Sounds like a big waste of time, right? I definitely went on some lousy dates - but I learned a lot, so I wouldn't call it a total waste. Process is a better word; I had to go through it to learn more about myself, and what my real deal-breakers are.
So what are they?
* A job - or at least an idea of what he wants to do. In this economy, plenty of people are unemployed or underemployed - but there's a difference between a grown-up who had some bad luck, and someone who never bothered to grow up.
* Live on his own. Again - while I get the economics, it just isn't for me. In fact Gardner had never lived anywhere but his childhood home. While he shares it with siblings now, and not parents - the point is, he'd never had to live on his own. I take care of myself, and I expect any SO to be able to do the same.
* He's gotta like cats. I know, I know - it seems silly. But I love my kitties, and I know I'd never want to give them up. I considered it briefly, when thinking about dating someone who was allergic. The thought made me absolutely sad.
* Previously married, or experience in some sort of committed relationship. Seem strange? Maybe. But I dated a guy once who had never been married, and had only been in one long-term relationship. He had trouble "getting" how compromise and balance in a relationship were supposed to work. I'd prefer to date a guy who has already learned those lessons.
* Non-smoker. I tried; I really did. I just don't like it.
* Tolerant of others. By this, I mean he needs to be politically and socially open-minded, and not judgmental of lifestyles that differ from his own.
Now - maybe some of those are unfair. Everyone has their quirks, I suppose. But this article from the dating blog over at How About We lists some really picky deal-breakers.