I’m the last person in the world I ever expected to be writing to Dear Savvy for advice. I thought I had the perfect life—good health, good friends, a great job in Congress serving my constituents—and I figured everything would just keep moving along in that same direction.
But then I went to the State of the Union speech, and everything changed.
I met a Republican. And I think I’m in love.
Most of the time, they sit on their side of the aisle, and we sit on our side, and never the twain shall meet. Except that this year, with everything that’s been going on lately, somebody thought it would a nice gesture if the two sides actually sat together for a change.
Anyway, it’s not like Slash (not his real name) was my “date” or anything. He was sitting there with another Democrat, and I was on his other side—we just happened to be next to each other. So I was simply being polite when I turned in his direction and introduced myself.
Talk about sparks flying!
He had the firmest handshake I’d come across in years, and when he talked to me, he looked me right in the eye. Meanwhile, everything he said—and we were mostly making small talk, but still—he said with such confidence and conviction, it was like he’d already figured out all the answers while the rest of us were still stumbling around in the dark somewhere.
And he laughed at the salmon joke! I never expected a Republican to have a sense of humor, but he got the salmon joke as soon as the president said it, and he laughed exactly the same way I did.
But the thing that really clinched it for me is when everyone stood up to cheer about America being the best country in the world, and the place we’d all want to be more than any other place in the world. Just as we were all sitting back down again, our knees hit. My left knee, and his right knee.
The look he gave me at that exact moment—I know he felt it, too. And when the speech was over (much too soon!), it was like neither of us wanted to go back to our regular lives. We exchanged business cards, and we even talked about working on some legislation together.
Needless to say, I haven’t told another soul about any of this.
Am I going crazy?
Captivated in the Capitol
Relax. You haven’t lost your mind—or your principles.
What you’re experiencing is actually quite common in political circles. Our current system is so well designed for demonizing every member of the other party that when you actually meet one of them in the flesh, so to speak, it’s almost impossible for him to live up to your negative expectations!
You’re absolutely right not to talk about this with any of your friends—they’ll only ridicule you, and condemn you for “crossing over.” His friends, meanwhile, will be even tougher on him—they’ll think he really is consorting with the devil!
Besides, you can’t be sure that your new GOPal feels the same way you do about what happened the other night. You felt sparks. He might just have a bruised knee.
Infatuation is nothing to be embarrassed about—the momentary attraction of opposites. It happens, even in Washington.
It will pass.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.