If you work on Capitol Hill you see, hear, and overhear many things that the rest of the mortal world isn’t privy to. These privileged professionals that serve our US government acquire a wealth of knowledge that sometimes is just too good not to share. We’ve provided a platform on which they can unload.
Confessions of a Capitol Hill Staffer
Dating on the Hill
Although we’ve all done our best to repress the humiliating hallmarks of adolescent ‘love’ I know you remember them. The nervous chatter, the awkward (and often misinterpreted) jokes, the rehearsed flirtations, the obsessive grooming for theoretical ‘spontaneous’ run-ins… all tragic symptoms of either budding romance or a sad spiral into unrequited love. Cue Dashboard Confessional.
On top of all that nonsense, in DC we deal with the added bonus of dating in a city that is packed with overly ambitious people who almost always choose career over romance. And dating on the Hill? Pshhh- it’s like a microcosm of self-involved, self-promoting career climbers who seek out partners that can serve a dual purpose– love and (fingers crossed) professional advancement.
I’ve done my best to avoid romantic situations here at work. I normally combat advances with Midwest passive-aggression, served with a smile. When that fails, I put my earbuds in, claim ignorance and call it a day. However, when a charming, witty, good-looking, and impossibly smart person became part of my life recently, I was thrown face-first into the hell that is known as dating on the Hill.
To my fellow DC daters, I know this list isn’t comprehensive, but these are the worst parts of dating on the Hill, according to yours truly.
Playing it cool
A casual coffee ‘date’ in the Rayburn cafeteria to talk shop and an invitation to brunch doesn’t necessarily mean someone is into you. I mean, yeah it could mean that, but maybe not. Seriously… how do you know? Managing expectations and resisting the temptation to decipher non-existent messages is the name of the game. It’s also the absolute worst.
Seriously, can you just tell me you like me already?! (Screams your 17-year-old self while listening to the Starting Line on repeat.)
Struggling to talk about something other than work
Hill staffers like to think they’re multi-faceted with interests and hobbies that extend beyond the marbled walls of Congress. While that’s probably true, the greater truth is that working on the Hill is all-consuming and it’s hard to talk about anything other than your boss. Chances are the staffer you’re dating has the same struggle, which means your ‘romantic’ outings are punctuated with shop talk and potentially philosophical arguments… particularly for you brave souls who date outside your party. Godspeed, friends.
Expanding your social activities beyond happy hour
There are endless adventures to be had here in DC, but after a long week in session the typical Hill staffer would rather shuffle down the street to Cap Lounge, throw a few back, collect some business cards and fall asleep to Veep. For anyone with aspirations of a life off the Hill, that behavior (unfortunately) doesn’t cut it. So grab that #PSL, slip on your favorite J Crew vest, and get to the nearest pumpkin patch, STAT.
Keeping your personal life private(and making sure your partner does too)
Nothing kills a budding romance quite like the Capitol Hill rumor mill. The second anyone finds out about a potential love interest, you’re inundated with information you didn’t want to know (or already know from extensive online ‘research’), rumors about your relationship, and incessant questions about how things are going. Until you’re positive it’s going to last longer than 72 days, it’s critical to your happiness (and sanity) to keep things quiet. Amiright?
Listen, guys… the struggle is real. If you can hold out until you move back to the quaint, uncomplicated town you came from to find true love, do that. But if you just want somebody to love, maybe expand out to Old Town. I hear they’re less crazy over there.