Ugly is in the eye of the beholder

October 19, 2009

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More bad news for Hagerstown men: We've been selected as the second-ugliest city in America by the Total Beauty Web site.

More unattractive than Huntington, W.Va. More hideous than Mobile, Ala. Uglier than, well, everyone except El Paso, Texas.

Ugliest? Oh come on, haven't they seen Jim Kercheval? Hunka, hunka.

My inbox was flooded with links to the Total Beauty site the second this came out. I don't know what people want me to do about it. I've done a lot for this community, but I draw the line at Botox.

And I thought we had plenty of eligible bachelors. Eligible for state assistance, that is, which is not necessarily bad. I heard a local woman comment once that she married her husband because "he got a right good disability check."


Anyway, I did take a peek at the story, and basically it amounts to this: We've been voted second-ugliest city by the nation's ugliest Web site. No kidding, it looks as if it were designed by Calvin and Hobbes, but without the organization. Despite its name, Total Beauty is big on ugly -- it has all kinds of lists of the ugliest this and the worst that.

And before you ladies get too smug about Hagerstown men, consider that Total Beauty also ranks Hagerstown No. 5 for most cellulite. I don't know how we got left off the "cities with the worst skin" list. Obesity has its advantages, I suppose. Smoothes out the wrinkles.

As proof of our male ugliness, it's noted that only 10 percent of our men have bachelor's degrees. I don't know what that has to do with looks. Has Total Beauty looked in on an upper-level particle physics class lately? Good luck finding two teeth pointing in the same direction. And it's interesting that a site that features a video on "How to Extract a Blackhead Properly" would place such an emphasis on higher education.

It also doesn't like the fact that 30 percent of us don't exercise and are obese. "And an off-the-charts number of Hagerstownians smoke compared to the rest of the country."

I don't know, I almost take that as a plus. In these days, when everyone this side of Marc Anthony is considered obese, a mere 30 percent doesn't seem so bad. And smoking? I guess I'm just not ready to call Humphrey Bogart ugly.

So it seems to me that Hagerstown might be statistically ugly, but does statistical ugliness translate into practical ugliness? If you take all our men and give them a college education and take away their smokes, will that suddenly make a difference in their relative attractiveness?

Well, maybe so. I saw one post from a Hagerstown woman who said the last man who showed interest in her was a skinhead who employed the romantic pickup line of "I'd sure like to hit on that."

Dudes, I'm no advice columnist, but as an introduction to a young lady, the phrase "I'd sure like to hit on that" is probably going to land you back into your basement apartment faster than you can say Kraft macaroni and cheese.

So local women might be inclined to buy into this study. On the other hand, I'd like to throw one more statistic back at Total Beauty for consideration: Our elevated teenage pregnancy rate.

Surely, that is a truer indication than smoking. Somebody must be finding us guys attractive, if only fleetingly. But surely enough so to bump us down the list to No. 6.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant video at, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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