Left in Love: Angus and Priscilla overcome white male privilege and find common ground

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Left in Love is a dating column for progressive daters who give a damn! Each month, Meghan Murphy matches couples looking for radical love and documents the date in this space. Our couple this month is Angus and Priscilla.

Angus is a 32-year-old events coordinator. He likes the Oxford comma, team sports, and communism. Cynical/hopeful.

Priscilla is a 29-year-old adventurer who is serious about fighting patriarchy. She has worked as a feminist activist at a women's shelter. Passionate/hopeful.

Priscilla: Angus arrived early and stood up to shake my hand as I approached the table. He had good eye contact and a confident grip. From the way he was dressed to his outgoing demeanor, I could tell he made an effort to be engaging and engaged on our date. I was immediately taken by his self-assurance and his positive energy.

Angus: My first impression of Priscilla was that her attitude towards the date seemed composed of a kind of skeptical fatalism -- an acceptance that for something interesting to happen, one might have to do something ridiculous. 

Priscilla: I felt nervous for a couple of silly reasons: 1) The post-date interview where my date and I potentially have to score each other out of 10 for a public audience, and 2) the blind date factor. I only realized after I completed the questionnaire and received the email notifying me of a match that I had barely specified anything about looks. So on the days leading up to the date I told friends was worried I would be paired up with an unattractive-looking, undesirable man. I also told one of my exes about the date and he promised to read the column, which further upped the stakes for me, because I am a very competitive person and it reinforced my need for the date to go well.

Angus: Of course I wasn't nervous. What about that situation would make a person nervous? Just kidding. I felt so nervous -- it was awful. But after about half an hour I found a comfortable way to sit so that my hands didn't feel like they belonged to someone else, and that helped a bit.

Priscilla: When I saw Angus I felt relieved and enthused. I shared with him my anxiety about the interview which led to a free-flowing exchange of our thoughts and feelings about the date, setting the tone for the rest of the evening to be warm and candid. 

Angus: Conversation was tricky at first. It was immediately clear to me that Priscilla was going to react negatively to any attempt at misdirection, or diversion away from trying to understand each other on a somewhat meaningful level. In other words, it was going to go badly for me if I spent the evening trying to impress her with bullshit. It was a relief to be having the date on those terms, but it made me self-conscious about whether or not I was asking authentic questions.

Priscilla: I thought the conversation was surprisingly deep and thoughtful for a first date. We covered quite a bit of ground or maybe it was just getting to know one another intimately. He shared reasons why he thought he was not ready for a relationship in the past, upcoming projects and the direction he is taking in life, all of which painted a very clear picture of who he was and what he stood for. There was a lot of light-hearted joking.

Angus: We didn't spend too much time talking about our jobs. Mostly we talked about what we did in terms of expression. Priscilla writes, and seems to have a fairly intense relationship with writing as a tool for processing her emotional life and her experience of the world. Her personality is great. She's funny in a very candid way. One of the memorable things that she said, speaking of that bluntness, was that if we weren't being asked to rate the date out of 10, she would have given me a way harder time. She also said that I was the most interesting white man she had ever met, but we agreed that the bar wasn't set very high, and that I shouldn't let it go to my head.

Priscilla: Angus is the Event Coordinator for a charitable, equality-seeking start-up organization. He seemed gregarious, caring, driven and sincere. What was striking to me is that he is a true communicator, someone who values open dialogue and is articulate. Which is rare. That, combined with his wit and humour, made for a very enjoyable evening. A particularly memorable moment was when I said something to the effect of, "you know, up until maybe now, I wasn't sure I wanted to date another white man" to which he replied, "yeah, aren't they the worst?" That made me laugh, not only for the obvious absurdity (him being white), but because he genuinely understood what I meant and empathized with my off-handed remark about white male privilege. It was a happy moment. One of many that evening.

Angus: I liked a lot of things about Priscilla. She struck me as sensitive and reflective, and generally mindful of who she is and how things affect her. Self-awareness is sexy. We did the whole "where would you like to be in 10 years" bit, and I was attracted to the way she described her metric for achievement. I think we agreed, fundamentally, on where fulfillment might come from in life. She said a lot of notable things, and consistently presented things in ways that were slightly new to me, then followed by asking questions that no one had asked me before. 

Priscilla: His heart seems to be in the right place, and I like that he is a socially aware and political person… That's just my PC way of calling him a feminist. I thoroughly enjoyed his willingness to share, although that was also what I didn't like... He, self-admittedly, talks too much. I interrupted him in mid-sentence more than once to say something because otherwise he would have kept going. Much to his credit, he told me that he liked the interruptions and agreed with me that they were necessary. We went for a nice walk by the downtown harbour after dinner and in the middle of it I challenged him to five minutes of silence to watch the sun set. He was such a good sport about it and didn't even talk when an elderly couple asked him a question. I was amazed. We laughed about that a lot, how the most impressive thing about him was his ability to talk a lot and to not talk. I can come across as too critical or even rude to some people when I say what is on my mind, but I think Angus gets me. Either that, or he is extremely tolerant and understanding.

Angus: I had a really good time. After dinner we went for a walk by the water and watched the sunset over Stanley Park, and mostly tried to figure out if everyone that walked by us could tell we were on a blind date. The date ended with me waiting with Priscilla for a bus so that she could go home and pack for a two-week trip to visit family in Hong Kong. If she brings it up, you can say that we made out and that it was fantastic, but if she doesn't, you can say I didn't either. I definitely hope to see her again.

Priscilla: Overall I thought the date went well. We both had a great time getting to know one another. I think the hallmark of a good date is when even the awkward moments feel authentic. That was the case with Angus, who made the awkward moments even more awkward so that we could share a good belly laugh over them. I don't know if he will mention how the date ended but I will... We kissed, and it was one of the highlights of the evening for me. I will definitely see him again. I had to rush off to pack for a two-week trip on our date night, but we made plans for me to call him when I get back, so I'll do that.

Priscilla rates the date 9 out of 10

Angus rates the date 9.5 out of 10

Tired of wading through profiles on online dating sites? Apathetic offerings getting you down? Left in Love is rabble.ca's answer to dating fatigue. And where better to find your match than among fellow progressives! Who wants to waste a night out with someone who thinks heath care is bad for the economy or who suggests things like "pulling oneself up one's bootstraps?" Let us send you out on the town with someone who will tickle your radical fancy! If you're in the Vancouver area and would like to take part, contact us at love[at]rabble.ca and fill out an application.

Meghan Murphy is a writer and a journalist in Vancouver, B.C. The column Left in Love is published every month.


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