In a city that is constantly voted healthiest, hippest, most attractive and coolest, being single in Austin is like being at a veritable dating buffet. Dudes riding motorcycles, ladies riding fixed gears, our Hipstamatic-filtered lives can look pretty awesome from the outside. But as anyone who has spent time being single in Austin knows — it can also be the pits.
For every fabulous date, there are 20 mediocre meet-ups. For every evening spent lost in conversation there have been 12 agonizing happy hours waiting for your date to finish their Titos and soda so you can go home and watch Netflix. From our own bewildering relationships to those we've laughed about with friends over whiskies, below are the most Austin-y breakup excuses we've ever heard.
"You live in the wrong neighborhood."
A Clarksville-based friend of mine once jokingly said that she almost dismissed a date because "he lived in South Dallas." (He lived near 30th Street and Lamar Boulevard.) In Austin, we love our neighborhoods and join listserves, rallies, community meetings and Facebook groups to stay in the know. But living in Travis Heights and dating an Allandale-ian can wreak havoc on a fledgling relationship. And god forbid you both own property as that is just a headache waiting to happen. Save yourself some grief and ask your potential partner where they live on the first date. If you can get there without getting on a highway, you're golden.
"You bought your Cockapoo."
You cannot hate dogs and live in Austin. Correction, you cannot say aloud that you hate dogs and live here. It's just not possible. But in a no-kill city like ours, there is only one thing worse than hating dogs: not adopting your dog. Silent judgment crackles through the air when a date mentions they have a Cockapoo or a Boston Terrier. Looks are exchanged and the subject is politely changed. Likewise, if you rescued your dog, feel free to slip that fact into every single conversation. "I don't know exactly how old he is, he was about 3 when I rescued him. Actually, he rescued me." (Confession: I have said this aloud. Gross, I know.)
"You eat Lean Cuisine."
Some people just aren't foodies, and that's fine. It's just not fine in Austin. Our culinary scene has exploded in recent years, bringing with it superstar chefs, President Obama-approved barbecue and better food trailers than really seems fair. It also brought a bunch of judgy wudgy food snobs. Gone are the days of eating Kraft Macaroni & Cheese without a lecture about sodium intake and the dangers of food coloring. Sure, you can continue to eat pre-packaged and processed foods, but you'll probably die alone.
"You hang out at J. Black's."
Like neighborhoods, dating someone who likes a different bar scene is a deal breaker. If your posse prefers North Loop, good luck dating someone who sticks to South Lamar. And if you're an east side aficionado, forget dating someone who prefers hanging on West Sixth Street. Dating outside your bar scene is like a Capulet dating a Montague — it's just not going to end well. Of course, Key Bar is the exception to this rule.
"You read dumb magazines."
If you're single, the best investment you can make in your dating life is a subscription to The New Yorker. You don't actually have to read it, just make sure a hefty stack is sitting on your coffee table when a new date comes over. Also, if you have magazines in your bathroom, make sure to curate them. Like the medicine cabinet, visitors are always going to peek at what you're reading on the can. If it's nothing but copies of Maxim (or in my case back issues of Southern Living), you can bet your date is not coming back. It's also a good bet to procure a KUT/KUTX bumper sticker and have an opinion on the great John Aielli debate.
"You wore Chacos on our first date."
This is actually a perfectly acceptable reason, and I add it to this list without judgment.
"You have no direction." (Alternatively: "You have too much direction.")
If living in Austin is like living in Neverland, then dating is like perpetually hanging out with Peter (or Petra!) Pan. Though we bemoan the cost of living, Austin is still affordable enough that a writer/photographer/stylist/vegan chef can still come here and chase their dream. But dating one of these people can be, well, exhausting. In addition to never having enough funds to eat at Austin's fabulous restaurants (see breakup excuse No. 3), they're constantly questioning their life choices and wondering aloud if they should go to graduate school. It can be exhausting.
"You are not cool."
There is nothing more fashionable than hating the things that make Austin cool. You can love Austin City Limits Music Festival, plan your fall vacation around it and buy passes to both weekends, but you can't tell anyone. If your date asks, we recommend you say, "Oh, I'm going for work," or "Ugh, my friend is dragging me." Also, you can't say you like Barton Springs, prefer Miller Light over ABW Fire Eagle or admit you don't own a bicycle. All of this will cause your date to roll his or her eyes and immediately hate you.