Lured by a story on NPR, i decided to visit Hot or In fact, I even posted a picture. So the question became, am I hot?

I expected not. I am not an ugly man. On the other hand, I'm 47, and somewhat overweight. No woman ever stopped her Ferrari to ask if I were wearing the right kind of blue jeans. Tom Selleck I'm not. I posted the best pic I had on the hard drive, which was only slightly better than my driver's license. Imagine my surprise when the results came in, that I was 'hotter' than 77% of the guys on the site. I was a 7.4 on a one to ten scale.

That struck me as odd. First of all, 7.4 was way higher than I deserved. Second, when you look up your rating they show you your votes on a bar graph. The highest number of votes shown was a 5, with 6 barely ahead of four for second place. More than a few ones, but not a single 10. I didn't have the data to calculate myself, but from the distibution I figured my score should have been about a 5.4, which would have put me dead average. So where did the seven come from?

My guess is they give people an artificial 'boost' in order to make them feel better about themselves online. Few people seek out feedback telling them that they're shaking the ugly stick. People want to think they're cute, even when they aren't. This keeps them in the game. The site FAQs say they adjust ratings of regular voters to fit voting style. Perhaps so, but that does leave room for doubt.

While I did not rate men, I can comment on the variety of women. The variety was huge. The percentage of babes probably exceeded real life. But it was no party at the Playboy Mansion. Many of the women were morbidly obese, and plenty had the face of a bulldog. Others were quite average. Women who chose revealing photos had higher scores than their more modest sisters. Cleavage seems worth at least a whole point over the equivalent, more modest women. A surprising number of transsexuals wanted to be rated. Photoshop use was plainly evident for some people who wanted a better body than God gives almost anyone.

The site is funded by an introduction serivce run by the site. Users can click on whether or not they want to meet someone, and if both people click yes, then communication is possible. If one person buys a subscription of course, which runs for a bout $10 a month. They at least warn you when the next bill is about to come due.

The site offers a guilty distraction. Women are always pleasant to look at, and the clicking gives you constant feedback. But it's net lite, without substance.

Postscript: Later on I posted a better picture, one that reflected a little weight loss and showed my face well. My score went up. Somebody even rated me a ten!. Although I know better, it felt good to think that at least somebody thinks I'm hot.