Creepy, well-meaning, or sexist? Looking for love on Bernie Singles, the Bernie Sanders dating site

“The 1 per cent aren’t the only ones getting screwed this election season.”

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A 64-year-old Bernie Sanders fan is about to try and sign me up for a Fifty Shades of Grey-style sexual submission contract. I’m sure of it. He calls himself “Christian Sanders”, as though his support for a particular candidate for the Democratic Party leadership somehow has something to do with wanting to spank a woman nearly young enough to be his granddaughter.

Whatever his shtick is, the image he’s created in my mind – that of this bespectacled and curmudgeonly social reformer/sexual megalomaniac – is ruining my day.

“It’s come to this, yes it’s come to this, and wasn’t it a long way down?” Leonard Cohen (a contemporary of Sanders, now that I think of it) once spoke-sang.

Ostensibly, yes, I’ve been so bereft of dates lately that I’ve turned to a Bernie Sanders-themed dating site to tap a new and gross market.

This is only partly true. I am, in fact, a London-based lesbian Hillary Clinton fan posing as a bisexual New York-based Bern-feeler, in a… let’s say “anthropological study”. I am here, on Bernie Singles, to learn about Sanders’ fandom through how it conducts itself in the sticky and clicky world of online dating. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

Bernie Singles, with its deeply arousing slogan, “the 1 per cent aren’t the only ones getting screwed this election season”, launched earlier this month and went too viral for its server to handle.

Now up and running again, it boasts around 7,000 “dank singles”. Not “dank” like a basement, although I strongly suspect “Christian Sanders” lives somewhere clammy and windowless. “Dank”, as in stoner for “good” (there’s a lot of 420 referencing in the Bernie community, I’ve learnt).

The whole concept of “community”, by the way – especially one made up of the notably sexist male Bernie fandom – basically gives me hives. And my toe dip into the world of Bernie dating is like an exercise in nausea-induced celibacy.

The Bernie Bros have taken the bait and I’ve started getting friend requests (I don’t know why Bernie Singles thinks it’s Facebook) from pixelated men in Oakley shades. One of them calls himself “ItBernsWhenIPee”. I don’t think he’s joking.

I’ve been a Bernie Single for a week now, and only one woman, a 22-year-old NYU student, has added me. She’s cute and seems nice, so I have to slap myself and scream, “THE FIRST RULE OF BERNIE SINGLES IS ‘DON’T FALL IN LOVE’”. But, my gayness aside, there’s not much chance of that happening with Christian Sanders.

Our message exchange went like this:

CS: Are you submissive as well?

[NB I have no idea what the “as well” refers to. My “bisexuality”..?]

Me: In what way?

CS: Ellie, gently and 24/7.

“Ellie, gently” is without a doubt one of the creepiest and downright darkest things I’ve ever read. Even a dick pic would’ve been, well… less like being breathed on by the ghost of a guy who died trying to fuck Melinda, objectively the hottest of his pet iguanas.

All of a sudden I’m feeling the pain of straight/actual bi women who do online dating. Try as we might, women will never beat men at creepiness. Even the OkCupid woman who once asked if she could piss on me wasn’t creepy, per se. In fact, I kind of respected her for being so upfront about her kink. “No, I would not like you to piss on me,” I thought, “But I dearly hope you find someone who does.”

At this stage on Bernie Singles though, I’m wondering why I felt the need to choose, as a username, even a diminutive of my first name, instead of literally anything else. Why didn’t I think of “ItBernsWhenIPee”?

It’s not all basements and failed iguana coitus though. A 25-year-old guy with quite a nice smile has messaged me saying that he’s “waiting for a Drake lyric about Bernie”.

But he hasn’t messaged me back since I asked how that would go, so I’m guessing he hasn’t properly thought through this “Drake does Bernie lol” method of getting a date. Which is a shame, because I’d genuinely love to know how a white Bernie Bro thinks a Drake lyric about US politics’ very own Larry David would go.

Then there’s the 39-year-old Brooklyn guy who has written a long and meandering personal manifesto in his “about me” section. “I indulge in a spectrum of mild vices,” he writes, “by which I more mean those ingested by the senses than merely orally.”

I’m sure I’ve overheard this same guy 400 times in 400 different Brooklyn coffee shops. And if he isn’t the type who posts long Facebook statuses with the word “methinks” lurking within like a buoyant turd, then I’m a potato waffle.

Bless his Brocialist heart though. “I greatly anticipate living in a nation & culture that’s even more a model & inspiration to the world than ever before,” he writes.

It must be nice to feel excited about a moment in politics, and in so many unnecessary words. My. But there really is this well-meaningness to Bernie Bros (when they’re not busy sending sexist tweets to Hillary Hoes) that is, perhaps, too easy to overlook.

We should probably just count ourselves lucky that there isn’t a dating site for Trumpists (yet…), as helping that lot breed would border on a crime against humanity.

Returning to the Christian Sanders thread, I ask him (I’m genuinely curious about this) whether his support for Bernie and interest in sexually dominating women are mutually exclusive.

“Yes and yes,” he replies.

I have no idea what the second “yes” is in reference to, but he signed it “Master”, so who am I to argue?

The rush of relief when I delete my account is the closest I ever want to get to Bernie Sanders giving me an orgasm.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist.