Mike Pence – The Christian Hypocrite
Your first boyfriend, from the days before you read The Scarlet Letter and realized that religion is kind of evil. Is only sixteen years old, but still longs for “the good old days” when women were modest and it was socially acceptable to use the word “retard.” Rants about the “oppressive” nature of the hijab, then gets mad at you for wearing a skirt above your knees. Won’t have premarital sex, but tries to convince you that anal “doesn’t count in the eyes of the Lord” when he’s super turned on. Years later, you’ve lost touch with him, but occasionally you see him post long diatribes about why the new Starbucks cups should be considered a “hate crime.”
Paul Ryan – The Frat Douche
The president of his frat. Reads Ayn Rand religiously and is lightly surprised to find out that she’s a woman. (Not because women aren’t good writers, mind you, he’s just not usually into books written by women. There’s a big difference.) Likes only two movies on Facebook: American Psycho and Fight Club. Mentions getting into business school like most people would mention getting a Nobel Prize–in hushed, reverent tones. You break up with him because you’re painfully, excessively bored whenever he talks, and he proceeds to tell everyone that you’re (gasp!) a lesbian.
Sean Spicer – The Overgrown Child Prone to Tantrums
Can’t control his face to save his life. Discusses his ex-girlfriends with barely-disguised rage, calling them all “crazy” or “bitches” and claiming they all cheated on him. Angrily tells your five-year-old niece that she shouldn’t aspire to be an astronaut because dream jobs are never as glamorous as you think they’re going to be. Shames you whenever you cry (especially if he caused it), saying it’s “weak” and “emotional blackmail.”
Neil Gorsuch – The Stealth Idiot
You’re absolutely convinced this man is the smartest man you’ve ever met, right up til the moment you realize he’s an idiot. He reminds you of Jon Hamm’s character in 30 Rock–minus the Disney-prince-good-looks. He confidently tells you that global warming is a myth because it snowed yesterday, or that Arkansas has a biologically-based birth certificate regime, and you know he’s flat-out wrong, but his nose is so straight and his Oxford degree so shiny that you just sort of nod and smile.
Mitch McConnell – The Anti-Feminist Who “Loves Strong Women”
The Anti-Feminist hates femin
istsazis, but is “not a sexist,” he tells you repeatedly. How could he be? He loves strong women. The examples he earnestly cites at length: Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, and the protagonists of Sucker Punch.
Talks shit about his ex-girlfriends, who were “bimbos” and “didn’t challenge him.” Loves that you’re opinionated, but hates when you disagree with him. Loves that you “look like a real woman,” but constantly jokes that you should get a boob job. Doesn’t want you to wax your vagina “for him,” per se, but since the stubble scratches his dick during sex, it would just be objectively better for everyone.
After way too long, you dump his ass to become a feminist scholar who collaborates with Gloria Steinem. He, in turn, says “fuck it” and starts publicly answering “Yes” and “Mandatory” when OKCupid asks if women have “an obligation” to keep their legs shaved.
George W. Bush – The Irredeemable Asshole Who Somehow Looks Better by Comparison
Before you meet Entitled Abuser (see below), Irredeemable Asshole is the most sinister man you’ve ever dated. He constantly mentions that you should lose weight, not because he wants you to look better, but because he wants you to “live a long and healthy life.” He gropes you in your sleep to wake you up for sex. You never quite figure out if the relationship qualifies as emotionally abusive or just particularly terrible. But after your bracing experience with The Entitled Abuser, you look back on Irredeemable Asshole fondly, because at least he tried to keep his abusive tendencies under wraps.
Donald Trump – The Entitled Abuser
You meet Entitled Abuser at a bar. He tells you that you’re pretty, but you’d “be even prettier if you lost 15 pounds,” and it’s such an obvious, juvenile neg that it’s almost charming. He must be at least a little self-aware about how ridiculous that was, you tell yourself. Spoiler alert: he’s not.
He’s essentially an overgrown Chuck Bass–a poor little rich boy with the budding serial rapist tendencies to match. He’s super rich, a fact that he finds a way to mention approximately every other sentence. He’s so rich that he’s convinced himself that he’s good-looking, when he actually looks like a shriveled asshole with eyes. He has a toilet made of pure gold because he didn’t get the irony of that display in the Guggenheim. He brags about being a “self-made man,” even though he inherited his money and business from his father. He thinks that his father’s perpetual disapproval of him means that he has truly suffered, so he “doesn’t get what all this privilege nonsense is about.”
He lives by the creed handed down by the great Tucker Max, and genuinely believes that women like to be treated like shit. Where previous boyfriends criticized you with the pretense of trying to help you, he just tells you that you’re ugly, fat, and stupid with no compunction. It almost comes as a relief that he’s open and honest about his cruelty (until you realize that that logic is twisted as f*ck). He tells you that you’re a “3 out of 10” in bed so you’ll feel compelled to do increasingly experimental (and often painful) sexual stunts to keep him happy. He treats you like shit often enough that you come to expect it, and that misogynistic credo of his becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Then, one day, he takes his frustrations out on you in a whole new way. He pulls out fistfuls of your hair while you scream in pain. He pins your arms behind you and violently jams his penis inside of you. He stays inside you for twenty minutes while you try to get away. The image of your own hair scattered all over the bed will pop up in your nightmares for years to come.
He’ll swear up and down that he didn’t rape you. You weren’t drunk or unconscious. You never said the word “no” (you were just struggling and crying). He’s not a thug (read: a poor person and/or POC) hiding in the bushes, he’s your boyfriend. You entered into a social contract with him. He has the right to have sex with you whenever he wants, however he wants. He would say all of this with a straight face.
You leave him eventually (after about four more years of abuse), but it’s too late. The damage he’s done to your soul will last for decades, if not forever.
John McCain – The Trojan Horse
The strong, silent type. Doesn’t read books but will listen to you talk about them for hours on end. Seems dependable and intrinsically good. Even when you don’t completely agree with his values, his heart seems to be in the right place. Knows how to cook, and performs oral sex without being asked. You start to think that he’s the exception to the rule, the man who will help you heal from Entitled Abuser, the one guy who will actually be kind to you for a sustained period of time.
Then, he starts making casual references to you staying home once you have kids. When you say you don’t want to quit your job, he says kids need a parent at home. You tell him to quit his job, then, and he laughs in your face. He breaks up with you, and a year later you see on Facebook that he’s engaged to a much-younger woman he met at the gym.
Ronald Reagan – Your Slightly Terrible Father aka The Reason You Put Up with This Bullshit
Your dad’s youthful shenanigans might look quaint now that you’ve encountered bona fide abusers, but he was quite the asshole in his day. Since you were a child, he’s casually mentioned that he broke up with girlfriends by just never calling them again and hoping they got the hint. He’s never been close friends with a woman in his whole life, not because he doesn’t like women, but because they “are interested in different things.” He hates when you watch Gilmore Girls in the same room as him because they “talk too much and have too many feelings.”
Like Christian Hypocrite, he thinks radical Islamic terrorism is a referendum on Islam, but the KKK is a “perversion” of Christianity. Like Overgrown Child, he’ll sputter “Well, that’s how I feel about it” when he knows he’s lost an argument. Like Anti-Feminist, he jokes that he couldn’t possibly be sexist if he married a feminist like your mom. Similar to Trojan Horse, he thinks reading fiction is a waste of time (although he religiously consumes anything by Malcolm Gladwell). Stealth Idiot was his favorite of your boyfriends by a landslide.
None of this behavior comes close to the worst of your boyfriends’ transgressions (Entitled Abuser, in particular, doesn’t really resemble your father in any meaningful way), but you blame him a little bit all the same, just for the first in a long line of assholes who set you up and knock you down.