CONSERVALOVE. This is why it's impossible to hate TNR for very long. Sour as I felt after this morning's Lee Siegel post on blogospheric fascists (who gave him the keys to a blog anyway?), I nevertheless found it impossible not to love this just-posted article where one of their writers, my friend Eve Fairbanks, signed up for a conservative dating site and went out with three of the guys -- political sociology in action. The piece, which could've been cruel, elects not to dynamite its barrel o' fish, and instead surfaces with some genuinely interesting observations on the nature of conservalove. The most fascinating, which tracks with my observations, is that:
The women on ConservativeMatch--at least the women of Washington, Virginia--are both much rarer and more quintessentially "conservative" than the men are. Out of the 40 profiles I considered, only ten were women. Several of these described themselves as "simple," even "prudish" girls with "old-school" values, looking for a "manly" or "boy scout" sort of guy. ("He must not smoke, cuss, or spit.") All ten were seriously practicing Christians, and only one disagreed that sex outside of marriage is immoral. Favorite books included Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (or, as one put it, "anything from 18th century England").
The men are strikingly different. They are not, for the most part, serious values conservatives. Over half of the 30 men I initially viewed believe that sex before marriage is OK ("Heck," one wrote, "I think that some marriages are immoral"), and twelve--or 40 percent--believe abortion may not need to be illegal. Their conservatism manifests itself more in a libertarian sensibility, in diehard patriotism, in the desire for a strong defense, even in matters of taste, like an appreciation for country living.
Seems right. When the women value modesty and the men idealize war, the dates must make for odd interactions. On a related note, a friend and I were chatting after a recent event and conversation briefly detoured to a particularly striking woman who'd been seated nearby. Never mind her, he said, no way she was a Democrat. Why? "Because Democrats don't wear pearls." And there you have it.
Bleg: I feel like there was an awesome article around the RNC convention about a liberal writer who went to a couple Republican singles events. Maybe it was in Salon? Anyway, if anyone remembers, it seems well worth linking to. As I recall, it was about the apex of convention-related punditry.