Khalid and Zoë Advise Everything: Red Flags

Mr. Skeleton wants to know: “What are some red flags for prospective new partners (but make ’em funny)?”

Shoutout to Mr. Skeleton for asking the perfect question to kick off our new column. We especially loved how they specifically told us to make our answers funny. Like… that’s what we do. Anyways, let’s get into the red flags.

Red Flag #1: They move either too slow or too fast.

If you grab a coffee with them and they try to propose in Slow Train Cafe, that’s waaaaaay too fast. If you’ve been hanging out and hooking up for several months, but they still have you in their phone as “[insert your name] From Tinder,” that’s probably too slow. Both of these illustrate a disconnect between you and this prospective partner that could definitely cause problems.

Also, in a more literal sense, if they’re a fast walker and you’re a slow walker, you might want to reconsider. We know that sounds a little extreme, but are you confident you could spend the duration of your relationship walking faster or slower than what feels natural to you? Fast walkers are chaotic, and slow walkers are frustrating. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Red Flag #2: They insist that Fourth Meal was overhyped.

It wasn’t. That’s a fact. The Golden Age of Fourth Meal (fourth- and fifth-years, you know what I’m talking about) was beautiful. Even the ripoff Fourth Meal of the past few years still had a lingering sense of magic to it. Fourth Meal made you feel whole — inside and out. Those tendies, wings, mac and cheese, pretzels, and more, were healing. They warmed you when you were cold, and cooled you when you were hot. The atmosphere was lively but also strangely calm, and the music and good times kept on coming. Oberlin College tuition is more than $70,000 and, if we’re being honest, Fourth Meal made at least $40,000 of those dollars money well spent.

Anyway, if a prospective partner disagrees, it just shows bad judgement. Or maybe it says that they have a dark and negative soul. Either way, it’s probably best to stay away from them.

Red Flag #3: They don’t leave a tip when eating out.

This is an easy one. Food service workers already don’t get paid enough — and WE’RE IN A GODDAMN PANDEMIC. If you can afford to buy a $5 cup of coffee at Slow Train Cafe every day, you can most certainly afford to leave a tip for your server who is potentially exposing themself to COVID-19 for you. Aside from it just being rude, it also means that on an actual date, they’ll probably be cheap. If someone can’t leave a minimum of 20 percent tip, you’re probably not getting flowers for Valentine’s Day. We’re sorry, we don’t make the rules. 

Red Flag #4: “Sorry, I can’t help it. I’m a(n) [insert astrological sign].”

Don’t get us wrong, astrology is fun and for a lot of people it offers solace. But the thing is, YOU are in control of your own behavior. There’s a difference between checking Co-Star everyday and using astrology to excuse your bad behavior. Your partner should treat you with respect and work toward being the best possible version of themselves — no matter what sign they are. 

Red Flag #5: Their go-to party song is still “Mo Bamba.”

“Mo Bamba” is a fun song — there’s no question about that. But no one misses walking into every party on Union Street (RIP parties) and hearing the exact same playlist over and over again. There is nothing more overwhelming than trying to avoid getting trampled to death by a group of men jumping around in a circle. No more. Please. We’ve simply progressed past the need for “Mo Bamba.” 

While these are clearly some of the most inexcusable and unforgivable red flags out there, they are by no means the only ones. Please take care of yourself and protect yourself. If something feels off to you, then it is. Trust your gut.If you’d like to be a part of

Khalid and Zoë Advise Everything, you can submit a question to this form. If you submitted and didn’t see your question, stay tuned for the next installment. You just might make the cut.