CHRISTINA "C.J." FROGOZO, a 24-year-old self-proclaimed Democrat since the fifth grade, will never date another Republican again. "My Republican ex-boyfriend and I would literally have three-hour telephone fights about politics, and he used to refer to me and my friends as 'you liberals.'" In the several months Frogozo and the 29-year-old entertainment lawyer from Santa Monica (whom she wishes to remain nameless) carried on a relationship, the two argued about unions ("his dad was a union-buster"), the economy, women's issues, gay marriage, and more.
Frogozo eventually convinced him to give money to the Kerry campaign, but the gesture wasn't enough to save the relationship. "I'm now dating a nice Democrat, who I actually converted from a Republican," she says proudly. She explains how her current boyfriend recently slipped a "present" under her door: a voter re-registration card with the "party of choice" box checked "Democrat." It must be love.
Listening to Frogozo talk about her romantic history last week at the Democratic National Convention, at a bar on Beacon Hill called 21st Amendment, I was amazed by how much power the attractive and stylishly dressed brunette had over the opposite sex. She is as creative as she is persistent and pretty. She's also concerned. As the founder of DemDates.com--a website that allows single Democrats to post and browse personal profiles à la Match.com, as well as meet and mingle at planned social events in their home city--she doesn't want other Democrats to make the same mistake she did (date a Republican). "You have to think about things that really get people at their hearts: politics, love, and religion," Frogozo says. If you already have similar political views with the person you're dating, "the rest of it seems to fall into place, I think."
With that in mind, Frogozo kicked off the first day of the DNC by hosting an all-day happy hour at the aforementioned 21st Amendment. The bar's central location--around the corner from the Massachusetts State House--makes it a good spot for the curious to stop in for a chat. There, single Democrats, many of whom are in town for the DNC, can meet one another and learn more about the latest niche in online dating. Frogozo's brother, B.J., a sophomore at Indiana University, sits behind a table covered with red, white, and blue T-shirts and stickers that display the DemDates motto: "Smart. Sexy. Liberal." He tells me that 13 people have come to the happy hour so far, but the day is young.
Before Frogozo can tell me how she came up with the idea for DemDates, B.J. gives me some background information on his big sister. Last winter, around the time of California's primary election, Frogozo, a Santa Monica resident who then worked as a curator's assistant at the L.A. County Museum of Art, rounded up her girlfriends for some creative campaigning. Dubbing themselves "Johnny's Girls" and capitalizing on their sex appeal and that of the candidate's, they hit the bars in Los Angeles to encourage young people, particularly young men, to vote for John Edwards in the primary. "I think we Democrats have a pretty good pool of good-looking people, so we should use that to our advantage," Frogozo tells me after her brother finishes. "Not that you should vote on looks," she quickly adds.
Frogozo first conceived of DemDates.com in April and shortly thereafter pitched the idea to two investors at Venture Capital. Promoting DemDates.com is now her full-time job. She launched the website only three weeks before the Democratic convention, the timing of the launch being "serendipitous," she says. "I actually gave a shirt to Terry McAuliffe at the Rock the Vote [rally], and he chuckled," Frogozo says. "Yesterday, we were at [Boston nightclub] Avalon, and we got Jerry Springer in a shirt. We got Natalie Portman in a shirt, Biz Markie in a shirt. It's definitely out there now," B.J. adds.
In Boston alone, there are over 500 registered DemDaters, B.J. tells me. They fall between the ages of 18 and 47, but most are 25 to 30 years old. And the ratio of men to women is about even. "There are so many more men than women on e-Harmony and Match.com," B.J. says. "It's 50/50 on DemDates." Unlike most dating sites that could care less about a user's political opinions, the site asks questions with fun, political flair, such as "Monica or Gennifer?" And, "Who's your political crush?" The site does not match users up with each other, but it allows them to post a profile, including their answers to the pop-political questions; browse other profiles; and "wink" at the DemDaters they want to get to know better, B.J. explains. A photo is encouraged, but not required. "Just signing in allows you to check out our upcoming events, giving you inside info. on where the smart sexy liberals are hanging out in your city," the site reads. You can post your own profile and check out other profiles for free. But a membership fee of $10 a month or $100 for one year is required to actually contact the other members of the DemDates community, as well as to receive advance notice of parties and events and to use private instant messaging with other DemDaters.
While the main purpose of DemDates is to provide a forum for single Democrats to meet and possibly make a love connection, Frogozo also hails DemDates as a great way to "usher [young people] gently into politics" and "to push Kerry into office." Frogozo is gearing up to travel to major cities across the country to attract new DemDaters, and is currently planning a "Say goodbye to summer, say goodbye to Bush" pool party.
Frogozo doesn't have any DemDates success stories yet, but her two interns are dating. And as for Frogozo, well, like I said, she's already found herself a nice Democrat. That doesn't stop her, however, from revealing the name of one conservative she finds particularly sexy: Tucker Carlson. "He's my secret political crush," she laughs.
So what about all those single Republicans out there who would take George W. over the two Johns any day, and are looking for someone who feels the same way? In the words of John Edwards, "Hope is on the way." Or rather, it's already here: SingleRepublican.com.
Erin Montgomery is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.