Never before have I seen so many dating profiles giving space to politics: “no Trump supporters,” “proud Republican,” “pro-choice feminist,” etc. Screening potential matches this way may seem silly to some. But with one’s politics comes a set of values. What you believe speaks to the kind of person you are. And with everything going on in America these days, I’ve been examining my own preferences and dealbreakers.
When it comes to dating I’ve never been especially picky. Attractive, child-free, with the right personality and sense of humor… those were the main criteria. I grew up very conservative and never thought I’d date a liberal, yet my high school girlfriend was just that. Things were great as long as we avoided that third rail, but I wasn’t averse to dating on the opposite side of the aisle anymore.
My politics underwent a sea change over the next decade and I emerged on the left, eventually settling slightly left-of-center. I think of myself as an independent though. I chalk my evolution up to disillusionment as well as my open-mindedness. I try to avoid confrontation and be a good listener. I ask questions more than I argue, and probe others’ opinions rather than push my own. However… when it comes to certain things, I simply can’t agree to disagree anymore.
Trump immediately comes to mind. Never mind his policies – it’s the blatant hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness of his supporters that I find the most galling. People on the right are making excuses for Trump that they would never make for a Democrat. Furthermore, facts don’t matter to a lot of them either. Why would I want to be with anyone like that? Indeed I’ve unmatched several women on dating apps after discovering they were ardent Trumpers.
What’s more, he also gives voice and cover to some of the worst elements of society. Of course, not all Trump supporters are racist and xenophobic bigots. But racist and xenophobic bigots are Trump supporters – such as my dad. He’s always been a strong conservative but he’s embraced Trump with a gusto I’ve rarely seen. Of course he would – with his remarks about women and minorities, they’re like two peas in a pod.
Then there are feminists. Now, there are feminists like JBlondie (a blogger friend) and others that I’m totally down with, who are capable of calm discussion and can actually take a joke. Then there are feminists who go batshit if you use the wrong word or phrase. I’m all for equal rights, but conversations shouldn’t feel like navigating a minefield. Not for nothing, but if it’s a micro-aggression, shouldn’t it just make you micro-angry?
I remember one girl on OkCupid getting on my case for saying “gender-biased” or “gender-specific” things and flipping out when I used the term “friend zone.” She also groused at me for not answering enough feminist-related match questions. Then she wanted to do weird things like paint my fingernails. Um, no thanks. And before you ask, she was a real person.
Then there was another feminist, who was all into “Womyn’s Rights.” We got on well enough, but when I was trying to plan our first date she shot down every suggestion I made. When I asked her for a suggestion, she told me that I was the man so I had to come up with something. I could have pointed out the irony of that, but chose to bow out instead.
Then I was friends with an uber-feminist. In between Facebook posts of her hairy legs and armpits and “I hate men” memes, she wrote something to the effect that men should embrace feminism because it equals better sex. I was privy to a related New York Times article (Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?), so I linked to it thinking it was interesting food for thought and relevant to the discussion.
However I came back to find angry, essay-length comments from her. Not only was she incredulous and outraged over everything in the article, but she accused me of taking time out to search for this article specifically to contradict her. Never mind the fact that I’d had it bookmarked on my computer for two years. She also accused me of “furthering the oppression of women.”
Wow. Nothing like confusing your friends for your enemies. Needless to say we don’t talk much anymore. Meanwhile I shared that article with JBlondie, and not only did she not get angry but said she could even relate to it. That just drives home the point that when people are too far right or left they become rigid, unreasonable, and insufferable.
That’s really what I’m trying to avoid, and I’m certainly making more of an effort to do so nowadays. But those are two groups of people I’m wary of. I’d rather not engage with Trump supporters, and I approach self-proclaimed feminists with trepidation. Oh, and then there are vegans. I don’t mind the passive ones – rather it’s the ones who won’t shut up about it. Not to mention our lifestyles would clash horribly.
What are your dealbreakers and preferences when it comes to dating and politics?