It’s 2017 and I’ve been actively trying to increase my wokeness. I’m no expert when it comes to matters of social justice; I’m a cis-hetero white female who does her best to stay educated on matters involving my own communities and other communities—and frankly, I’ve started expecting the men I date to do the same. Here’s why I’m only interested in dating woke guys:
- They provide the most stimulating conversation. Now, this may be a generalization, but my experience had led me to believe that woke guys make for the most intelligent conversation. Feel free to disagree, but that’s the narrative I’ve built and I’m sticking to it. And for me, I need intelligent conversation for a relationship (with anyone, honestly) to work. So, if we’re connecting the dots, woke gentlemen and their worldly, well-crafted thoughts are going to be best for me.
- In today’s day and age, it’s important to have someone who shares your political views. We may not be happy about it, but politics are at the forefront of our minds and conversations. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a partner who challenges your point of view or has differing opinions than you (those are actually really good things to have), this political climate can make things extra ~touchy~. It definitely feels easier to chat with someone whose world view is a little more aligned to yours, so you don’t end every date with a screaming match.
- He won’t embarrass you in front of your friends. This might seem a little silly, but picture the night your new bae comes to the bar to meet your squad. Do you really want to be on edge all night wondering if this guy has one tequila shot too many, he might start making subtly racist jokes, calling Hillary a crook, and yelling about how he “doesn’t understand transgender people”? The answer is no, you do not.
- It speaks leagues that they’re interested in awareness. The fact that he listens to Larry Wilmore’s podcast (if you’re not listening to Black On the Air, I couldn’t suggest it more) and reads up on how he can help LGTBQ+ causes is amazing, but it also speaks to the person he is on a deeper level. Interests like this show you that he cares about people other than himself. He can acknowledge his privilege and try to use it to raise up marginalized people. That shows integrity, kindness, curiosity, and braveness, all of which are good characteristics to have in a partner.
- He’s more likely to support me as a woman. Needless to say, I’m a loud and proud feminist and I need a fellow feminist as my partner. Knowing that the man I’m seeing is a feminist means that I know he’ll support me, celebrate my victories, and keep an eye on his well-meaning microaggressions. He’ll let me open the door without doing that weird dance so that he’s opening it for me, he’ll actually let me pay the check when I offer, and other things men in the dating world should just let women do without a fuss. Having a partner like that, someone who respects you and is a genuine ally to your community, is a truly powerful thing.
- On the other hand, there’s something to be said for a man who flaunts his feminism. If you’re dating in 2017, you know this guy: the faux feminist. The guy who uses his “wokeness” to try and entice you. This man knows that most women nowadays are looking for a passionate, smart, socially responsible dude and he’s taking advantage of it. Then there are guys who think they’re a feminist because they read Feministing every now and again and they LOVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT. Guys, when you’re interrupting me every five seconds to jam YOUR take on the wage gap down my throat, you’re kind of doing the opposite of what you’re preaching.
- I don’t expect him to be a flawless social justice warrior. Look, I don’t need my guy to be the shining example of all things woke, here to define “intersectionality” to every ignore bystander. I’m not buying into any of that white/male/straight savior nonsense here. He doesn’t have to go to every rally for every cause or have limitless knowledge on ableism or Islamaphobia. All I ask for is a guy who stays informed, a guy who doesn’t think I’m a man hater because I call myself a feminist, and a man who respects people and tries to see outside of his prism of thought. And while that might sound unrealistic, I don’t think I’m asking for too much.