Discover more from Anti-Knowledge by Christian Schneider
Who will speak for the hot people of America?
Listen up tens, a five is speaking.
A few years ago, a novel type of trend piece began popping up in news outlets. Every couple of months, a (usually female) young person would pen a first-person account of how the stress of being physically attractive had begun to overwhelm them. This self-anointed hottie would willfully take on the role of the Most Hated Person on the Internet for a few hours simply to draw attention to her own comeliness, casting herself as a victim in her own aesthetic prison.
Take this woman, Felicia Czochanski, who in a 2015 column (“People Judge Me Because I'm Pretty”) bemoaned her own beauty in the pages of Cosmopolitan. Or remember Elizabeth Marie Chevalier, the Playboy model who complained that she was too hot for men to date?
Or consider Lauren Odes, a then-29-year old New Jersey woman who claimed she was fired from her job at a lingerie manufacturer for being too hot. Or the women who have said they have been banned from dating apps because nobody can believe anyone as luminescent as they would deign to join a dating app.
(Recently, a Las Vegas woman who had told police she was “too good looking” to be arrested was, in fact, arrested on suspicion of murdering her 62-year old mother. It no doubt came as bad news to her that there is, in fact, no aesthetic immunity from prosecution.)
All these stories are clickbait gold for publishers. Of course, the first thing a reader does when he or she hears a story of a person complaining about being too hot is to click on the story and start scrolling for photos. Just how hot is this person? Are they delusional? Are they even hotter than me?
But mostly, people click because they want to be enraged. Hating people who sincerely deserve it is the new national pastime, and the privileged hot people claiming to be victimized by washboard abs and granite cheekbones are simply the worst. Trillions of dollars are spent by normies trying to achieve what they have - what right do they have to complain?
We all know the benefits of being attractive. You get jobs you sometimes don’t deserve. People assume you are healthier and more trustworthy. If you run for office, you will have a better chance of winning. Your social media follower count will outpace your actual ability to be interesting. Television broadcasts will show you in the stands at football games. People at bars will buy you drinks. If you end up missing, people will actually go looking for you.
But as most journalists know, the best stories begin by asking contrarian questions. Sure, people who complain about being too beautiful are insufferable, but…what if they actually have a point?
For years, I have contemplated writing something that would investigate the life of a typical super-hot person. I’m not talking, like, the cute college guy at the library or the pretty barista at your neighborhood coffee shop. Rather, I think it would interest people to learn what life is like for those in a stratosphere none of us will ever reach - truly the hottest of the hot.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that on a standard one-to-ten scale, I’m a Midwestern five, but a coastal three.)
In the course of wondering how beautiful people live, I have actually considered there may be significant downsides to being a ten. For one, as a member of the aesthetic elite, I suspect you are forced to have conversations with people with whom you don’t want to interact. As normies, we can sit and have a meal by ourselves without any bother - but it seems a hot person just trying to have a personal moment is probably always a target for unwanted interlocutors.
Further, it would also seem that being - and remaining - traditionally hot is actually a lot of work. Counting calories, working out at the gym, getting ample amounts of sleep, keeping up with haircuts, trying to smell good, and using skin care products seems exhausting. Being super hot - especially as one ages - feels like a second full-time job.
And, of course, we can’t forget the developmental obstacles being beautiful places in front of young people as they grow older and mature. When you grow up hot, less is asked of you - you learn not only that you can skate along as a young person, but you are granted similar leeway if you can stay beautiful as an adult.
Just scroll through social media sites and peruse all the hot people who have never been told they weren’t funny, so they grew up thinking they were tiny, blonde Dave Chappelles. Instead, they just pour out dead-behind-the-eyes nonsense to other lonely adults who think they have a chance of dating them.
(This effect was never better portrayed than on the show “30 Rock,” in which Liz Lemon’s boyfriend, played by Jon Hamm, is incapable of doing anything correctly because he grew up in “the bubble” of handsomeness.)
In fact, one 2014 study from the University of Colorado urged attractive women going on job interviews to diffuse the lower expectations a potential employer might have for them by actually mentioning their good looks during an interview.
“As expected, physically attractive women were rated higher in employment suitability when they acknowledged that their sex or physical appearance is incongruent with the typical applicant for a masculine sex-typed job,” the study concluded.
“For example, according to the study, if a woman applies for a position in the construction industry and says, ‘I know I don't look like the typical applicant,’ she will receive a higher degree of admiration than fellow applicants who make no mention of their looks.”
Then again, if you mention how good-looking you are and you…uh…aren’t, then you might get laughed out of the interview. Good luck rolling the dice on that one.
That isn’t to say there aren’t gorgeous people who are funny and smart - but these people are like ducks who learn to roller skate. It’s possible, but they’re beating the odds.
(Side note: This article is using “hot” and “good-looking” and “attractive” and beautiful” all the same sense, when clearly they are different things. People can be “hot” but not necessarily great looking, just as they can be “beautiful” without necessarily being “attractive.”)
Anyway, you get the point. Hot people are treated differently than commoners. And it would be interesting to see a good article that addresses these differences seriously.
Some of the best news articles put you right in the middle of a subculture that we don’t often hear from, whether they be undocumented immigrants or 1980s video game enthusiasts, or TikTok influencers, or elite athletes. Hot people are all around us! Who will speak for them?
But Here is the Problem
At some point during that 1,000-word introduction, you may have said to yourself, “I, too, think this would be a fun article to read. But why am I not reading that article right now?”
It is a good point, and I will answer thusly: Because as long as I have thought it was a fun idea, I have been trying to figure out a way I could actually report it. And I have yet to come up with an answer, for the following reasons.
For one, nobody aside from the attention-seekers I cited at the beginning of this article wants to talk about their looks. Discussing your own hotness is one of society’s final taboos - even if you recognize that you are a top-one-percenter in terms of looks, saying so out loud makes you look privileged and out-of-touch. I am certain most beautiful people would rather share details of a controlled substance addiction or a mental disorder than complain about their victory in the genetic lottery.
That even assumes you could get anyone to discuss the idea of modern beauty standards at all. We are now in the era of inclusivity, and big brands like Victoria’s Secret have moved on from featuring models representing “traditional” beauty, instead opting for plus-sized models, transgender models, and lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
In this culture, it is bad form to consider yourself traditionally good-looking. When all the trends are pushing against you, it would take a particularly brave person to shove back. “I know I’m beautiful” sounds tin-eared in an era where brands are now positing beauty as more subjective.
Of course, any article in which hot people share their true feelings would take cooperation and trust on behalf of the interviewees. And it may end up with the subject looking really bad. So it’s high-risk with very little reward.
And this leads to an even more uncomfortable proposition: I would actually have to contact people and ask them to talk to me about being hot. The amount of peril in this endeavor is the size of Martin Scorsese’s eyebrows.
How would someone in my position even find people to ask to talk to me while making it seem appropriate? Is there a hotline to call and talk to hot people, like the chat lines in the 1980s?
I have thought maybe people who have competed in beauty pageants would be more open to the idea, as they have actually been given awards based on how they look. It wouldn’t simply be my opinion - they will have been verified hot by an independent panel!
As it happens, I had a friend who had competed in - and won - a big pageant over a decade ago. So in 2016, I gingerly sent her the following email as a test:
Here’s where the awkwardness kicks in – in order to write a magazine piece like this, I would need to talk to people in that “super good looks” category. I would guess most people wouldn’t even admit they are – so they might be somewhat hesitant to chat. And more importantly, it sounds like a horrifying pick-up line: “I’m a reporter and I want to talk to you about how hot you are.” I imagine such a request would result in me getting pepper sprayed a few times. (Also, finding subjects to talk to by Googling “pretty women” seems like it might turn up some… interesting results.)
But that’s why I thought you would be a good resource – it is an UNDENIABLE FACT that people literally GIVE PAGEANT CONTESTANTS AWARDS for the way they look (and other things). So it’s not like I’m telling them anything that all their trophies haven’t already told them…
So I have, like, a hundred questions. They’d be something along the lines of:
What are the worst things about people noticing your looks all the time?
What are the most inconvenient or awkward times strange people tried to talk to you?
Is the old “men are afraid to talk to hot women” myth actually true?
Does being good looking actually put more pressure on you to stay good looking? Rob Lowe once said being good looking is a valuable tool – but you have to work at it in order to keep being able to use it. It almost seems like having another job.
What are the best parts about being good looking? Do you think you’ve gotten any opportunities you wouldn’t have normally because of the way you look?
Do you think the standard of what constitutes “beauty” is the same everywhere, or is it different in different places around America?
Have you ever done anything to make yourself less attractive in order to fit in?
What are the differences in how good looking men are treated than good looking women? (It would seem to me that good looking men are more able to navigate society without people bothering them.)
You already know how she responded:
“Your request is flattering, but I sincerely do not think this is a perspective I think about nor that applies to me in the ways that would be helpful for this column. :) I am trying to think of a better source you can use....”
So, yeah. That was the end of that. Might as well have been a virtual pepper spraying.
As I thought about it more, I actually began considering how not talking to people for the story might affect my relationships. What if I didn’t interview someone who thought they were worthy? Would they be angry if they didn’t make the cut?
After that, a neighbor of mine said she once knew a guy who modeled underwear. But it was a lost cause. I figured it was time to throw in the towel.
I still think it would be a fun story, and it remains an interesting topic to me. But it was a lesson that sometimes the best stories aren’t yours to tell. Someday, someone will write a great story about the plight of the hots.
Until then, feel free to keep hating them with the heat of a thousand ghost peppers.
Much of the news on social media the past few days has been about Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. As many people believe their interactions on Twitter represent the whole world, they now believe Musk is going to be in control of their entire lives.
As I have argued before, the problem with Twitter is that it is too awesome. Its great moments suck people in and turn users into participants in all the worst parts.
But Musk’s problem is going to be turning a website full of hundreds of millions of angry people into a profitable enterprise. And in order to do that, he’s going to have to relax some of the few guardrails that make the site still usable.
For instance, in order to get more people using the site and interacting with one another, Twitter will have to have less moderation and less identity validation. (Musk has already pitched the idea of charging “blue checks” who have had their identities validated up to $20 a month to keep their status.)
The only real way to “fix” a social media site is to implement controls that verify more users and put more controls on content. In February last year, I wrote a piece for The Dispatch arguing against anonymity online, demonstrating how it makes any social media platform a cesspool.
But anonymity breeds more users, which creates more valuable data, which then leads to more interactions - all the things that make money for the site owner. In other words, if Twitter is ever going to make money, it’s going to be damn near unusable for sane people.
Ironically, if Twitter is going to live, it has to die.
New Zealand band The Beths is out with a new album. In 2018, I named their debut album “Future Me Hates Me” my favorite album of the year.
The new album is great - as a sampler, here’s “Silence is Golden:”