"I would have voted for Bernie, but Hilary Clinton? No sir! The way she let her husband cheat on her and then took him back. My wife would never let me do that, so I'm voting for Trump"
These were the paraphrased words of a character based on a real American man interviewed by Dan Hoyle during his second tour across the American South and Midwest in search of bursting his liberal, elite San Francisco Bay Area bubble for his one man show The Real Americans now playing at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco.
At first I was stunned. A fellow American switched allegiances from one of the most left leaning socialist democratic candidates the United States has ever had to a pro business, anti-immigrant presidential candidate because of the marital behavior of the democratic candidate from 20 years earlier.
Of course. Few of us understand foreign policy, economics and law making, yet we all instantly empathize with the plight of a cuckolded spouse.
In Hoyle's show, we get valuable perspectives that few of us have access to: the perspectives of unimportant people who are disconnected from our local lives, yet share a nation and cultural norms with us (for those of us that are American).
The interviews reveal characters who casually throw mentions of the impending rapture which they expect to be in their life time in with discussions about
Originally Hoyle set off in his van in 2009 to interview "real Americans" for his play in order to educate himself, and those of us comfortably wedged in urban, coastal metropolises, about how Americans in the rust belt, and bible belt live. This same activity would be widely beneficial to anyone trapped in the pitfall of comparing their friendships and relationships to those of their friends, family and Facebook friends.
Real Relationships World Tour
Perhaps I should do a real relationships world tour and interview people around the world about their relationships. How many of them had love marriages instead of arranged marriages? Are those in love marriages happier? Did they obsess about whether their partner was "the one"? Have they ever heard the phrase "Your most important decision of your life" referred to as your marriage decision? Do they still have sex after 20 years of marriage? Do they expect their romantic partner to be both emotionally supportive and sexually compatible? Do they wait until they are financially stable to seek out partners? Do they have angst about how their college friends no longer feel as close as they did 10 years ago? Are they happy? Do they feel happiest when with their partner, their children, their friends or their co-workers?
I suspect the responses would be surprising, depressing, inspiring and distressing. The research and experience I've done regarding social structures and relationships shows that there is diverse behavior around sex, childrearing and partnership around the world, and most importantly that the lifelong love marriage created by logic, choice, sexual compatibility and love is very recent and unstable.
So why would someone embark on this journey to gain these diverse perspectives
Our Perspective Cages Our Reality
Consider the consequences of being surrounded by people who have narratives such as these:
At our age, all the good ones are taken.
I can't date seriously until I'm making more money.
Monogamy doesn't work.
How could you change your personal experience when everyone in your life is reinforcing those beliefs?
If traveling on the road talking to strangers for a few months fits your lifestyle, then pack your bags or come talk to me (seriously...this world tour is exciting me).
If broadening your perspective by talking to people outside your demographic does not feel feasible, then consider other way you can learn about relationship perspectives from others with diverse experiences.