The Dealbreaker Survey

Thanks to your feedback last week and some soul searching this weekend, I’ve created a dealbreaker survey to replace my “perfect woman” survey (which 403 people have taken to date).

This survey is shorter, and it includes the question “Are you female?”, so guys, you’re welcome to flip through the survey without worrying about being counted in the results. The idea behind this survey is that every question is a dealbreaker. I tried to eliminate anything that isn’t a core quality that I know I need in a woman to have a successful relationship.

For example, in the previous survey I had questions like, “How tall are you?”, “How old are you?”, and “Can you throw a frisbee or football 30 yards?” Now, in general I’m attracted to women who are shorter than me, who are within a certain age range, and can play fetch with me. But is it possible for me to be attracted to, fall in love with, and have a successful relationship with a 5’11” 38-year-old who can’t throw a frisbee or football at all? Definitely.

I’m guessing that the most controversial questions (although I’m flattering myself to think that a self-centered survey like this will cause any controversy) will be the following:

  • Do you have kids? I really debated including this one, but I think of it this way: I’m not even sure that I want kids, so why would I willingly enter a relationship where there’s a kid already involved? It’s a package deal when you date a woman with a kid, and although I have the utmost respect for single moms, at this point in my life I know for sure that I can’t date a package deal.
  • Do you regularly wear lipstick, foundation, and/or heavy eye makeup? This may seem shallow–in fact, no, it is shallow. But makeup is a choice, and it’s a huge turn off for me. We all have our weird turnoffs. That’s mine.
  • Do you often hold the door open for the person behind you? This one might also seem superficial, but if I’m superficial about being kind and aware to fellow human beings around you, so be it. Whenever I see a woman make a small gesture to show that they care even just a little bit about strangers, my attraction to her skyrockets.

Also, there are multiple “correct” answers for several of the questions, as well as some answers that I put in there to weed out those who may be presenting the ideal version of themselves instead of the real version of themselves.

Without further adieu, please head over to take this 1-minute survey now.

What did you score?

28 Responses to “The Dealbreaker Survey”

  1. John Aughey says:

    Except for some obvious red flags, I scored quite well.

  2. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Also, this is handy new feature from Qualtrics–this is the report of all responses. Take a look after you take the survey!

  3. Lorena says:

    I cheated, but in the response it didn’t matter. I would’ve gotten equal points for both answers. I got a 13.00. To be fair I would have had a 15.00 if I wasn’t engaged to be married in 55 days (shudders, so soon, Jamey!)


  4. Bridget says:

    Interesting. I scored a 15 – it appears we think similarly on everything but makeup. I don’t wear tons, and certainly never leave the house with bright red lipstick or racoon eyes, but I will admit to some foundation to even out the skin tone….is that really such a dealbreaker or are you thinking more about streetwalker makeup as a dealbreaker? Maybe I misread your question.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Bridget–I was thinking more about streetwalker makeup. 🙂 Basically, anything that would come off on me if I kissed your face would be a big turnoff.

      • Emily says:

        I’m glad you included that part about makeup rubbing off on you in the question. Because honestly, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a women who doesn’t wear foundation regularly. I also think women wear more makeup than you may realize. As every good mother should teach their daughters… The goal of wearing makeup is to look like you’re not wearing any at all!

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          I totally agree with that goal of makeup. For those of you who took the survey earlier this morning, I changed the makeup question to read as follows:

          “Do you regularly wear lipstick, foundation, and/or heavy eye makeup–basically, any makeup that will smear off on me?”

          Now I know that this survey is different than the “perfect woman” survey in its intent, but has anyone gotten a perfect score?

  5. Bridget says:

    And I misspelled raccoon…sorry.

  6. Katie says:

    Okay, so I almost replied with something the other day when you did the first post about this survey, but it took me a while to figure out why it bothered me so much and I couldn’t really put it into words. But I finally realized what it was.

    You would disqualify an anonymous woman whom you know nothing else about simply because she wears lipstick, but a woman isn’t allowed to disqualify someone else she knows nothing else about because she does realize that that person’s religion is in such conflict with her own that a relationship wouldn’t work (question 12)? How is that fair? If I know that someone’s religion, and therefore their belief system, is so different from mine that it would make it impossible to form a strong foundation in a relationship, why can’t I use that as a disqualifier—that’s a pretty big thing and much more important than lipstick. I know my makeup habits have changed over time and even from season to season, but my core beliefs have pretty much stayed the same. So if I know that their religion (in which they actively participate, as opposed to someone who was just raised in a religion but no longer practices it) places an emphasis on women who are subservient to their husbands, which is not something that I would be willing to do, why would I pursue a relationship with that person?

    I think I understand where your question is coming from (do they judge, are they racist, or close-minded), but I don’t think that it’s effective here in its wording. I have plenty of good friends that I don’t judge or ban from my life because of their religion (Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness), but I would never consider dating them because I do feel strongly that their religious beliefs wouldn’t fit with my life, and that’s something I can’t overlook.

    I was going to take issue with the grammar question as well, but I don’t see that you put one in there, which I think is wise. I was thinking, “What if the Asian equivalent of Amy Adams (for whom English is a second language) takes the quiz but has trouble with subject-verb agreement and Jamey never gives her a chance?  ” Grammar is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, but I know that some people have trouble expressing themselves with the written word. Personally, I can barely add two numbers together, but I would hate to think that someone wouldn’t even give me a chance because of that.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Katie–Okay, I see what you’re saying, but I think the two questions should be responded to separately.

      About the lipstick: It’s merely a matter of attraction. I don’t think it’s my place to tell anyone what they can or cannot wear (makeup or clothes), so if a woman already wears makeup, that’s not something that I can or should change. But it’s a big turnoff for me.

      About the religion: I think I phrased the question appropriately this time (it was different in the original survey). The point is that if you’re surfing on and you see someone who lists themselves as Mormon and you immediately disqualify them without knowing anything else about them, I don’t think that’s right. You don’t know anything about that person’s religious beliefs–they’re all simply assumptions.

      • Katie says:

        But if I do know about the core beliefs of that religion, and that person identifies themselves as being part of that religion, isn’t it safe to say that they hold those beliefs that I take issue with? What if I’ve dated other people from that religion before, and that was one of the main reasons it didn’t work out? Although I’m not trying to lump people of a certain faith into one category, it just doesn’t make sense to me to follow the same failed path over and over again. Yes, some people turn away from certain aspects of their faith, but if they turn away from enough of them, or the most important ones, then I don’t really think they should identify as part of that faith.

        What is an alterntative to disqualifying them right away? To make contact, find out if we are at all similar, and then grill them about their beliefs to see if we should continue getting to know one another? I just don’t see that working out well either. I don’t think it fair to say that you prefer someone that doesn’t wear lipstick, but I can’t prefer someone that shares my belief system. Maybe I find someone sharing in my faith an attraction, and if they don’t, that’s not something I would ever ask them to change.

        I honestly do see what you’re saying, which is that you shouldn’t disqualify someone before you really know them, but isn’t that what you’re doing with this quiz? A lot of this stuff is something that you could easily glean from a profile, but a wrong answer is enough to make you move on without knowing anything else about them.

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          I think religion fits into special category that excepts it from being a dating filter. For example, I don’t want to get to know someone who smokes because I think it’s a disgusting habit–the fact that they smoke reflects poorly on them. But someone’s religion shouldn’t reflect poorly on them until you get to know them and realize that your assumptions were accurate.

          The question really stems from some people I’ve met who say that they’re not going to date someone if they’re not in X religion. That just seems…wrong to me. It seems very close to racist: You’re making a decision about a huge group of people based on their religion.

          This hits somewhat close to home. I don’t mean for this to come off as overly harsh, but how can you assume you know my core beliefs just because I identify as Catholic? If you assume that every Catholic has the exact same beliefs, that’s a really dangerous assumption. Just because you’ve dated Catholics in the past (hypothetically) and it hasn’t worked out, that means that you wouldn’t even consider me because it says that I’m Catholic on

          I just know that I would never, ever hear that a person is X religion and immediately decide that I would or would not want to date them or be their friend. Whatever the religious version of “racist” is, that seems like that would be it.

          • Katie says:

            Let’s say that the person in question is a lapsed Catholic. She knows about the faith, and she knows the Apostle’s Creed by heart, as she went to a Catholic school for years. But she doesn’t believe in those statements, which are the basis of the Catholic faith, and for whatever reason she can’t be with someone who does. She’s not making assumptions about you or the religion, such as you don’t support abortion or birth control; if you don’t believe in the statements listed in the Apostle’s Creed, you aren’t going to identify yourself as Catholic because you don’t believe in the basic tenets of that faith. And since you do, she would prefer not to date you. (Yes, I know this is a weak example because then you two obvisouly wouldn’t work out anyway, but you see where I’m going with this).

            I don’t feel like religion and race can be lumped into the same categories. Yes, I think if she automatically disqualifies someone because of their race, that is awful. But not all people of a given race stand up at a service and willingly profess the same beliefs. Nor do I think that disqualifying friends because of religion is allowable. My friends are from very diverse backgrounds, not all of whom share my beliefs. But they’re just friends, not a possible partner. Not someone I could potentially start a life or a family with that would be sustainable for the long-haul.

            For instance, I wouldn’t want to date a Scientologist because I take issue with their beliefs-—not because Tom Cruise is a Scientologist and he’s a weird jerk. I honestly couldn’t sustain a relationship with someone who held those core beliefs and professed to whatever is the equivalent of their Apostle’s Creed. Does that make me “religiously racist?” I don’t think so. I’m not criticizing, persecuting, judging or telling them they’re wrong for what they believe. But we as a couple would not be compatible. Yes, I am discounting an entire group of people, but for a very good reason. We don’t share the same belief system, which is not what I’m looking for in a partner. I’m not saying that my partner has to be Catholic, but I need someone with somewhat similar beliefs to build upon to make a relationship work. How is that so bad?

            I do get where you’re coming from, because I’m Catholic too, and people do make unfair assumptions about what that means. But just as it’s incorrect for those people to assume they know about your personal faith, it’s unfair for you to assume that what they are making their decision on is a superficial and possibly incorrect reason. Maybe they know more than you think they do about a particular religion and its beliefs, and it’s from that that they made their decision.

            • Jamey Stegmaier says:

              Katie–I see all your points, but I just don’t agree. Even in the Scientology example…sure, there are prevalent stereotypes about people in that organization. But just because I think that I know what Scientologists believe doesn’t mean that I know what a specific Scientologist believes.

              Let’s challenge this right here on the blog: Tell me 5 things that you know I believe in because I identify as Catholic, and I’ll tell you if you’re right about my personal faith. If you get any of them incorrect, it means that you shouldn’t make judgments and assumptions about someone’s religion before you know about their personal faith.

              • Katie says:

                These are things that, as a Catholic, you testify to believing in every single Sunday at mass. So if you can say that you don’t believe some of these things, then we have a very different conversation on our hands.

                1. You believe in God
                2. You believe that Jesus is the son of God.
                3. You believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary
                4. You believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins
                5. You believe that Jesus ascended into Heaven.

              • Jamey Stegmaier says:

                Ah, I suspected you’d go with the big ones. I was hoping for some more specific ones like not believing in sex before marriage or unfortunate Catholic doctrine against homosexuals.

                But yes, I believe in those things you wrote. Most of the time. I’m not so certain in my faith that I’d state those things as facts.

  7. Adrianne says:

    I like Katie!!! I agree 100% with her and couldn’t have said it better. Katie and I would be good friends if we lived closer 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    The difference between Katie’s stance and Jamey’s stance seems to hinge on how strictly we’re applying the word “irreconcilable.”

    I’d be willing to bet that both of you are fairly open-minded when you’re out and about in the world — that if you meet a person first and get to know them at a natural pace, their on-paper stat sheet (religion, race, height, etc) is far less important. When you’re organically getting to know someone, you can reconcile their strengths and their flaws in the context of their whole self.

    In freakishly stark contrast, when you’re wading through a glut of profiles on, I can see why the temptation to make sweeping generalizations would come into play. It’s more efficient for Jamey to say “Her make-up would smear on me, and she hates cats, therefore it’s unlikely to work out.” It’s more efficient for Katie to say “Most men from that religion would tend to stifle me, therefore it’s unlikely to work out.” Either of you may be right or wrong in your guess about the likelihood of relationship success, but you do still make the guess.

    My point is that “irreconcilable” rules in daily real life do lead to being racist/agist/sexist/credist, which I doubt either of you are.
    But “irreconcilable” rules employed as a screening tool to help you prioritize your time on a site like Match are a completely different thing.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Well said, Sarah. To each his/her own when it comes to filters.

      After all, in the end, this is my dealbreaker survey. People are going to have different dealbreakers, and people may not agree with mine. I’m sure everyone out there has dealbreakers, some that make sense to me, some that I respect, others that make no sense and I don’t respect. But that’s okay–this is why not everyone is made for everyone else. Then life would just be one giant orgy, and that would be confusing.

      • Sarah says:

        Somewhere out there, there’s probably a girlblogger named Amey Stegmayer with a dealbreaker survey that includes questions about whether the guy does lunges naked and/or insists on an open bathroom door policy. 😉

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Well, I don’t insist upon it–I just encourage it.

          And naked lunges should be a dealbreaker. At least an acceptance of naked lunges.

  9. Jess says:

    This may not be a popular belief, but like your feelings about excessive makeup being unattractive, someone may not find people of all races attractive. That does not necessarily make someone a racist; it’s just a physical preference.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Jess–That’s a fair point. Good point. But I would say that there’s a difference between saying, “I will not date a black person because I am unattracted to all black people” and “I’m generally not attracted to black people, but I’m open to the idea of being attracted to a black person” (I’m using that race purely as an example.) It’s different for me and makeup because I know for sure that I am not attracted to women when they wear heavy makeup. You can be the prettiest movie star model in the world, but if your lips are smeared with red, I have no interest in kissing you.

  10. Katherine says:


    If you ever find yourself in Australia. 🙂

    Or maybe if I ever come back to the states.

    Goodness. That sounded creepy.

    Also, sometimes when women wear red lipstick, it’s already been decided that they won’t be kissing anyone that night. At least I never plan to. Very few things look worse than smeared clown lipstick.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s a good point about lipstick. I’ve learned to get over myself when it comes to girlfriends getting made up for fancy events and the like. 🙂

      If you come back to the States with an accept, I’m yours!

  11. @JMJKDulce says:

    I scored a 15. More later after I start the habit of running on my lunch hour now… ;p

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