I met a woman through the company I work for. We hit it off at a work lunch, then got to talking about politics, and I discovered to my great dismay that she is a staunch conservative. I am a die-hard NDPer and at an age where I want to spend time with women I’d consider being with for the long haul, so I’m hesitating. Should I ask her out?—Chris
Yes, you should ask her out! Come on. An a priori decision that the way someone votes will make or break a cuddle-nugget is dumb. Obviously, I know what you mean—like, why tangle with someone who is probably an anti-intellectual, amoral scum-spawn, right? But you don’t know everything, friend, including how a relationship marked by opposing opinions might shake out. Think about Democrat James Carville, the Ragin’ Cajun who helped make Bill Clinton president, and Republican consultant Mary Matalin, who have been married for almost 20 years. Think about the opportunity to really debate issues you care about, assuming you care, instead of always agreeing with each other and then rolling over
and falling asleep. Think about the angry, you’re-wrong-but-I-like-it hate-sex. Think about the hate-sex.
Also, dating her could mean sharing a Canadian value: A survey conducted by Match.com of 3,000 members in its “Match regions” (the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Japan, and France) found that Canadians are the most likely of those countries to date someone with “varying political beliefs”; 88 per cent of single Canadian men and 83 per cent of single Canadian women are into it. The study also found that sharing a political affiliation was the least important dating characteristic, followed by “belongs to the same religion as me.” (The most important characteristic was “trust,” if you’re interested.)
There might be certain important moral issues that you differ on: If you’re in a relationship with someone, you need to agree about reproductive rights in a way that you do not need to agree on the minutiae of fiscal policy. But you won’t know any of it, not for real, until you learn what she thinks about the oil sands over an appetizer. Ask her out.
Have you ever had an experience where you or your date got a bit too drunk? How did you react to that? Would you give him another chance?—Kendra
I might have, but I can’t remember. Za-zing! No, I don’t know. Probably? I don’t really drink anymore, but half the point of dating before I was 30 was to share a bottle of usually bad red wine and then make out against a wall in an alley. So “drunk,” yes, but “too drunk” is largely a matter of perspective.
Dates, especially firsts, are so roundly, horrifyingly nerve-shredding that getting really drunk seems like a perfectly reasonable response. Do you think that’s what was up—just nerves? That’s mostly okay. If it happened once and was followed by self-aware and apologetic text messages, I’d say it’s fine to try again, but maybe hit a movie and rely on M&Ms sprinkled on popcorn (THE BEST) for socio-sexual lubrication instead of alcohol. Also, that way you can sit right beside each other but have something to look at, you know? Ideal first date, or first-date do-over.
But if you or your date was grabbily inappropriate or at all aggro or way too embarrassing, then fall back. Fall back any time alcohol or drugs or whatever compromises the date situation or even a pal-ship in a way that is scary or boring. Maybe it feels mostly normal, but if whenever you hang out they become shit-faced, or you feel like you have to drink a lot to be comfortable, that’s not someone you should be dating. (And it goes without saying that if someone only calls you when they’re deep in the cups, you block their number, right?)
Wastedness, while often the annoying province of under-30 daters, totally relates to our first question about how much you need to have in common to be together—the answer is that it depends, and depends on degree. I think the couples who have the best shot are the ones with similar ideas about how much partying is enough partying, and about when “drunk” becomes “gross.” So give him another chance, but only if he soberly asked for and deserves it.
Have a question for Kate? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.