Get a Grip: Trump Derangement Syndrome in Public Is Not Okay!
People who know what I do for a living are usually surprised when they learn that I do not talk about controversial subjects in polite company. Whenever I'm at a party someone will say, "You're not at all what I expected." I try not to take it personally. Did they think I was going to hold court, interrogating everyone on their political beliefs and demanding conversions? It always leaves me confused. I was taught from a young age that politics and religion are not topics to be introduced in social situations where you aren't sure of your audience. My parents were very political but would never have dreamed of inviting people to their home and grilling them about whom they voted for. It was simply not done by anyone with sense who wanted friends.
The rules change, of course, when you are with like-minded people who enjoy discussing politics, or even people who disagree but with whom you're intimate enough to broach subjects of great importance or controversy. There are groups of friends I have whose conversations are always riotously political and full of the kind of intellectual banter I enjoy. But for God's sake, if you're going to a Christmas party or something, nobody wants to hear what you think about the travel ban.
It's even more annoying at the grocery store or salon. On two occasions recently I was accosted in a public place by strangers with stupid opinions they wanted everyone to hear. This week it was the salon, where I was minding my own business getting my hair done. A client walked in to wait her turn and began immediately alerting everyone about how thrilled she was that Christmas was finally over. I thought that was strange to begin with — who could object to roaring fires and family and hot chocolate in front of twinkle lights and gifts of generosity and love? This thoroughly unpleasant woman then began scrolling through her phone and loudly spat that there was "another Trump story" she was disgusted with. At this point she looked right at me, a total stranger, and accused, "I hope YOU don't love Trump!"
As she stood there waiting for my response, the only thing I could think to do to preserve some semblance of peace and holiday spirit was to stare back blankly. My face didn't register anything — no smile, no nervous laughter, just a blank, awkward stare. The silence stretched on for an uncomfortable amount of time as I refused to acknowledge such rudeness. My stylist broke in suddenly with an exasperated, "We don't talk about politics in the shop." That ended that.