Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Wired News: Elephants, Donkeys Seek Love

Typical - we third-party types get left out of the fun, as usual.

Politics doesn't make strange bedfellows anymore. It makes bedfellows, period.

As the 2004 presidential campaign becomes more acrimonious and divided, single Americans are channeling their ideological passion to find like-minded mates on partisan online dating sites.

Within the past few months, roughly half a dozen sites have sprung up catering to singles with distinct political leanings. Just as the country is divided between the blue and red states, dating sites are becoming split between liberal and conservative ones.

"They say that opposites attract," said John Hlinko, founder of Act for Love, a dating site based in Washington, D.C., with about 10,000 progressive members. "But that's a load of crap. For every James Carville and Mary Matlin, there will be a thousand couples who are politically aligned. If you don't share basic values, there's not a sound foundation for a strong relationship."

As online dating has become more popular, there are more niche sites: Jewish singles, Catholic singles, gay singles, senior singles, not-so-single swingers and singles interested in SM. So, a dating site for those with particular political beliefs is a natural progression.

"Now we see the next group to throw their hat in the online dating game -- political junkies," said April Masini, an Internet dating adviser and author of Date Out of Your League.

Singles click on partisan dating sites because they want to increase their chances of finding someone who shares their values, Masini said. "Just like few topics are more divisive than politics, so, too, are there few that allow people to immediately feel connected to virtual strangers like politics does," she said.

The importance of political compatibility may be the one topic that the left and the right can agree on. Tom Swanson, a freelance Web designer in St. Louis, Missouri, launched SingleRepublicans.com seven months ago, because he found that eligible women tended to be liberal on the mainstream dating sites, such as Match.com and Lavalife.com. "I was having trouble meeting people who thought the same way I was," he said.

On his site, Swanson quotes Rush Limbaugh saying, "Despite the liberals you've been dating, there is hope out there."
That last bit is just scary - I can't really see myself being attracted to a woman who's a dittohead! (Note for the reading impaired, yes, I'm fully aware that Swanson isn't a woman ...)