The relationship was off to a fine start. She met him at a dog park in the neighborhood near her brand new apartment; he was the right age, looked preppy-cute, but not to the point of being obnoxious, and was just the right amount of attentive to his labradoodle puppy. He admired her dog, a recent acquisition, and, truth be told, a shelter mutt. Maybe that should’ve tipped him off. His puppy was from a breeder. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
On their second “meet-cute,” they chatted lightly and watched the dogs play. She was, if not charmed, definitely intrigued. Only one way to find out if this could lead to something bigger: coffee, sans pups, in a mutually agreed upon café just a couple of blocks away the following Saturday. Her heart soared. He had a job!
They smiled when they saw the other approaching. Punctuality is such an underrated attribute.
He opened the door for her. She looked very slightly annoyed or was that his imagination? Strike 1.
He shrugged, approached the counter and ordered coffee, black. She got something green, like Kermit in a blender, he thought. He looked at her with new eyes. Strike 2.
They took their drinks to a tiny two-top where he spied the Sunday “New York Times” poking out of her vegan satchel. Strike 3.
“Have you been reading that for six days?” he said, trying to sound light.
“Yes! I love it so much I find it hard to recycle until the next one comes out,” she said.
“Oh,” he said.
“Something wrong?” she asked, still not catching.
“No, of course not. It’s fine if you like fake news, I guess.”
She looked up, her pretty eyes widening. “Wait. What are you saying? Oh my God. Did you vote for … HIM?”
He sighed deeply, wearily. “Cue the snowflake rant about how awful he is when yours was the real crook.”
This really happened. I heard it from a friend who … heard it from a friend who … well, let’s just say it’s legit.
It’s also the new normal according to OK Cupid’s recent, and astonishingly data-filled, look at how politics affects dating choices in 2017.
As an analyst put it: “They want to get in, get the true information and get out fast, if need be. It’s about being transparent about your values.”
Before social media and dating by app, it was entirely possible for the subject of politics to not surface until well into marriage.
Trump/Clinton changed all that. Politics is the new “What do you mean you’re allergic to cats?”
A whopping 70 percent of respondents said voting for the wrong person was a “deal breaker” and 30 percent – a substantial spike over past results – admitted having similar political views was more important to them than having good sex.
But back to our couple. They still see one another at the dog park, but they don’t speak. His “Duck Dynasty” ball cap was simply the last straw.
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.