Coffee, Tea or Hillary?

Q. Who could possibly be "surprised" that in choosing women to date, college-aged men tend to prefer beauty over brains?

A. An Ivy League professor.

What is truly surprising is that Maureen Dowd thinks this commonplace about men's preferences has implications for Hillary's campaign strategy. Dowd propounds her odd theory in her column of this morning, "Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?"

Dowd recounts the story of Columbia University professor Ray Fisman [whose wife, we're told, proposed to him]. So unsure was Fisman of what makes daters tick that he felt a two-year year study of college students' preferences was justified. In some of the least surprising research results in academic history, he found that men are looking for good-looking women while women are more interested in a man's brains and ambition.

Least surprising, that is, except to Fisman himself, according to Dowd [emphasis added].

The results surprised him and made him a little sad because he found that even in the 21st century, many men are still straitjacketed in stereotypes.

“I guess I had hoped that they had evolved beyond this,” he said in a phone interview. “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.”

From whence Dowd draws her headline, wondering whether Hillary should pretend to be a flight attendant [or "stewardess" as Mika Brzezinki recently said in a bout of un-PCness].

Could Dowd possibly be more wrong? American men aren't looking to date Hillary -- they're looking to elect a president. They're looking for competence and strength. Men supported Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir because they possessed those qualities -- not because they offered coffee, tea or me.

Men -- and many women I'd venture -- are turned off when the first time Hillary was seriously challenged in a debate on a substantive matter, she ran off to the friendly confines of her all-women's alma matter to play the gender card and brought in Bill to protect her.

You don't have to be an Ivy League professor -- or a New York Times columnist - to understand that kernel of common sense. In fact, it actually helps to be neither.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.