Three tequila shots later, I stumbled into my room.
My boyfriend texted me.
“I wish i could be there right now...”
I collapsed into my bed.
“It’s only four years... We can do this.”
At a time when normally all I would be thinking about is having my long-distance boyfriend alone in my room (come on … you know tequila does that to you, too), all I wanted to do was cry.
Donald Trump was our president, and I had never felt more alone.
Flash forward almost a year, and luckily for me I’m alive and well. Despite the daily threats to human rights, I know that I am incredibly privileged. My boyfriend still loves me (despite my countless Facebook debates and inherent rancor towards anyone I felt was the root cause of America’s empathy problem). My birth control is still free thanks to my current healthcare options. I am a white woman in America. My life had not been drastically altered. The dating terrain, however, has.
This summer in New York City, I took a trip to the Comedy Cellar. Most of the names on the billing were up-and-comers with a couple of writing credits here and there, but one man in particular had his own Netflix special: Jim Norton.
As many stand-up comedians do, Norton began his set by discussing the plights of modern dating. Nowadays, politics matter in the dating realm because many feel like it is a reflection of one’s character. Norton referenced that women will put “Swipe left if you voted for Trump” in their Tinder bios. He immediately followed by saying that he would swipe right to match with the woman, lie about his political alliance, have sex with said woman and shout, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” as he came on her back in the end.
I immediately felt very small and acutely aware of the very real problem that women face in Trump’s America. Not only do they have to fear that a stranger will feel enabled to “grab ‘em by the p*ssy” as they walk down once-familiar streets of their hometowns, but they have to worry about the disrespect and betrayal of consensual partners as well.
I find myself fortunate to have a loving, respectful partner who was raised to build women up in a world that so often puts them down. I feel like I picked the needle out of a haystack, though. While not all men are terrible misogynists, the way that our president has enabled all men to act through his words and actions is egregious. This became morbidly clear to me through Norton’s horrendous act and the resulting belly-laughs that echoed in my ears long after the show was over.
We can’t allow this type of behavior to prevail. We are still stronger together, no matter who stands on the podium. Dating can be great again, as long as we hold men accountable and know that we are worth so much more.
To women seeking male partners out there: I am sorry. There are good men out there, I promise.
To men seeking female partners out there: Please prove us wrong. It’ll be ‘uge.