One year of Left in Love dates leaves us wanting more

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Left in Love launched one year ago, on February 14, 2014. We figured that, while it might not be hard to find a date in the age of Tinder and OKCupid, the search for an intimate partner is all the more difficult when you add politics to the mix. Who wants to put pants on, leave the house, and sit through dinner with someone who turns out to think Rob Ford is just a victim of progressive media biases or that sexual harassment is a compliment?

Over the year, we've seen some great dates -- some that end in a friendly hug and nothing more, others that end with kisses and hopeful butterflies.

I contacted some past daters to see what they felt, retrospectively, about their Left in Love dates and to find out how our matchmaking skills panned out.

The first-ever date paired Chris and Nichole. Alas, the spark was missing, but both seemed to have fond memories of the evening nonetheless.

"People are always asking me about the date so I find myself talking and thinking about the experience a lot," Chris said. "I usually urge whoever I'm talking to to go on a blind date if they ever get a chance because it's a fun experience even if things don't work out. Pretty much everyone I talk to about Left in Love says, 'Where do I sign up?'"

Nichole told me the date was "a fun experience" and that even if it had gone poorly she wouldn't regret it. 

"You often see single people restrict themselves when it comes to meeting new romantic interests -- refusing to go on blind dates or join an online dating service, for example. Or they'll only consider dating people they meet through their friends, work, etc. I've never understood the logic of this, especially because people often are stubborn about this even when it's clearly not working for them."

She added, "I don't think there should be so many rules surrounding how you meet the next person you're going to date."

Chris is still single and living in Vancouver but "actively dating" and says, "I recently broke my decade-long rule of never meeting someone via Internet dating sites, which has opened up quite a few possibilities. I actually went on a really successful date last night with a woman I met online and am looking forward to seeing her again."

Nichole moved back to Toronto and took herself "off the market" for about six months, worried that dating would distract her from focusing on herself and her career. She's now become involved with someone and, four months in, "it's going great!"

One of my favorite dates happened between my friend, Angus, and a woman named Priscilla in June.

It sure sounded like a love match back then and, according to both, things have blossomed since.

Angus and Priscilla. Photo: Meghan Murphy

Angus remembers watching the sunset with Priscilla on that first date saying, "in that moment I felt appreciation for the calm, and the sense of beautiful possibilities opening up before me." The two have been together ever since. "Our relationship is defined by openness and appreciation; the beauty of it all grows, day by each closing day." Swoon.

Priscilla told me that she and Angus will be celebrating their 8-month anniversary at the end of this month. "I don't think anyone is more surprised than I am by our relationship," she said. "In fact, I never dreamed I would be so well-matched with anyone in my life."

"I am admittedly a critical, assertive and impatient woman who is very hard to please in many ways. We manage somehow to not only communicate and work out our differences, but also find support, acceptance and love with each other. I've learned so much about love from Angus who honestly has one of the biggest hearts I know. He is so essential to my happiness these days that I can't bear to think how my life would have turned out if I hadn't signed up to go on a Left in Love date."

Cass went on a date with Selina in August and while I couldn't reach Selina in time for this column, Cass said, "I'm so glad I participated in Left in Love. It's hard enough to meet potential dates in this city let alone progressive women I'm interested in!"

While he and Selina didn't have a romantic connection, Cass said he was grateful, nonetheless, to have been matched with someone with "a similar work life and complimentary life experiences."

"Clearly some real work went into finding a connection," he said.

Since August, Cass says he's gone on a number of dates with a women he met on Tinder and OkCupid, but recently decided to stop trying to find matches online and just "wait to meet someone the old fashioned way."

"So find me at AAA grocery on the Drive most days if you like what you hear," he joked.

In November, we set Roz up on a date with Sam. "Even though there wasn't a love connection," she said, "we had a nice time drinking fancy drinks and eating delicious food. Sam was a great guy to spend the evening with." 

"One of the things I appreciated about the date was that I could take for granted that we would be more or less on the same page politically, so I didn't need to worry about trying to bring things up naturally in conversation," Roz said.

"Those kind of topics can be kind of heavy for a first date, but they're important to me in order to know if someone is a good match for me." Roz says the two haven't kept in touch and that she's dating a little, but not seeing anyone seriously. 

Sam says that he was glad he participated in Left In Love, despite a small sense of inadequacy that lingered afterwards. He says, though, "The delicious meal and stimulating conversation was worth the risk of putting myself out on a line." He isn't currently dating anyone but told me he'd certainly be willing to try Left in Love again if he had the opportunity.

Angus number two went on great date with Maddy over the summer, who told me after the date that Angus seemed like "a summery tanned guy with bright, fun energy!"

Suitably, the two have been vacationing in Mexico together since January. Maddy was unreachable (it's possible she's busy enjoying herself instead of responding to emails), but Angus told me that he remembered thinking, after their date, "This seems like it might get complicated considering both of our dating situations [Maddy was casually seeing someone at the time, but is no longer] at the moment." He told me he was excited that he'd met someone that is "worth getting complicated with" and that things remain… complicated.

And when isn't love complicated? The hope is, of course, that love is worth the trouble.

As Jesse Kline put it in the National Post, "This is no joke. Readers who… think Karl Marx is a misunderstood genius can contact rabble columnist Meghan Murphy in hopes of being set up with another fan of organic vegan salads and single-payer medicine."

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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