(Chicago Tribune file photo )
First dates are awkward. Blind dates are super-awkward. Blind dates on Election Day? Excessively awkward doesn't begin to cover it.
Like any other Tuesday, I had a blind date on my calendar that I was thinking about canceling. It was Election Day, and I was looking forward to seeing the CNN Magic Wall light up in Democrat blue from the comfort of my living room. But this guy looked good on paper. Owned a business, basketball-player-tall, loved to travel. So I said to myself, "Hey girl. Let's do this."
I did all of the regular first date ritual things: I pulled up my politically inundated Twitter feed, turned the TV to Gloria Borger and David Gergen, and made a pretzel and peanut butter dinner. Fifteen minutes before my date I brushed my hair and put on some eyeliner. I felt ready.
My date--let's call him Randy--Randy suggested a secluded little bar that I knew wouldn't be crowded on a rainy Tuesday. At first I thought this was because he was going to spike my drink and kidnap me. Nah, he just wanted to get away from the election coverage so we could have a politically neutral first date. Thoughtful! And much less creepy than the former.
His plans were spoiled as the bar was nothing but TVs set to CBS News. Randy and I talked around the blaring election news for the first hour. "You're from Wisconsin?" "How do you like Chicago?" "You love dogs?" "I love dogs too!"
But soon our first date talk turned to polite election commentary. "Obama took Illinois, no surprise there!" "It looks like Ohio is the state to win it!" "Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson are getting awfully old ..."
And then the bomb dropped. Randy said, "Yeah, I voted today"--please don't tell me, please don't tell me--"for Romney."
It was like nails screeching on a chalkboard, cats getting run over by a car or indeterminable torture noises. But I totally kept my cool.
Much like Martha Raddatz in the vice presidential debate, I questioned him with authority and pushed for specifics. Apparently Randy, a registered Republican, voted for Obama in 2008 and was planning on voting for him again this year until the night before the election. I was looking a swing voter (the only voter who matters) right in the face.
He made claims about the economy and the "terrible" state of the nation. I fired back in my most cordial first-date tone with all of my left-leaning ideals and asked him how he thinks Romney can save our country. He didn't have an answer. I can't blame him, since Romney never had answers either.
I'm not saying right-leaning tendencies are a deal-breaker. If you are an informed Republican voter and can back up what you believe in, I am always up for a debate. I might even let you take me to dinner. But I do not want to listen to you talk about trickle-down theory or the administration's "cover-up" of the Libya incident on Election Day. Randy's claims were unfounded, and he sounded like a grumpy, greedy old dude. It really got me down, when I should have been high on an impending victory.
Luckily for Randy his was an empty vote. If we were in Ohio, things might have gotten ugly. Like, drink-in-the-face ugly. I plan on more thoroughly researching my dates in the future. My mom asked me, "Lord in heaven, don't you get these guys screened properly?" Look mom, all I can do is look forward to the next four years. And maybe join Democrat Singles.
Natalie Cammarata is a RedEye special contributor.
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