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Lisa De Pasquale If your dating profile says 'Swipe left if you voted for Trump,' you'll only hurt yourself

Real life is more complicated than our individual laundry lists of who is an acceptable life partner
Image: First Date Holding Hands
Love conquers all. Or, at least it's supposed to.betyarlaca / Getty Images/iStockphoto
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People set filters on dating apps for age, race, religion, body type, height, hobbies, education level and geographical desirability. Increasingly, people have added political preferences to further filter out the supposedly undesirables. And, if you’re sifting through the pool of a large dating app, petty pickiness might seem justified because you’re still presented with hundreds of options (though their “truthiness” may vary).

But I'm going to urge people — particularly women — to reconsider.

In the last couple of years, messages coming from the media and our culture in general have told us that our political preferences are central to who we are. Pundits, politicians, musicians, actors and corporations insist we must pick a side, whether it’s which chicken sandwiches we eat, which airlines we fly, which nonprofits we support or which people we love (or even befriend). It was only a matter of time before political identity became more prominent in dating profiles.

My experiences with dating in D.C. just cemented my belief that I want a partner with shared values and goals, but I do not care about a shared voting record.

In a politically-focused culture, every date is a potential minefield, reminiscent of Seinfeld’s Elaine who breaks up with a good-looking man with “character and integrity” because he’s pro-life. And, sure, in D.C. and other large cities, there is often no line between work and dating.

I've experienced this myself: A couple years ago I was matched on OKCupid with a man who immediately messaged that he recognized my photo and, without any additional pleasantries, asked, “How can I speak on a panel at CPAC?” This was not the best-laid plan: I haven’t been the director of CPAC in almost seven years... and another man had asked me the same question just a few weeks ago.

My experiences with dating in D.C. just cemented my belief that I want a partner with shared values and goals, but I do not care about a shared voting record. (And, when I was the director of CPAC women would often ask me if it was a good place to meet conservative men. I always had the same reply — the odds are good, but the goods are odd.) Many conservative women I know feel the same way.

It's true that there's not a lot of tolerance for either side right now, but my experience is that there is a difference in degrees.

So what is often striking to me is that most of the ultimatums about personal politics seem to come from the left, which claims the banner of open-mindedness.

Recently, for instance, Washingtonian magazine examined the difficulty of dating when one is a conservative or Republican, where the problem is amplified to the point of near-caricature. Sources talk of avoiding men's Bumble and Tinder profiles with MAGA hats, and warnings to swipe left if you voted for Trump.

A writer for a conservative news site told Washingtonian, “The political divide has gotten so wide that a lot of younger liberals don’t have any interest in meeting conservatives.”

A friend who has lived in Phoenix and Chicago over the last several years tells me he’s encountered similar requirements from women on Match.com. He said the political declarations are always to weed out those on the right.

Most of the ultimatums about personal politics seem to come from the left, which claims the banner of open-mindedness.

One dating app is even banning users from using photos with guns in them, whether or not the pictures are violent or even of veterans from their tours of duty. Bumble CEO and founder Whitney Wolfe Herd told Time magazine, “We don’t want guns to be romanticized. It was time to take a stand.”

And, on Valentine’s Day, NPR reporter Tovia Smith wrote about the dating website, TrumpSingles.com, "a kind of safe space for Trump supporters who say they're sick of the ‘lefties’ refusing to even give them a chance.”

TrumpSingles founder David Goss said, "You know, like a liberal doesn't want to date a Nazi. And a Republican doesn't want to date, well, a whiny snowflake, and that's what they're viewing each other as."

It's true that there's not a lot of tolerance for either side right now, but my experience is that there is a difference in degrees.

Articles about the pitfalls of inter-party dating are amusing and easy to write because it reinforces the divisions that are already around us.

The worst that a right-leaning person will call the lefty is "snowflake," "whiny," "cuck" or "beta male." (Though, I'd say that "beta male" hardly counts when it’s now claimed as a badge of honor in some lefty circles.) By contrast, those on the right are called "Nazis," "racists," "bigots," "sexists" and, if NRA members, "part of a terrorist organization" by left-leaning people, simply for having conservative leanings. (Calling actual Nazis "Nazis" is an acceptable thing to do by either side. If I ever meet one, I'll be sure to do so.)

Still, articles about the pitfalls of inter-party dating are amusing and easy to write because it reinforces the divisions that are already around us. Thankfully, real life is more complicated than our individual laundry lists of who is an acceptable life partner. Everyone knows a woman who refused to date men under six-foot tall who married a man who is five-foot-eight, or a man who boasted about being a committed bachelor who married a woman a year later.

Those who support the Second Amendment or Trump shouldn’t boycott Bumble or other dating apps, let alone start their own app to only talk to one another. It’s time for all of us to take a stand against self-imposed filters. What happened to chemistry and breaking out of our comfort zones to find love? Isn't the point of being on Tinder or Bumble or OKCupid to meet people out of your current social circles?

What a wasted, homogenized, banal life it would be without our differences. After all, the people we love are meant to complement, not divide us.

Lisa De Pasquale is a columnist and the author of "The Social Justice Warrior Handbook" (political humor), "I Wish I Might" (novel), and"Finding Mr. Righteous" (memoir). She is the founder and Monday editor of BRIGHT, a daily newsletter about pop culture and political news.

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