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Dating Red Flags

Are you really hooking up with Miss Right?

That hot blonde you've been casually kicking it with (and doing) may be the girl of your dreams - or she could be a nightmare just waiting to rear her ugly, horned head. How can you tell the difference? We've gathered all the clues you need to calculate whether you're hooking up with Miss Right or Miss Holy Shit!

The Stalker Chick

She's the ideal independent woman-until she goes psycho on your ass post-banging and starts boiling bunnies and e-mailing you like mad.

Red Flags: One "accidental" case of bumping into you midweek is fine; she could really just be in the neighborhood. Two or more, however, and you have a definite problem on your hands.

Exit Strategy: Cut her off as abruptly and as ruthlessly as possible. Change your phone number and e-mail address ASAP. A slower breakaway will only leave her thinking you belong together . . . forever.

The Beer-Goggles Babe

She's all cleavage and legs until you get together-then just try to pull her out of that damned sweats-and-ponytail combo.

Red Flags: If she orders weird drinks, looks uncomfortable at the bar, or spends most of her time hiding behind her purse on the stool, you've got a girl who can't wait to give up the nightlife.

Exit Strategy: Hit the bars hard until she can't take it anymore. Or join her on the couch. Be sure to tell her how much you appreciate the fact that she's comfortable being plain-and that you're glad she doesn't care about her looks.

The Wannabe Bride

She's a complete wild child and free spirit, until you discover she was saving herself-for you.

Red Flags: Longing gazes at wedding-dress magazines, a season pass for TLC's A Wedding Story on her TiVo, or hours and hours of inane wedding talk while on the phone with her friends all signify you've got a future Bridezilla just dying to get behind the veil.

Exit Strategy: Deflate her dreams. Suggest a ménage à trois-or float the idea of an open relationship. Make sure you tell her it's your life goal to "experience" many people.

The Money-Grubber

She claims she doesn't care about money. Then she's slipping her hands into your pockets-and reaching for your wallet.

Red Flags: Watch out for her slick attempts to sneak a peek at your shirt label, uncontrollable sneers at generic brands, and a fondness for ordering twin lobster tails when you're getting the lobster bisque.

Exit Strategy: Go for broke. Snag a discarded ATM receipt with an especially low balance the next time you're getting cash and leave it in plain sight for her to find. Cap it off by hitting her up to pay next time you go out.

The Baby Mama

She's just a "friend with benefits" until she discovers her ticking biological clock.

Red Flags: You catch her glancing in the windows of children's-clothing stores and lovingly ogling babies with that misty look in her eyes, all the while maintaining her book of favorite baby names.

Exit Strategy: Make yourself the worst potential father figure imaginable. Start using words like brat and hellion whenever you see anyone under 10. Then, take it up a notch and pretend to drop-kick any youngster walking a few feet in front of you.

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