The Invisible Hand of Hotness

The Invisible Hand of Hotness

Just like its counterpart, capitalism, hotness too arranges itself so predictably that it’s as if an invisible hand is controlling things. And no it doesn’t belong to E! news; it is the hand of subconscious human motivations! The very same that makes Jessica Simpson specialize in talking about pimples on a Proactive commercial so that she and the Proactive crew can cash in while teens get to spend less time popping zits. (See how the human motivations that make us want to make and spend money also make us want to be hot people?) Going back to the old rating system of hotness, I have made a chart to show which ratings tend to date which other ratings, in a heteronormative dating system. (Don’t worry, I’ll get to personality)

You may notice a couple of trends on this graph:

The Safety Zone

Yes, in the upper range of the graph, between 7 and 10, hot people tend to date other hot people. It’s sort of like good old Newtonian physics – the apple falls where it should. But after that, it starts to get into some quantum mechanics, weirdo shit where things just stop working according to plan. This is called …

The Runaway Date Down Affect

Ugly dudes start scoring moderately hot chicks. Why does this happen? While this is one of the many mysteries of the universe, here’s my guess. Women and men’s love lives are both highly variable from one individual to the next, but in different ways. Men’s love lives vary in their reproductive opportunities. The guys in the 7-10 hotness ratio probably get about 7x more reproductive opportunities than the second half of the range. They’re the ex-hunters, the dudes with shiny pecs who could totally throw a javelin at a deer and have it ready for dinner in two hours. The tens are like rock stars, the kind of guys who probably have women pregnant in more countries than there are brands of “for her pleasure” condoms. So at any jury duty gathering, you might have a 10 who has bedded 4,000 women next to a 5, a kind-eyed short guy who would be hot if not for his sideburns, who has only slept with 4. Because the 7-10 range of men are often adding notches to their belts, the moderate guys collect the extra 7-10 range women.

This effect hints at a couple danger zones on the scale:

The 7 Danger Zone

This is where proper upkeep becomes crucial. Most people have a range of about four levels of hotness they can fluctuate between, depending on how well they take care of themselves. 7 is a slightly radioactive area, where variables in appearance can vibrate you over to a 6, and suddenly you’re dating a 3 and no one blinks, because it’s totally natural according to the invisible hand of hotness.

The “Life is Fair” principle

10 is a danger zone for the hottest of the hot people because they then become subjected to something called “the life is fair principle.” In order for life to seem tolerable, people like to believe that everyone is dealt a somewhat manageable hand of cards, and no one gets a full house, or whatever the best thing to have in poker is. Thus, when people look at a 10, they assume the ten has a fatal flaw, which can lower their perceived personality margin of error.

The personality margin of error

Of course personality plays a part! Everyone’s hotness rating is affected by their personality margin of error. The equation to find this is below:

X is how much your social crowd values the immaterial aspects of a person’s selfhood. Or, uh, a person’s ability to talk about books and cook fajitas. Hotness is a quality of perception, and how hot someone is to you is inevitably affected by how hot your friends think they are. This is why x is determined by your crowd, not just your own value system. Most crowds have a factor of x between 1 and 3, meaning that a person with a 10-rated personality could go up between 1 and 3 hotness points.


Johnny is 5’11 and skinny, with nice-smelling hair and too many Grateful Dead shirts. His hotness level is a 7 on looks alone. In his spare time, Johnny likes to volunteer for a Skateboard for the Homeless club, drink Mountain Dew and play Halo. His philanthropic habit gives him a boost, and his personality is rated as a 6. Carol’s friends are mostly kids from her atheist club, and they like to drink stouts and talk about Hegel. They value personality enough for it to have a margin of error of 3. Using the equation, Johnny’s personality gives him a 1.8 margin of error. This means that to Carol and friends, this Jerry Garcia-loving homeboy is an 8.8, and he’s going to get lots of atheist action. Ow ow.

But this brings up another question: Can a person be more than a ten once their personality margin of error is added in? The answer is yes. There have been many more-than-tens in history, and they have an awe-inspiring effect on society. A present more-than-ten is Johnny Depp, who I named my fake example boy after.

-Becky Lang originally published this on her Tumblr a few months ago, but it seemed worth bringing out for Valentine’s Day