On a sunny Monday morning, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is musing about redeeming American credibility abroad and sipping from his coffee mug emblazoned with JFK’s face, when his husband plops onto the living-room couch, picks up the blanket next to him and throws it on the floor in mock disgust. “Do we have to have this hideous blanket?” he says. The blanket is full of dog hair. “Can we put our nice blanket there?”
The hair comes from Truman, their hound mix, and Buddy, their tubby rescue puppy. When I first met Buttigieg in 2017, he told me he named Truman after a famous saying often attributed to the 33rd President: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
But you live in South Bend, I said. When are you planning on moving to Washington? He didn’t reply.
Two years later, the 37-year old Rhodes Scholar and Afghanistan veteran is the first openly gay person to be have a serious shot at a presidential nomination.
Buttigieg met Chasten Glezman, then a Chicago grad student, on the dating app Hinge in 2015. They talked over FaceTime for a few weeks before Chasten drove to South Bend for their first real date, at an Irish bar famous for its Scotch eggs. Less than three years later, Pete proposed in gate B5 of Chicago’s O’Hare airport, the exact spot where Chasten had first noticed his dating profile.
Their marriage is at once banal and extraordinary, infused with the exuberant contentment of two people who once thought they would always be alone. Chasten handles the dogs, the shopping, the cooking. Pete does the dishes, laundry and garbage. Chasten hates taking the bin out to the curb. Pete hates the way Chasten folds T-shirts. Chasten gets grumpy when they go too long without food, and Pete doesn’t get it. “You’re like, ‘Oh, here, I packed a bag of almonds and a thing of beef jerky,’” Chasten says. “I hate nuts, and he eats nuts all the time.”