The Mythic Allure of Sexy Conservatives

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The son of Tea Party queen Michelle Bachmann is now a liberal sex object. Why are we so into Republicans?

News broke yesterday that Michelle Bachmann's son Lucas turned down an offer to pose for Playgirl, depriving the world a chance to gander at his right-wing ass. (Thankfully, Levi Johnston was more obliging.) Bachmann the younger considers William F. Buckley a hero, acts as one of his mother's advisors, and is clearly not aligned with the political views of this avowedly liberal gay man. And while he's not of the same anti-intellectual stripe as his mother — he used the phrase "prolix lexicon" non-ironically — I doubt we'd get on very well, were we ever to meet in person. But? I would probably hit that.

And he's not the only one on the list of guys I'd cross the political divide for — you can add Rep. Aaron Shock (who stands in support of Don't Ask, Don't Tell) and the aforementioned Johnston (who stands for whatever will get him an interview) to the list. And I don't think I'm alone; it seems like most of my liberal friends have their own conservative lust list, including everyone from Sarah Palin and Megyn Kelly to Gov. Mitt Romney and Tucker Carlson. (For the record, the bow-tiéd one does nothing for me.) Some say they're just being shallow — pulchritude before policy — but for many a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, I'd bet the political stance of these people actually increases desirability.

And I don't think I'm alone; it seems like most of my liberal friends have their own conservative lust list.

To be clear, this is a particular kind of sexualization. I'm not talking about the people who talk about Palin's hotness to diminish her political viability. (You can use her speeches to do that.) This is the kind of attraction that starts out ironically, perhaps, when you stumble across a particularly flattering Getty image. Then you notice how well he fills out that suit, or how she's really working that haircut, until you find yourself desperately Google image searching “levi johnston no shirt” at two a.m. after a night of failed sexual gamesmanship.

What is it that makes some conservatives so attractive to liberals? I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but from what I've gleaned in talking to other people who've experienced this phenomenon, part of it is the simple fact that any raised emotions raise some more carnal things as well. Sometimes, when you're super-happy, or super-sad, or super-angry, you suddenly have a desperate urge to get laid. The term "hate sex" exists for a  reason. So if you find a politician or pundit you vehemently disagree with who also happens to have a pretty face, nature can take its course without consulting your membership in the DNC.

But I think it goes deeper than that. If you ascribe to the theory that many people live their lives reacting to adolescence (a notion that rings sadly truer the further into my twenties I get) then this clandestine liberal lust is just an extension of the bullied mooning over their bullies. It's the Dungeons & Dragons geek devoted to the popular girl who wouldn't give him the time of day; the girl who doodles hearts on a jock's yearbook photo even though he once called her "Becca brace-face" in front of the whole cafeteria.

I don't want to get too psychosexual here; I'm not saying that people who get hot for people in the other party — because I'm sure there are some neo-cons whose hearts skip a beat when they see Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — have some deep-seated need to be denigrated in order to get it on, though I wouldn't necessarily rule that out. But more simply, it's that we so often want those things we can't have. You don't just want the jock because he's studly, you want him because for you he's the least attainable guy around, and therefore the most worthy. If you managed to bed Rep. Bachmann or her son, despite your fierce disagreements, what does that say about you? (Answer: that you rock in the sack.)

So, yes. As much as it might pain me to say it, I would go home with Rep. Aaron Schock if the offer were on the table. I imagine quite a few of you would, as well. And it's not just about scoring, because I think in truth we might use such a conquest to bolster our ego, as shallow and manipulative and unhealthy as that sounds. Sure, I might feel bad about the damage to my liberal street cred the next day. But those are the kind of concerns you can usually put off until the uncomfortable breakfast.