U-G-L-Y, Philly ain’t got no alibi

By Sujay Kumar

Do you feel attractive today?

Maybe you woke up five minutes early this morning to take a shower and brush your teeth. Or maybe you rolled out of bed and put some pants on, feeling like Justin Timberlake. Whatever it may be, you know the answer to the age-old question “What’s cookin’, good lookin’?” has always been and will invariably be “me.”

Well if that sounds like you, take a break from staring at yourself in the mirror and listen: We don’t like you.

For the rest of us who actually subscribe to reality, looking good everyday isn’t easy. We kill a few hours every morning shaving, combing and deodorizing our bodies just so we slightly resemble something presentable to the general public. Sure, occasionally there are great days, where every hair seems to fall into place or your nose looks like it actually belongs on your face, but more often than not, the phrase “no comment” comes to mind.

Then there are the others.

These outcasts spend countless hours before dawn scrubbing the grime where the sun doesn’t shine, carefully choosing the perfect outfit to mask the disproportionate measurements of their bodies, and practicing in the mirror how to walk and smile at the same time without tripping and tasting pavement. And yet, they still fail miserably. We call these misfits, Philadelphians.

Philadelphia is the city of unattractive people, according to the “America’s Favorite Cities” survey by Travel and Leisure magazine and messenger of the free world, CNN Headline News. The survey asked 60,000 visitors and residents of the United States to rank 25 cities in different categories, ranging from culture to dining.

Aside from taking home the honor of least attractive, the City of Brotherly Love was also among the least stylish, least active, least friendly and least worldly cities in the United States. When it rains “ugly” in Philly, it hurricanes.

To do some damage control and soothe hurt feelings, an editor at Travel and Leisure magazine stressed that the faithful residents of Philadelphia were by no means ugly. She added that since people voted on attractiveness and not unattractiveness, there is the possibility that attractive people may actually reside in Philadelphia.

Riiiiight. That makes perfect sense.

Before we condemn Philadelphia as the least attractive city in the United States, let’s take a look at its history. Colonized in the early 1600s, Philadelphia blah blah blah, Founding Fathers blah blah, Fresh Prince blah blah, cheese steak. Who really knows anything about the city’s history? Frankly, in this context, it doesn’t mean much.

Instead we examine a classic Philadelphia hunk and babe of our time, Benjamin Franklin and Louisa May Alcott. Ben, a lover of enlightenment and women, was fat and balding in his prime. Louisa May was passionate about “Little Women,” but not exactly a Miss Universe contestant herself.

It seems as though Travel and Leisure and CNN might be on to something. The only plausible solution to this ugly mess seems to be a mass relocation of the unattractive. These refugees could stay in Philadelphia, a makeshift paradise for those who are not good looking enough to get into a real paradise.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Our looks are very important to us. We all know that deep down, or on the surface, we’re pretty self-conscious about our appearances. It’s only normal to have flaws. Even you, Justin Timberlake. But when does that search for beauty go too far?

If you ask anyone in Philadelphia, it’s when a major news report takes a ridiculous shot at the self-esteem of an entire city. It’s when the people who are supposedly the messengers of truth tell you this is why you’re NOT “hott.” But don’t really ask the people of Philadelphia, they’re cranky right now because they’re ugly.