Dat­ing is a chance to es­cape po­lit­i­cal bub­bles

The Guardian Weekly - - Comment & Debate - Alexan­dra Spring

I was hap­pily ex­chang­ing mes­sages with some­one through an on­line dat­ing app re­cently. He looked at­trac­tive enough in his pic­tures, and the con­ver­sa­tion was in­ter­est­ing. “What do you do for a liv­ing?”

“I have my own busi­ness – what about you?”

“I’m a jour­nal­ist at the Guardian. Are you a news­pa­per kinda guy?” Then, there it was: “More of a Spec­ta­tor reader than the Guardian.” Gulp! On­line dat­ing is how adults meet these days. And what’s great is you get to meet peo­ple out­side of your bub­ble: dif­fer­ent back­grounds, oc­cu­pa­tions etc. Yet pol­i­tics is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. Not long ago I spent a happy week­end ban­ter­ing with some­one un­til we agreed to meet on the Mon­day. It was only hours be­fore the date that I asked: “So where do you stand on Trump?”

“I think he has some valid points. At least he’s a leader. There hasn’t been any lead­ers since Thatcher.” Gulp! A sur­vey by US dat­ing app Cof­fee Meets Bagel found that “70% of sin­gles who iden­ti­fied them­selves as Democrats said pol­i­tics are im­pact­ing their dat­ing lives ‘slightly’ to ‘pro­foundly’, along­side 55% of In­de­pen­dent sin­gles, and 43% of Repub­li­can sin­gles.”

So how im­por­tant are shared po­lit­i­cal val­ues? My fam­ily is po­lit­i­cally di­vided and I still love them. Sim­i­larly, I have friends across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide: one de­lights in call­ing me a com­mu­nist. And we’ll all hap­pily still share a bot­tle of wine to­gether.

When it comes to the most in­ti­mate of re­la­tion­ships, must I con­fine my­self to those of the same stripes? Where’s the zing in that?

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