The Dating Gurus Grade: F
Some time ago, we received a marketing e-mail from a site called BeautifulPeople.com, which claims to admit only "beautiful people."
The e-mail was accompanied by a video of a homely guy and a handsome guy at a swimming pool. A trio of hot women comment that Homely Guy (actor Michael J. Sielaff) turns them on for his intellect and other interior qualities. They are disgusted by the hot guy because he looks like a douche. The video supposedly makes some kind of point, like: Hey, don't deny the fact that looks matter.
BeautifulPeople.com says, "To become a member, applicants are required to be voted in by existing members of the opposite sex. Members rate new applicants over a 48 hour period based on whether or not they find the applicant ‘beautiful’."
My radar told me that it wasn't truly an exclusive community. This exclusivity it claims is a marketing pitch. After all, we all want to be in rarefied ranks, don't we? And when we're admitted to such an exclusive group, we naturally feel more willing to...pay the steep monthly fees for the ability to network and date.
In fact, the site intentionally whips up controversy. One executive says, "We receive hundreds of emails each week from people who are furious with BeautifulPeople.com and we have experienced a continued media backlash." Sounds to me like he's uttering this with a bit of pride. After all, controversy attracts attention.
So, I decided to conduct an experiment.
Applying for "Admittance": Me vs. Leon
First I set up a profile for myself, using my own photo. I chose a photo that I felt was fairly representative of me: tired, grouchy, and most representative of all--drinking coffee.
Kevin Nguyen of The Bygone Bureau conducted a similar experiment by creating a real profile of himself and two additional fake profiles--just to see what would happen.
Next I Googled images for "ordinary-looking guy." I didn't want to pick an ugly guy--simply your standard-issue middle-aged man who isn't handsome, isn't ugly.
Whoever this poor guy was, I called him Leon. Nasty tie aside, he looked fairly normal.
Since we both looked roughly the same, both of us should make or not make the cut. Capiche?
For 48 hours, BeautifulPeople.com members feverishly voted on me and Leon (sarcasm added here), and at the end of the period, lo and behold. Accepted.
Which immediately made me suspicious. All I could think of was Groucho Marx's quote about not wanting to be a member of a club that would admit him.
14 Hours Left
After 14 hours, my unremarkable mug has been admitted to these esteemed halls of international Hot People. I am able to delete my profile.
But Leon's voting is lagging behind.
With 14 hours left, Leon gets a cryptic notice saying that he has received 29 positive votes, but he's trending toward the "out"? What the hell is going on?
After the 48 hours were up, I decided to log into Leon's account to see if he was accepted or rejected. But I get this message:
Talk about jilted! Not only was "Leon" not admitted to these ranks of exciting, beautiful people, but he wasn't even allowed to log in. Damn! Talk about a slap in the face!