We're sitting in a Des Moines diner called Louie's and talking about our families. There's a lull, and I realize that I never found out what he studies. He is planning to go to law school, and afterwards he wants to be…a politician. The date ends soon after—he has to go do some volunteer work. If more people did that, it would be a kinder, gentler world."Coleman is right. Hot Liberal: "If you're allowed to go out with Democrats again, do you want to find time to get coffee? We're both into jazz, and we both babble endlessly about our younger sisters.
A sweet smile dominates his face as he recalls traveling to neighboring farms with his father when he was younger. Then he asks, "Do you want to know why I'm voting for Trump? Maybe there would be less bickering and hatred in the U. if people like me stopped judging based only on politics. He texts me a few days later about getting coffee again, but I am out of town. He asks to see me again that night, and we quickly find ourselves capital-T Together. I fell for him because he's passionate about what he does.
But I also don't want to scream after the date, and that seems like progress. He also seems legitimately interested in what I have to say. We somehow end up talking about those tiny minimalist houses, and both agree that we would live in one. Then I wonder why I'm mulling over statistics on our first date. I connected with someone despite our different politics. I don't even make it out for drinks with another guy—an unsolicited dick pic halts any possible romance.
I have no idea what he's talking about, and I don't see a great love connection forming. I find him immediately when I arrive—he's good-looking and wears an approachable grin. There are a few more coffee outings during that month of dating across the aisle. One guy finds me on Facebook and knows everything about me by the time we arrive at the cafe.
His dad sold agricultural equipment, and that's what he wants to do too. " Me: "Um…sure."Trump Groupie: "I like that he's different than the other candidates."Me: "But…he says a lot of offensive stuff." Trump Groupie: "Listen, the media is conspiring to make him look bad. And that's how I ended up listening quietly to a string of opinions that made me want to throw my omelet at his face. My second date, with another guy, doesn't go much better. Maybe we would make progress as a country, or as people. Because we made one another laugh and could talk for hours.
If you actually went to one of his rallies, you would realize that he says a lot of great things."Me: "What are some of the good things he says? I'm listening to NPR when I'm forced to self-examine. Politics didn't bring us together, and it didn't keep us together.
Honestly, I'm so far left that I freak out some Democrats; I think capitalism is bullshit, and I wish Bernie Sanders were my grandfather.
I'll admit: I have a bit of an aversion to dating across the aisle.
“First you look at a person’s picture, and you say either that guy is good looking or this girl is cute, and you end up going through their profile and you read it, and it doesn’t particularly say anything about what their political leaning is.My grandiose inner dialogue convinces me that I can overcome my preconceived notions despite the heated political climate (hello, election year), and so—in an effort to really test my empathy and my openness in the dating world—I vow to date only conservatives for the next month. We then make fun of our mutual friend for being a slob. "Angela, I'm a firm believer that when you meet the right person, a lot of that other stuff falls away." These were Coleman's parting words to me. That "other stuff" can fall away, but I need to let it go first. "Future Politician: "And you'll be the journalist criticizing my policies."We sit across from one another, laughing. Coleman's words ring in my ears: "I think the key is, keep an open mind. But they are outliers, and I enjoy the company of most of the guys I meet. It's from a clearly liberal dude who'd asked me out weeks ago, only to have me decline because of my Dating Republicans Only experiment. Instead, I tell him about how much I love writing, and he talks about Shakespeare."My date avoids answering, but loves Trump's wall idea. The topic on the radio is the growing political divide in America. After a month of what I can only call too-much-too-fast, he broke things off, and I was back to searching for love.He also tells me that birth control is a sin, that global warming isn't real, and that the only reason there's a pay gap is because women choose lower-paying jobs. A caller mentions that many people refuse to date someone from the opposing party. Verifying their political ideology without making it weird isn't. Except this time, I'm looking on both sides of the aisle.