A recent article in the Washingtonian details one of the most tragic struggles of our time: Conservatives living and dating in Washington, D.C. can’t get laid. It should come as no surprise that liberals living next door to the Trump administration in a district that overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton might not want to go out with their local MAGA-ite neighbor—and yet somehow conservatives are both surprised and hurt. “A lot of times you’ll connect with someone [on an app] and they’ll Google you, find out you worked for Trump’s campaign, and then it’s pretty much all downhill from there,” said one Trump administration official in the story. So much for the tolerant left!
They are some truly amazing victim-mentality tidbits in the piece, like the fact that a reporter at a right-wing media outlet won’t even put his employer—who I can only assume is Breitbart or Fox News—on his profile because the stigma of accepting a check every other week from an institution that consistently traffics in xenophobic conspiracy theories is too strong. Or that another reporter at the same outlet thinks he’s judged for being “a tall white dude with brown hair wearing loafers.” But the best is this truly devastating tale relayed by one of the two unnamed conservative reporters:
He once brought a woman back to his place, and while checking out his bookshelf, she noticed some books by conservative thinkers, he says. “She was like, ‘Oh no. First question: Did you vote for Trump?’,” the reporter says. He told her no, but that he was conservative. “She was like ‘I have to get out of here. I can’t see you,’ and left.”
While my heart truly goes out to this man, his date was only abiding by a slightly amended version of the John Waters’ adage: “If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!” In this unnamed woman’s case, if you go home with somebody and they have Atlas Shrugged prominently visible in their bookcase, politely excuse yourself. As the article notes, many Trump enablers go so far to hide their political affiliations that such safeguards are necessary. To help maintain your dignity in this slippery age of dishonest profiles and general dissembling, I’ve identified a few other handy snooping tactics designed to suss out whether you might be about to sleep with the enemy.
As we’ve seen, one of the most reliable places a politically savvy dater should check upon reaching their potential bae’s place of residence is their bookcase: If they have The Art of War, any kind of pick-up artist book, or The Bell Curve in a prominent location, run. Barring any troubling volumes there, if you happen to Netflix and chill, their “continue watching” section is a helpful hint of potentially onerous discussions to come.
A gaming console may suggest nights of playful bonding ahead, but if your paramour only has first-person military-based, gun-heavy games, perhaps think about exiting with a hurried yes, dear, I’m sure Thomas Jefferson intended for the average American to own an AK-15 and a sigh of relief. And while few people are bold enough to actually hang a Confederate flag in their apartment these days, look for subtler clues to racist leanings: Any kind of tchotchke praising Dixie and longing uncritically for the “good old days” might be just as much of a, sorry, red flag. And if all else fails, a closet full of bow ties, Vineyard Vines button-ups, and pleated pants combined with fraternity memorabilia (including but not limited to tattoos, paddles, or drink koozies) might well indicate that your date views most food stamp recipients as unemployed layabouts.
Of course, none of these methods is foolproof, and people are complicated—one Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives binge does not a fascist make. The best policy is to ask your date about their beliefs and then, if necessary, stick to your principals—no matter if theirs are leaving them alone.