Hey, it occurs to me that Phi may actually have had different experiences with women due to his religion. Most of us here are secular Americans. But I could believe women relate differently to men in more traditional, religious cultures.
I have heard complaints, come to think of it, by men in certain religions that the women are very concerned with money and are upfront about it. They supposedly make men jump through a lot more hoops to be in their presence than secular women do. I have heard they will cut a guy quickly for not being smooth, and seem more concerned with looks. It's strange, because I'd expect the opposite from religious people -- that they'd be more concerned with the inner man, etc. But maybe a traditional woman needs to be more concerned with those superficial qualities.
Kudos to Spungeon for shifting my paradigm. I had never really considered this before, and I think there is something to it, although I also think it is possible to be more specific. My first caveat is that the categories "religious" and "conservative" are not coterminous; neither are "secular" and "liberal". In fact, I would argue that the religious-secular axis is orthogonal to the conservative-liberal one.
I then sought to categorize my experience in these the four possible combinations. Yes, the data is noisy, there are counterexamples, and of course there are other variables as we have all talked about, but in general it holds true:
Religious Conservative: Basically, private Christian school for missionary children grades 10 - 12. Here lie my most positive experiences. I have almost no recollection of my church-related peer group in grades K - 3, and I had NO church related peer group in grades 4 - 9. (My non-church-related peer group was almost uniformly tortuous from grades K - 9.) But starting in grade 10, I finally had the opportunity to break the cycle of negative socialization that Bobvis wrote about. And this back when my religious identification was largely nominal.
Note that I didn't do much in the way of dating at this point, for reasons that would be the subject of another post. But the kindness was such that for the next fifteen years I would seek my friends almost exclusively in church.
Secular Conservatives: Basically, College Republicans. (Yeah, I know: as if my nerd cred was insufficiently established.) Again, no dating. Not much in the way of females at all, come to think of it. But the ones that were there were kind for the most part.
Secular Liberals: Basically, a handful of women I met as an undergraduate. My expectations were low, so I was tough to disappoint, but I can't say I suffered much in the way of gratuitous torture at the hands of these women. However, I CAN say that about . . . .
Religious Liberals: Odd as it may seem, most of the churches I attended in college and in my twenties were mainline protestant. While "mainline" is not exactly coterminous with "liberal", attending mainline churches will give one plenty of exposure to liberal religious women--and this is not a good thing. The young lady of the previous post may be an extreme example, but she isalso the archetype. Religious liberal women inflicted a lifetime's worth of snottiness, hostility and indifference on me during my twenties. I'm happy to be done with them.
I don't really have an airtight hypothesis why women in this category should stand out in the way that they do; hopefully, my commenters will help out here. But the lesson is clear: if you are a woman and a liberal, please be an atheist. Nothing is quite as obnoxious as religiously motivated progressive sanctimony.
Unidentified: These are the ones I can't place on the axis because they walked by while studiously avoiding eye contact. Probably religious liberals.