The Kavanaugh hearings are freaking painful. Personally, I’ve tried to go on some kind of news blackout but it’s unavoidable. It’s everywhere in the news. (Real and fake news *choke*.) Everyone is talking about it. A lot, including me, are crying about it.
It’s man vs. woman; conservative vs. progressive; Fox vs. MSNBC; victim vs. accuser; pro-choice vs. anti-choice (they are not pro-life!); and, it seems, America vs. the rest of the world.
I admit that I have clearly chosen “sides” on all of these…but that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today.
I want to help you answer the question: should I talk about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh on a date? How about Trump or #MeToo or…?
You’ve probably gotten advice that says not to talk about religion or politics… especially a first date. Don’t bring up Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh or the Clintons. Or which party you hope will control Congress. Or who you think are the real patriots. Or whether they should be taking a knee. (Hell yes, they should.)
Just keep it light, right?
Are you freaking kidding me??
You have opinions, right? You have ideas, a vast amount of life experience, and people and things you care about deeply. You think about the future and plan for it.
You have children, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren! Their lives will be impacted in extraordinary ways based on the outcome of who lands on the supreme court. So will the entire planet.
Should you talk about politics when you’re dating? If you’re a grownup, if you have opinions…hell YES you should talk about Kavanaugh and all that other scary shit!
For most of us, our politics reflect our values and core beliefs about human beings and the planet.
Where we side politically is the expression of how we look at our community, our culture, our country, and the world. It seeps into our practice of religion or our choice to not participate. Our politics, whether active or not, guides us in the part we play in all of this. (Or whether we do at all.)
If you are a woman dating after 40, and if you have any beliefs, I want you to know a man’s politics. And the sooner you know, the better.
Politics brought my husband and me together.
When I was dating I wasn’t looking for a man who would participate in political action as I did. But I had to have a man that respected and appreciated my passions and my choice to actively engage.
So when I was looking for a husband online, here’s what I put front and center in my online profile:
If you are a Rush Limbaugh fan we are not a good match.
Rush fans fled. Men who appreciated that I had a point of view (particularly this POV) contacted me. Just what I wanted.
My husband and I met via online dating in 2006. He appreciated that I plainly stated my POV and my must-have. Among so many other things that he appreciated, of course. 🙂
On our first date we went through the complete list of ‘dos and don’ts: politics, religion, money…we covered a lot.
Six months later I became a first-time bride at age 47.
That my husband and I share our view of the world and our place in it creates an incredibly strong bond between us. We sometimes cry together at the inequality of our economic and justice systems. We spent a month together in Nevada campaigning full time for President Obama. We hold hands as we march for stronger gun control, women’s rights, against wars and intolerance and hate.
As I said, his active participation wasn’t a must-have for me. But I’m so grateful to have my husband share this passion with me. His political beliefs and his willingness to act on them tell me who he is, at his very core.
And knowing this from the beginning helped me quickly see how much I admired and loved him.
Maybe you’re ambivalent about politics. That’s cool.
Okay, so you’re not as involved in our political system as us. Got it. But it’s no different than what I’m describing with my husband: the choice you make not to actively participate directly reflects your values.
Not convinced about why you should talk about controversial topics like Kavanagh on the first date? Here are my 5 reasons why you should:
1. You should bring up Kavanaugh because grownups talk about things that matter.
The point of talking about topics like politics, money, or religion on a date is not to change someone’s mind! That’s an important part of this discussion.
It is to understand how he thinks and feels. How he sees the world and his place in it. What he cares about and what he considers secondary or completely unimportant in his life.
Talking about things like Kavanagh on a date can lead to conversation about upbringing, meaningful life events, dreams, and hopes for your future. All stuff you want to know about each other!
If you ‘re looking for a man to share the rest of your life and you have one chance to get a good signal of whether there is any potential to be compatible, I don’t want you to waste that one chance. (That’s exactly what first dates are.)
You’re going to learn a hellova lot more talking about Donald Trump, #MeToo, or Brett Kavanaugh than listing the last three places you went on vacation. Just sayin’.
2. NOT talking about Kavanaugh right now would be weirder than talking about it.
It is everywhere. It’s the elephant in the room and isn’t likely to go away, even after the choice has been made.
Again, you’re not trying to change anyone’s mind. The purpose of dating is discovery. Learn what you can about each other. Dig in a little. Give your date a chance to express and explain. You also take that chance. That’s how you date like a grownup.
3. You will get a good sense of his values.
You want to know what he thinks about women who come forward about sexual assault; whether he tends to believe them or not and how he sees justice taking place.
You want to know if he thinks drinking to excess and getting belligerent with women are just “boys being boys.” You want to know where he stands on access to abortion, presidential power, and a judges responsibility to render just and fair decisions.
Does he think it’s OK for a supreme court nominee to lie to Congress and the FBI just so he agrees with your politics or values? Does it matter? Does he care? Does he know what’s happening and think it’s worthwhile to be informed? Tells you a lot.
4. If he moves quickly to argument, refuses to share his POV, or doesn’t try to find common ground – do you really want another date with him?
When you talk about Kavanaugh on a date, you will see if the man even wants or tries to understand your point of view as a woman. You’ll see if he thinks violence against women — regardless of who he believes — is an important issue in our times. If he off-handedly dismisses Dr. Ford’s testimony or takes her claims seriously.
Forget just learning about his politics, if you are interested in being with someone who likes to learn and grow, how he approaches the discussion is telling.
5. If he doesn’t support Kavanaugh, you may instantly have something in common!
You can bond over your mutual distaste, distrust, and dislike for this supreme court nominee. You can bond over your outrage.
More importantly, focus on the positive. Bond over the fact that there are still millions and millions of caring, thoughtful, empathetic people in the country and the world.
Bond over the non-super-rich having a voice, equal opportunity to health care, Supreme Court justices who value individual rights over those of corporations…women’s rights…you know…the good stuff!
So, put it out there and use this topic as an opportunity to learn about the person you’re meeting.
How do start this conversation? Easy.
Briefly share a life experience or event that expresses your views. Tell him how you personally feel about what’s happening right now. Tell him any actions you’ve taken or how you would encourage your congress person to vote. Do it directly, quietly, and in the most basic terms. No lectures, histrionics, or judgment.
Then give him a chance to process what you shared. That’s it. Don’t be afraid that he’ll disagree. That’s just fine. You’ll learn something important about each other. You can both be glad you’ve done that, regardless of whether you’ve seen some compatibility there. That’s what dating is all about!
What’s not fine is getting to the third date and finding out that you are completely incompatible in the way you look at the world and your place in it. Who has that time to waste?
That’s why women should talk about Kavanaugh on a date.
Bobbie, Can you coach a woman who voted for Trump? I did, and for me the choice was clear, for many reasons beyond his handful of admittedly vulgar comments.