Himbo in chief
November 25, 2019 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Who was the most himbo US president?

Wikipedia: Himbo, a portmanteau of the words him and bimbo, is a slang term for an attractive but vacuous man.

This GQ list of himbos includes George W. Bush (#20). This can't possibly be correct, but it does raise the question: Which president was the most himbo?

I don't know that much about historical presidents but my preferred method for learning about them is ridiculous hypotheticals (e.g. In a Mass Knife Fight to the Death Between Every American President, Who Would Win and Why?). Please provide reasoning to back up your answer. Thank you.
posted by sunset in snow country to Law & Government (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Reagan for literal movie-star looks and idiot presidency.
posted by pompomtom at 4:52 PM on November 25, 2019 [23 favorites]

Trump, by far and away, then Reagan, then W. It may be hard to think of Trump as charming now, but sex appeal is supposed to be part of his brand going back the 80s.

Reagan was dumber than W, but came off smarter. W was smarter, marginally, but came off dumber, and weaponized it as Texas charm despite his New England ties, so pick your poison as to which is more himboish.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:59 PM on November 25, 2019

Franklin Pierce looked like this and managed to get blindsided by the idea that people had strong feelings about slavery and basically failed at presidency because it turned out to be impossible to make everybody happy. I feel like the argument could at least be made.

Trump has never in his life been attractive enough.
posted by Sequence at 5:00 PM on November 25, 2019 [31 favorites]

The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a "Harvard man" is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

April 23, 1935
John F. Kennedy
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2019 [28 favorites]

[A few comments deleted. Folks, if this question is going to stay and be useful for OP, it can't be about bimbos and Trump. Surely OP knows about Trump. This seems like an answerable question at its core: which historical US presidents were regarded as good-looking but dim?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:06 PM on November 25, 2019 [9 favorites]

Seconding pompomtom; Reagan had the iconic "himbo" mix of conventional attractiveness + stupidity. (The handsomest U.S. presidents [Obama, Garfield, Kennedy...] weren't dumb.) Given your preferred learning method, you may enjoy the Hottest Heads of State site, with its "The Presidents of the United States: In Order of Hotness" rankings.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:13 PM on November 25, 2019 [7 favorites]

Gerald Ford was stereotyped as being very dim, but I don't know how accurate that was and if he was regarded as good-looking.

Franklin Pierce is on lists of best-looking presidents and worst presidents, but I don't know if that worst-ness was being dim in the sense you're looking for.

I found a list of Smartest and Least Brainy Presidents that might give some starting points, even if their methodology is questionable.

Some other leads at Wikipedia lists of presidential rankings
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:14 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Wasn't Harding essentially elected because "he looks like a president?" But had no idea what was going on, was sleeping around, etc? I vote for him.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:29 PM on November 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Is the only reason we're not all shouting "Reagan!!!" that his idiocy turned out to be due to Alzheimers?

Also, Trump? TRUMP? You read the part of the question where it says attractive but vacuous, right?
posted by HotToddy at 5:58 PM on November 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

I am also here to say Franklin Pierce, terrible president but voted #1 hottest by my bored ass in 10th grade US history.
posted by phunniemee at 6:06 PM on November 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Millard Fillmore was described by Queen Victoria as the handsomest man she'd ever met (this may be apocryphal). He wasnt dumb, but he wasn't smart at being President.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:07 PM on November 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came in to post that JFK Harvard thing—I can't imagine voting for anybody else. Lots of people here and elsewhere are going to try to tell you JFK was smart, but just close your eyes tight and think about the words "The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several" fighting their way through his hilarious accent.
posted by Polycarp at 6:22 PM on November 25, 2019 [15 favorites]

Kennedy is a tricky case. He was considered to be really smart at the time—he won a Pulitzer Prize!—but he didn’t write most of Profiles in Courage, and as that application to Harvard suggests, there’s a good bit of himboism there.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:23 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I automatically said 'duh, JFK' out loud upon reading this question, and am pleased to see that Harvard letter justify my reaction.
posted by kalimac at 6:24 PM on November 25, 2019 [8 favorites]

I read this elsewhere about Harding
but it's on the u s news and world report site too:

. It was good, his father once told him, that he hadn't been born a girl, "because you'd be in the family way[pregnant]all the time. You can't say no."
posted by brujita at 6:32 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Millard Fillmore was described by Queen Victoria as the handsomest man she'd ever met (this may be apocryphal). He wasnt dumb, but he wasn't smart at being President.

I’m...a little worried about Queen Victoria’s judgment in men. Though maybe she was trolling.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:02 PM on November 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Warren Harding’s attractiveness is the subject of a chapter in a Malcolm Gladwell book, and he’s generally considered one of the worst presidents, so that seems like a good combo.

I’m surprised Bill Clinton hasn’t been mentioned yet. Is it because he has an academic pedigree? I’d argue that the numerous missteps and miscalculations both during and after his presidency are evidence that maybe he’s book-smart but lacking in common sense. Or is he just not attractive enough? He certainly seems to think he is.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:04 AM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

For some reason I associate a third quality with “himbo” - not just good looks and dim thoughts, but a genial, sunny nature (no deep thoughts = no cares or worries), which to me cancels out JFK, Clinton, and Reagan, who were all somewhat scheming/strategic (regardless of how you rate their intelligence). It’s hard to think of a himbo with enough ambition to make it to the Presidency. (Why Elle Woods could never be considered a “bimbo.”)

Gerald Ford is as close as it gets, he sort of stumbled into office.
posted by sallybrown at 6:38 AM on November 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

All the way
What else do I have to say

weee didn't start the fiiiire
posted by COBRA! at 7:11 AM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Gerald Ford meets the qualifications, I think. He was a college football star in his day.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 11:56 AM on November 26, 2019

George W Bush, of course!
posted by amaire at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2019

jfk attended Harvard at a time when there were still quotas for non WASPs
posted by brujita at 7:55 PM on November 28, 2019

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