By the Fall of 2015 I had decided that I was fine being single for the rest of my life. I had moved to a new city (where you were considered an old maid at 25, no joke), owned a condo in Raleigh, and was looking at a career in academia. I didn’t have a man and I didn’t need one. I was happy.
My friend had mentioned a couple of her single guy friends to me the previous Spring (even if I was going to be single a date here and there would be fun), and by the Fall she had decided to set me up with one. We were originally introduced as just a steady date to blacktie events. It was going to be a double blind date, David and I and her and a guy she met on Tinder (go ahead and roll your eyes).
I got to the restaurant a few minutes early and outside was this little political nerd (I already knew he was in politics, but he really looks like it), pacing back and forth on the phone. I knew it was David but I didn’t want to interrupt whatever important conversation he was having (turns out he had seen me and was trying to boost his confidence by talking to our mutual friend). I walked into the restaurant and requested a table, but discovered that the restaurant was booked out for a funeral. Not a good location for a first date. So I sit down and wait for David to finish on the phone (what I would come to realize is quite a common occurrence).
David finally comes inside, I introduce myself, and then explain the situation. We decide to go to a Mexican restaurant down the street and off we go, making small talk along the way.
When we get inside and are seated, our friend had not yet arrived, nor had her date, so I begin to talk to David. I knew he was in politics and I had begun paying more attention to national politics over the past year. I am a Democrat, and he had followed some Democratic groups on Facebook, and as divisive as the country was I assumed that he was a Democrat as well so I thought it was a safe subject.
So as soon as we sit down, eager to start talking about something fun, I say “so what do you do.” He told me later he was completely taken aback by this question but he answered that he worked in politics. I then explained that I saw he was a Democrat on Facebook but he quickly corrected me and said that he was actually a Republican. I was crestfallen. Every Republican I had met thus far in my new city was incapable of having an intelligent conversation with me, or at the very least explaining their differing perspective.
Fortunately, David was not like all of the other Republicans I had met. I don’t remember what we talked about, but Meg got there shortly to discover us deep in a political discussion. Meg was a Democrat as well, but despite all of our differences, I do remember we had a good conversation. David and I continue to have political discussions regularly in which we may disagree, but we at least understand and respect our differing opinions.
David walked me to my car after the date, and asked to see me again. I wasn’t super into him, but I’d had a great time so I said yes.
He told me right before we got married he knew he would marry me that evening. We would learn over the next nine months of dating how compatible we were. He’s patient and understanding, very valuable traits as he’s never dated anyone with physical (Crohn’s Disease) or mental (depression and anxiety) health issues. He’s also a great caregiver, and is willing to do the necessary chores of laundry and dishes, and even helps me cook.
We were living together by the next Spring, and got engaged over the Summer. It was a whirlwind romance, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.
As for our friend’s blind date, he was an hour and a half late (not even kidding, hadn’t left for the date for 45 minutes), and then came in and tried to join our political conversation. He was the more typical conservative I had run into, stating end all and be all facts that supported his ideas as opposed to trying to have a conversation and learn as well as share.
*Just to be clear, I know I lot of Democrats who are just as small minded as the typical Republicans I’m describing. I realize that many Republicans are small minded because they are accustomed to small minded Democrats and just aren’t in the mood. Since meeting David and some of his friends, I have been able to have more great conversations with people with opposing views, as they knew going in that I could have an openminded and respectful conversation. I have learned a lot about conservative values that I was simply not exposed to and so didn’t understand, and while I’m still on the left, I have come closer to the center.