Has this happened to you?
You go to a party, or maybe you’re just meeting friends for drinks after work, and no sooner have you settled in than someone cheerily announces there will be “no political talk!”
This conversation ban is harder for some of us to adhere to than others. While I’m happy to spend way too much time dissecting the crumbling relationship between real New York housewives Ramona and Bethenny, it’s weird to be told what you can and can’t talk about.
To quote the Real Housewives of Orange County: “Who DOES that?”
And, because I’m not a great rule-follower, I’ve had my knuckles metaphorically rapped a few times.
“No political talk!” the hostess reprimanded me recently during what I thought was a discreet rant about that dunderheaded border wall.
Suddenly I felt like a 6-year-old. So I did what any 6-year-old would do and pointed at my friend and said: “She started it.”
The hostess smiled widely and said something about how she didn’t care who started it, we were here to HAVE FUN! I looked around for a piñata because, well, 6.
I wanted to tell her that talking about Trump and Co. is how I have fun lately, but I was already the poo in the punch bowl and decided to cut my losses.
At a pool party last week, the hostess advised us there would be no political talk once a certain guest arrived. He was “from the other side” she said in a whisper, and she didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable.
I get that.
OK, no I don’t.
Earlier in the week, having dinner with a few women friends, someone who looked and sounded a lot like me brought up the subject of Trump’s tax returns and may have mentioned it would be easier to find a vegan at a Ted Nugent concert than to locate them, and this person, OK, me, was told to “shush.”
“No politics!” one of my friends hissed.
What? What’d I say?
Never has it been so popular for conversations to be squashed before they can even begin.
One day soon, restaurants and bars will be segregated. The hostess will greet you with “Politics?” or “No politics?” so your conversation won’t offend like stale cigarette smoke did back in the day.
Because I can be a contrarian, as soon as someone tells me what I can’t talk about, it’s all I can think about. It’s one of many qualities I share with the great Homer Simpson.
A well-intentioned host wagging his finger and saying “No political talk tonight” makes me want to do crazy stuff like say “Pass the parsley potatoes and tell me what’s the worst thing a mother could hear. Give up? It’s “Mom, I have a second date with Bill O’ Reilly tonight!”
This sentence, while obviously hilarious, could get me banished to the kitchen with the flip-down TV as my dinner companion.
That’s OK. I know where to find MSNBC.
Celia Rivenbark is an author and columnist who frequently writes about politics.
Talking politics event
What: N&O Community Voices forum: Talking Trump: How to listen – and be heard – across the red-blue divide.
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 24
Where: James B. Hunt Library, N.C. State’s Centennial Campus
Event is free, but please register to attend at: nando.com/communityvoices