In recent weeks, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has come under fire from both sides of the political spectrum, not for any particularly political notion she might have had, but for whining about her love life. A couple of examples should be sufficient. Lindsay Beyerstein, a contemporary liberal, writes:

This is the woman who regularly uses her New York Times column for content that belongs in an F4M classified ad. Asking Maureen Dowd for perspective on intimate relationships is like asking Judy Miller for advice on journalistic ethics.

From the right, Francis W. Porretto notes:

[W]e have here a single woman well into her middle years, who isn't quite clear in head or heart, who holds a number of nebulous grudges against men and their norms, and who can't get a date. Given that she's laid the responsibility for her condition on everyone and everything but her identity, values, and preferences, what could her prognosis be, other than spinsterhood all the way to the grave?

It occurs to me that similar criticisms could be leveled at me, since I spend rather a lot of time whining about my love life. However, the casual reader should not confuse one with the other: Maureen Dowd and I are two separate — "separate" is definitely the operative word — persons. Here's how to tell us apart:

 Maureen DowdMe
Number of siblings44
Birth order5th1st
Previous marriages01
College attendedCatholic University (Washington)University of Texas (Austin)
Shoe size9½ or 1014
Hair colorRed, latelyGrey, lately
Major accomplishment in journalism1999 Pulitzer Prize for CommentaryGetting mentioned in Scott Ott's book Axis of Weasels
Best bud in the Mainstream MediaWilliam Safire, The New York TimesDawn Eden, New York Daily News
Capacity for snarkFairly highFairly high
Connection to John TierneyUsed to dateNone
Number of words derived from name10
Hot or not? (0-10)6.22.6
Word volume per weekThousandsThousands
Number of faithful readersThousandsDozens
Number of actual dates"Plenty"Hardly any

I trust this will put an end to any confusion which may exist.

The Vent

  7 November 2005

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