A Conservative Woman’s Unusual Online Dating Experiment

By Bethany Mandel

Despite being married with two children (and another on the way), I’m not the person most friends come to for dating advice. I married the best friend of a guy I met in a bar right out of college and mercifully escaped the modern dating scene. While all of my friends were joining dating apps, I was having babies; thus, I am not exactly a source of wisdom when it comes to crafting a profile and choosing the perfect pictures to go alongside.

Despite this fact, I am still privy to the complaints of many friends trying to navigate the single life. Among my male friends still out on the prowl, by far their biggest complaint is that they want an old fashioned sort of lady, but saying so out loud gets them labeled sexist, misogynist, or worse. The old adage, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is true; they just want a nice woman to settle down with who can cook and bake her way into his heart, who likes to watch Netflix and, since there will inevitably be chilling afterwards, eventually start a family too.

Over the weekend, I was talking to one of my single girlfriends, Meredith, who is so amazing it boggles the mind how she can possibly still be single. She was walking through a subway station and noticed signs printed on the walls from women who declared themselves to be “on strike” the weekend of Trump’s Inauguration. What are these women on strike from? Oh, just a few things like: “Emotional Labor, Childcare, Diapers, Housework, Cooking, Sweeping, Laundry, Dishes, Errands, Groceries, Fake smiles, Flirting, Makeup, Laundry, Shaving.” In short, they’re striking from life.

In response to one woman’s post about going on strike because she was a full-time wife and mother and also worked full-time, Meredith remarked “I’d kill to be in her situation. A husband, job and kid? Count your blessings, lady.”

Which got me thinking: How can Meredith and other women use this insight to their dating advantage? We’re all tired of hearing complaints about how everyday life is now supposedly intolerable since Donald Trump is president. How might conservative single women of America counter this hyperbole? I suggested Meredith alter her online dating profile to clearly set herself apart from the women on strike, and being a good sport, she immediately agreed. She wrote:

“Unlike others, I’m not on strike this weekend. Still smiling, dealing with emotional labor like a grownup, and living my life. I laugh at jokes, bake delicious things, make a mean cocktail, and don’t believe in that patriarchy thing.
Let’s meet.”

Given the choice, how many American men would prefer a woman who has stopped shaving, smiling, and washing up their dirty dishes over someone like Meredith? It turns out, not many.

Just twelve hours after editing her profile, Meredith checked in with an update about how her edits were affecting her popularity on the site: “It totally fricking worked. I just got asked out for dim sum by a financial dude. I changed it, started swiping, and all the sudden my matches blew up. Having a great conversation now with a very cute guy about the current culture of dating.”

A recent study conducted by the dating site OK Cupid concluded, “The amount of OkCupid users who couldn’t date someone with opposing political views is at 50% — a number that’s been rising since 2008.” While this is an unfortunate side effect of the polarization of our country and its citizenry, it also reflects a deep divide between the points of view on issues far beyond politics for many Americans.

While it’s one thing to indicate you’re conservative on a dating profile, as Meredith’s experience shows, it might be beneficial to indicate how your values impact your daily life, and how these values would make you a better mate than a more liberal woman on the same site. You might just find yourself chatting with a nice guy or gal, maybe going out to dim sum, or — shocking as it may seem — actually finding someone in Brooklyn who prefers a woman who bakes over one who strikes.

Originally published at acculturated.com on January 25, 2017.