THEY met through a personals ad in The Nation. One would not think of that political journal as a likely stop-off for Cupid, but so it was for Kathy Geier, 37, and Rick Perlstein, 31. Then again, what better place for two quirky, committed intellectuals to look for love?
Ms. Geier, the oldest of five siblings and, she said, “the last to be married,” is a researcher for the Institute for Women and Work in Manhattan, a Cornell University labor-research group. In 1998, she was out for change. She placed the ad and applied to graduate school in public administration the same week.
“It was hard to connect,” she said. “On my last date, I argued with the guy about welfare reform. This was a last resort.” She chose The Nation because she loves its politics, and felt it might attract a person who could, as she put it in the ad, “stimulate her mind.”
Mr. Perlstein, who said he “tends to be neurotic about these things” (dating), is the author of “Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus” (Hill & Wang), his recently published and much praised study of the rise of the conservative movement. He saw her ad and was “smitten by its elegance.” She had described herself as “lefty, feminist intellectual,” which, he recalled, gave her “the right bloodlines.”
Mr. Perlstein was watching a rodeo on television when he came across her ad. He wrote to her during the commercial. Ms. Geier replied with a postcard saying she would call. It took her awhile. She had received 80 replies, among them judges, academics and grunge rockers. It was, she says, “empowering to be in the position to choose.”
Their first date was at the Living Room Cafe in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where, it turned out, they were neighbors. Ms. Geier discovered that she had read and admired his pieces in Lingua Franca magazine, while Mr. Perlstein learned that she shared his passion for “the lunacy of Richard Nixon.”
Ms. Geier, who handed out Nixon fliers as a child during the 1972 election, said she got her devotion to politics from her staunch Republican parents, Patricia and Henry Geier. Her father, an investment banker, was once mayor of Westwood, N.J.
By the time Mr. Perlstein met Ms. Geier, he was already at work on a book about the 1972 election. His father, Gerald Perlstein, a retired businessman in Milwaukee who professes that he and his wife, Celia, are political independents, said he could not explain his son’s obsession with right-wing politics.
On their second date, Mr. Perlstein and Ms. Geier went to a used- book fair. He was collecting obscure books from the John Birch Society, the conservative political organization. She knew about one of his favorites, “None Dare Call It Treason,” and was able to discuss it. On their third date they went to a conference on Yiddish socialism, but by then, Mr. Perlstein said, they were in love and they soon moved in together.
—Emily Prager. You know, if discussions regarding Yiddish socialism don’t bring you love and lifelong happiness, nothing will.