What We're Reading: The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags

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Your friends are baffled. By dint of your intelligence and sophistication, you should have a good head on your shoulders when it comes to men. Yet you're choosing to overlook that your boyfriend of five months has refused to update his Facebook relationship status – and that he's passed out in a puddle of his own vomit next to a beer-can pyramid in his profile picture.

We're all guilty of becoming so smitten in a relationship – or, at least, what seems like a relationship at the time – that we gloss over major warning signs. If only we had a pocket-sized Liz Lemon to look these scoundrels up and down and voice an emphatic, "No to the way to the José – deal breaker!"

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Enter Natasha Burton, Julie Fishman, and Meagan McCrary with the literary equivalent. Though these three twenty-somethings have been blinded by love in the past, their hindsight is perfectly keen, and they've teamed up to spell out the obvious in The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags. The cheeky self-help book is the byproduct of their blog, bigredflags.com, to which women submit the jaw-dropping moments in which they just should have known better.

Through groan-inducing anecdotes, a list of hard-and-fast tenets and case studies that place the responsibility of red-flag identification on the reader, The Little Black Book enumerates 200 dating portents with moxie. Here's our take on some of our favorite Red Flag Rules from Burton, Fishman, and McCrary – or, as we prefer to call them, our new best friends.

Red Flag Rule #10: If a guy can't hear the word vagina without giggling, he should not be permitted to touch yours.

Firsts can be awkward. Firsts can be more awkward if your man is grinning and cackling like Spongebob throughout said firsts.

Red Flag Rule #47: If a dude's license plate displays the nickname he gave himself, he's a narcissist.

We love the scene from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in which Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey bleat a personalized, humiliating version of the song "You're So Vain" at one another, but we have no desire to mimic it in reality (though we would consider it if we could rock Kate's diamond necklace during). Ideally, a good partner shouldn't be able to take his eyes off you, and that's hard to accomplish if he's too busy gazing into his own in the mirror.



Red Flag Rule # 14: If there's mold growing in your guy's fridge, you should probably check the date on his condoms.


A little mess is understandable, but when dishes sit in the sink for days and the breadbasket begins to develop its own ecosystem, it's time to wonder if your sloppy beau's inattentiveness extends into his romantic life – and what that means for you.

Red Flag Rule #48: The only thing more annoying than a chick who constantly asks if you think she looks fat, is a man who constantly asks if you think he looks fat.

Fishing for compliments is one thing, but could anything be less sexy than whining coupled with deep-seated insecurity?

Red Flag Rule #20: A guy should never whip out his ex-girlfriend's vibrator to use on you.

There are just some things that should be purchased anew.

Anyone demanding further explanation for this one really, really needs to check out this book.

Details: Abrams Media, $14.95

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