heavier stuff

I published this post a few days ago, and then pulled it, because I realized

Last night, the guy that I've been seeing mentioned the name of a 19th century political tract that he considers one of his favorite pieces of writing. "You should read it," he said. He didn't say why I should, though. I don't know if he wanted me to read it because he thinks I'd find it interesting, or because the ideas in it form the basis of his personal political beliefs - things we talked briefly about over drinks this past Friday night. I don't know if he wanted me to read it because he wants me to better understand the philosophical issues that came up in our talk, or if he wants me to better understand him.

Whatever his reasons were, tonight I did read the piece, for reasons of my own, some of which are listed above, and some of which are not. I'm not someone who typically reads 100+ year old political pamphlets. It would be phony of me to claim intellectual curiosity as a motivating factor. However, if it's a subject about which he's passionate - which it is - then it's something I do want to understand better, because I want to be able to speak with relative confidence about a subject that's important to him. Because I enjoy talking to him. And because I want to know the things that make him tick.

At some point, I assume we'll talk about the piece. I assume, since he encouraged me to read it, that he'll want to know what I think of the ideas in it. And I've been thinking about what I'm going to say to him. I think it'll be something like this:

Right now, I don't care what you think about taxes or gun control or welfare. There are interesting conversations to be had about those things, absolutely. And I recognize that getting to know your beliefs on them will help me better understand you. And maybe the way you feel about those things has something to say about you, fundamentally, as a human being - which will help me know if you're a human being I want to keep spending time with.

But for one thing, I already know we're not so vastly different in our beliefs as for it to be an issue for me. I can only speak for myself, but I don't require that the people I date have political beliefs that match up 100% with my own. I'm usually good with somewhere around 75-80%, provided the other important stuff is in place: trust, communication, mutual respect and care.

And for another, those conversations, while interesting, are also mine fields. And right now I'm enjoying just keeping things lighthearted, because I think laughter and fun are a great foundation to lay down, when you're first getting to know someone. I think those are good things to pave the first few miles of road with. The further we get down that road, the more we know one another, the better chance we have of navigating difficult subjects with success.

So yeah, right now, I don't care about your political beliefs. I care that the other day, you stopped at Walgreen's before coming over, to see if you could find more slushy pops for us. I care that you always take a minute to play with Chaucer when he greets you. I care that when I hobbled back from the bathroom at the bar, you stood up to clear the crowd and help me to my seat. I care that you chose to stay with me Saturday morning and work from my bed, rather than leaving and going into the office. I care that you stay in touch with me even when you're busy, and that you've not once complained about coming downtown to see me for a month straight, since I broke my foot.

And right now, I hope you care less about my political beliefs than the fact that I took the time to read something that's meaningful to you.

What do you say we save the heavier stuff for if and when we've got something solid enough under our feet to support it?

Something like that, is what I think I'll say.