Our start wasn’t exactly rousing, but there was some energy in the room. Allison, my blind date or as my friend, who tends to date zygotes because of the comparative ease called her “my latest reason to tell a story at the bar,” and I acquitted ourselves well by reaching the one hour mark of a blind date before we had approached the quintessential DC question – “what do you do?” It was a place we found organically in conversation. When she said cryptically “I work on The Hill,” wattage was lowered by her obfuscating tone and I should have moved to another topic.
Due to an exceedingly high degree of political dorkdom, I enquired further until learning that she is “senior staff for [redacted name of one of the most conservative Senators.]”
“Do you find yourself politically aligned with your boss?” I asked without judgment.
“You’re a liberal aren’t you? This happens to me all the time in this city – I meet someone, things are kinda going well and then we have the inevitable political conversation. Suddenly what was going OK goes to hell in a hand basket because he’s on the left and I’m on the right.”
There was more venom in her words and tone than I had expected, especially considering that I thought the evening was still salvageable. I tried to deflect – “So you mentioned that you’re thinking about moving Uptown; what areas are you considering?”
That dodge worked for a minute or three before Allison coolly stated “So what’s your problem with my boss?”
“I am not going to pretend that politics aren’t important to me. I’m not going to sit here and suggest that whomever my ideal partner might be she wouldn’t lean more towards the left, but I don’t think that we need to have this conversation. I’m suspecting that we have some differences and they’re substantive in both of our minds. Why don’t we change the subject… or call it a night.”
As much as I am always eager for a principled and civil political debate (stop laughing, I know who you are,) I wasn’t looking for one this night.
“Since you’ve obviously decided this is going nowhere, why not tell me the problems you have with my boss?” Allison asked again.
There were a couple of more attempts to change the subject, and a couple more insistences from her, until I eventually sacrifice optimism and respond:
“I could get into the hypocrisy of his lip service to smaller government, or his opposition to gay rights a.k.a. civil rights, or his insane opposition to health care reform when his state is in possession of some of the worst health outcomes in the union, but really if you need any other reason than the fact that he believes that people with penis’ have business telling people with vaginas what to do with them, then you’re really correct – we have nothing to discuss.”