I thought I’d heard of everything in this day and age, but I’m still saying, “Are they serious?” about an actual dating website called BeautifulPeople.com.
I first became aware of the site when I saw a TV news report about it a few years ago. The reporter described it as a place where beautiful men and women go to meet other beautiful men and women.
I watched in disbelief as the reporter explained that if you want to be considered for membership in the BeautifulPeople family you first must submit a photo of yourself for judging. Members of the opposite sex who already have been accepted into the BeautifulPeople group then vote on whether or not you’re pretty or handsome enough to join their exclusive club. Back then, the voting lasted for two days, after which the applicants would receive either a “Congratulations! You are accepted!” e-mail or a “Sorry, you’re not attractive enough,” one.
The club's motto is, "Beauty is in the eyes of the voter." At that time, the voters, after studying an applicant’s photo and bio, checked off one of the following: “Yes! Definitely!”, “Hmm, yes, OK”, “Hmm, not really” or “No! Not at all!” During the voting process, applicants were able to see a running tally of their votes and check how well (or lousy) they were doing.
The TV reporter, an attractive blonde, decided to submit her own photo to BeautifulPeople to see what would happen. She went to a photographer and had several professional shots taken, then carefully studied them until she selected what she felt was the perfect photo. She also thought long and hard about something clever and intriguing to write in her bio. Finally, she submitted everything to BeautifulPeople…and waited.
She frequently checked her status during the voting period and seemed less than pleased to discover she’d amassed a stack of “No! Not at all!” votes and not even one “Yes, definitely!” And at the end of the two days, she received the dreaded “Sorry, you’re not attractive enough” message.
Curiosity led me to check out the website. The home page stated that only 15-20 percent of the applicants get accepted.
I checked out the members’ photos. I did see quite a few drop-dead gorgeous women and hunky guys. I also saw a lot of not-so-gorgeous, bikini-clad women who looked as if they’d been to a big sale at Silicone City, and a bunch of bare-chested, not-so-handsome guys whose redeeming quality seemed to be a muscle-bound body with six-pack abs.
I also read some of the things the members had written about themselves.
“There HAS to be more to life than just being really, really good-looking,” one man wrote.
Another, a curvy young woman, said, “Unlike some of the people on here, who submitted photos that have been retouched or Photoshopped, I am a hundred- percent natural…except for my breast implants.”
“This stuff would make a great column,” I said to one of my friends. “In fact, I think I’ll be brave like that TV reporter and submit one of my photos! I know I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it, but it should be good for a laugh, and then I can write about it!”
“You’re too old for a site like that,” she said, kind soul that she is.
“I wouldn’t submit a current photo, silly!" I said. "I’d dig up one that was taken back when I was 25 or so. Maybe even one that shows some cleavage!”
“Well, at least back then, you still had cleavage and weren’t tucking your boobs into your waistband!” she added.
Finding an old photo of myself that could pass for a modern-day one, however, was no easy task. In most of my old photos, my hair was styled so high, it looked as if birds were nesting in it. And my clothes looked as if I’d bought them at "Disco Dan’s" Discount. So I finally settled on a serious-looking headshot.
I submitted the photo for judging. I listed my age as 25 and my occupation as an aerobics instructor. I figured that seeing that none of my body was showing in the photo, I could get away with lying about the aerobics part.
I think I broke the site’s record for the fastest accumulation of “No! Not at all!” votes. One of the guys who voted against me wrote to tell me that my photo was so serious, it looked like a mug shot. Another wrote and asked me, “So…what’s it worth to you if I give you a ‘yes’ vote?” And then there was the 57-year-old yacht-owner (or so his profile said) who actually wanted my phone number. The man obviously was in desperate need of an optometrist.
All I can say is that if you feel even the slightest bit attractive before you submit a photo to BeautifulPeople, you will feel as if you should be wearing a bag over your head by the time the voting is over. Not surprisingly, I ended up receiving the dreaded “sorry” e-mail.
I recently checked out the website to see if it’s still in existence. To my surprise, it is. I mean, after all these years, I was pretty sure it would have been deemed highly offensive to “beautifully challenged” people such as myself and received a zillion petitions for it to be removed from the Internet.
But it’s still going strong and even has added a new service…plastic surgeons and beauty consultants available to give you advice after you get rejected.
I also read that over 5,000 people had lost their memberships after video chats revealed they had gained weight since originally submitting their photos.
As a helpful service to potential applicants, a list of the most unattractive qualities the voters find in applicants is posted. Both sexes voted a “non-toned, flabby body” as being one of the top turn-offs. Women also said that balding men aren’t attractive, while men said too much hair on a woman’s body isn’t. Other features that all but guarantee you'll get rejected include: bad teeth (or none at all), thin lips, acne, a big nose, a unibrow or too much makeup.
I also noticed they’ve changed the voting choices, which now range from “beautiful” to “absolutely not.”
“Why don’t you try submitting one of MY photos from when I was in my 20s?” A male friend said to me a couple weeks ago when I was telling him about my experience with BeautifulPeople. “I’ll bet I would get a lot more positive votes than you did!”
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.