“Frankly I don’t care about politics, I don’t like to talk about politics,” a guy named Michael said at Match.com’s election night party in Brooklyn, where results were broadcast barely loud enough to be heard over the din of the supposed flirting. So why was he there? “Because it was in Brooklyn.”
Michael works in finance and doesn’t have much time or opportunity to meet people. This was his third such Match.com “Stir” event, he said, and so far he hasn’t met anybody. “I’ve been a member [of Match.com] for a long time,” he said. “To say the least.”
Stir events are basically just big singles mixers, and the site holds a few of them each week in New York. The door person, Chris, who met her husband on Match, said the larger events routinely draw 200 to 300 people, though Tuesday night’s attendance was lighter than that. You might think an election-themed singles’ mixer would create a certain loaded atmosphere — if any of the attendees wanted to talk about politics.
At this Stir party, twice as many men as women attended. But Naneka, a psychotherapist who lives down the street from the bar, said she was disappointed in her options. They seemed “serious,” she lamented, claiming, like Michael, she only came because it was nearby, not to hear the returns.
Despite the political apathy, everyone made one or two awkward, obligatory mentions of the election — “How were the lines?” “Can’t wait till this is over!” — before settling in with a reasonably priced beer and talking about something else. A man sitting by the bathroom dutifully read off numbers as they appeared onscreen, but nobody paid him much attention. One guest, a quiet engineer named Steve, didn’t mind talking politics, although he didn’t vote. He didn’t get it together in time, he said, although he probably would have voted for Romney. Another man, Pete, said that he voted, but wrote in his own name for the presidency. He then changed his position, saying he had actually written in the name of his cat, and proceeded to show me a picture of her on his iPhone. She was a Siamese and dressed in a devil costume.
Can you be close with people who support different candidates than you? Neither a guy named Manny nor his friend Nazar, both doctors, said that they would have a problem dating across party lines. “My mom was like, ‘I hope you’re sick so you can’t vote!’” added Manny, a libertarian who voted for third-party candidate Gary Johnson. “These guys,” he said, gesturing toward the TV displaying Romney and Obama’s frozen visages, “seem to talk a lot.” (Which would also seem to be the point of a single’s mixer, but: details.)
Nearby, a teacher named Cheryl said she’d be turned off If she found out a man she was interested in had voted for “the evil one.” She didn’t specify who she meant. “You don’t talk about politics on the first date,” she said, “but here we are.”