It was after the election of President Donald Trump that Richard Gosse, a matchmaker of sorts, had a realization.
“It dawned on me that Trump has all these qualities that women are attracted to – he’s tall, he’s older, he’s wealthy, he’s well-educated and he’s a dominant alpha male. Unfortunately, he’s also a narcissistic womanizer,” Gosse said. “I recommend women seek the opposite of Donald Trump – bachelors who are younger, shorter, poorer, less-educated and shy.”
Gosse has been taking his message across California, hosting anti-Trump singles parties where he invites women to meet men who aren’t at all like the president.
His views are controversial – he recommends women give short guys a chance, for example, but suggests women lose weight, wear makeup and smile more if they want to improve their chances of getting a date. He’s drawn crowds from across California, and has an upcoming event planned this weekend in Sacramento.
“Some people have complained that I’m disrespectful to the president, but I’m just pointing out that he is the type of guy who makes for a lousy husband. The man has cheated on his wives,” Gosse said. “There are millions of men available in America who aren’t like that.”
Gosse attributes interest in his approach, in part, to the fact that politics is becoming a more important value in relationships – romantic or otherwise.
“Dating in this nation has become very polarized – we’ve got a red America and a blue America,” Gosse said. “That has only intensified. Republicans only want to date Republicans and Democrats only want to date Democrats … if people have opposing values, chances are it’s not going to make for a good connection. It wasn’t always that way.”
A Pew Research Center survey this month found the gap between Democrats and Republicans, measuring their political values, is larger than any point since Pew started polling in 1994, which represents the “continuation of a steep increase in the ideological divisions between the two parties over more than a decade,” according to the survey. Voters disagree widely because they are moving in opposite directions, with Democrats taking more liberal positions and Republicans adopting more conservative views, the survey found.
“That is consistent with a lot of work in the field – people are drawn to others who are similar to them in political ideology, especially as polarized as the country is today,” said Cameron Anderson, a psychologist and a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Cheryl Gore-Felton, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, said Gosse appears to have tapped into today’s supercharged political climate.
“People are feeling very emotional about politics in ways I haven’t ever seen,” she said. “Before, it might come up as a mention if it was something like an election year, but no one ever talked about what it means to support one party or the other. Now, people will come in and entire sessions are devoted to how to deal with politics, like if it comes up at Thanksgiving or family gatherings or in relationships. I’ve never been asked to strategize those kinds of minefields before. That’s how emotional it’s become.
“People have said to me that they won’t even bother having a conversation with someone if they’re conservative, or if they’re too left-leaning,” Gore-Felton said.
When it comes to Gosse’s theory that women are drawn to Trump-like men, she said “there is a sliver of truth to what he’s saying,” but that it’s an overgeneralization.
“There is a sub-population of women who go for bad boys, so to speak,” Gore-Felton said. “Having said that, most women when they decide who they’re looking for aren’t describing physical attributes. It’s much more about being honest and sincere, having someone who is kind and someone they can talk to. It’s really about values and principles.”
Roger Chemtob, 60, of Larkspur attended an anti-Trump singles event in San Francisco last month. He questioned Gosse’s point of view, but credited his events with connecting people in real life who are open to meeting new people.
“He’s getting everyone involved,” Chemtob said. “Dating is hard, especially for shy people like me.”
Erica Thomas, 46, of Rohnert Park, said she regularly attends the singles parties because she likes meeting people in person.
She said Gosse’s view is a little “simplistic,” but said there “is some truth to the alpha male thing.”
Gore-Felton cautioned against villainizing Trump.
“If we do that, then we lose even having a discourse instead of understanding this as a cultural aspect,” she said. “I think we have to get beyond our feelings and really sit down and have meaningful conversations with one another.”
What: Sacramento Singles Convention
When: 7:30-midnight, Saturday, Oct. 14
Where: DoubleTree Sacramento, 2001 West Point Way, Sacramento