DEAR LADY A: What do you think about people who write that they want “No drama, please!” on their dating profiles? And what would you say to them. I know you have an opinion on this!
– Proud Member Of The Drama Club
DEAR PROUD MEMBER (heehee, you said “proud member”… You see, it’s funny, because it’s … Oh, just never mind!): You are correct, I do have an opinion on this. And that opinion is bitchy, over-the-top, aggressive and some might even say, ‘dramatic.’ In other words, because I cannot with any honesty offer my partner “no drama” and frankly would never even try, I’m obviously biased. That said, my advice for normal, non-dramatic people, about online daters who list those words in their required romance criteria would still be this: Pass them by. Because the real meaning of their prerequisite is, “Don’t burden me with your problems.” And while at first that may seem to be a reasonable request to those of you who haven’t started an argument, or had a bad day that you didn’t want fixed, or “caused a scene” since high school … it never ends up that way. You see, the amount of relative sanity you’re willing to deliver will never really be enough for this oh-so-particular dater. Let’s explore some personality types for whom the words, “No drama, please!” might seem essential…
The Drama Queen: (Yes, I realize it’s counterintuitive, but this group represents the largest percentage of “no drama” mamas, so take note.) This person is surrounded with so much tragedy, commotion, tumult, chaos and personal theatrics, they simply have no room at the inn for yours. They are the star of their drama whereas you are just a pretty-faced extra, so logically, their problems will always be more important than yours. They’re also hysterical. They’re the kind of person who starts screaming along with a 4-year-old who’s just skinned her knee, demanding to know if she requires hospitalization. Once at the hospital (it doesn’t matter that it’s just a skinned knee) this person will sigh heavily, wipe at stray tears and ask, “Why do these things always happen to ME?” OK, perhaps they aren’t quite so obvious about their narcissism and true drama queen nature, but their behaviour still ultimately amounts to, “This is my drama, not yours! Now, get out of my light. I’m ready for my close-up.”
The Stoic (Otherwise Known As Emotionally Stunted): This person tells you they’re superior to mere mortals who habitually raise their voice in anger or cry when the oldest character in the movie inevitably dies (Why do oldest characters in movies always have to die?), but they’ve got a secret motive to their apparent strength: fear that their underdeveloped emotional intelligence will eventually be revealed. When people refuse to feel things, when they become detached, they stop maturing and learning how to experience complex emotions in standard, healthy ways. If you’re the person who introduces “drama” into their life, you just may be the one to unintentionally show them for what they are: incapable of emotional normalcy and uncomfortable with people who aren’t numb. Which is creepy, by the way. Really, really creepy. This, is the person who’d tell the 4-year-old who’s just skinned her knee to suck it up and stop crying. Or the kind of person who might drive with their terrified dog in a pet carrier strapped to the roof of their car and then laugh about it and tell the anecdote like it’s a hilarious, heartfelt family moment. See? They’re really, really creepy … Really.
The Misogynist: This can be a man or a woman, by the way. Because anyone can be a misogynist if their first reaction to their emotional girlfriend is, “What? Are you on your period or something?” This is the type of person who would ask the 4-year-old who’s just skinned her knee if she’s on her period or something, then turn up the volume on the TV to drown out the crying.
The Unwilling Participant: This is the person who doesn’t really want to be in a relationship at all, but feels uncomfortable with the indelicate dysphemism, “fuck buddies.” To them, no drama is a cue to potential partners to not expect, well, anything. It simply means that, at the first sign of emotions or heavy couple conversation they gotta go! This person would tell the 4-year-old who’d just skinned her knee … nothing! There’s no kids allowed here, with the beer and the sex toys and sharp-cornered furniture and shit. Watch your own damn kids!
The Only One Who’s Playing: This is the paranoid person who assumes you’re hiding things, manipulating, “playing games” if you will, but they’re the only one playing. They generally attempt to outthink you in the chess game that is love that no one else actually realizes is a chess game called love. On the third date, they believe you’re six steps ahead, plotting your seduction, your ultimatum, your proposal, your civil union, your affair and eventually your separation when all you’ve really got figured our is your side dish. The drama, ironically stems from their supposed knowledge of what you, their partner will do, followed by their feelings of dejection and mistrust when you fail to follow their imaginary script. Because they don’t understand that their manipulations and mistrust are causing most of the heightened emotional states they’ve experienced, they’re likely to think they’re just unlucky in love (or more specifically, in lovers) while continuing to demand no drama from their next partner. This person will dutifully take the 4-year-old who’d just skinned her knee to a doctor, then out for ice cream, then to an amusement park, then they’d buy her a pony … Later, they’ll shake their head and think, “That little bitch totally skinned her knee so I’d buy her a pony!”
There’s one more category of, “No drama!” daters, and I saved it for last because they’re perfectly sane, not-necessarily-bitter, do not by rule surround themselves with chaos, and have most likely never said anything to a 4-year-old who just skinned her knee other than, “let me get a band aid for you, dear.” You may still pass them by because they are utterly boring, uncreative, uninspired individuals who read a few dating profiles, took notes on the popular vernacular, decided that bellicism was still better than utterly-devoid-of-anything-interesting-to-say and decided to steal some dating site jingoism.
To answer your final question, I would say to them, this:
“No drama, please!” is code for “don’t burden me with your problems, your history, your feelings,” which really means don’t bother me with half the all the things that make people who they are. You see, I’m not ashamed that I raise my voice, or get bitchy or cry at movies or complain about things that I don’t need fixed. When I’m with the 4-year-old who skinned her knee, I let her cry and patch her up and try to make her laugh and never once think about how she should have handled it differently. Because drama is the natural course of life and I’m cool with that. So, unless you’re Mary J. Blige, I don’t give a fuck about your no drama nonsense! And then I’d probably start singing “Take Me As I Am” and :Love No Limit: because that’s my jam! … Ahem. Go drama!