Sunday, February 05, 2006

POLITICAL DATING SERVICES:
Nothing Says Bad Lovin' like Ideologically-Driven Romance

I had just finished reading Crash Patterson's excellent piece on the the concept of framing as applied to politics.

And then, during my morning web surfing, I stumble across this. I haven't laughed at something so completely insane in a long time.

I'm all for dating people with whom I share interests. But political leanings are so far down the damned totem pole in terms of compatibility. I don't care how desperate I get, I refuse to date a woman simply because she votes the way I vote.

Just warms my heart to see yet another online matchmaking site clogging up the World Wide Web. But Act for Love seems to be more of a political fundraising tool than anything else.

Yeah. Nothing says "liberal activist" to me like bunch of single people searching for true love AND forking over funds to another worthless, disunified Leftist PAC.

I'm naturally resistant to what appear to be lobbyists telling me what causes I should or should not support. I'm certainly not going to trust them to find me a date.

I'm sure there are similar sites on the Right (for instance...this one), praying on the checkbooks of politically-minded singles, just as Act of Love seems to be doing.

I guess I'm a swing dater. I'm attracted to women that go beyond silly conservative and liberal labels. And - gasp! - I've even been involved with women who are completely apathetic to issues near and dear to my heart.

It's the interplay between two personalities that matters the most to me. I don't think I'd ever be comfortable dating someone who describes themselves in terms of ideology. And I've met too many "liberal activists" in my time who measure action in terms of the number of times they've preached to the choir.

When I lived in Baton Rouge, an older friend set me up on a date with an aide to an ultra-conservative state legislator. Despite the fact that we had nothing in common other than a taste for zombie flicks and the Ramones, we still had loads of fun dancing down at the legendary Tabby's Blues Box. It didn't work out, but we had fun, despite our numerous political and ideological differences.

Needless to say, "activist dating" is, yeah, not a turn-on for me.

I used to think I was destined to be single for a long, long time. But, well, I'm pretty sure I'll finish ahead of ideologues looking for love in all the wrong places.


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18 comments:

The ZenFo Pro said...

Okay. Blogger is now officially a bad monkey. If you've been trying to comment on this post, it should work now. If you're one of the three posts I got this weekend, please feel free to repost - for some reason, they're not showing up.

-Jason

LibraryTavern Liz said...

Jason,
Apparently this is one area in which you and I disagree--or at least have different criteria for our dates.

While I do not insist that somebody I date have exactly the same set of political beliefs as I, there are portions of the political spectrum that are just too, too, too far away from me for me to be romantically involved with someone from that area. Again, I'm not saying I only date those who agree with me politically--I just wouldn't date somebody who is on the far right and prefers an authoritarian government. I could date Democrats, Greens, Socialists, Communists, maybe even an Anarchist. Republicans? Pretty damn unlikely.

Smurf said...

Opposites attract. Its weird. We are like magnets... parts of a magnet will attract the same things and then the other side of a magnet will repel a magnet. Interesting... lol... did what I just say make any remote sense? ;)

Je taime mon ami.

Miz BoheMia said...

Just shows you're pretty openminded... me, not so much I admit. I respect everyone's right to their own opinion, have friends of all ideologies and political leanings but who I would date and allow into my bed... hmmmm... nope, pretty much like Liz on that one!

Blogger has been awful I see! Alice's site went bonkers and it is suspected to have been hacked into. If posts go through on mine, I don't get the email until at least two hours later, sometimes, very rarely so, right away. Everyone's comments seem to be way down... much more so than usual... I hope that whatever is going gets fixed and that they don't become as mediocre as hotmail now is! I don't wanna move! Ay!

Miz BoheMia said...

An adendum to my comment~ I would suspect for women to be pickier with such things anyway. It makes sense. For men, the initial attraction, rapore, and even intimacy is mostly physical whereas women need an emotional hook for it to work, or for them to give it a try...

Voodoo Child said...

You completely forgot Libertarian Passions. Heh, that's awesome though. I would never have thought to have that criteria be my first choosing criteria.

Smurf said...

"To laugh often and love much. To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children. To appreciate beauty; to give of one's self, to leave the world a bit better. Whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition. To have played with enthusiasm and sung with exultation. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived--that is to have succeeded!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I admit to having a slightly closed mind on this. Ideology ( of certain types) is one of those things can put me off. I can’t for instance de really religious guys or guy that have no interest in the going on of the world or the why or the where of eveything. Politics not so much but in general knowing about the rest of the world, and not from the telly is preferable. I can’t really be around people with no interest in what happening.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Liz:
I don't think we're that far off actually. It does come down to personal preferences and what people as individuals find attractive about other individuals. That's the big problem with all online dating sites - it tries to replace certain intangibles with a predetermined set of criteria. Its not so much having political ideology as a criteria, it's using it as some kind of central dating benchmark. The fact that its being used to raise funds for a rather vague plate of causes (and I assume almost all have ties to the founder's PAC clients) reminds me more of the tactics of the Nazis and their selective breeding program.

Lol...personal belief in something is important, but I really dig the ability of someone to draw conclusions on their own. Dating is more complex than simple talking points on issues; hell, look at James Carville. (I'm debating whether or not to post my Carville/Matalin experience - the two have such an amazing, nausiatingly healthy relationship, despite working for two different political parties)

MizB:
I don't think its so much as a men/women issue as it is an individual preferences issue. I simply wouldn't date somebody based on ideologies alone. Personal values? Yeah, there I get selective. I refuse to date another freeloader with no stance on issues (those who are lazy in their thinking are generally lazy in their lives), professional "activists" (i.e. unemployed or unemployable because of ideology) or irrational people. The inability to be able to survive in nature's a turn-off; as is addiction to consumerism. Respect, intelligence, etc...all tied to personal values.

I'm generally offended by lobbyists or other representatives of special interest groups - left or right - trying to codify those unwritten rules of attraction, the human ethereal elements, down to something like support of those special interests' causes. I'm much mmore selective than that; I think most people are.

VC:
Oh yeah, dude. There's tons of them. And it does just become silly. Wanna meet somebody who shares your political leanings? Go to a protest or become active in groups where you have a chance to meet someone face-to-face.

Smurf:
Love the Emerson quote.

Alice:
That's actually where I wanted to go with this. Its the values of the person that matter, not allegiance to causes. Your criteria actually match up more with my own. I'm tired of women who refuse to think for themselves. Religion, politics, and everything in between is subject to debate. My parents, for instance, debate like Douglas/Lincoln on just about every issue, but have an amazing marriage. Why? Even though they differ quite a bit on issues (both are conservatives), they still listen to each other. And over three decades, that listening has been more important than the issues they support.

Miz BoheMia said...

You are right and I didn't mean to say that it is a basic difference between men and women but that the differences that do exist between men and women account for a small percentage of the way we may go about choosing a partner. As for ideology, I stuck to that since it was the main topic of discussion... yet still maintain what I said in the sense that certain ideologies and political leanings are demonstrative of a way of thinking and being which would then arise out of a certain sense of personal values that will either clash with mine or be in sync and if they clash, then there will most likely be trouble. My husband and I agree on the very essentials. There are many, many things we disagree on. What we can be civilised about and talk out we do, what we cannot, we simply agree to disagree.

Ideology at its most basic means "the doctrines, opinions, or way of thinking of an individual or group"... and like minded individuals, when keeping romance in mind, will most likely render individuals with personal values that will work with mine and viceversa... that's it!

So I basically think we agree with the added fact that you are probably more openminded than me on that front! Tell me a guy is a Republican and I go cold inside, dead, dead cold! As friends, great, more, Hah!

All kidding aside, when you brought this up, 2 instances came to mind. At 19, I met this guy while trying to help a lost dog (which eventually stayed in me and slept in my bed until I found the owners) who was very cute and asked me out. I went out with him for a couple of dates. He was sweet we got along, agreed on many things but then came the mention of him being a hunter and a fisherman and I was done, DONE. Hunters and vegetarian animal rights activists just don't mix.

Then in photography class this guy tried asking me out by trying to get my phone number. I told him in no uncertain terms that if it was for anything else than friendship I was simply not interested. He became quite loud as he started yelling at me, the freak! A couple of weeks later, when to him the incident had blown over (and to me it meant stay on red alert!!!) he asked me what I had done that weekend. I told him I had hung out with my dear friend who was a Tibetan Buddhist monk and we went to the house of a Chinese herbal healer from Hong Kong in LA's Chinatown. He said "Comedy huh?" Nope, I made the right choice with that idiot...

That is where I was coming from with ideology and yeah... both guys happened to be Republicans although I found that out later and it had not been a criteria for interest or lack thereof!

Man, you make me talk a lot amigo! I will give you a much needed break now! ;-P

kendra said...

if it matters that much to somebody, i guess some singles site for certain political leanings is a good fit. there's always j-date and various christian singles sites.

my current boyfriend is a super liberal green party member who makes me feel like a neo-con at times. we'll never agree on politics, but we do have really lively debates. it's weird living/being with someone who has such an alien view of the world.

i don't think i'd ever want to date somebody i'd totally agree with on everything. i'd feel like i'd lose my identity a bit. if i loved myself that much, i'd become a cat-lady. not to say that people can't find happiness that way, i just know it's not for me.

LibraryTavern Liz said...

To take your example, Jason, reminds me more of the tactics of the Nazis and their selective breeding program, and then twist it around, what about dating a Nazi? What about dating a racist? I have met men that shared some interests with me only to then hear them utter some racist remark. Potential relationship over. And back to the topic of Republicans, I realize that beliefs within the Republican party vary, but frankly most Democrats are too far to the right for me. How could I be romantically involved with a man who thinks that I am subhuman and can't decide what to do with my own body? How could I fall in love with a man who thinks that it is okay for a few people to hold all the wealth and power while riding the backs of the working class? Nope. Not gonna happen.

kendra said...

this discussion reminds me of howards end for some reason.

The ZenFo Pro said...

MizB:
Man, you make me talk a lot amigo! I will give you a much needed break now! ;-P

Hey, no worries, chica. You're always welcome to post as much as you want :)

That's why I brought up the point of personal values over the whole ideology thing. My problem isn't so much with people choosing to date people by whatever criteria they choose (we're all human) but with the specific tying of those values to some lobbyist's perception of good romance - just another attempt at trying to package something very human - like the need for companionship - with some product (in political dating sites, there's a plea for money to meet a political agenda).

I've had similar reasons for, say, not going on another date with the Republican aide. She was a sweet girl, I was physically attracted to her (think - PJ Harvey eyes - that's like my kryptonite), and we also were big baseball fans (fuck the Super Bowl, dammit.) But it was clear she was way too absorbed in that political bullshit we all wade in - myself deinitely included. And the fact that she was your stereotypical vain former sorority girl was a huge turn-off. And she insulted the fact that I grew up on a farm. Why did she go out with me? Well, because I write poetry and the mutual friend that set us up told her I was a Jeffersonian (still my favorite compliment) and a gentleman (all lies, I tell you, lies).

Dating comes down, in the end, to personal compatibility - how well two people play together. I've been on dates with nice people on the Left and Right, but I've also dated complete psychos on both the left and the right.

Lord, now I'm writing a novel ;)

Kendra:
You're right.It is a to-each-their-own. Some people are comfortable with that. Some people aren't. It's the whole seedy fundraising-to-get-booty thing that got my goat.

It can be wierd, but it's probably also enjoyable at times. I had a buddy once who fell in love at an animal rights protest. The problem? He was a 70ish retired rancher and the woman was a 60ish protester. Guy with lots of guns, outdoorsman, John Wayne type. The gal was, well, a bit of a relapsed flower child, a diehard Dianic Wiccan who didn't like to wear shoes. Somehow they didn't kill each other. I have no clue how they've made it work for half a decade. I think it has to do with the fact that they're both staunch environmentalists and the fact that, well, she grows organic veggies and he lives off elk and mule deer, which is as organic of meat as you can get. Still, no clue otherwise.

I'm the same way. I can't be involved with people I agree with all the time. Plus, good fights can have surprisingly satisfying results sometimes ;)

Liz:
Lol...no, probably wouldn't date a Nazi, but I'm pretty sure a Nazi wouldn't want to date me anyway (the whole already-tainted-by-women-of-color thing usually gets in the way ;) But having political groups advocate using their pre-selected criteria for relationships as a means of pushing propaganda is a lot like the Nazi movement, regardless if its coming from the LEft, Right, or Center. My problem isn't so much with individual criteria as it is with the packaging of romance to sell a political agenda.

As for the subhuman thing, no, you shouldn't. I have, for example, a low tolerance for what Southerners, esp. anybody who's worked for civil, equal rights, call "Limosine Liberals" - that segment of the upper classes who donate to the likes of the NAACP and Amnesty International from the comfort of homes maintained by underpaid, exploited migrant labor. Went on too many dates with 'em in California. I refuse to date anybody who advocates for, say, poor folk in this country while simultaneously being afraid of actually having to socialize with poor folks.

That's another problem I have with political-agenda based dating. It's usually more about putting more money in the pockets of the same duchebag politicians on the Left and the Right than actually matchmaking or, doing any good. It also strips out the personal element of values - we're more than our political views.

I have no clue if that actually makes sense...:)

Smurf said...

My God Jason, Why are you so kind with my obliviousness. I read this at work and could not click on the links. Clicking on the links.... Some of this is rather ... I find getting getting tricks for what you want, rather repulsive. Honestly, I think that if you are turning tricks to get what you want politically you are one smart kitty, but... you have no sense of self dignity.

I like the idea of "You complete me" meaning that my strengths compliment your weaknesses and your strengths compliment my weaknesses in a relationship. What I was trying to say earlier that came out SO WRONG about the magnet, was thinking about the old Paula Abdul song opposites attract, and that sometimes people that have different political views or other views still have a very strong attraction or connection. I think with all that I am going through I am not being able to engage in this conversation as well as I would like. :( I am sorry. But it is a very interesting post!

Lupe said...

yeah i've sworn off dating because based on politics too. i had this dude put his hand somewhere at a MLK thing this year...fucking liberal men are justt as fucking bad as republican men sometimes, no offense.

see this is why i say you're not as big of an asshole as you think :-)

Lol homes you dated my sister and she is about as conservative u can get homes. didn't she make you drive her to confession or something bcause you wouldn't become a catholic? and i have a tarot question.

Anonymous said...

I would not date a Republican any more than I would not date a smoker.

Ewww.

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