" dad. Malcolm says he never worried that Sam didn't go out with girls, but was "a bit concerned about the lack of opportunities that people with learning difficulties have to go on dates.
That's very often more about the perceptions of society than it is about anything else." Channel 4 claims its provocative title reflects the prejudices of a society in which 70% of people would not consider having sex with someone with a physical disability. Malcolm and Sam admit to initial concerns about the documentary but are delighted with the result. "Sam said he wanted to get a positive image across about people with learning difficulties," says Malcolm; both believe the series does that.
Jolene heard about the documentary through her weekly drama classes and agreed to go on a blind date. She has been asked out by some of the students (who have learning difficulties) she works with but has to keep her professional boundaries and let them down gently.
"I had some dates a few years ago, but they didn't work out. No relationship worked out," she laughs. The story of Sam and Jolene's zoo rendezvous will bring memories of first-date anxieties flooding back for everyone. "I was a bit nervous because I hadn't met Sam before and I didn't know what he was like or if he liked me," says Jolene. "Underneath the worry, he made me laugh all the way through." The look on Sam's face when he realises his wallet is empty as he tries to buy Jolene a drink is priceless.
Did the presence of cameras make him more worried? "You were a bit nervous, weren't you?" says Malcolm. "Only a bit," insists Sam. Sam's first impression of Jolene was she was "nice, smiley, good-looking". They talked about music and TV and discovered a mutual love of JLS and EastEnders.
After a triumphant first outing, the film shows how Sam, like any dating novice, struggles with the next step and nearly sends an unfortunate text message, before being gently steered away from disaster by Malcolm.
If Sam wants dating advice, he asks his dad, friends or older sister, who lives in Hong Kong. "She lives with her boyfriend and she gives me advice – don't get dumped, for example. Don't talk about divorces. No court settlements." "I think you're making that up," chips in Malcolm.
"I don't think she said that." "No," agrees Sam. "She says 'go for it' and stuff like that." His male friends also advised him not to hog the remote control in the presence of a girl and to atone for his cashless first-date blunder. Sam has twice taken Jolene to dinner and is now planning trips to the cinema and the bowling alley. Jolene is wary of internet dating but thinks that the Stars in the Sky dating agency, which offers chaperoned dates for people with learning difficulties, is "quite amazing".
Her brother, who also has learning difficulties, might now give it a go. "He keeps moaning, 'I want a girlfriend, I want a girlfriend.'" Neither Jolene nor Sam complain that they have ever been rejected because of prejudice, but fear of rejection and the memory of playground teasing profoundly affects the confidence of other subjects of The Undateables. Some people with learning difficulties are set up with able-bodied people and in one case, the first date is excruciating. What do Sam and Jolene feel about people with disabilities only being matched up with other people with disabilities?
They are not sure; most of their friends with disabilities find relationships within that community. "If things can be done to bring together people with learning difficulties and those without it's a good thing," says Malcolm. "In the last 20 years we've come away from people with learning difficulties being segregated but we don't yet have the integration that some of us would like to see." Sensibly, both are keen to take things slowly.
"If you like someone, don't rush into it," says Jolene. "Same here – I think the same," nods Sam. Lots of agreement, laughter and plans for more dates; it looks like a happy ending. Sam and Jolene head off into the sunshine for a coffee like any other twentysomething couple on their sixth date, only with Sam's dad trying to keep a discreet distance behind them.
• starts on Tuesday 3 April on Channel 4 at 9pm. For further information, visit
Rugby Player With Tourette's & Asperger's Has Dating Confidence Issues