Disillusionment is readily accessible like never before.
Growing frustration with the inefficacy of the powers that be, exacerbated by the pandemic, BLM, and climate change, seems to have flipped a switch. In spaces where conversations about politics were far and in-between, being apolitical is frowned upon now.
Having a vocal political stance has gone from being the exception to the norm, especially in online communities. The personal has always been political, but it’s just that more people are conscious of that now, and feel a certain pressure to tell the world what they stand for.
Dating across the political spectrum has become unthinkable, especially if you are on the left. Anybody who has been on dating apps over the past year has come across bios that request you to not be any kind of -ist, except leftist and feminist. Some of them casually propose that together you two could seize the means of production, like some kind of edgy first date activity.
As something of a serial swiper and anarcho-communist (please don’t quiz me on this) myself, I have also given in to indicating my position on these apps.
Putting ‘Left’ or ‘Other’ in the political alignment section of your profile is easy enough. Imploring the other person to not be a Sanghi is a step beyond that, overtly asking the Modi fandom to stay tf away. This serves as a filter, conserving people’s time & energy and also preventing triggers, by eliminating certain types of scum from their dating pool altogether. This move, of course, doesn’t guarantee anything. Especially as a woman or femme-presenting person on these apps, you will continue to be approached by people who aren’t embarrassed to publicly identify as a moderate or *gasp* even an outright conservative.
I will admit, my brain has long been wired to gravitate towards people who make it a point to spell out their dedication to the socialist cause, even if they seem to have no other qualities that I find attractive. I wanna give them the benefit of doubt because I seek comfort in solidarity.
But when Kartik from Christ University claims that “eating your ass is the only ethical consumption under capitalism ;)”, I can’t help but be skeptical.
Is Kartik really committed to dismantling structures that he actively benefits from, or is he just trying to virtue signal his way to some pussy?
Is it unfair to conflate humor with insincerity? Yes. Is there a very real possibility that these bare-minimum type men are just left-posing because it helps them get laid? Also yes.
There’s no way to suss out if someone identifies as a leftist because it’s the in-thing to do and a really convenient way to appear more dateable, without actually talking to them.
And then there are the leftbros. This delightful term coined by one of my friends refers to all those Žižek thumping, discourse-loving, self-important men who can’t be bothered to apply their politics to how they treat people in real life. They will intellectualize the pain of marginalized communities and expect a pat on the back. And they genuinely think it’s a good idea to initiate conversation by mansplaining dialectical materialism.
Essentially, dating for them is just an ongoing dick-measuring contest, Marxist theory edition.
I’m not gonna lie, initially, I did fall prey to some of these mfers who had interesting things to say in a world filled with backpacking in Europe travel stories. But after being patronized by one too many leftbros, I have learnt to identify the telltale signs from their prompt answers and swipe left for good.
Of course, there are other more indirect ways to indicate your political ideology as well. As I have discussed before, many of us want our tastes in pop culture to serve as a determiner of compatibility, and what better way to do that than combining your politics with the media you consume? When you state that you are an avid fan of ContraPoints, you are looking to weed out people based on their responses to this. It’s an if-you-know-you-know type of sitch (and I’m afraid this article is too, to some extent. Let me know.)
At the end of the day, I think it’s imperative to be cynical about the intentions of all self-proclaimed leftists, myself included. I’m aware that it’s extremely difficult to practice what you preach while living and participating in the circus of late-stage capitalism. Most of us don’t really have a choice in this regard. So we relegate our venting and nostril-flaring to the Internet, where we can pick and choose which conversations we participate in, braving allegations of confirmation bias and sometimes even hypocrisy.
Sounds like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kinda scenario to me. In honour of picking the former option, come let’s discuss praxis. Haha, just kidding. Or am I?