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Those of you reading this post that are as ancient as the hills like me may recall the above Clairol print advertisement from the 1960’s.  The ad slogan was popular in the day… “Does she, or doesn’t she?  Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”  The resulting alternative meanings applied by the readers of ads with that slogan in those days were jokes around the office water cooler.  Well, times have changed, as time does, and it seems the current political mood and subsequent divisiveness extends into dating and relationships… and many times it’s toxic to existing relationships as well as a deal-breaker for first dates.

I recently read an article on CNN’s site about the changing dating scene, specifically in New York City.  Bottom line, who you voted for in the last presidential election can make or break a blossoming first date encounter.  In other words, “Does she support Trump, or doesn’t she; and who knows for sure?”, (or, does he?)  Only a boomer like myself could draw the relationship with the ancient Clairol slogan.

The article suggests that’s it becoming more prevalent for even online dating services to allow a profile of the new filter for the dating match being the President.  “If you voted for Trump we shall not hump.” Is one of the cries… and this is not simply among discerning females qualifying (or disqualifying) men; men are disqualifying women as well.

On two of the main dating apps used by New Yorkers – Tinder and Bumble – you swipe right if interested in the person (and hope they do too, for a match) and left to reject the candidate. Frequently, the people I came across seemed interested in steering clear of anyone who supported Trump. “Swipe left if you voted for Trump,” I’d see on one profile. Other versions included “If you voted for Trump, we shall not hump” and the less rhythmical, more brutal: “If you voted for Trump, swipe yourself off a cliff.”

It seems Trumpsters, both inside and outside the dating scene, are becoming more… wary of displaying their political preference for the maverick president.

The morning after last year’s presidential election results, Mike Lagana went to work in Manhattan. His usual commute to the site where he was employed at the time, right beside Trump Tower, took an extra 45 minutes because he had to navigate the throngs of protestors that surrounded the President-elect’s residence. In stark contrast to the protesting masses, he was feeling celebratory. But Lagana had taken the Trump badges and stickers off his tool bag, to avoid any reactions.

Now, the electrician thinks it’s getting even tougher to be a conservative in a New York crowd.

Still jubilant about Trump’s election, Lagana’s politics are seeping into the conversations he has with dates. The 24-year-old meets women in many ways: IRL (in real-life), on Facebook and Tinder. He recently matched with a woman on the latter, the conversation progressed to Instagram, where they shared a friend in common. It was a good start. His profile features pictures of him at work, with his dogs and one from January that reads: “President Trump we did it!” After around 10 messages back and forth, his match declared that she wasn’t a Trump supporter, following with “the fact that his (Trump’s) flat out racism and sexism isn’t a deal breaker for you turns me off, no offense.”  

“My politics don’t define me,” he says, with one of the great accents of a New Yorker with Italian heritage. There wasn’t much room for debate – “please stop talking to me,” she concluded.

In one aspect I find this an interesting cultural twist.  Men, who are typically stereotyped into setting their own personal prerequisites regarding their choices in women as being “shallow”, going for the T&A appearance rather than “intellect”, have actually placed an importance on the target woman being a Trump supporter as a deal-breaker, regardless of looks.  In a bit of further aging-boomer reflection I recall the days when one of the suggested defenses against an immediate threat of rape was to suggest to the rapist that you had some loathsome disease… “I don’t think you wanna do this because I have aids.” or, “Go ahead.. I have terminal cancer and I don’t care anymore.”  I guess a more current application of that threat deterrence might be,  “You sure you wanna do this? I voted for Trump.”

A man who asked to remain anonymous had been happily dating his girlfriend for almost three years, until “that nice little Tuesday on November 8th.”

He didn’t much care about politics until this election. Although he’s a Democrat, he says he would have voted for John Kasich if he had won the Republican nomination. However, he found Trump and his campaign rhetoric abhorrent. With immigrant heritage and undocumented friends, Trump’s focus and language on the subject was a source of ire. Things had been going well with his girlfriend, the pair had similar upbringings in typical middle-class American families and “never had a problem with values.”

He watched the election at home alone. His girlfriend had earlier revealed that she voted for Trump and when her home state went red, he couldn’t help but feel she had contributed to that, something he deemed unforgivable.

“I broke up with her Wednesday morning,” he told me.

He couldn’t understand her decision to support Trump simply because of a legacy of Republicanism in her family.

“It meant nothing to her. It meant a lot to me, I’m a minority.”

The pair talked and spent a few days working through the election fallout. They got back together, but the reunion was short lived, crumbling on Inauguration Day.

“It was such a dark speech,” he said. “It didn’t unite the country at all. It painted the United States as one of the worst places in the world. It was like – what the hell is wrong with you. The inauguration brought back even more feelings as to why I felt the way I did in November.”

There are things he would do differently, he admits. Ever since the breakup, he doesn’t discuss politics during dates, even with Democrats. “I saw what it did to my relationship,” he says quietly.

The thought crosses my mind regarding all the sexual abuse allegations against male office power brokers (and spilling over to average social encounters) that maybe if the woman indicated her political affiliation while she was still at the water cooler it might short circuit any male directed sexual harassment.  “Excuse me, but do you really want to assert your sexual dominance over a Trump supporter?” (Although one might run the risk of their potential abuser being more encouraged to harass as vengeance… or encouraging the ever-common human desire to “settle old scores”, in this case, in the sack.  I recall a guy back in the 70’s saying he preferred rough sex with Japanese women as a get-back for Pearl Harbor.).

But I have a much better all around deterrent against any and all kinds of sexual abuse, harassment, rape… at the right moment pull out your Trump mask and put it on.  Just be wary that there are men out there who might be encouraged to continue regardless.

(Read the CNN article HERE)


Dump Trump