“Those are what we like to call ‘ugly people deterrents,’” said my manager at Toronto’s then hottest lounge when I asked about the abundance of reserved signs on empty tables.
“If good-looking people come in looking for a table, we remove them and seat them there,” he informed my then 22-year-old, bewildered self.
“So, is there a certain criteria I should follow?” I asked, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? A fellow cocktail waitress filled me in:
“If they’re well-dressed, look like they could be on TV and have money, they can sit there.”
That’s the way it was. Such was the case at another swanky Yorkville bar a few blocks away, where another fellow student friend of mine worked at the time.
In my time spent partying my way through New York, L.A. and Miami in my early-mid twenties, I witnessed being on the other end of this first hand, as the hostesses at the hot spot of the week assessed the group of us at the door countless times.
I quickly realized it was sort of the unofficial rule in cities across the globe.
But now, one L.A. club is about to make its “beautiful people only” policy official: if you’re less than a ‘10’ you may not even want to try to get in.
The (presumably highly douchey) man behind the pretty-people-only dating site BeautifulPeople, Greg Hodge, is opening a bar for the same genetically-blessed demographic.
Inspired by the website – which is in 120 countries, and has over 850,000 members – it takes the concept of connecting the good-looking a step further by offering them a common offline meeting ground.
Hodge tells Bravo’s Personal Space that in an ideal world we “would look across the bar and see a person’s spirit or soul,” but that’s not the case.
Of course, this makes the bar an ideal, eye-candy-filled spot for people seeking a one-night-stand with other beautiful bodies – but don’t expect to find your lifelong soulmate.
Making the gorgeous set of partygoers feel right at home, the bar will offer an exclusive, members-only environment for pretty people, free to prowl their easy-on-the-eyes guests free of the distraction of an ugly person (the horror, right?).
The good news is that the club spares you the embarrassment of rejection at the door if you don’t quite make the cut: you need to be accepted to the website first.
Naturally (or not so naturally for the plastic set), joining the website means you must first submit headshots, body shots and a profile. After which, applicants are subject to a rating process, whereby existing members vote on the potential new member’s “hotness” over a 48-hour period.
If you’re accepted and join, you get to attend BeautifulPeople events, mingle with fellow members and have access to the private West Hollywood bar, which will naturally be called, Beautiful People.
You just can’t bring your “ugly” friends.
If you want to roll with non-members, they will be assessed by the no-nonsense beauty bouncers at the door, who may as well be model scouts.
“The fundamental principle of human nature is that we all initially at least want to be with someone we’re attracted to,” explains Hodge. “I certainly believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the biggest problem with the online market is people being disingenuous in their profiles. We give an accurate representation of what it is we have.”
He says his members are elitist and want to keep their surroundings as such.
As for the backlash for being discriminatory, Hodge is cool with it, saying that the club will be filled with “bright, intelligent, articulate people” from many walks of life and open to every culture and religion – as long as you’re really attractive.
Plus, it’s totally legal under discrimination laws. “Being ugly is not a protected characteristic,” says Greg.
The irony is that this mentality – and the entire initiative – is happening simultaneously with the ever-growing body positivity movement. It comes at a time when we’re teaching our young girls to value brains over beauty; when plus-sized models grace the pages of Sports Illustrated and high fashion runways; and when a new progressive body positive social media campaign springs up weekly.
Yet, the new club reflects the contradiction of modern society.
For all the body-positive and “real beauty” messages, we live in a time where fake beauty – facilitated by everything from fake hair and lashes and plastic surgery, to photo-editing tools – has become more popular than ever thanks to good ol’ social media.
We still live in an image-based society where the better-looking people are getting the better jobs, the social media fame and – apparently – access to the swankiest bars.
We may frown upon the ridiculous new club or call it discriminatory, but, hey, at least they’re owning it (which is more than you can say for most politicians).
Beautiful People is set to open in February 2017.