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The pandemic has inspired many of us to try new things. Baking, for example. Or binge-drinking. Or lesbianism. A friend of mine (I affectionately call her the Superspreader) has been dating prolifically during the pandemic; she swears she has never met as many women who have recently decided to try dating women as she has in the past few months. “I think coronavirus is turning everyone gay,” she told me. I know that the plural of anecdote is not data, but it would bring me a lot of joy if this were true.
Lockdown lesbianism, which I shall continue to maintain is a thing despite the small sample size upon which I am relying, isn’t the only new relationship trend. According to OkCupid, there’s naturally been a surge in “lockblocking”: people cancelling or rescheduling dates because of Covid-19 restrictions. The dating site’s recent Future of Dating report, based on more than 450m responses to questions on the platform in 2020, also predicts we’re going to see a lot of “Thunberging” in 2021. “People’s passion for the planet is becoming a steamy subject and a topic to bond over,” the report explains. I’m not sure this is quite the legacy Greta Thunberg was looking for.
The climate isn’t the only thing we’re getting worked up about. According to OkCupid, there has been a significant increase in people who refuse to date someone with opposing political views. Sixty per cent of global users said they wouldn’t date someone who had strong political opinions that were the exact opposite of their own; that’s up 7% from last year. “In 2021, we’re going to see more people refusing to date outside party lines,” OkCupid concluded.
Tragic, isn’t it? How on earth is the world supposed to move forward if stubborn liberals refuse to date rightwingers? 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 US, doesn’t mean they’re a terrible person! Just because Tories want schoolchildren to stop being fed in the holidays, doesn’t mean their supporters are all beyond redemption – and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t associate with them. You should be open-minded and date right-wingers, it’s the grownup thing to do.
We’ve been hearing a lot about “unity” recently. Now that Trump has been voted out, there has been a lot of preaching about how important it is that we repair bitter partisan divides and build common ground. It’s important that we come together and heal, people keep saying. And this sentiment goes beyond the US. As the world has become divided, there seems to have been an increased fetishisation of inter-political dating: one news outlet called it “the Romeo and Juliet story of our times”. But, as I’m sure you will recall, both Romeo and Juliet ended up dead.
Dating someone with completely different political views generally isn’t a route to a happily ever after. It’s important to be with someone who challenges your thinking, but it’s also important to be with someone who shares your values. There are lots of things it is fun to flirt with; bigotry isn’t one of them.
• Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist
Source: The Guardian
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