On Dating Republicans, Hippies and Expectations

Update: so, yesterday, I had another sighting of that guy I briefly interacted with the other day–the one who is possibly underage and possibly dealing drugs. I was at a coffee shop near campus and he came in, appeared to see me, turned immediately back around and left. So much for me acting out.

This coffee shop is one of approximately four in Albuqerque. I don’t go there very often due to the overwhelming and distinct scent of patchouli that is generally wafting through the place. But it’s bright, relatively quiet and has big tables, so it’s good for getting through the massive pile of grading I’ve got before me this week.

Plus, it seemed like a good idea to switch up my environment a bit. You know, see some new faces…you catch my drift. You never know who you’re gonna run into at a coffee shop frequented by hippies. What you won’t find, I’m fairly sure, are Republicans.

You like that transition? Good. It took me all morning. You try being coherent every day.

Anyhow, I wanted to get into this for two reasons. One, I have a new reader named J who lives in DC and complained on the blog about the dearth of men there who aren’t married. I concurred, and bemoaned the similar shortage of men–at least, while I was there–who aren’t Republicans. I told her that–thankfully–I had experience with the latter, but not the former. Although, frankly, I’m not sure which certain members of my family would think worse.

Also, I had a pretty fantastic, and related, New York moment the last time I was home. (For those of you who haven’t lived in New York, a “New York moment” is basically what we call any time when two New Yorkers interact; sometimes irony is involved. They happen a lot.) I was at dinner with my parents and a good friend, one of those who has recently gone through a break-up. In fact, the guy she had been seeing for several months broke things off that night.

Of course, she and I wound up together in the restaurant bathroom, compiling a list of Reasons She Is Better Off Without Him. I thought we had a pretty good compilation, and then she came out with this: “Also, he may be a Republican,” she said.

“What!?” I asked, shocked that this had not come up earlier in the conversation.

My shock, though, was nothing compared with that of the other woman in the bathroom, up to this point fully absorbed in her makeup application. This woman, blond, blow-dried, and blazered, looked like nothing if not, well, a Republican.

I practically heard the motion of her neck as it whipped around. “You canNOT do that,” she said. “I’ve gone there, and, well, you just can’t. It’s not allowed.”

The incongruity of her appearance and her commentary was so shocking–I don’t manage well when people don’t fulfill my expectations–that I hardly absorbed the rest of what she said. More likely, I may have been distracted by contemplation of how I was going to use this scene on my blog.

Looks aside, I was also fascinated by the absolute certainty of her proclamation. “Really?” I thought. “Are there really enough available men out there to just dismiss an entire demographic?” Also, I thought, “Sometimes they are good-looking, well-dressed and pay for nice dinners.”

It’s true: I learned this firsthand. What do you want, I lived in Washington during the Bush years, and my work brought me into direct contact with a lot of Hill staffers. It brought me into direct contact, as someone who booked interviews for a radio show, that was inherently flirtatious and suggestive. Plus, there weren’t as many charming wine bars or handsome young Democrats in DC as there are now. I had to keep myself entertained.

So, I may have found myself on one occasion surrounded by salmon-colored J. Crew whale pants at a party held by something called the “Capitol Club.” On a separate occasion, I may have spent the night that the Americans hung Saddam Hussein at my desk until one in the morning, alternately trading obscene text messages with a certain (moderate!) Republican Senator’s press secretary and speed-dialing corrupt Iraqi politicians.

Needless to say, neither situation led anywhere. But it was fun. I don’t regret it. I might even do it again.

But I don’t think I’m going to find anyone at that coffee shop who will take me out for fancy cocktails wearing Armani. I mean, people usually live up to my expectations.

But again, you never know. And while I do find it disconcerting, I do kind of love it when people don’t. I’ll keep you posted.

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5 Comments

Filed under Love Life

5 responses to “On Dating Republicans, Hippies and Expectations

  1. Megan

    I’m always a bit disturbed when people write someone off as undatable for their political beliefs. I dated a Republican (myself being a moderate Democrat) for almost 2 years and while we had our share of problems, it wasn’t our differing political beliefs. That might have been one of the redeeming things about our relationship because we got to learn about what the other thought and actually expand our own narrow worldviews. We weren’t going to make converts of each other, but we could understand each other better and where those views came from (and their philosophical underpinnings). It seems to me there are more important things about life (and certainly love) than one’s standing on the political spectrum.

    But I guess if you were ultra liberal dating an ultra conservative might be a bad idea, but maybe it would be lots of fun. 🙂

    I, personally, just got tired of people berating me for dating a Republican; it got old, real fast, and I thought it was ironic that they would often complain of Republican “narrow-mindedness” when in fact, it was them, who were displaying such behavior.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Megan. In case it’s not clear from my post, I agree that it doesn’t make sense to dismiss whole groups of people out of hand, as tempting as it may be. And I completely hear you on liberals decrying narrow-mindedness when that is exactly what they’re doing!! I think that relationships always need some shared values/experience as well as things that are complimentary, and that’s a different equation for each person and each relationship. I’m sure I’ll write more on that question soon, and will look forward to your feedback!
      Best,
      Elizabeth

      • Megan

        I hope I didn’t come across as saying I’m disturbed by your post! I just meant I’m disturbed by the trend, in general, that I hear a lot of–people refusing to date someone out of pocket because of their political beliefs without first getting to know THEM (as opposed to their assumed political leanings). Thanks for letting me share my experience! I also just wanted to say I’m enjoying reading your posts and I’m heartened to hear you touch on a lot of the topics that have come up in my dating experiences as well.

  2. Suzanne

    I approve of everything here.

  3. J.

    Thanks for the place of honor and the shout out. Wow. Having been here through the Bush years, I think what I’ve found is that the Republicans were taking their directions from the top down. A lot of them had time for long lunches and cocktails after work and whatnot because they were just not all that relevant. And, as I suggested, a great deal seemed to be married already. What I’ve found with the influx of fresh Democratic staffers into town is– well, they’re all really too earnest and busy. I’m not even kidding. They’re all working really hard and don’t have a whole lot of time for something as trivial as socializing much less dating because they’re all trying to negotiate health care policy and deal with the economy and employment issues, bless their hearts.

    I guess the truth is, I’d always prefer to date a liberal. Not because I’d dismiss a Republican out of hand, but because I’d hope that our shared values would help hold us together. Instead of complaining about high taxes, we’d lament the cuts to programs that assist the homeless, and underprivileged children without health insurance. And together, hand in hand, we’d work to end homelessness and no one would go without health insurance because we’ll have worked together to reform health care and get that public option. Yeah, a little girl’s fantasy. I know. I know. (But I still believe).

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