MANDY: Oh, you’re asking him out? Maybe I’ll stay here and mock you.
MARC: What?! You think he’s out of my league? He’s an nine. I’m an eight.
MANDY: He’s a ten. You’re a six.
MARC: You’re a bitch. I’m a seven!
I figured the easiest way to start off this likely controversial topic was with a hilarious quotation most of us can remember from a season two episode of Ugly Betty as the show’s homo ridiculously attempts to woo a “9 out of 10” model. As he and his hag debate over whether he has a chance with the hottie, I sat at home laughing at the situation which has come up so often for my friends and I as we navigate the world of gay dating and cruising.
Admittedly, this tendency isn’t at all reserved especially for the world of queers, still, having friends in all categories of gay, straight, lez and all interesting points in between, I fully believe that we male-lovin’-males do have a special penchant for rating men as we click on their manhunt profiles, catch their gaze across the bar or take that extra look as we pass on the street. I’m absolutely going to hear it from my friends in denial- oops, I mean friends “with different opinions”- but I think I’ve set myself up on this site as someone who would rather confront the harsh realities of our rainbow flag waving world than pretend we can achieve utopia through suppression and prohibition. But, no judgment of COURSE 😉
Really quick, what are YOU out of 10???
I know we would all love to know that in the end it’s what inside that counts but let’s be honest, how many often do you see a 6″3, tanned, built, masculine, thick hair, perfect teeth doctor walking around with the overweight, snaggle tooth toll-booth operator… not that often. Of course people fall for each other for all different reasons, but for the majority, to marry a guy you have to date him, to date him you have to meet him, and to meet him you need to feel comfortable enough to approach/poke/IM him, and how we judge him- and ourselves for that matter- play a huge role in that first step. The point of this article is mainly to look at the different ways we rate each other as gays: the physical, the personality, the “on paper”… it all adds up in that unique and convolutedly pi-esque equation we create for ourselves to yield that “out of 10” number we use to decide if it’s worth smiling at him for.
First and foremost are looks. Let’s be honest, for the most part, you don’t immediately fall for a guy because he’s nice to his mom: it’s his smile, butt or the way that tattoo gets stretched by his recently pumped and bulging bicep. First impressions are paramount and a lot of the time you can judge that book by its cover (as I type this I can almost hear another nail get hammered into the coffin for me and this article 😉
When asking each other about our newest contending beaus, the first question almost religiously out of our mouths is: “Is he cute?” Without fail, we go to that one as an easy opener to allow our recently united friend the chance to regale us with stories of his ripped stomach, sexy smile or huge chest. While that isn’t always the response we hear, we do however expect to hear at least a “yes” out of our friends’ mouths. Maybe conventionally he isn’t, or to us personally he might not be, but for the most part, if we’re going to date a guy and intro him to our friends, we at least need to believe- in our perception of looks- that he’s cute. In fact, I can count the amount of times my friends have answered: “No, he’s quite unattractive but has an awesome laugh” on one hand… a hand without fingers or a thumb mind you. While I do allow for differences among my gay brethren, I would argue that there’s some pretty consistent themes that get raised when rating a boy. My biggest ticket item? (wait for it…) Teeth. I cannot tell you how important the color, shape and size of em’ all effect how I perceive any new guy I meet. They’re a pretty strong reflection of how he has until now cared for himself and they’re there when he smiles when I crack some sarcastic comment about how much I “care” about sports and they’re there when we make out. Inescapable, those puppies are a bit of a deal-breaker for me re: a guy’s rating. I doubt I’d even give him a number should the chompers be that terrifying.
Next up is the body. While most guys will quickly site the eyes or the smile, I need to know the guy could carry me out of a building in one arm should the whole place go up in flames and I need to be hoisted and taken to safety (yes, that sexy scenario has run through my head on more than one occasion 😉 Now, here’s where it gets a little tricky. Some guys claim that you can’t demand what you don’t have: bears can’t demand a lean boi or in my case, twinks can’t complain about lack of fully-formed muscle, but I definitely still do 😉 I argue that work on and care for a body are all worthy of “full marks” and that it just depends on the eye of the beholder. Some guys go for the swimmer’s build, taut kid, some go for the giant muscle stud (take a guess which option I side on for that debate haha). Still, for the 3,4 or 5 points that most gays dedicate to body, it’s the work on them that matters. I’ve yet to find someone who’d give out full points for the couch-potato who hasn’t flexed more than a thumb to rewind their porn. But, to be fair, I’m sure there’s someone for everyone 😉 In the end, most would agree that the gym boys- who obviously have put more thought and effort into their body- are the typical top point earners in this category, and I can’t much argue with that logic. The big strong arms, the burly, manly chest, the flexing, bulging legs… okay, I need to take a break from writing, but I’ll be back in a second.
The face. Now this one is vaguely less subjective. Before your eye rolling gives you astigmatism, countless studies have proven there are actual ways in which all humans make instant judgments of the beauty and “worth” of people based on their face alone. We’ve all heard the symmetry argument that certain ratios are sought in the face: the distance between your eyes, the length and width of your nose, the space between your lips and chin etc. All that has been proven many times over so please prepare your argument against both me and science itself when you get angry about me purporting a gay’s number as strongly dependent on how handsome/cute/sexy the face is. Ratios aside, in the end, once again, the way we rate is up to us. Where I certainly enjoy the rough scratchiness of a five o’clock shadow and appeal of a swarthy smile, many of my friends go for that baby-face look or exotic youthfulness: it’s up to you, but those 3 points (I just decided 😉 aren’t as subjective as we’d like to believe they are. Cute is cute, is cute, is cute.
Looks are a huge combination of anything you could expect to find on a Cosmo list of “Superficial Things That Really Shouldn’t Matter”… but that do matter anyway 😉 The guy’s tan, his hair, the colour of his eyes, his height, hell, even the clothes he wears all add up in an instant when we spot a new guy and hugely effect our desire to say hi or poke back on facebook. Sure, you can scroll through his list of favourite bands, but I think we all know you’re going to flip through his profile pics first.
While the rating game is typically played during the first few minutes or at most, first few meets between us and the guy in question, there is some level of insight into their personality. As far as I’m considered, there’s a constant battle between the importance of intelligence and humour. Where all the single ladies are puttin’ their hands up for rings… and humour… I sometimes find that as long as one person is funny in a relationship, they can keep the jokes going for both, but if one is stupid, you’re doomed. Bit harsh, but that’s the way my world is painted. When rating boys, typically the top words listed include: funny, smart, sweet and cool (a bit 90s of a term, I know, but you know what I mean!)
I really think that being able to laugh with a prospect in the first exchange is paramount to clinching the personality points in my book. Furthermore, not flinching when I use “whom” in a sentence or making that squinty, distraught face when last call at the club gets compared to Dante’s second circle of Hell is always appreciated. Where most guys don’t demand the president of Mensa, full points are typically given for being of equivalent smarts to the rater. I would argue that areas of expertise need not necessarily be exactly similar: a professor of art history can match with a entrepreneur, but the ability to show said intelligence in casual conversation is required.
Following the big two personality attractors are the more subtle and subjective concepts of care and cool. Where it’s often argued that “good girls love a bad boy,” I don’t think we homos typically fall for straight up assholes. Sure, we all have a friend in a nightmare relationship with a douche we can’t stand, but likely that ass wasn’t showing his true colours during the rating phase- so a keen eye for it is required while courting. Seeing how a guy acts with his friends and talks about others is often the best way to score him on this one. It’s sadly only worth about 1/2 a point… but, let’s be honest, the way he looks in those DSquared jeans does rate as quite important. The concept of cool is just really a general feeling about confidence and casualness that combine to offer you someone you can introduce to your best friends. No one enjoys the guy who checks 7 times if: “You’re still having fun?!” The other side of the spectrum on this one is also as annoying: nobody likes a cocky dick (again, there’s someone with a fetish for everything, but let’s keep this to the mainstream for now). This point is often a clincher between wanting to sleep with the guy and wanting him to meet your mates. Where anyone can show you pics of last night’s hot trick from their facebook profile, it’s the guys that score on the caring and cool point that earn some stay power. Looks may get the foot (hell, the whole leg) in the door, but personality definitely keep the chat going past: “Your place or mine?”
The “On Paper” Facts
As Carrie Bradshaw would have us believe: “Good on paper, bad in bed!” I say hell no! Good on paper is just another reason to pump up your guy’s score. This part of the rating is usually done last and only if conversation lasts longer than “Cut or uncut?” Still, it’s one of my favorite parts of the rating experience. Some call it more superficial than the looks category, while others find it the most telling about a guy you’ve just met.
Where did you go to school?
Where have you traveled?
What do you do for work?
Just some of the “On Paper” questions most of us try to delve into as early as possible to find out if the guy’s worth his salt. Personally, I find that guys with “good jobs” not only demonstrate a level of education but also an ambitious attitude I’d want in a long-term boyfriend. (This is usually the point where I get called a gold digger). To be fair, I don’t expect anymore out of another guy than I do from myself. Never having left the country doesn’t really do it for me, neither does minimum wage at the age of 30- mostly because I expect more out of myself. I do put a lot of value in the facts about the guy’s life you might find on a “dating resume”. Where we mostly don’t demand an Ivy League Bachelors however, the ability to appreciate a reference to Guernica often goes hand in hand with at least an attempt at some high education- be it through a conventional institution or self-taught.
I know a lot of us don’t like to admit that these “facts” don’t make the man, but thinking back to the last time you described a recently met stud to your bestie, didn’t “what he does” or “what he’s in school for” come up? We all know there’s a difference in the reaction between hearing: “He’s the guy who shelves books at the library” and: “He’s a pediatric surgeon.”
So, how does this all boil down? 3 points for this, 4 points for that, a half point here and a half point there…? There is no steadfast quadratic equation for figuring out how you or the cuttie will rate, but I wanted to bring up the concepts and phrases most uttered by the homos I know and see what you all thought of the gay ratings and how they work in your life/group/world.
Get as angry as you want- and I’m sure a couple of you will- but we judge and we compare, it’s not just gay nature but human nature. Let me leave you with one more infamous TV quotation, this time from our favourite hot Brit (oooolder) Doctor House:
HOUSE: Sevens marry sevens, nines marry nines, fours marry fours. Maybe there’s some wiggle room if there’s enough money… Numbers don’t lie.
A little cynical I know, but I like to call it being honest.