Last night at the launch of the anti-G20, anti-neo-liberalism campaign, a young woman who I’d been dating asked me, after a certain amount of hand wringing, if we couldn’t just be friends.
But of course, I said, to be honest I’m quite glad that you brought it up because I’d actually been contemplating quite seriously asking the same thing of you.
She said, you’re lovely but…
I interrupted her at that point.
I’m sure you have your reasons as I have mine, I said. I don’t think it’s necessary going into the detail of it seeing as our conclusions are happily the same, do you?
She nodded but it was evident she was not actually that happy about my approach. I knew what she was going to say though so it seemed a little pointless to actually hear it. She was going to say,
“You’re lovely but you’re just too much of a neo-liberal for me.”
I had actually contemplated doing the let’s just be friends talk that night.
But as it was the launch and she was quite involved in the whole anti-neo-liberalism thing it struck me that it would have been a little tactless if nicely ironic to break up with her because she wasn’t quite neo-liberal enough for me. Whereas I could appreciate there was a certain poetic symmetry and romance to her dumping me that night. That is by placing her ideals above the demands of her heart, she was exhibiting true dedication to her cause and all that.
But I flatter myself. We’d only dated five or so times and sure we hit it off in some ways but in many ways we didn’t.
Besides, my reasons were not really that she was not neo-liberal enough for me but rather that her fierce adherence to her ideals kept reminding me of her age and that she was, at the end of the day, just too young for me.
As I write this, I’m questioning myself as to why I associate her idealism and her keen sense of injustice with that of age. After all, I know many others in my age group who still have the same idealism and politics.
No, it wasn’t actually about her politics, it was more that I knew from the first couple of conversations with her that my politics would be a problem for her, that she would not be able to prevent herself from making judgements. And even though I moderated my position in many ways in conversation, I could still feel her opinions hardening. It was specifically that blindness, that placement of so much importance and value on what people think and profess to believe in, that earnest intolerance of difference (in politics that is), which reminded me of her age.
Or perhaps she just reminded me of myself when I was her age. My politics were not so different then. I can recall being 23 and asking all my friends if they knew anyone who was towards the right of the political spectrum. No one put their hand up.
As an aside, the chap who I mentioned in an earlier post as being a tad put off by my neo-liberal self dating one of his compatriots in the fight against the evils of neo-liberalism was also at the launch. He brushed past me with what i read to be a smile of satisfaction. The world has been set right again. I shrugged ruefully.
So it has.