The pandemic has inspired many of us to try new things. Pastry, for example. Or drinking. Or lesbianism. A friend of mine (I affectionately call her the Superspreader) had prolific dating during the pandemic; she swears she’s never met as many women who have recently decided to try dating women as she has in recent months. “I think the coronavirus makes everyone homosexual,” she told me. I know the anecdote plural is not a given, but it would bring me a lot of joy if it were true.
Containment lesbianism, which I will continue to maintain is one thing despite the small sample size that I am relying on, is not the only new relationship trend. According to OkCupid, there has naturally been an increase in “lock blocking”: People canceling or postponing dates due to Covid-19 restrictions. The recent dating site Report on the future of dating, based on more than 450 million responses to questions on the platform in 2020, also predicts that we’ll see a lot of ‘Thunberging’ in 2021. “People’s passion for the planet is becoming a hot topic and a topic to bond on,” the report explains. I’m not sure that’s quite the legacy Greta Thunberg was looking for.
The weather isn’t the only thing we get angry about. According to OkCupid, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who refuse to date someone with opposing political views. Sixty percent of global users said they wouldn’t date someone who had strong political views that were the exact opposite of theirs; this is 7% more than last year. “In 2021, we are going to see more and more people refusing to date people outside the party lines,” OkCupid concluded.
Tragic, isn’t it? How the hell is the world supposed to move on if stubborn liberals refuse to date right-wing people? I mean, just because someone doesn’t believe a woman should have autonomy over her own body doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a chance! Just because someone voted for Donald Trump, a virulent racist who called Mexicans “rapists” and banned Muslims from entering the United States, doesn’t mean he’s a terrible person! Just because Conservatives want schoolchildren to stop feeding on vacation, doesn’t mean their followers are all sunk – and that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t partner with them. You have to be open-minded and date right people, that’s the right thing for adults to do.
We have heard a lot about “unity” lately. Now that Trump has been dismissed, there has been a lot of preaching about the importance of mending bitter partisan divisions and building common ground. It is important that we come together and heal, people say. And that feeling goes beyond the United States. As the world has become divided, there seems to have been an increased fetishization of inter-political encounters: one media has called it “the story of Romeo and Juliet of our time”. But, as you will no doubt remember, Romeo and Juliet are dead.
Dating someone with completely different political views is usually not a path to a happy future. It’s important to be with someone who questions your thinking, but it’s also important to be with someone who shares your values. There are a lot of things that are fun to flirt with; sectarianism is not one of them.