Her Stomach Hurts Over His Political Views

"How do you feel about our discussion Saturday night?" he asks. "Your message said it made you feel scared."

"My stomach hurts so much," she says. "I’m really sad. I probably just didn’t want to know."

"You didn’t," he says.

"It was amazing hearing you speak like that about Judaism," she says. "It was incredible. You were so passionate and articulate. You just displayed a commitment and a maturity that I have never seen in you before."

"It’s the stuff that I’m good at," he says. "A lot of the other stuff we talk about, I’m not necessarily good at. But why I became Jewish, why I observe Judaism, why I study Torah, the role of Judaism in the world, these are all questions I’ve thought a lot about and have articulate answers.

"I was glad that you were finally interested in asking."

"It just confirmed my worst fears," she says. "I was very grateful that you were sharing. It was incredible to see that side of you. Those are two things (right-wing politics and Orthodox Judaism) that I am virulently against."

"I know," he says. "I’ve known that from the first night I met you."

"So why were you attracted to me?" she asks.

"I take your religious and political views as primarily expressions of emotion," he says.

"But it’s how I spend my days," she says. "Our politics are very much a part of what we do."

"Everyone I’ve dated has been left-wing," he says.

"It’s kind of disempowering for me for you not to see how very important it is for me," she says.

"I understand how important it is to you," he says. "Your reaction to religion and your political embrace strikes me as overwhelmingly emotional."

"If it’s emotional to me," she says, "wow. It is very emotional to me. That should give you an idea of how important it is to me."

"You don’t believe in God," he says. "You think it’s a belief in nothing. I think many of your beliefs are also beliefs in nothing. I don’t date you for your political philosophy. I don’t turn to you for your secular philosophies or for solutions to homelessness. None of those things make any difference in why I find you attractive and why I like to spend time with you."

"How can you be with someone who you think believes in nothing?" she asks.

"Easy," he says. "Your views are not that important to me. You’re obsessed with dogs. I love dogs but I don’t have one-one hundredth of your commitment to them. I don’t share it. I don’t need to share it."

"It’s different for me," she says. "It’s hard for me to hear your politics and how you believe in Judaism. I don’t even have friends who are right-wing."

"You said you had a lot of right-wing friends, such as Jack*," he says.

"He’s a million times better," she says.

"Better?" he asks.

"Yeah."

"Well, you told me before you had a lot of right-wing Republican friends," he says.

"Right," she says. "I have many banker friends, but that’s not who I’m with. My whole life is around this progressive group of people. That’s all any of us do — progressive politics. It may not be important to you. As you said yesterday, who cares what a girl’s political views are as long as she’s hot. For me, it’s a massive impediment. It just really crystalized things last night in a way that broke my heart. It’s something I really want to think about."

"That’s funny," he says. "Last night you said you were learning that not all Republicans are evil. I’ve always had friends with completely different political and religious views. It’s not a big deal. Their views on politics and religion do not disqualify them from my friendship. It’s strange for me when I meet people who only want to be with people who share their political and religious views."

"Do you want to be with me?" she asks.

"Yeah," he says. "It’s disappointing when you don’t want to make kiddish with me, like on Friday night. Or on Shabbos afternoon, when you didn’t want to talk to my friends because they were Orthodox. You couldn’t even say Gut Shabbos to them. But those are bumps in the road."

"I’m very shaken by last night," she says. "I’ve been in the moment with you. Not making rules and not worrying about the future. Last night I just feel like my eyes opened wider. I can’t end up with someone who has a different political ideology. My whole life is going to be about this. I can’t end up with an Orthodox Jew.

"So, do we keep doing what we’re doing?"

"Why don’t we take a break?" he says. "And see if we want to come back to it?"

"I was really upset," she says. "But I’m going to be really upset if I am not with you too. I don’t really understand. If we get even closer, how much more heart-broken am I going to be? If you know that ultimately we’re not going to…"

She chokes up.

"I saw this incredible passionate side of you," she says. "I’d prefer if you kicked around cats. I wouldn’t mind that at all. They just make everybody sneeze."

"That’s horrible," he says.

"I’d prefer it," she says. "I’d prefer even a criminal record. Baby, I feel stupid. Maybe I shouldn’t even have brought it up.

"I had nightmares all last night, scary ones that woke me up."

"Were you being chased by big bad Republicans?" he asks.

"Yeah," she says. "These rabbis. I took a baseball bat.

"So you’re not interested in me for philosophy?"

"Nor your political views," he says. "I’ve asked you about them and I’ve enjoyed hearing them but that’s not what turns me on about you. I can get that from a million people. I view your political and religious views as absurd as you view mine. I don’t view them as evil though. I think you view mine as evil. I just think you’re silly. I don’t think you’re a bad person for having your views, but I think you think I am a bad person for having mine."

"I don’t at all," she says. "Just none of it makes sense."

"You talked last night about how it was hard for you to learn that not all Republicans were evil," he says. "If you were true to your beliefs, you would think my political views were evil."

"When you say that I’m misguided," she says, "it doesn’t lead to contempt?"

"I have contempt for many of your views but I don’t have contempt for you," he says. "I don’t think you’ve ever felt that I have contempt for you. That does not come up for me emotionally. I’ve never taken your views that seriously. It’s like getting mad at a three-year-old for not wiping her bottom."

"That’s what you’re comparing my views to?" she asks.

"Yeah, I think they’re childish," he says. "You think mine are absurd or evil and I think yours’ are silly.

"I went through the agony you’re going through now a long time ago. A long time ago, I accurately saw what you stand for. I had the pain of that. I had the pain of you leaving me twice. Last night was the first time you got a full sense of what I stand for."

"I don’t even have friends whose views I think are childish," she says. "I couldn’t be friends with someone who I thought had childish views. It makes me feel incredibly strange. Neither of us should feel that what we stand for is childish. What are we if we are not what we stand for?"

"A lot of people are a lot better than their beliefs," he says.

"But that implies that there’s something wrong with my beliefs," she says.

"We both think there’s something terribly wrong with the other person’s beliefs," he says. "They totally diverge on the most important matters in life. Either the other person is evil or silly in their beliefs. There are those two alternatives."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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