If you start dating Abraham Lincoln, don’t take him to a play. He’s too tall and will block everyone’s view, and that’s obviously the only reason he shouldn’t go to the theater. Helpful advice like this fills the pages of the new parody book “Hottest Heads of State, Volume One: The American Presidents” by St. Louis-based couple J.D. and Kate Dobson, who met in D.C. and lived in the city until 2009. In the book, billed as “TigerBeat for U.S. presidents,” they outline each leader’s charms and favorite pickup lines, and offer strategies to win his heart. Express asked the Dobsons, who are in town this weekend for two book talks, to evaluate the dateability of six POTUSes, including bad boy Richard Nixon and “dreamboat in a wig” George Washington.
Kate makes a convincing argument in favor of Obama: “It would be worth being with him just to make him say, ‘Yes, we can’ whenever you want,” she says. “You could work that into your vows, like, ‘Can we go out to lunch today?’ “Yes, we can!’” Beyond the catchphrases, Obama is cool and cool-headed, kills at Scrabble and likes babies. “He’s a good-looking guy, he’s tall and he’s got that great voice,” Kate says. “He seems like a catch.”
John F. Kennedy
Overrated, declare the Dobsons. Sure, the 35th president is easy on the eyes, but “I don’t think he’s as good-looking as everybody thinks he is,” J.D. argues. Kennedy will promise you the moon and the stars, but unless you’re drawn to men who compulsively cheat on you, you’d do well to elect a different paramour. “I think [he only makes sense] if you have really severe issues — in which case, go to a counselor, don’t date Jack Kennedy,” Kate says.
Haven’t given “Handsome Frank” much thought? “That’s a mistake,” Kate scolds. Looks aside, he was an outdoorsy sort, with special interests in fishing and wrestling. (If you wrestle with him, “you’ll probably lose, but you will still come away feeling like you’ve won,” the Dobsons write in their book). To win Pierce’s heart, you’ll need to appear shy, sickly and kind of a downer, which is how historians describe the 14th president’s wife, Jane.
There’s no doubt that the father of our nation was, in many ways, a catch: great dancer, extremely wealthy and with excellent self-control — he concealed both his temper and relentless ambition. “And he had manly, huge shoulders and giant hands,” Kate says. “Though I think he might have been carrying a torch for his childhood love, so you’d have to get over that.” As J.D. helpfully points out, however, “that might be true of your current boyfriend, too.” But J.D.’s not necessarily Team Washington. “If you like the bad boys, he’s probably not your guy,” he says, denouncing Washington as “almost like a boring boyfriend.”
Speaking of bad boys: “He’s gonna spy on your enemies and he’ll be intensely loyal to you,” Kate says of Nixon. “And if somebody has any dirt on you, he might order a break-in to their office to steal it.” The always cautious J.D. notes that “intensely loyal” could, in time, translate to stalking. Still, Nixon had a penchant for love letters, would likely refer to you as “thee” instead of “you” and wouldn’t make you wear fancy clothes. He once assured the nation that his wife didn’t own a mink coat, but rather a “respectable Republican cloth coat.” Thee could get used to that lack of pressure.
J.D. puts in a good word for Ford, who modeled during his college years and posed for an illustration that graced the cover of Cosmopolitan in 1942. (Attractiveness? Check.) “But he was also just a good guy,” J.D. says. “He didn’t have quite the same insatiable thirst for power that some of these presidents have.” Ford is the only U.S. president to have been an Eagle Scout, and as a college football player, he protested on behalf of a black teammate who was being discriminated against by another team. Hot tip from Kate: Plan a girls trip to his presidential museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. “They have a whole section of photos of him when he was young,” she says.