Rushed Relationships : Anti-Liberal Dose of Limbaugh Cures Middle-Aged Blues
Live, from Orange County, it’s Saturday night with the Dittohead Singles!
Not just bound by their solo status, this party of 30 unmarrieds also shares its passion for Rush Limbaugh, the big daddy of radio whose daily broadcasts bash liberals, “feminazis,” the homeless and the President.
Unlike the song, they’re lookin’ for love in all the right places.
“My basic premise, actually, in starting this particular group was that if you meet someone who shares your same basic values, you’ve got a better chance to have a good relationship,” said Donna Bradshaw, 54, a custom shelf liner from Santa Ana who launched Dittohead Singles a year ago.
Dittoheads are not cousins of the Coneheads or Zippy the Pinhead. It was Rush himself who gave his listeners this term of endearment. A caller awaiting her chance to address him on the air some years ago heard the caller before her praise the big guy. When she got her turn with Rush, she told him, “ditto to all that.”
A few Saturday nights ago in an Irvine clubhouse, the monthly Dittohead Singles party got underway at 7:30, with men and women given name tags.
They’re as young as the early 20s, as old as the 60s, but mostly middle-aged. Unlike most singles soirees, there are more men than women.
For the first 45 minutes, everyone views Rush videos. Dittoheads mingle over sodas at the bar or watch from card tables as his Rushness offers his blowtorch conservatism from a TV screen mounted near the ceiling.
Perhaps because they already have common ground to discuss, there is none of that desperate singles’ group pall hanging over things--people plastered against the walls like at a junior high school dance or talking your ear off with their entire romantic history condensed into the first 10 minutes of introduction.
“Hi, Ed,” Glinda Muirhead, 55, says from a sofa, greeting a new arrival. She is adorable in a polka-dotted jumpsuit and a white cowboy hat with gold stars. “Hi, Glinda,” Ed says, “I didn’t know you were a Dittohead.” She admits she isn’t, she’s a Friend of Dittoheads (FOD).
Next are the structured mixers, which sound sort of corny but do the job. The first one breaks the crowd into discussion groups. Tonight’s political topic, bias intended: “President Clinton seems to be genuinely puzzled by his low approval ratings. What do you think the reason is/are?”
Most of the confab has everyone offering at least one comment. Terry Andrews, in a baseball cap, spends a lot of time describing his attempts to persuade his Democrat kin that Clinton is a big dumb lug.
“My mom and sister are unhappy with what he hasn’t done,” says Andrews, 53, a Costa Mesa technical writer originally from Wisconsin. “My mom says, ‘Can’t you say anything good?’ I said, ‘If Mr. and Mrs. Clinton won’t run for President, that would be good.’ ”
There is a silence, then Andrews offers that he was raised in the Unitarian church but broke free from its grasp.
Interestingly, there are at least four Dittoheads who are also Sierra Club conservation types--usually viewed as liberals. Each quickly insists, to coin a Rushism, “I am not an environmental wacko.” All guests seem to have a sense of humor.
As cake is dished up, each person is asked to describe him or herself on a scrap of paper they drop into a basket. Party-goers then draw the description of another single Dittohead, and go about trying to identify its author.
“Friendlier than I look,” is how Jeff, 38, of Anaheim, his black hair askew, his cowboy boots scuffed, has described himself. What does he mean? “Well,” he says with a smile, “I sort of look like a murderer, don’t you think?”
He admits his three-day beard and athletic shirt are not his best effort, but says he is enjoying the party, only his second Dittohead get-together. “I think it’s pretty neat,” he says with a strong New York accent.
Up walks Laura Carder, her plastic thongs thump-thumping. She has hardly said a word all night about Whitewater conspiracies, welfare moms and other things dreaded by Dittoheads. Instead, she avidly explains both the Orange County Sierra Singles and SOS (Save Our State), the backers of Prop. 187, which seeks to exclude illegal immigrants from public schools and public health care except for emergencies.
“Do you want to hear my poem?” Carder asks, beaming like a grade schooler about to audition for the talent show. Jeff, looking amused, says sure.
Carder clears her throat, straightens her body and looks straight ahead while reciting “Illegals,” the name of her missive: “Come to California ye world’s poor. Nowhere in the world will get you more. . . . State citizens, fed up? Then let’s shout! ‘Let’s get these greedy tax suckers out!’ ” And so on.
Jeff is grinning by now, clearly entertained. “I like it,” he says.
Over near the bar, the conversation is animated as other singles chat about the clues they’ve drawn: “I’m left-handed,” “I like to go to swap meets,” or “I’m a person who speaks two languages”.
“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple and spit,” writes another woman, perhaps not looking for any long-term commitments.
“I study paranormal (psychic) activities, when I can,” writes Mike Hester, 46, of Huntington Beach, a good-natured computer handyman who’s apparently seeking someone equally interested in bleeding walls and Amityville.
Blond-haired Noel Christensen of Irvine, who cares for the elderly and is “over 50,” stands chatting with Dan Gernak, 44, a brown-haired Garden Grove Dittohead in long shorts who works at Lucky’s and has drawn her clue; he likes it.
Hers read: “I like being very feminine. I am very sociable and creative. I am a GIVER rather than a TAKER. I have never had a weight problem. I like people. I dress uniquely. I like the outdoors and even have green eyes.”
Though party-goers circulated with each other all night, Andrews said he’s attended six Dittohead meetings now and has yet to get a date.
“Two women showed some interest but when I called them (later), they weren’t,” Andrews says days after the meeting. “Very few women want to date at all. I have better luck at the bowling alley. . . . It’s best, I’ve found, not to discuss politics if you wanna get a date.”
It's a date
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