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I’m sure we have all experienced teething issues that come with dating someone knew. The person that seemed so perfect might wait until dessert before blurting out that they’ve never read a book, or that their favourite TV show is Coronation Street [Ed: Sorry Martyn Hett]. Minor quirks like these are annoying, but if you really like the person you can learn how to live with an illiterate soap addict. Well, let’s be realistic, I’d have to really like that person.
However, there are times when you are faced with views, opinions and tastes that are so dichotomously opposite from everything you believe. These situations can truly make you question how much you are willing to oversee in your other half.
These core values are hard to overcome, but more importantly, would you actually want to continue dating someone whose world view is so significantly different from yours? Where do you draw the line, and at what point is there no room for compromise?
Below are three scenarios from three different parts of the country where someone’s core values has thrown a spanner in the works, as though being single isn’t traumatic enough anyway!
Brighton: Me vs Gay Tory (A Gory?)
This was a memorable date I went on a couple of years ago when I was living on the Sussex seaside. I had agreed to a very last minute date with this seemingly normal 25 year old. I turned up at a Thai restaurant in Kemptown on the agreed time and was initially pleasantly surprised.
We had a couple of drinks and got on really well talking about the general first date things; jobs, background, and general Brighton life. But once we’d finished our shared filo-wrapped starters the conversation took a sudden turn.
If you’ve lived in, or frequently visited, Brighton you probably know there’s a certain political alignment to the left that is generally expected when meeting someone new (especially in Kemptown which is crowned as its ‘bohemian gay village’). Anything else is not only unexpected but so rare you’re not exactly sure how to digest it.
After briefly mentioning his Conservative affiliation with government politics I was disappointed to say the least – but also just genuinely shocked. Nothing makes me as uncomfortable as sharing Thai food with someone who it turns out through the conversation believed ‘poor people’, immigrants and drug addicts are draining our economy and welfare system. Up until this point I hadn’t ever met a real life conservative homosexual, but as it turns out – they walk amongst us seemingly unnoticeable. You think they would at least wear a sign.
The icing on the cake was when he asked me to wait on the pavement while he got his car from the NCP around the corner. I literally laughed out loud when I saw the olive green Jaguar approaching with him looking exceedingly self-righteous in it. The image of a 25 year old gay Tory driving a Jaguar through Kemptown has since been scribbled onto my brain with a permanent marker.
Lesson learned: never date a 25 year old that drives a Jaguar.
Devon: Girl vs Rifle
The second instance involve a close friend of mine and her dating experiences. Having recently moved to Exeter, she embraced the potential new match making its dating scene had to offer. After dating a flurry of men when arriving in the town a few months back, things have now started to settle down with just the one.
Everything was going really well, he seemed almost too nice and normal – something my friend who’s as neurotic as I am finds difficult to balance. But in the end, she even managed to come to terms with the fact that he has a child (well, kind of – she has successfully avoided any actual contact with said child).
However, a few weeks into the (potential) relationship, whilst having a casual drink in a pub, he announced that he thought it was a good idea for Britain to bring back the death penalty. The evening continued with him proclaiming that forced labour and chain gangs are also good ideas – and it all culminated with him pulling out an actual rifle from a cupboard in his flat.
My friend was flummoxed, and I believe she still is. How do you handle something like this when you’re already practically in a relationship with someone? She has attempted lecturing and converting, but it’s still a working progress. The problem is trying to figure out whether it’s actually worth the effort.
Lesson Learned: nice and normal is generally too good to be true; however, they are still dating and last weekend he took her a swingers club.
London: Me vs Racist Swede
There are some situations where the core values are so inherently polarised that there’s no point in even trying. The final example is from a few months ago when I agreed to go on a date with a Swede in Shoreditch. Great, I thought, we come from the same country, and he also lives in East London – we must have loads in common.
We met on a Thursday afternoon for a drink by Spitalfields market, and to be perfectly honest, within the first five minutes I had already made my decision. He seemed nice enough but sometimes that doesn’t suffice, there really wasn’t any spark or chemistry – in fact, I had more chemistry with the waitress at the bar!
As the evening progressed we continued having wine, and as it turned out, our similarities ended with both of us being Swedish. Being foreign himself he wasn’t against immigration per se, but ‘poor’ and ‘non-white’ people made him ‘generally uncomfortable’. It was the typical ‘I’m not a racist, but…’ which clearly means you are in fact racist regardless of the size of your but(t). What always puzzles me is when people state their dislike for immigrants and/or non-white people to me, when I’m clearly not British nor white.
Needless to say this date ended before it even had a chance to start, I’m too old to be polite anymore and frankly I don’t want to waste my time on something that’s doomed failure. I made an excuse saying I had some work to do and left the bar before sunset.
I told him I was going to walk myself home through the back alleys of Brick Lane, just so he would definitely go the other way, as he had mentioned how that area made him ‘generally uncomfortable’.
Lesson learned: Enough is enough – ain’t nobody got time for that.