Should You Ask People Their Politics Before Dating Them?

Illustration By Sam Woolley/GMG
Illustration By Sam Woolley/GMG

Your letters:

Alex B:

Hey Drew, as a newly single man in a new city, I’ve been working the dating apps pretty hard recently. However, I’m staunchly anti-Trump, and wouldn’t be able to get serious with anyone else who isn’t. I don’t want to go on a date only to find out that they are in fact a hardcore Republican, but it feels very intrusive and awkward to ask beforehand. Do I just have to suck it up and risk wasting my time by going in blind, or is it ok to ask women which way they lean politically over Bumble messenger even if it doesn’t feel quite socially acceptable? Political persuasion should be a requisite part of any online dating profile.


You’re using Bumble in an urban area. I don’t think you’re in much danger of reeling in Tomi Lahren from that trout pond. Dating apps are already unofficially segregated. You’re not hopping on Farmers Only in hopes of dating a Civil Rights activist. The ads make it quite clear that you are scrolling through a spiritual expansion of the Palin family. That site is for people with multiple NRA bumper stickers and not you.

Now, this is the part where I pretend to get all diplomatic and tell you that you should always keep an open mind when you’re dating. Perhaps you will discover that dating a Trump supporter is fun because you both EMBRACE DEBATE and like tussling over the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership while boning one another. Or maybe you find that you influence each other’s outlook in new and interesting ways. Maybe you can turn that Trump supporter. “Oh wow Alex, now that you called the President a teething whalebaby, I see things in a whole NEW light!”

But frankly, I’m not really sure I buy any of that anymore. I think it used to be much easier for ideologically opposed couples to get together and stay together, especially if you were one of those dipshit Sorkin liberals who was like, “I think this country is BETTER with a strong and reasonable Republican party!” That veneer of civility is all but gone now. Maybe it’s better that way. Maybe it’s better that people be more aware of how fucked things are, and that they’re more strident about the state of the world than just making like Mary Matalin and Cajun Martian Guy and pretending this is any fun.

Also, politics are such a monstrous presence in our lives right now that it’s difficult to put them aside. Back in happier times, I used to never ever ever care about politics. I didn’t have to! “Oh, Clinton signed NAFTA today? What is NAFTA? Whatever. LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU AND ME DOIN’ THE NASTY, BABY.” Not so easy to ignore the elephant in the room anymore. The differences are wider than they used to be, which means it’s harder and harder for couples to reconcile this kinda shit. So if you’re gonna all-in with a Trump supporter (and they with you), there better be some other extremely strong bonds keeping you together, like a shared passion for barn-raising, or nonstop 24/7 fucking. Something like that. Otherwise, the specter of politics is likely too difficult to escape.


My friend and I were discussing super teams in the NBA and how it leads to garbage playoffs where the two conference champions are pretty much determined in the regular season. How do you prevent this? One solution I had was to have max salary based on years with your current team. Durant would have been more likely to stay in OKC trying to win a ring with Westbrook while making $20 million a year than to jump ship to the already championship-caliber Warriors earning $5 million. Could this work?


No. First of all, there’s already a financial incentive in place for players to remain with the team that drafted them, and it’s not fair of the league to use punitive salary restrictions to further curtail that movement. You should be able to earn what you’re truly worth, which is why LeBron probably deserves to own 80 percent of the Cavs franchise by now. If anything, the current salary structure hurts teams trying to compete with Golden State and Cleveland because cap numbers dictate so much of what you can and can’t do. Look at baseball. They don’t have a salary cap, and yet there hasn’t been a repeat champ this century. Fluidity helps parity more than it hurts it.

Secondly, some players make so much from sponsorship deals now that they can treat their actual NBA salary as a loss leader. Kevin Durant left years and millions on the table to switch teams, but that was an investment in himself that will almost certainly pay off handsomely now that he’s won a Finals MVP. And that’s not just an NBA thing. Plenty of football players have taken a pay cut to play for New England or some other readymade contender. But it’s much more noticeable in the NBA because the league is so top-heavy, and I don’t think there’s much the NBA can do about it.


A single NBA star has more influence over a team’s success than in any other major sport. There are only so many of those stars to go around, and wayyyyy too many teams in need of them. The NBA has always had a steep talent dropoff from its top players to the next level down, but expansion has only worsened it. Any team that employs a superstar already has a decisive edge over 75 percent of all the other shit teams, which means those superstars have all the incentive in the world to join up with each other, rather than just languish with the Knicks for eternity. The only way to truly solve the problem is to hack off a dozen teams and concentrate the talent pool, which will never happen. If anything, the league will keep expanding until there are 75 teams and you’re sitting there in 2045 watching LeBron Jr. play KD Jr. in the 10th consecutive Finals between the Shanghai Dragons and the Moscow Muscovites. STUPID MUSCOVITES.


What does birth smell like? My wife from previous question is around 33 weeks pregnant. I’ve been slowly desensitizing myself to childbirth by watching YouTube videos of births, but those really only get you set on the sound and sight senses.


It smells like blood, amigo. The whole room gets filled with that metallic blood smell. The good news is that you probably won’t even notice the smell though, because the moment is so intense and because you will be fixated on the sight of all that blood and not the aroma of it. Also, your wife will be screaming and trying to tear your arms off. When my first child was born, there was blood on the goddamn WALL. I was flabbergasted. I nearly turned to my wife and was like, “Hey, do you know you sprayed blood all over that wall? CRAZY!” Then they showed me the newborn and it was coated in blood, too. I don’t even remember how I reacted. I probably just sat there with my mouth hanging open like a dolt.


My advice to you is to NOT dread any of this gruesomeness. Every guy that’s ever watched The Miracle Of Birth has been pre-conditioned to be like EWWWWW, which is hilarious because A) It’s not happening to you, and B) Toughen the fuck up, broflake. Chances are, you and your wife won’t ever experience anything as intense ever again, so you might as well savor your moment in the trenches. If I had to do it over again, I would paint my face in camouflage and sing war chants before heading over to the nursing station and saying LADIES IF I DON’T MAKE IT OUTTA THERE ALIVE I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU ALL.

Side story: After my first kid was born, they showed us the placenta, which is fucking huge and marbled with all these blue veins. Looks like a preserved brain. The doc had my wife touch it and then noted how many fingers she put on it. “You touched it with three fingers,” he said. “That means you’ll have three kids.” AND WE DID. Spooky. I did not realize the placenta had black magic powers. So if you ever have a kid, make sure you don’t touch the placenta with eight fingers or anything. That’ll fuck you over good.



I was thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if cities used uniform sports team names, a la college sports? I went to U of Oregon, and having everything unite behind the Ducks allowed people to appreciate and root for your team across all athletics. So wouldn’t having everyone in Southern California be an LA FuckFaces fan be a good way to create a stronger city fan base and avoid those bandwagoners that just pick and choose different cities for each sport? Is it a merchandising issue?


I’m sure merchandising is a large part of it. Every team wants its own brand, and they don’t want it diluted with some other local team’s brand. But also, it’s BORING when every team’s name is the same. St. Louis once had a Cardinals football team to go with its Cardinals baseball team. Tell me that isn’t clear proof of that city’s overall blandness and lack of creativity. Have some goddamn imagination. There’s a reason everyone goofed on George Foreman for naming all his kids George.

We’ve discussed this before, but to me the ideal thing would be to have every city’s pro team play under a uniform color scheme, and not a uniform team name. Pittsburgh is the only city that currently does this, and it works. There’s no reason other cities couldn’t follow suit. All the Minnesota teams could unite under a single hideous color scheme, instead of using four different hideous ones. VAST IMPROVEMENT.



You’re a dog. A very cool dog - not one of those little yip-yip lap things (my rule of thumb - if it can fit in a microwave it’s not really a dog). Problem is you only have 3 legs. All things considered, better to be missing a front leg or a rear one?


The front leg. The rear legs are where you generate all your doggy power. Think of an amputee dog like a tricycle. You want the tricycle to have two rare wheels instead of two front wheels. A dog missing a hind leg probably needs one of those sad dog wheelbarrow things. That’s when a three-legged dog stops being cute and starts being downright disturbing. No thank you.

I would keep the two back legs so that I could still spring into action when a baby rabbit hops by and I want to chase it down and dig my teeth into it and prove that I am still the DOMINANT PRIMORDIAL BEAST. Also, I would do doggy pushups all day to strengthen the lone front paw. I would get crazy jacked and end up looking like the dog on that one Alice In Chains album cover. People would never fuck with me. “That dog has seen some shit!”



For nearly 25 years now, I have maintained that the plural of “Lego” is “Lego”. Not “Legos.”

“I am sick of stepping on all of your damned Lego. Clean it up!” I am right, aren’t I?


Technically, yes. The LEGO corporation always refers to Lego as Lego, and the Lego Wikia page says that the company used to insist in a disclaimer in the manual that customers “refer to our bricks as ‘LEGO Bricks or Toys’ and not ‘legos.’ By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud and that stands for quality the world over.” Now, I say fuck all that. If I wanna call Legos “Legos,” I’m doing it, and THE MAN can’t stop me. I am under no obligation to obey some asshole company’s style guide. You’re lucky I’m even capitalizing it. I will fuck up your brand without hesitation. I will pick up Legos, and Xerox a form, and maybe even Google something on Bing. Try and stop me, you bastards.

[is immediately sued for $115 million, hauled off to prison]



Have you ranked interstate highways?

I have not, mostly because I haven’t traveled enough to do it, and also because they’re highways. They’re not all THAT different. They’ve got a few lanes, some bridges, and a bunch of generic rest stops on the side. They’re only as good as the surrounding landscape, which means that the average interstate in say, North Carolina, is gonna be a lot more charming than the same stretch of road in fucking Nebraska. You need shit to break up the view: cows, mountains, rivers, seas, etc. It’s when the landscape refuses to change that a highway becomes an experience in existential suffering. I used to drive up 95N to get to college and it was just a tunnel of trees for 200 miles. You never got to see anything that was more than 20 yards past the side of the road. It was fucking misery. Sometimes I wondered if I was dead. Gimme a goddamn lake once in a while, man.


In general, you’re gonna get a lot more out of state roads than their gargantuan, lifeless interstate counterparts. An interstate is an overrun strtech of pavement that has to run through dull areas by necessity. With state roads, you’re more likely to pass through pretty countryside and/or wind along the side of a mountain. WHEE WE MIGHT ALL DIE HERE! That’s always fun. I’ve taken car rides on state roads in Montana and Colorado that were almost more enjoyable than the actual vacation. Spotting a herd of buffalo is cool as shit.

All I can tell you is which stretches of interstate I’ve been on that are tolerable, and which are pure death. All of 95 should be burned to the ground. 84 in northern Connecticut is eternally backed up even though no one lives in northern Connecticut. And the Pennsylvania Turnpike is where truckers go to kill people. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. But 68 through western Maryland is gorgeous. I highly recommend it if someone makes you drive to Kentucky for some awful reason.



The Last Jedi, Black Panther, It, Thor: all movies with teaser trailers around or longer than two minutes. That’s not a teaser in my book, it’s a trailer, agree? At what point does a teaser cease to be a teaser?


The second it contains more than one sequence of footage from the upcoming movie. A teaser means that you are teased with the prospect of actual footage without being given any. Like, when it’s just a long logo reveal with fancy music? That’s a teaser. Or when you get just one flash of the movie and that’s all? TEASER. Or when they cobble together footage from the LAST movie in order to pimp the next one? Weakass teaser.

But when you get into revealing actual plot points and flashes of money action sequences, that’s a real trailer. I don’t care if there’s an even more spoiler-y trailer coming on the heels of that first trailer, it’s still a trailer. That Last Jedi “teaser” is definitely a trailer. It’s got space battles and red dirt and everything. Honestly, I don’t even care what they call it so long as they give me the goods. They called that IT trailer a “teaser trailer” just to make people even more confused. It’s like words have no MEANING anymore, man.

Fuck that clown. I ain’t going anywhere near that movie.


Like you, I have spent the last decades wantonly wearing disposable contact lenses long past their recommended lifetime, without any negative effects. Also, like you, I developed the shitty Contact Red Eye thing in the last month. I choose to believe that BIG CONTACT LENS has developed a coating that degrades at a set rate, and is free to apply it now that Trump is POTUS. I think it is time for someone to put on his Serious Reporter Hat (the brown one with the press pass tucked into the band and the mustard stain on the brim) and find out just how far up the food chain this one goes.


No, I can’t blame Trump for my current bout of redeye. This was on me for being a lax cheapskate when it comes to eye care. Eyes are important. Perhaps it would have behooved me to make sure that I cleaned the foreign objects I stick in my eyes on a daily basis. But did I? Nooooooooooo. No, I just jammed those fuckers right on my eyeball and assumed everything would take care of itself.

On more than one occasion, my wife would take my lens case and scrape away the crystallized solution around it and be like, “You should clean this,” and I was always like GET OFF MY CASE, MISSY. She also cleans my glasses because I don’t even register when they’ve accumulated eight layers of wax buildup. No wonder I watched Game 3 of Cavs/Warriors with my eyes blurring and going double and me being like, “Hmm, this might be a problem!” The eye doctor squirted me with drops and I think a pint of conjunctiva fell out. She was like, “Do you wash your contacts?” and I was like OH IS THAT A THING? I’m gonna end up with more eye problems than Mike Zimmer.



Do you think Trump believes Sasquatches are real? I say he probably does. All he needs is to hear one good story, and there isn’t a wacky conspiracy theory he won’t believe.


No, I think he only buys human conspiracy theories. Sasquatches are for children and fantasy dorks. There’s no way Trump believes in monsters because he thinks people who believe in monsters are pussies. But I’m sure he buys into 9/11 being perpetrated by the DEEP STATE because that makes him sound super smart and all knowing and he can FEEL that’s true without ever bothering to do the research necessary to verify it. He’s not about whimsy.

By the way, someone should get a camera and go to Trump country and ask people what they think the Deep State is. I bet every answer would usher you into its own special little universe.



I’m almost 48 and still don’t like jazz. It’s not going to happen, is it?

Nope. Consider yourself lucky. You don’t wanna end up a jazz person. Woody Allen is a jazz person, man. You’re better off getting into classical music. Or Spanish guitar! Spanish guitar is quality old guy music.


I hate jazz even though I know it’s hard, even though I know that sign in Whiplash that says “If you don’t have ability, you wind up playing in a rock band” is probably accurate. One time I taught myself “Home Sweet Home” on the piano and it was kinda easy, almost to the point where it ruined it. I regret learning the secrets behind Tommy Lee’s magic. And I’m sure muso nerds out there like to judge music almost strictly by degree of difficulty, but muso nerds SUCK. Don’t align yourself with them. #TeamSimpleMelody


What animal was our biggest missed opportunity to domesticate for purposes other than for just food? My wife says it’s otters (which I agree would be cool) but I think it has to be bears. What is your ranking of animals that we should have realistically domesticated as early humans?


You don’t want an otter in your house. An otter will fuck you up. Look at this shit:

Illustration for article titled Should You Ask People Their Politics Before Dating Them?

An otter ate a goddamn alligator once. And where you are you gonna put a river in your home? Nowhere, that’s where. If we could have properly domesticated every animal on Earth, we would have, because humans are greedy and want everything for themselves (which is why lawless states like Texas still let you own a goddamn zoo if you feel like it). It just so happened that dogs and cats were the animals most realistically suited for it. After all, do you really want a black bear lumbering around your home? You know how much it would cost to feed it? Fuck that. Gimme a koala instead.

By the way, my oldest kid is obsessed with foxes, and I found out that there are indeed breeds of domesticated foxes out there. I have not told her this. Please no not tell my kid that foxes can actually be pets. She is still under the impression that they are untamable scavengers and I would like to keep it that way. A dog is enough. We don’t need to introduce more species to the Petco menu.



I work for manufacturing company. Yesterday one of the laborers in the warehouse stopped at a convenience store before work, bought a scratch ticket, and won a cool million bucks. She proceeded to stay at work for a full 3 hours (including coffee break) before leaving without warning and driving the two-ish hours to the lottery office to claim her prize. That’s weird, right? I’d have started driving as soon as I saw it was a winning ticket.


She was probably in shock, right? Like, obviously winning a million bucks causes instant elation, but I’m sure there’s also a ton of other shit going through your head when it happens. Is this real? Holy shit! What am I gonna use this for? Do I buy a Porsche Carrera or a Porsche 911? Who am I gonna share this money with? How do I make sure my ex NEVER finds out about this? Do I need to move to an underground bunker to protect my precious earnings? What kinda tax penalty does this come with? GUNS. I’ll need guns. You need a plan when you stumble onto untold riches. It’s not just pure joy. It’s probably pretty intense: like childbirth, minus all the blood. So I understand why this lady might be punch-drunk for a couple hours before finally taking action.

However, I wouldn’t have left work if I were her. First of all, a million bucks is a good hunk of money but after taxes and whatever horrible debts you gotta pay off, you’re probably gonna still need work. So I would keep the job, and stay the full day so as not to arouse suspicion. This would also make me a SCRAPPY LUNCHPAIL lottery winner who acts like they’ve been there before. Then I would call in sick the next day and fly to Vegas. Then, beer and cockfights. Then, I’m back at work on Monday, eating the same brown bag lunch, with no one the wiser that I am now a FILTHY MILLIONAIRE. I say the best part of winning money is going out of your way to not share it with anyone.



When we are sitting down at the dinner table and there is a bowl full of bread, my girlfriend will ask if I want “a bread”, instead of saying “a piece of bread”. This drives me insane. Now her kids do it. And this has transcended into other areas where you would offer a piece of something (i.e. gum, candy, etc...). Am I crazy? Is she crazy?


Yeah no one says “a bread.” That’s a critical usage error. Sounds like something people in some random Midwestern city would do. “Come with and we’ll have a bread!” Tell her it’s a piece of bread, or some bread, or that you will call the police otherwise. Then you can settle down happily and enjoy a bowl of a cereal together.

Email of the week!


So everyone has a thousand pictures at least on their phone. The new software has some facial recognition capabilities so you can flip through all the picture of a certain person. The issue I have is that after packing on a few pounds in my 30s, my phone thinks 20s me is a completely different person. I’m insulted and don’t think my phone should be trolling me.


That is so, so mean. By the way, I do love that iPhone update. I have four billion pictures that I will never ever get around to organizing. But now the phone will simply make a tasteful slideshow with tinkling music for you. Awww, look at all these screenshots I made of bad Ringer articles. SO MANY MEMORIES.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.