The Asshole Paradox

So a friend’s away message is linking to an article in GQ purporting to explain why Republican men make for a better lay. As you’d expect, the article has a wide number of complaints essentially flowing from the general premise that Democrats are bunch of whiny, considerate, cerebral sops whose correlating concern for others gets in the way of them treating women poorly. Now obviously, the article is written to be funny, but I’ll just point out that the anonymous author’s rather broad interpretation of what makes a Republican better betrays her hand.

Yes, Republicans are the better lay—but only the Republicans you’ve never heard of. The more prominent they are, the less fuckable they are. The opposite is true of Democrats. Think about it. Is there any woman on the face of the earth who wouldn’t fuck Bill Clinton? (Didn’t think so.) But with a gun to your head, could you even think of doing Santorum? DeLay? Lott? Yuck, yuck, yuck! Okay, with a gun to our head, we might do W. And Cheney. Definitely Cheney. As long as we’re blindfolded. (But that’s okay. Republicans are into that, too.)

But isn’t more to the point that Bill Clinton is exactly the sort of ” no conscience!” sociopath who rates well on the authors’ rubric? Indeed, as a certain White House intern can attest, Bubba is definitely the kind of guy who “understand[s] that foreplay is about sex,” and I’d be willing to bet he’s the sort of “efficient” man who is “likely to whip [his] dick out during the cab ride back from dinner.” Further, I don’t think women are exactly lining up to get a crack at Harry Reid or John Kerry. The primary difference then is not fame, but perception. That is, in this context, the real difference between Bill Clinton and Trent Lott is primarily that Bill Clinton is a charming and charismatic asshole, whereas Trent Lott is more just the garden-variety asshole. The so-called “Republican you’ve never heard of,” follows the Clinton mold: good taste, impulsive, assertive, and confident (crucially, his partaisanship only enters the article as adducing another trait, “Republicans are happy to watch Jon Stewart with you. They think he’s a riot.”) Even if you know someone to be a bad person, these qualities make people want to like someone, and it’s usually pretty easy to convince yourself of something you want to believe. Of course, there’s nothing shocking about the conclusion that women are helpless to resist the “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The real mystery is why women extol the virtues of people who invariably leave them wondering, ice cream in hand, why there aren’t any good guys out there.

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