Today, Maureen Dowd untangles several strings of recent reporting and verbally knits them into a red flag for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She opines that though Clinton "may hope that we're evolving into a kingdom of queen bees and their male slaves" -- what a neutral characterization -- there's evidence that "evolution is moving forward in a circuitous route, with lots of speed bumps."
One of those speed bumps, writes Dowd, is the hostility high-earning women are allegedly encountering on the dating scene from less accomplished men. But that trend is evidenced only by a Times Style feature that, as I wrote a couple of months back, offers scant evidence. She also details a year-old study finding that in speed-dating men value looks over smarts and avoid women they perceive to have superior intelligence. The study's author, Ray Fisman, told Dowd, "I guess I had hoped that they had evolved beyond this. It's like that 'Sex and the City' episode where Miranda went speed-dating. When she says she's a lawyer, guys lose interest. Then she tells them she's a flight attendant and that plays into their deepest fantasies."
On a slightly different and more convincing note, she points to Lisa Belkin's reporting on the difficulty women face in striking the correct persona in the workplace. Women are often told they must choose between being liked and being respected in the workplace -- but, most important, they're advised to be assertive without being emasculating. Dowd concludes: "That may be why Obama is trying to get 'fired up,' in the words of his fall slogan, while Hillary calmly observes that she can take the heat and stereotypically adds that she likes the kitchen."
The headline to Dowd's column -- "Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?" -- is rhetorical, of course. If it's such a silly suggestion, though, what's the point in including those debatable tidbits about men's dating preferences? Demonstrating that we're less evolved than we would like to think, I'd imagine. But I have a hard time believing men would not vote for Clinton because they wouldn't want to date her; that equates their political beliefs with their romantic taste. We've elected plenty of female politicians without debating their speed-dating odds -- to start now would seem a sign of, well, devolution.