It’s getting a lot of comments on Twitter, with people often making fun of it:
I think he phrased it in an immature and silly way, but it’s basically true. Honestly, if I’m going on a first date, I want to know if she takes astrology seriously. In my case, it wouldn’t be because I think astrology is stupid (although I do); I can handle stupidity. In fact, I like eccentricity! No, I want to know if she is into astrology because even though I think she is more often Stupid, I also see it as a gateway into magic. And this is an insurmountable obstacle to a romantic relationship for me. Likewise, she’ll want to know that I’m the kind of Christian who can’t have a romantic relationship with anyone who’s involved in the occult. If she finds it crazy, fair enough: we understand each other.
When the divorce my wife filed this past spring becomes final next year, I will be free to remarry if I want to. I’m not sure what God has in mind for me, but if I were to start looking for a romantic partner again, there’s no question he would have to be a serious traditional Christian. I can’t imagine being so intimate with someone who doesn’t share my faith, and my level of commitment to it. It doesn’t matter if “she likes to travel, she prefers to focus on building her horse,” or “she likes the theater, he prefers movies.” That kind of difference can be a lot of fun, and add interest and fun to a relationship. A commitment to faith is absolutely the foundation of everyone’s life, so why shouldn’t it be for life together? I couldn’t imagine sharing this side of my life with my partner. I don’t know how far this limit should go. Only orthodox, like me? Catholic? Protestant?
What about politics? In theory, I wouldn’t care. Except that we now live in an age where politics, including religion, is a reliable marker of worldview. Yes, there are some Democrats who are faithful Christians, and if it was a matter of discussing economic policies, hey, no problem. But the kinds of social and cultural issues that divide the left from the right derive from a larger moral and spiritual worldview that I’m afraid my libertarian wife and I will be constantly debating. I think I could live and thrive within a marriage in which we were different kinds of conservatives, but not outside of it. I don’t think it would have been true forty years ago, but the divisions in American life and culture have become so great. The last thing anyone wants to do at home is discuss – not “debate” or “debate”, but “argue” – politics with their spouse.
What about other things, like, say, music? Woody Allen has a strange streak Hannah and her sisters, in which Ellen takes Diane West to listen to Bobby Short at Cafe Carlyle, and she’s blown out of her mind. She takes him to a downtown rock club – CBGB, maybe – and he hates it. I don’t think I could be comfortable being in this kind of relationship unless either of us cares a lot about music. But anyway, what’s the sound like at home? At my age (55), I listen to classical, classic jazz, and old-school, pre-rock popular music (eg, Cole Porter). Basically, as a teenager I was a CBGB type, but I’ve turned into a Cafe Carlyle guy. I once knew a couple in which the husband was about twenty years older than his new wife, and she loved going to classical concerts and the opera. He did not, and preferred other types of music. They were both wonderful people, but the marriage did not last, as the fundamental difference in musical tastes marked the deepest divide between the two.
I hate to think about all this stuff again at this point in my life. I also listen to Byzantine and Slavic songs these days. Maybe I’ll become an old monk, and get a dog. But the dog loved Diana Krall more than I’m saying.
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what about you? What do you think about astrology question? What other questions do you think are important to ask on a first date—questions that will reveal whether or not this relationship has potential? By the way, the screenshot above is from this short film about how astrology led to the first historical war. It contains some profanity, so NSFW.
update: A friend wrote that it reads like a personal ad. oh god! I am ashamed. I didn’t mean for that to happen! It will be a long time before I’m ever interested in dating, if ever (I’m thinking: probably never). Astrological tweets, however, make me wonder about questions in general that will end unsuitable partners. If I were to do a personal ad, here’s what it would be: