My boyfriend Todd and I have been together for a little over a year. Yet up until recently, he still hadn’t uttered that most meaningful phrase—“I love you.” Then last Friday night he came over to my apartment, and out of the blue, it happened. Just as I was explaining a silly meme to him, he whispered those special three words. I was thrilled, until I realized that his gaze was fixed upon the TV in the living room behind me, where Bernie Sanders was speaking about the environmental consequences of fracking.
Todd wasn’t saying, “I love you” to me. He was saying, “I love you” to Vermont Senator and presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. I was stunned.
“Did you just say ‘I love you?’” I asked him, desperate for him to quell my fears.
“Yes,” Todd said, “I love this guy.” He continued staring at Bernie as if I wasn’t even there.
I mean, I love democratic socialism as much as the next gal, but Bernie Sanders is a 74-year-old man who Todd has never met. But Todd has met me! After all, I’m his loving, caring, and much more attractive girlfriend. I know I shouldn’t be threatened by my boyfriend’s love for an elderly politician, but there I was. I wanted to yell, “When are you going to tell me you love me? Where is this going? He’s barely competing in the delegate count!!! Does he even KNOW how to play the ukulele?!?!?”
He was feeling the Bern, but I was just feeling burned. I shook it off and assumed the election was really getting to him.
Later that night in bed, things were getting hot and heavy. I was sure Todd had forgotten about Sanders’ “political revolution” and was focused on the sex revolution happening right in my bed. But then Todd called out a name—and it wasn’t mine. It was Bernie Sanders’. I wanted to cry! Bernie Sanders is on his way out! His campaign is falling behind at a worrying rate! I’m a solid 9 who likes whiskey! Get a grip!!
I realize that Todd is just a passionate anti-establishment guy who wants free public college tuition, but just once I’d like to see him as committed to me as he is to eliminating the billionaire class. Can’t he be as passionate about me as he is about the working poor? I know, I know—men move at their own pace when it comes to commitment. But I get the feeling Todd would vote for Bernie over our relationship!
Yes, I am still waiting for my “I love you” from Todd. In the meantime, I guess it’s good to know he cares so much about someone, even if that person is a harried Vermonter with whom he is united only by anger. Maybe one day that “I love you” will be intended for me, a person who’s shared meals, laughter, and love with him, and not Bernie Sanders on the TV behind me.
After all, what is commitment except saying yes to the political revolution that is love? I know Todd will one day say those three words to the person standing in front of the TV— the “free college” of his life— me.