He says, She says: How to talk politics
In my experience, politics is a less-than-flattering subject. Talking about politics does not make girls like you, and it will almost never put her in the mood for love.
For instance, I recently took a girl on a typically late-1940s date of the newest date movie, followed by ice cream from the nearest delightful ice cream franchise.
Over a hot fudge sundae, I decided to breach the subject of the current political campaigning I’ve been doing in New Hampshire.
In my haste to express my political conquests, I accidentally swallowed too quickly and coughed a bit of fudge onto her blouse. While cleaning her off with my napkin, I bellowed, “I think I could run New Hampshire, and so far 39 people agree strongly enough to sign a petition saying so.”
Now, I know not every man has the tenacity and gumption to be sovereign of a state in New England. But I think the rule holds true: Just don’t bring it up.
Most of the time, I try to live by this rule by avoiding any mention of politics.
There are, however, incorrect ways to go about this. Whenever CNN coverage changes from pandas or poor people to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, I immediately set about the process of making out with my girlfriend. Unfortunately, she started to think I was turned on by Obama, and to my chagrin, I could not provide any evidence otherwise.
Don’t brag about how men have traditionally been allowed more power in the political realm. For instance, don’t smile and say something coy about how “if this was 100 years ago…” she would not be allowed to vote.
Just on the off-chance the girl you are dating is actually an early 20th century police officer, do not tell her about your habit of mischievous gerrymandering.
The biggest danger, obviously, comes when your date, girlfriend or wife of 40 years finally brings up politics and you disagree. Unions have been ruined by such revelations (see the Clintons, the Beatles, the United States circa 1861).
If your girlfriend ever brings up a political issue that you disagree with, it is your traditional responsibility as a male landowner to set her straight. There are simple ways to go about this, but the best way, and history will back me up on this, is to marry her and make her have 10 kids.
And even if it is the truest thing about you, never ever admit that you have not even considered voting for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman.
It’s a pretty rad time to have an eye on the news, what with the presidential primaries and the 2008 election. The air is rife with controversy about unconventional Ron Paul, unintelligible Mike Gravel and whether Hillary Clinton is a woman or a severely advanced robot.
As the debates rage, the average politically aware relationship can become a vicious arena as normally loving couples engage in heated battles over the virtues of McCain versus Huckabee. Now, I’m the first to encourage a little healthy argumentation between sweethearts. There’s nothing more boring than somebody who agrees with everything you say, and a little mental exercise before your nightly “physical exercise” can do wonders for a couple in a rut.
Still, you don’t have to pull a Schwartzenegger—I refer to the Republican Governator’s marriage with overt liberal Maria Shriver, and fulfill my pop culture quota for this column—to achieve an interesting discussion. The key to a fulfilling debate, with your darling or anybody else, is to keep it funny, keep it impersonal and don’t try to change each other’s minds.
On the funny: I find politics to be rather like the Ninja Turtles. They’re all well and good, but if you take them too seriously, you’ll have a sudden impulse to stab your brain with a fork. It’s just no use getting all straight-faced and impassioned about something that is important but rather ridiculous in the long run.
If you can realize this, any political discussion you engage in with your significant other should be significantly less lethal.
On the impersonal: If he says he doesn’t mind Mitt Romney, it doesn’t mean you’ll be eating your meals with the greasy-haired, slimy, smiling puppy-kicker that this columnist is definitely not biased against. Your sweetie’s political views are a small part of their larger personality, so if you don’t agree with what they think, don’t hold it against them and you’ll be OK.
And on the final front, the common misunderstanding about political arguments is that you’re trying to enforce your opinion on the other party. Wrong! Spend your discussions learning more about the other person’s thoughts. Use the ideas you get from them, which you may or may not have previously considered, to broaden your own viewpoints and expand your own political vocabulary.
A political debate is an opportunity to see a passionate, intelligent side of your darling, so don’t waste it on your own ego. Happy arguing!