Red Date, Blue Date
My friend Rachel invited me to the “Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) 39-and-under mixer.” I wanted to go, but I had the “Really Tall Jewish Council’s 39-and-under mixer” that night. C’mon, was she serious? Republicans? Jewish Republicans? Hello, oxymoron. I’m a blue state girl. Solid blue. I’m talking Smurfette with a bod. I’m not about to wingman it at some Republican round-up. I wouldn’t vote for one, and I wouldn’t date one.
Rachel begged, she pleaded. But I stood firm. No, no, no, you cannot make me go. Then Rachel hit below the low-rise belt and kindly reminded me I’m single with no prospects. So it was settled. I was about to become a bipartisan flirt.
I cannot tell a lie. This wouldn’t be the first time I crossed the Mason-Dixon dating line. But I was young then; I didn’t know what I was doing. My college boyfriend, Stuart, was as Republican as they come. He wore a Rush Limbaugh tie to my AEPhi formal. Emmes! We’d just started voting when we met, so we’d stay up all night flirtatiously mocking each other’s political views. Of course we’d just started college, so we stayed up all night flirtatiously doing a lot of things.
But in adult dating, political differences can be a real relationship roadblock. The die-hard Democrat I dated in ’04 erroneously assumed I was a Republican for the first month he knew me. So naturally, he kept things casual. It wasn’t that he couldn’t commit, it was that he couldn’t commit to a Republican. Then he saw me in my tight pink “Vote for Kerry” baby tee. His chad wasn’t hanging that night.
(Yes, I just turned a 7-year-old joke into a sexual pun. But you laughed at my retro humor. C’mon, you smiled a little. Or were you just smirking, thinking of me in that tight tee?)
A guy’s political stance says a lot about who he is. If he’s standing far away from me, I’m not sure we could be close. Can I date a guy who views the world from such a different perspective? Can I love a man who lives at the opposite side of the spectrum? Can I respect a man who voted for George? Twice? Does it matter if we both love weekend road trips, “Saved by the Bell” and Island’s cheddar fries if we don’t share political beliefs? Where does he stand on the war? The environment? A woman’s right to choose? What does he think about the court? The school system? My new mini-skirt? Made you smirk again, huh?
I wonder if straddling the ballot could actually help a relationship. Give us something to talk about, broaden our conversations. It’d be nice, for a change, to debate if we should take health care public, rather than if we should take the 405 freeway or Sepulveda Boulevard. That kind of intellectual foreplay could really spice things up. You know what they say about a guy with big political beliefs? OK, fine, no one’s said anything yet, but I’m hoping to find out.
Which brings me back to the RJC mixer. Having now completed my unsuccessful world tour of bars, parties and weddings, I’m looking for new ways to meet new men. And things are heating up on the campaign trail. I should get involved, donate my time. I’ve always thought volunteering for a candidate could be a great way to meet a man – and get someone elected. While it wouldn’t be a Republican candidate, it couldn’t hurt to check out RJC’s platforms – and members.
I throw on a short aqua sundress, my irresistible smile and boldly go where no Democrat has gone before. No, not Alabama. To hang with the RJC. The event is held at Falcon on Sunset Boulevard. With its dark wood, packed patio and overpriced drinks, it’s the perfect place to exchange opinions and digits. The event is jammed, the alcohol’s flowing; this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Or not.
I’m not sure what I expected from this happening soiree. I mean, really, what kind of young guys are drawn to the right? I was hoping rich, handsome, Jewish men, with pro-Israel leanings. With all the nuckshcleppers I’ve been set up with lately, if the only thing wrong with these men is their registered Republican status, they might get my vote.
But they didn’t. There was no tall Jewish Texan with an accent, no Alex P. Keaton with a kippah. There was one really hot guy, but he spent the entire night talking to the rail-thin hostess. Who I don’t believe was Republican or Jewish. The crowd at this event was just like the crowd at all the other organized Jewish events I brave. Slim pickings. Right, left, middle – a room of single Jews looks like a room of single Jews. Kinda disappointing. No matter what group is hosting, what cause is benefiting, these singles parties all feel, well, a little lame. Which means, we’re not so different after all. Maybe there’s no red date-blue date divide. Maybe standing on different sides of the political spectrum doesn’t have to be a relationship buster.
Could I pull a Shriver? I don’t know, maybe. This upcoming primary has people impassioned. For the first time since I cast a ballot, people seem to care about who they choose to lead. Rather than simply scan the Time’s cliff notes on election eve, people are already talking – at the bars, at the beach, even at Shabbat dinners. Everyone’s reading Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” and watching Clinton “Soprano”-it on You Tube. They’re arguing whether Rudy Giuliani is too liberal for the right, and whether Al Gore is coming off the bench. It’s got me fired up. Republican, Democrat, whatever – maybe I’d just be happy dating someone with an informed political view. OK, fine, I’d be happy just dating someone.
So, like a true politician, I’m backpeddling. Moderate, liberal, conservative – maybe it doesn’t matter, boys. As long you can rock my vote.
Freelance writer Carin Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.