I try to think of myself as an open-minded person. Though I am a pescatarian, feminist, democrat, I am open to dating people of all beliefs.
I once dated a hunter. From Texas. Another time I dated a frat-boy football-playing type who thought transgender people were something you only saw on TV. (Fortunately, he soon realized that wasn’t true). And even more shockingly, I even dated a guy who wanted thought Pearl Jam was the best band to ever walk the face of the planet. As you can see, I’m pretty open.
So when an admitted Republican asked me out, I figured it wasn’t a big deal. After all, I am a reasonable person capable of understanding someone else’s point of view. As long as they are not homophobic, racist or sexist of course. So if you’re in the KKK, you can just forget about it.
I should have known better.
Look I don’t have any beef with Republicans… in theory. Smaller government? More personal responsibility? Sounds awesome. I hate the fact that city government thinks it’s OK to tell us what size soda we can drink, whether or not we can rent our apartments out on Airbnb, or that we can’t buy liquor in grocery stores. Stop telling me what to do, government!
And though I might not agree with him 100%, Rand Paul is a pretty reasonable likeable guy, decidedly less interested in speaking in hyperbole and more interested in the facts.
But then again Republicans get themselves involved with all kinds of fuckery. They support Hobby Lobby’s stance on birth control are anti-abortion, yet don’t support welfare. They think marriage is only for heteros. They say things like “legitimate rape" and "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Yet I thought to myself, a lot of Republicans are just “economic Republicans.” People who are not socially backward, but just have a different view of the economy than the Dems.
Many of my parents’ friends were Republicans. All perfectly nice people, all of them immigrants, and none of them who were crazy anti-abortion Jesus freak whack jobs. They just wanted to save a little more of their hard-earned coin. Fair enough.
So I went out with Todd. The VP of a major financial company, he hardly seemed like the extreme right wing type.
Todd suggested a place to meet in Manhattan called Nomad. And then followed up by asking me if it would be easier for me to meet further west as I would be coming from Brooklyn. I read the text twice confused by its message.
Brooklyn is 100% undoubtedly EAST of Manhattan. Kind of like the sky is blue and dogs who’ve been castrated have no balls. These are facts, my friends. I suppose Brooklyn would be west if you kept going around the whole globe across the country, through Asia, then Europe and then back to the other side. But that just seems like a long way if you ask me. Don’t believe me? Here’s a map for you:
So I responded, “Well, I’m happy to meet at Nomad but as Brooklyn is east, meeting further east would be easier not west. So maybe somewhere in Gramercy or Union Square?”
“I’ve never been to Nomad so I really wanted to go there. But I guess we could go to Rose Bar.”
I was perplexed. Not only was he not acknowledging the fact that he was geographically challenged, he was kind of whiny about switching venues when he was the one who asked me if I wanted to meet elsewhere in the first place.
Nonetheless, I chalked up his ignorance to an airhead moment and his moodiness to the fact that he perhaps stubbed his toe or was hormonal and didn’t have any chocolate nearby. I ignored that little voice inside me (I like to call it Gazoo, after that little green man from the Flintstones) that warned me to stop this hot mess of a date before it started. And I agreed to go out with him.
Off I went off into the wilds of Manhattan leaving the warm comfort of Brooklyn behind for a man who likely didn’t even know the East River was in fact east. I hadn’t planned on bringing up his snafu but it was the first thing he brought up when I arrived. After we exchanged pleasantries and discussed how snow really is the worst, he dove right in.
“So you came from the east?” he implored.
“Um, yeah I did. Because Brooklyn is east,” I responded incredulously. This was more confusing to me than the time I couldn’t find my sunglasses that as it turns out were sitting on my head. I thought for sure at this point, he would have realized his error and apologized. Or at least kept his mouth shut.
“Well it’s really not 100% east,” he responded. I felt my brain turning into pudding. It’s one thing to talk to someone with a different opinion. It’s another thing altogether to talk to someone who still thinks the world is flat.
“Let’s just settle this once and for all,” I replied eager to make him realize how idiotic he sounded. I pulled out my iPhone quickly googled a map of NYC. “See this is Brooklyn. This is the East river, which is east. To the west is New Jersey.” Please keep in mind this dude was a VP of a MAJOR financial institution. This guy handles millions of dollars yet doesn’t understand the concept of cardinal directions.
“Well it’s really kind of south actually,” he responded still unwilling to admit he was wrong.
“Omigod, this is like the most ridiculous conversation,” I said matter-of-factly. “Yes Bay Ridge is south. But I live in Williamsburg. Which is east.”
“Well--” he countered.
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Let’s get a drink,” I replied irritably. Honestly, I didn’t want to continue this absurdity of a date anymore, but at this point I needed a drink and figured that was the least this dude owed me.
With geography behind us, the rest of date began to look up. We switched topics, talking about music and our mutual love of Led Zeppelin, then moving onto families, work, and hobbies. I began to reassess my initial irritation towards Todd. After all he was pretty cute. And successful. And he seemed nice enough.
“So what do you like to watch on TV?” he asked.
“Anthony Bourdain’s show, Conan, The Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper,” I finished triumphantly.
“Rachel Maddow, huh? I watch Fox News.”
I knew he was Republican but the idea that he may actually watch Fox News never entered my mind. It was as though I was dating a guy in a band and I was surprised he told me he had to go on tour. What was wrong with me? Maybe I needed more Omega-6.
“I tried watching Fox News, but honestly there’s so much exaggeration and half-truths I have a hard time watching it. If it were just straight up facts or opinion based on facts, I’d be OK with it,” I responded.
I thought that was a reasonable answer. I was trying to be truthful without trying to offend his choices.
“Oh, like the liberal news sources don’t exaggerate?” he said testily.
“Sure they do, but I don’t think it’s on the same level. And I do see them call out their own when they don’t agree. Like Obama’s policy on drone strikes for example.”
“Liberals are all fucking liars,” he said angrily. “Do you think it’s OK how the Obama administration lied and manipulated to pass the Affordable Healthcare Act? Jonathan Gruber openly admitted the administration lied to the American people to get it passed!"
Whoa horsey! How did this convo suddenly become so hostile? I’m a firm believer that one should be able to discuss politics without it. So we have different ideas. Can’t we all get along?
I tried to keep my cool. “Well, no I’m no totally OK that the administration lied. “However in this case I don’t think the administration was wrong. Most Americans are vastly uneducated as far as how politics and the economy work. If Americans were that intelligent Sarah Palin wouldn’t be that popular and people wouldn’t vote against their own self-interests. It’s like how I had to hide my dog Sparky’s medicine in chicken curry to get him to eat it. He’d never eat it on his own. So it sucks that they lied, but I think ultimately the Affordable Healthcare Act is a good thing. Besides,” I continued, “what about all the lies that conservatives tell? Those lies have been for their own self-interests and far more detrimental to our country.”
Honestly, I thought I saw flames shoot out of his eyes.
“Like WHAT?” Todd asked tersely.
I was surprised he was genuinely asking this. There were many lies, but what about the most obvious one? The pink elephant in the room?
“UM, like the Iraq War?”
“THE IRAQ WAR WAS TOTALLY JUSTIFIED!! THERE WERE WMDs!!!” Yes, he was practically screaming. I was waiting for Todd to start foaming at the mouth and roll around the floor like a rabid animal.
“Give me a fucking break!” I snapped. So much for keeping my cool. With Todd officially yelling at me, I no longer cared about staying calm. “There were no WMD and we all knew it. Cheney and his pals wanted to profit off the war big time with all the private contracts and Bush got to avenge his father. That’s all the Iraq War was about. And now we have a hot shit mess over there. We should stay the fuck out of the Middle East and let them figure out how to govern themselves.”
“Oh yeah let’s let them govern themselves! What do you think would happen then? You’re naïve,” he retorted.
“And you’re an ignorant piece of shit. I’m leaving.” I gathered my stuff and stormed toward the door. How dare he call me naïve? Fuck this guy, I thought to myself. Then I stopped in my tracks.
“Hey Todd!” I shouted. He turned around to look at me. “Brooklyn is EAST!”
I walked out, head held high. And I never went out with another Republican.