In the months leading up to the finale of the two-year-long mini-series known as America’s Bachelor: Oval Office Edition, my stomach churned butterflies, but only one thing circled my mind: women. Sure, being a male college student in a fraternity has its perks, but my dating life was largely unfulfilling and chock full of only episodic adventures. I rehearsed different situations over in my head. If there’s a lag in the conversation, I planned to just bring up a blacking out story. And if she’s acting flirtatious, I’ll try and pull the ol’ tickle move. Those things always work, right? I was digging myself a grave.
And while my thoughts were demolishing my dating crusade, the candidates were also flubbing up their political campaigns. Obama was trying to disassociate himself from other angry black men while the geriatric McCain was pretending he wasn’t too old for the presidency. “The candidates are just so sexy,” my friend Elizabeth told me out of the blue one day. What? Politicians can be sexy? After all their political mishaps, I was worried, angry and disgusted with them. Maybe I wasn’t disgusting enough. I began to seek out some sound dating advice from them.
But my efforts were fruitless in getting them to join me at a local dive bar to discuss the opposite sex. In fact, neither campaign returned any of my calls for this story. What friends was McCain talking about? I decided to do the next best thing: get plastered. So there I was, standing at the bar of my favorite Japanese steakhouse with one of my good friends, when she walked in. She was a girl who I had come to know over the past few weeks and whose humor I found intoxicating. She was kinda cute, too. But good-humor girl wasn’t alone. She brought her best friend and bar-hopping running mate, Caroline, along. I was constantly being told how genuinely nice Caroline was, so I knew I had to make a nice, diplomatic impression. Just like Obama would. But when I’m debilitatingly inebriated, the polls aren’t exactly stacked in my favor. My friend nudged me. This was my moment to shine. I stick my hand out to her and say, “Hey Caroline, I hear you’re a real big bitch.” I might as well have called her, “that one!” It was supposed to be a joke, but it was largely misunderstood — even by a hungover me the next day. My friend’s face fell into his hands. It was a dick move.
I needed guidance. But with no girls on the radar to fawn over besides Sarah Palin, I turned on CNN and watched the presidential campaigns smother themselves in shameless self promotion. One of McCain’s advisers jumped on the airwaves and told me that I wasn’t living in “real America.” I expected an apology from McCain, but he mainly tried to ignore the comment — that, or the media just never picked it up. Was McCain ignoring me? Why didn’t he call and apologize? Like a text message, I decided that any robocalls wouldn’t cut it. And Obama was pulling similar stunts. He actually had the audacity to jump on a handful of major television networks and broadcast a thirty minute after school special about how great he and America would be together. Did he really think that showing he cared about someone else’s interests besides mine would sway my vote? He probably did, and he was right. McCain’s blatant disregard to assuage my desire to hear an apology and Obama’s self confidence sparked my interest even more. I subconsciously saw their sexiness, and I loved them even more for it.
On election night, I ventured off on a first date just hours before the polls were scheduled to close down in a few swing states. Thankfully, this girl was worlds from good-humor girl and her bitchy friend. I decided to make big decisions to bolster my self confidence. “We’re going to eat at Panera! You might enjoy the broccoli cheese soup!” I quickly found myself resorting to outright lies as well. “I thought those naked pictures of Vanessa Hudgens were totally disgusting too!” And when she asked a deep question, I was tempted to give a well thought out answer, but I instead opted for the sound bite. “What do I think about the economic crisis? Let’s ride this roller coaster, baby!”
“What are you talking about?”
She had me. Her reaction wasn’t one I had rehearsed. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what I had been saying. My political dating machine was out of steam. “You know, I don’t have any idea. Guess I just had some word vomit in me. Want to take a walk?” She giggled at my disgustingly bad joke, the first genuine laugh I heard from her that night. “So,” I said as I opened the door for her, “do you think McCain is sexy?”