Dating Advice for Activists

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Dating Advice for Activists

Ms. Communicate tells it like it is.

Quote:
This column is inspired by the blog post "F*cking While Feminist" by Jaclyn Friedman published March 2010.

It's also inspired by the last six months I've spent, newly single and out in the dating world.

As any single/unattached/non-monogamous progressive will tell you, especially ones who are over 35 or 40, dating is already a minefield of problems, issues and baggage. We will likely have at least one ex-partner/husband/wife/significant other; one or more child or children/step-children, and lots of bad dating stories. While they make great party conversations, if one is Progressive While Single (PWS) and looking for a partner, it can be scary out there.

And unless you meet someone at an activist gathering, community organizing meeting, Sarah McLachlan concert or in a jail cell in the Eastern Avenue make-shift detention centre (it's really impossible to joke about the human and civil rights violations in Toronto the weekend of June 25 to 27, but I thought I'd give it a try), chances are you might not know their politics, and this will have to be something to talk about, explain, extrapolate on and negotiate.

And I don't think any of that is either charming or sexy.

6079_Smith_W

I saw this and was planning to read it; thanks for the nudge.

Good article, though frankly I think it is more relevant to friends and associates than it is to lovers and partners.

Fact is you have no control over who is going to make you melt into your shoes. And when it comes to values, I put honour, respect and trust far ahead of someone's politics.

Hell, when it comes to people I have to share a living space with I even put smoking and cats ahead of politics.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Online dating has been a complete waste of time for me. Mind you, there are plenty of compatible women .... 4,000 km away with no intention of moving. lol.

Yiwah

I can be friends with a stalwart Alberta Conservative, if we can have respectful conversations...but I wouldn't date one.

I disagree with the article in the sense that she makes it sound very difficult to figure out a person's politics.  (I'm also sort of wondering what she thinks Pnon-WS people do to meet others?)  As well, she left out an increasingly useful arena to meet people...the internet.  And no, I don't mean dating sites.

But colour me biased, I met the love of my life online, arguing politics together.

 

And back once again to Smith_W's post... you may not have control over who is going to make you melt in your shoes, but I doubt most people fall for those they are fundamentally incompatable with.  I don't care if you're Adam Beach (I'm so tired of the 'Brad Pitt' reference in these situations), if your personal beliefs are repugnant, so are you.

Don't worry, that doesn't mean all lefties get a pass into my pants.  Some people are just really annoying, even if their politics seem okay.

Yiwah

N.Beltov wrote:

Online dating has been a complete waste of time for me. Mind you, there are plenty of compatible women .... 4,000 km away with no intention of moving. lol.

I moved 3000km.  Fought to take my kids out of province, left fantastic career opportunities and a fair amount of material possessions, and here I am, starting from scratch it seems, but still happy I made that decision.

You could always move :D

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Some of us work really hard at being annoying. I think there is a genetic component, but the learned part dominates.

We all have our talents in life.

Caissa

Duscussing love--Yecch!!!i

Next you all are gonna wanna discuss peace.

Yiwah

N.Beltov wrote:

Some of us work really hard at being annoying. I think there is a genetic component, but the learned part dominates.

We all have our talents in life.

My love can be a complete ass, and I love it.  It helps that I pride myself on the same.

But when it comes to things that matter, the line doesn't get crossed.  There's a difference.

Being progressive doesn't automatically mean you can communicate well enough to keep a relationship going, or that you live your beliefs either.  That being said, I could meet the nicest, most respectful Conservative (and I have met a few) on earth, and I still could not stomach building a life with that person.

In terms of the original article... I can't really separate myself from my politics, it's not just what I think, it's actualy what I've spent my life DOING.  So if someone gets to know me even a little bit, they get to know that.  I'm not sure how I could avoid discussing politics on a 'first date', to be quite honest.  And if someone wasn't cool with it, I wouldn't be cool with them.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Yiwah: Actually, I did move. 2,300 km to be precise. I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. lol.

Dating is so passe anyway. Kids these days talk about "hooking up".

Yiwah

N.Beltov wrote:

Yiwah: Actually, I did move. 2,200 km to be precise. I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. lol.

Dating is so passe anyway. Kids these days talk about "hooking up".

I'm not actually sure I've ever been on a 'date'.  Maybe people do that, I don't know, but usually when people are talking about dating, they're not referring to some stilted 'let's meet at dinner and get to know one another' thing.  I see 'dating' as 'activiely looking for someone'.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Some old couples take pleasure at tormenting each other. I can't say that that seems superior to the single life.

Being single is not an illness or something like that. There are lots of us.

Maybe we should form a political party.

Of course, that might end our much enjoyed "singleness".

Yiwah

Life is for enjoying.  How you go about that is up to you.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture
Yiwah

I enjoyed.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Is this the point where I get to use my (now old) line "Hey, I came out before the AIDS crisis, what is this dating bullshit you are talking about"?

 

Yiwah

Yes.  But is it okay if I admit I don't get it?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Of course Yiwah, as a matter of fact you actually get bonus points for acknowledging you don't get it. I hope you will take it on trust that, when delivered to the correct audience, it is screamingly funny.

Yiwah

bagkitty wrote:

Of course Yiwah, as a matter of fact you actually get bonus points for acknowledging you don't get it. I hope you will take it on trust that, when delivered to the correct audience, it is screamingly funny.

Alright.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

In a similar vein, there is a FB group called Top Reasons to Date a Cyclist Cool

Papal Bull

I can offer only one dating tip: if it is going really, really bad attempt at all costs to move to a Central/Eastern European diner for dinner. Proceed to eat saurkraut. Instant date ender right there. Perhaps that is why that is my only dating tip?

6079_Smith_W

Yiwah wrote:

I can be friends with a stalwart Alberta Conservative, if we can have respectful conversations...but I wouldn't date one.

But colour me biased, I met the love of my life online, arguing politics together.if your personal beliefs are repugnant, so are you.

Yeah, I hear you (and sorry for the editing. I don't want to quote you out of context). I don't disagree with you; I guess my point was that when you are talking about values it is pretty hard to reduce a person to one dealbreaker... and for me honour and trust are the biggest trump cards.

One of my most respected friends is a libertarian conservative (though when I first met him he was a red Tory). The last discussion he and I had involved him arguing that there should be no minimum wage. That notwithstanding, he is one of the most caring, fair people I know in other respects. I just assume some aspects of his politics are a mental break I keep him as my friend in spite of that.

I wouldn't sleep with him either, but that is another matter entirely. *wink*

 

al-Qa'bong

Incompatible politics has been a factor in a couple of my break-ups.

 

The first conversation I had with Mme. Qa'bong  was about the Touche pas à mon pote campaign. I also found out later that she was a Mitterand Socialist. She decided I was OK, as she moved to Canada to stay with me.

Yiwah

I know it's not scientific, but I go with first impressions too.  I'm always finding myself regretting it when I don't.

 

Edit: in person.  This almost never works online, thank goodness...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I met my sweetie at a film festival.  He was on a panel and making a presentation on multimedia when his computer refused to communicate with the projection equipment.  He impressed me -- didn't panic, just turned the laptop around, got everybody to sit up close and carried on.  Lots of nerve and good humour - two qualities I look for, because life at Chez Bandit is not for the faint of heart.  Our first conversation took place the next day at the awards gala, and I was smitten.  He thought I looked way too young and didn't ask me out.

Took him 6 mos to get with the program, but eventually he clued in.  ;-)

MontyCantsin

being old, ugly and having a truly vile personality is liberating...the fact that nobody wants to even hang out with me, let alone date me or have sex with me saves me soooooooooo much in the way of angst...

Uncle John

I think excessive partisanship (be it Conservative, Liberal, or NDP) is an un-sexy date-killer, as it shows closed-mindedness. There are attractive members of the opposite sex in all three parties.

The more connected and political they are, on the other hand, the more it serves as a real aphrodesiac. Which is cool, because the closer to power they are, the less vocally partisan they tend to be. Power and the appearance of being close to it is very sexy.

However nothing is more unsexy than complaints or nostalgia about past relationships. "My ex was a real dork". Well what kind of person goes with a dork? I am probably going to be an eventual dork as well, in that case.

Polunatic2

Quote:
I think excessive partisanship (be it Conservative, Liberal, or NDP) is an un-sexy date-killer, as it shows closed-mindedness 
'

On the other hand, "none of the above" may show open-mindedness? 

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Uncle John wrote:

 Which is cool, because the closer to power they are, the less vocally partisan they tend to be. Power and the appearance of being close to it is very sexy.

So vocally expressing partisanship is a sign of close-mindedness but manifesting a lived connection to a political party does not?  Are you just trying to say actions are sexyier than words?

I think mr.Smith is on to something withthe values comment....Particularly if you're going to have to live with the person you're dating at some point....I had one professional activist roommate who was very active and connected but always had dirty dishes out in the hall which to me is a sign of disrespect for those others you live with. 

People become activists for all kinds of reasons.  People who have chosen the same cause can run the spectrum from having done so because they like being an asshole shit disturber to having a desire to be kind and helpful.  Causes come and go and while they're fun to talk about not even Mies van der Rohe is going to be able to build (a life) on top of that alone.

milo204

to be honest, none of the women i've been with have been all that progressive when i met them, but the more you hang around with someone the more likely you are to consider what they say.  I mean, there are lines.  I wouldn't date someone who shared the views of ann coulter or anything, or someone who was very religious and conservative but then again i wouldn't be attracted to them in the first place, i might find them physically "attractive" but that would be as far as it goes.

But yes i think it can be harder to date the more progressive you are just because you don't fit the mold or conform to the image of a "suitable partner" for the average person (high paying job, nice car, expensive toys, typical lifestyle etc.).  

Also, in my experience progressive men who tend to be less aggressive about meeting women (i.e. "hitting" on them, making sexually suggestive comments, etc) are often mistaken for "not being interested" in them, like it's expected you'll transform into a chauvinist when it comes to meeting women, and if you take time to get to know someone it must be a sign you aren't interested in a romantic relationship them.

Aristotleded24

milo204 wrote:
Also, in my experience progressive men who tend to be less aggressive about meeting women (i.e. "hitting" on them, making sexually suggestive comments, etc) are often mistaken for "not being interested" in them, like it's expected you'll transform into a chauvinist when it comes to meeting women, and if you take time to get to know someone it must be a sign you aren't interested in a romantic relationship them.

Do you have any single female friends in Winnipeg in their late 20s? ;)

Seriously though, I think there is some truth to this. One of the things that, according to contemporary dating advice, is of utmost important is financial security, especially for men. It's almost as if you're expected to "have it together," which is odd because I can't see someone saying to his/her spouse and kids, "honey, I'm experiencing clinical depression right now, so we have to suspend the relationship while I get this fixed up."

One question I have is the question of lack of interest. I have been told on several occaisions that when a woman is not interested in a man, instead of telling him upfront, she will drop hints and hope he clues in. Why? Apparently from what I'm told, they're afraid to hurt the man's feelings. Finding out about this lack of interest either in this way or through friends is something that several guys I know have experienced, along with myself. Recently someone practically apologised to me when she said she saw me as a friend but didn't want to date me (which, a: I wasn't interested in dating her anyways, and b: that is the correct thing to say to a friend who hits on you when you don't feel the same way). Why is this? Do any other men or women have experience they can speak to in this regard?

milo204

ha ha, how did you know i was in the peg?

On your question, i think a lot of people are just scared to communicate their real feelings, probably because they've had a bad experience in the past.  Not just with dating, people often tend to try and drop hints and hope you "get the message" even if it's subliminal.  Also, i think people who have experience with rejection are scared if they come right out and say it then things might get awkward and even ruin the friendship...you know, a fear of being too "harsh" to the other person.  Some people react very bad when people are upfront and take it like an insult or like the person must REALLY not like you if they say it to your face. 

Another anomaly of western communication.

Aristotleded24

milo204 wrote:
ha ha, how did you know i was in the peg?

Lucky guess! :)

milo204 wrote:
On your question, i think a lot of people are just scared to communicate their real feelings, probably because they've had a bad experience in the past.  Not just with dating, people often tend to try and drop hints and hope you "get the message" even if it's subliminal.  Also, i think people who have experience with rejection are scared if they come right out and say it then things might get awkward and even ruin the friendship...you know, a fear of being too "harsh" to the other person.  Some people react very bad when people are upfront and take it like an insult or like the person must REALLY not like you if they say it to your face.

Thing is, it's much worse if it's not done directly. I speak from personal experience. I can understand if it's someone you don't know very well that giving hints might be more appropriate, but with friends, how else are you supposed to communicate? In one particular instance I had no idea whether or not she wanted to continue the friendship, as she had not contacted me at all. And usually there is awkwardness, and sometimes you have to put the friendship on hold for a bit. But that's where communication comes in. Maybe saying something like, "I accept this, and I want to continue being friends, but I don't feel I'm ready at this time. I'll contact you in...."

People wonder how they can avoid "hurting someone's feelings." Speaking from experience, rejection hurts, there is no way around that.

If I can give some advice, the best way to shoot down a friend is to reaffirm how much you value that person's friendship, but you just don't see him or her in that light. (Do NOT say anything about the person being a "good guy" or a "nice girl" or anything of the sort, otherwise the person will think, "yeah but I must not be good enough for you.") Something like, "I love you as a brother, but I'm sorry I do not feel the same way that you do."

Slumberjack

How about a total beauty who expresses to you unyielding commitment, passion and love, but who states in regard to the realm of politics that ignorance is bliss, and who begins sentences such as, I'm not a racist...but. Should ones own dissenting values take precedence irrespective of the desirable superficiality?

Yiwah

Isn't that personal preference?

 

Ignorance and bigotry is a major turn off for me.  No amount of physical beauty or emotional commitment on their part can ever change that.

Slumberjack

No, I suppose that it can't.  To disengage from everything though effectively means being committed to live in the forest as a hermit in order to avoid interacting with what surfaces everywhere.  We might as well avoid what has been internalized within ourselves, instead of trying to overcome the conditioning.

Krago

I would calmly explain to her that our political differences make our relationship unsustainable.

Then I would put on my clothes and go home. Wink

Papal Bull

i would write to miss communicate about my conundrum!