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Looking For ‘Mr. (Radical) Right’ Personals In The Patriot Matchmaker Prove Militia Types Need Love, Too

James Brooke New York Times

In big-city lonely hearts columns, a NSSWM often can be found seeking a similarly non-smoking single white female.

But here on the plains of eastern Colorado, the Patriot Matchmaker features a novel preference in its personal advertisements: awareness of the “NWO.”

Dedicated to bringing together the lonely guys and gals of the militia movement, this personals bulletin and dating service is based on the premise that a happy relationship can be built on a shared distrust of the “new world order.”

“I got a guy calling up the other day, saying, ‘Marilyn, all the girls think I’m crazy if I talk about the Federal Reserve and the NWO,”’ recounted Marilyn Gardner, whose computer in her basement office here is adorned with a sticker saying: “Get the U.S. out of the U.N.”

Gardner, 53, a former television actress, has run her dating service for 10 months from this village of wheat fields and oil wells half an hour north of Denver.

Next week, for a lucky 260 survivalists and paramilitary enthusiasts, the knock on the door will not be from a U.N. storm trooper but from the mail carrier, bringing a Valentine issue of the Patriot Matchmaker. Ever the romantic, Gardner was to make a trip on Wednesday to Loveland, Colo., where the post office will cancel each stamp with a Feb. 14 postmark: “Sending Sweet Lines with Love, Valentine.”

Joining the Patriot Matchmaker service costs $69 a year, which gets members an advertisement and a year’s worth of issues of the bulletin, which comes out monthly.

Gardner advertises for members and also finds them at preparedness expos, held across the country by survivalist groups. The slogan of her dating service is: “The Ultimate in Preparedness - Having a Like-Minded Mate.”

In personals placed by men, there is some boasting of Northern European ancestry, but most speak of a search for a soul mate to share political and social views.

“Peter,” a 40-year-old patriot who is “against family planning,” seeks “a younger lady who wants to have children.”

“Robert,” a 34-year-old blue-eyed man, writes: “I need a quiet, submissive, long haired Caucasian, Christian woman.”

For every lonely Nazi or “Christian warrior,” there may be a “Christian maiden.”

“Good natured, politics to the right of Attila the Hun,” writes “Tina,” a 34-year-old single woman. Her Prince Charming would be “wise, strong willed, established, and has served in the armed forces.”

“Kimberly,” a green-eyed 23-year-old, seeks a “white knight in shining armor” who would be “perceptive enough to prepare for hard times in Amerika.”

To meet up, members of the service send letters to Gardner’s post office box here, and she forwards the mail. To weed out spies, the Patriot Matchmaker asks potential members to sign a statement that may be unique to the business: “I also affirm that I am not an agent of the government.”

The advertisements in the Matchmaker make clear that many members fear the approach of apocalyptic times, and they do not want to retreat into their bomb shelter alone.

“Preparing & looking for a partner to help build an underground home,” writes “Jane,” a 65-year-old widowed “Christian patriot.” “Not wanting to go through this alone. Let’s get started!”

But “John,” a 49-year-old former Navy diver, writes that he wants to stand and fight.

“Spent 22 years fighting Communists & I’m not running to the hills because of the W.T.O.,” he wrote, referring to the World Trade Organization. “Looking for a woman who can look a liberal in the eye & express her opinion.”

Although no marriages are known to have resulted from the service, participants talk of sparks.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Polly Cady, a 49-year-old handwriting analyst from Paonia, Colo. “They are outdoors kinds of guys. They can talk to me on the same level about politics and religious things.”

A 50-year-old woman from Texas who wanted to be identified only as “Mary” agreed. “If you put a personal in the local paper,” she said, “you have no idea what you are going to get. Patriots are very conservative, born again Christians.”

Gardner, who describes her current romantic interest as “a political prisoner in Texas,” brushes aside any suggestion that militia members might be going soft if they are nesting. As a friend described black helicopters she had seen out here recently, Gardner pulled from her files a copy of a recent introduction in her 10-page bulletin.

“We are interested in falling in love, having families and all that normal stuff,” she had written.

But acknowledging outsiders’ skepticism, she had also written: “I am sure that some will fear for your future children.”

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