Pretty is as pretty votes

Dating Web site allowing only attractive members ranks Md. 31st in looks


Empowering news for all you lonely hearts out there looking for love and coming up empty: You can tell your "take-responsibility" therapists they've been wrong all along.

It's really not you; it's them.

The pool of potential mates is full of homely folks, people. That's why you can't find anyone to date.

It's true! At least it is, it seems, if you're in the Maryland area, where a "Beauty Index" compiled by an online dating site found that people in the Old Line state are just not cute.

And those down in D.C.? Well, they're just downright ugly.

Just ask an exclusive networking site whose members vote in only attractive people. The site - which has its roots in Europe but started up in the United States five months ago - took a look recently at the distribution of its 8,000-plus members and decided that Maryland ranks 31st and Washington, D.C., is at a sad, sad 40th in the nation on its beauty barometer.

The rankings are based on percentages - the number of people from a particular area who applied to get into the online club, and the number of those who actually made it in.

Using that technique, New York topped the list of beautiful singles, with 25.8 percent of applicants being good-looking enough to get in. Those poor folks in North Dakota came in dead last.

And somewhere in between were all those rosy-cheeked skiers in Vermont. Those sweethearts in Tennessee; the potato-fed, manly men in Idaho. Those outdoorsy types in Oregon. The golden-tanned folks in New Mexico. The mild-mannered Michiganders.

In all, more than 38,000 people who have applied to the site have been rejected, administrators say, or more than one out of five. And apparently, Maryland and Washington, D.C., have more than their share of rejects.

Genevieve Maylam, U.S. managing director for Beautiful People, says we shouldn't take the news "too harshly."

"We're still working out our findings and why it is that way. What makes one state have more beautiful people than another?" she says.

Maylam's practical advice: "Maybe they should try to submit more applicants to see if more people get in."

It is a numbers game, after all. New York, Florida and California - three densely populated states - were ranked one, two and three in the listing. The mammoth state of Texas was in the Top 10.

In Maryland, only 16 percent of applicants were accepted. In the nation's capital, just 13 percent.

Could it really be true that there are fewer fine-looking single people here? If every lovely lady and every buff-bod guy from Maryland and D.C. sent in a picture and a profile, would it really help our ranking?

Or are we all just that plain?

U.S. Navy Lt. Sean Joslin, 33, says simply having more applicants wouldn't boost the numbers here, particularly not in Southern Maryland where he, sadly, rarely finds attractive women. But if we had more applicants who were showing skin, however - that might help.

Joslin's been on the site for the past few months, and he's noticed a disproportionate number of so-called beautiful women who get voted in simply because they're wearing bikinis or skimpy outfits. Now Joslin likes a pretty pin-up pose just as much as the next guy, but he'd prefer to see "classier" women joining the site.

And Maryland's women might not be the nation's most gorgeous, (well, save the 38 lucky women - "CuteeMD, Sugarplum and Snugglebunny, et al. - who made it past the BeautifulPeople rating module). But darn it, we're classy.

"What they don't put into their ranking system is that you're going to have a lot more people from states such as California and New York," Joslin says. "Most of them are wearing bikinis; they're on the beach. You're not going to have that in D.C. or the central states. The plastic surgery capitals of the country always win out."

In and around Baltimore, Annapolis and D.C., Joslin says, there's no shortage of attractive, professional, properly dressed women - who haven't been enhanced before their glamour shots were taken, or airbrushed afterward.

"It's amazing to me that everybody in California or Florida, they're all models," Joslin says. "Yeah, I don't think so." launched in the United States at the end of July, after gaining popularity in the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden. The site promotes an exclusive "networking community" where good-looking people can troll for other good-looking people to chat with, meet and relate to.

"We unashamedly exist so that people who are sick of wasting time and money meeting unattractive people on the Net can meet others they deem aesthetically pleasing," Greg Hodge, the site's managing director, says in a news release.

The site is not exclusively for dating, administrators say, but is useful for "getting jobs" (where beautiful people work), "making friends" (with beautiful people), "engaging in discussions" (with beautiful people) and "planning events" (with beautiful people).

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