Hagerstown ranks No. 2 in Eight Cities with the Ugliest Guys

October 19, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

I gave this news some deeper thought after I stopped laughing: Thanks to men, Hagerstown has the dubious honor of ranking No. 2 on the "Eight Cities with the Ugliest Guys" list.

The Hagerstown Ugly Man story has been making its rounds as the butt of jokes on Facebook status updates and as a featured story on regional news segments ever since the story was published on Sept. 25.

Whether calling Hagerstown men ugly are fighting words depends on a few things - like how you interpret data or if you're a guy or a girl. Maybe there are a bunch of single Hagerstown women swiveling their necks as they utter, "See, I told you so... ." The consensus from the men I talked to for this story was a big, whinny "nuh-uh."

But now that all the watercooler talk has diminuendoed to a murmur, perhaps it has encouraged us to reconsider how we define "attractive."

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According to the story, the writer considered education stats, sales of contraceptive and erotica under the premise that "no sex generally equals less hot guys," a population's health, smoking rates and obesity "in every city in the U.S." to find out where those ugly dudes are.

El Paso, Texas, topped the list, with obesity and low level of educational attainment working against it.

For me, distrust set in when I saw that Miami ranked No. 3. Serious skepticism set in when I saw that Bethesda, Md., made No. 1 on the same Web site's "Top 10 Hottest-Guy Cities."

Well - surprise, surprise - the ugly list was never meant to be a scientific assessment of the concentration of male ugliness, said's editor-in-chief Beth Mayall in a recent phone interview with The Herald-Mail.

"Obviously, it's one of those stories to get attention," Mayall said.

The story, she said, was an attempt to examine what makes a guy "hot" by incorporating "things that matter and other things that shouldn't, but do matter."

Hagerstown, Mayall said, made the list because fewer than 10 percent of Hub City men hold bachelor's degrees, 30 percent don't exercise regularly and, according to the story, an "off-the-charts number of Hagerstownians smoke, compared to the rest of the country."

Seriously, how much does this stuff matter?

I asked Kristi Pursley - a first-time visitor to Hagerstown who seemed unfazed by the alleged ugliness of Hub City men - what she thought, especially since she was from Arlington, Texas, and Texas made the list twice, thanks to Houston.

"I look at other things that could make guys attractive," Pursley said.

Pursley, 49, is single and has been testing out online dating. Personality earns major points for her. The problem, she said, is that men's needs are more basic.

"I've found an abundance of men who'd be fine for me," Pursley said. "They don't look like Brad Pitt, but they want an Elle MacPhereson."

Katy Sweeney, of the Hagerstown-based Sammy's Singles, is a person who's business is the dating business. She keeps her ear to the ground when it comes to what causes or repels romantic attraction - her family's speed-dating business depends on it.

Sweeney said from what she has seen, physical attractiveness has been far more important to men than women.

"We don't need to see our men in lingerie," Sweeney said, whereas men can size up a woman's appearance in a matter of seconds.

Women are less picky. "They could be short, fat, bald - whatever," Sweeney said.

And if the list is true, the lack of pickiness is "probably good for the women here in Hagerstown," Sweeney said.

Going back to Census data, it doesn't seem like Hub City men are doing all that bad. Census data tracks marital status for people age 15 or older. According to the data, more than half of Hagerstown men - 52 percent - are married.

I found one of these married guys, 45-year-old Hagerstown resident Harry Jones. He thought the list was funny. "It gives people a reason to talk about Hagerstown," Jones said.

I'd rather not use myself as the litmus for what the dating scene is like in Hagerstown. But I have to admit that when I heard about this list, my thought process started went something like this: Tiffany, you have never dated a guy from Hagerstown, let alone Washington County.

The current boyfriend lives in Gaithersburg, Md. The boyfriend prior: Baltimore City. They associate Hagerstown with me and "the outlets."

But can that be blamed on lack of buffness, the pervasiveness of male stupidity, er, flat-out ugliness?

Nah. Flabby, stupid men are everywhere. I chalk it up to chance and my crazy schedule.

Maybe the answer might be different if you're a guy or a girl.

Who made the list

1. El Paso, Texas

2. Hagerstown, Md.

3. Miami, Fla.

4. Greensboro, N.C.

5. Tie: Mobile, Ala., and Huntington, W.Va.

6. Detroit, Mich.

7. Philadelphia

8. Houston, Texas

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