{.should have known.}

by devourslowly

Half way through a mindless conversation the other day, something hit me like a cast iron gridle over my damn head…

H is a Tory.

I am in a functional adult relationship with a Tory.

I had to ask.

… are you a Tory?!

(*thoughtful pause while H chewed on his bottom lip*)

I suppose I would be if I am still at home.

I reached over and grabbed Soufflé from his lap.  Eager to shield my baby from him and his conservative agenda.

I suppose I should have known…  A couple of weeks ago he refused to give any coins to the random opera singing man at the Christchurch town square.  Other than a lack of participation in charitable giving, there have been other telltale signs.  He often speaks of how Maggie stood up to the unions and how the Falklands War was for ideals and not imperialist greed.  If New Zealand has a National Rifle Association I am sure he would be a card-carrying member.

He probably thinks I am anti-establishment, new-aged hippy, pro-choice, soft on crime, soft on education, reader of the Guardian, grew up in a kabbutz and the underground mastermind behind the Bring Back Helen campaign.  By the way, I will own up to everything apart from the kabbutz.

How does one reconcile love with diametric politics?

Are we doomed to a life of unresolved debates and name calling?  Him the gun-totting big-business lapdog and I the pretentious home-wrecking feminista.  I can totally see myself sabotaging his residency to stop him from voting in New Zealand.  I mean come on!  He is a Tory!  What is he doing moving half way across the world to live in what is predominantly left-wing country?

Jokes and stereotypes aside, how does one manage a relationship when there are misaligned ideals? When we first met we bonded over our love of good food, mini-breaks, evening strolls and dirty sarcasm.  We both believe in kindness, honesty, hard work and making up names for people behind their backs.  Politics simply never came up.

Funny that.  We never really discussed politics until now.  He was as taken aback by my liberal conscience as I was his right-wing persuasion.  Do politics matter in a functional relationship?  Many apparent ideological disparities between the left and the right are global.  Big government vs small government; business vs unions, pro-choice pro-life.  Do these conflicts necessarily have to exist in our microscopic life?

Much of our bickerings revolve around individual idiosyncrasies: the toilet seat, disciplining Soufflé and what movie to hire from iTunes.  We are far from the sophistication of a daily political debate over dinner.  Every now and then we speak up about issues we care about: me on better universal health education and him on business ethics.  But these are mostly soliloquies that are met with a grunt and a change of topic.  I care little about dirty business dealings in the CBD.  He has no interest in teaching South Auckland mothers to feed their kids salads rather than McDonald and KFC.  Instead of challenging (and even antaganising) the other person’s ideology, we talk about food, Soufflé, our jobs, our families and plan our evenings and weekends.  We would clean up together and make dessert.  I would be busying with the food while he pretends to help by eating raw dough.  Exciting.

This recent revelation is troubling in that it is not troubling at all.  He is a Tory.  I should care.  I should feel repulsion.  But… *shrug*.  He makes me tea, takes the rubbish out and does the dishes.  So far, so good.