As a member of the liberal New York elite, I’ve been raised to embrace the unorthodox. In my world women wear pantsuits, men wear pink, gender is a choice, and “traditional” is often rejected as archaic. And I love this. I believe it in my core. So how did I wind up dating a Conservative Catholic? I mean a full-fledged global-warming-denying, Sarah Palin-loving, abortion-is-murder Conservative Catholic (CC). I wake up each day appalled, but mostly shocked, because I’m so happy. Because he’s great. If you’re sick of the asshole who doesn’t call you back, if you can’t spend one more second talking about Lord of the Rings, or if you’re just looking for a new way to horrify your parents, I’m here to tell you: go red.
I once took this gender studies class and we read some piece about the various ways men oppress women. Then this one girl in the class went off about how she feels oppressed when men open doors for her, and I could not stop rolling my eyes. Do I want equal pay? Of course. Do I want to open the door? Never. If I’m wearing mascara and a bra after 8 pm, you can take my coat for me. Which he does. And when I walk home at night he wants a text to know I’ve gotten in safe. He even obsessively walks on the street side when we are walking along a sidewalk. I didn’t even know this was a thing until he was suddenly prancing around me every corner we turned. It’s silly, I know, but I love it. In this female-empowerment era, men shy away from playing a protective role. It’s seen as condescending. But my CC doesn’t think that I can’t pull out my own chair- it’s just a way for him say “I’m right here. For you.”
You know how no matter the evidence staring them in the fact, CCs are notorious for standing their ground on issues that they’re sure of? And after watching an Inconvenient Truth or learning about Lucy or hearing of another gay teen suicide, you just want to gouge your eyes out because it’s so maddening? And it is! I don’t dispute that. But I’ve found the advantage — confidence. This is not your cocky frat boy or your self-righteous philosophy major. My CC knows where he stands, so much so that he doesn’t feel threatened. He never becomes defensive, he doesn’t overcompensate: he is entirely comfortable with who he is. This is a quiet sureness I rarely see in men until much later in life, and it does away with so much of the posturing that seems to part of the 20-something male persona. When he tells me he spent Saturday night hanging out with the guys, he doesn’t qualify it with “no homo.” He texts with his mom pretty regularly, and is entirely unapologetic about it, because family is important and it doesn’t make him lame for
having a strong relationship with her.
3) No Sex
I, too, am surprised to see this on the reasons why to date a CC. And I’ll give you this disclaimer right away: it’s not fun. I definitely miss sex. But picture this: you go into a bedroom with a guy. Lights are off, you’re in a bed…and you don’t have to do the “are we going to have sex” calculation. I want to see the look on every girl’s face as she entertains that concept. It also means that when he listens to you whine about the fight you had with your sister, or go into excruciating detail about the dress you just bought, he must be somewhat interested. He’s clearly not waiting it out just to get some. A few weeks ago my CC said something about me being pretty and I was sort of surprised. I mistakenly conflate his ability to keep his clothes on around me with a lack of attraction, which could be insulting, but it’s actually refreshing. It makes his gestures of kindness and our intimate conversations entirely genuine, with no ulterior motives. I’m not saying every time a guy has been nice to me it’s been to get me naked: but it’s nice to be sure.
4) Catholic Guilt
Work it. The day before I started a new job we spent the afternoon together, and when he was walking out the door I yelled after him “yes, thanks, I will have a good first day,” because he hadn’t said anything. I thought it was a little funny and had forgotten about it by the time I’d walked back upstairs. He, on the other hand, was still apologizing days later.
This one can be the best part, though it requires the right approach (kind of like the rest of this endeavor). If you think about it, this is hilarious. Two people who ideologically drive each other crazy are totally crazy about each other. Nothing gets me through a crisis like humor, and falling for a CC is certainly a crisis. So make fun of each other! When he’s all tense and needs to unwind, I point out that it seems like he just needs to get laid. When something important happens in Congress, he asks if I’ve heard about it, or was I too busy watching Kony 2012 for the millionth time? Of course, this has the potential to turn nasty, so you’ll need to play around with it and figure out at what point you turn from giggling to get the hell out of my house.