Addicting Web site provides interesting commentary

It’s no secret that we Americans are crazy about beauty.

There are examples of our beauty-obsessed society all throughout the media. We see Britney Spears jumping around singing about her love for Pepsi and we’re supposed to think to ourselves one of two things:

Either: “If I drink Pepsi I will be as attractive as Britney Spears.” Or: “If I drink Pepsi, Britney Spears will find me attractive.”

Sadly, this message seems to work because everywhere I look I see good-looking people time and time again in advertising. Yeah, we’re all nuts for hot bodies. We’re a sick, shallow society.

And lately I’ve been feeling like I should be wearing a sign that says “Shallowest man alive, no diving.”

I’m hooked on www.hotornot.com, the site where Web users can look through a series of pictures of other users and then rate them based on their looks.

Web surfers sort through the pictures of men and women and then assign a number rating to them on a scale of one to 10 based on how attractive they are. There’s an option that allows users to meet anyone they view and ratings are compiled over time to assign an average score to each person.

How shallow.

When I first heard about the site, I thought it was just another case of how obsessed with physical beauty everyone seems to be. Every day in face-to-face meetings, people are judging how other people look, but this site just seemed to glorify a bad thing.

I vowed not to be sucked in. But curiosity overwhelmed me a couple days later when I saw several people surfing to the site. I had to check it out for myself to see what all the fuss was about.

I recall thinking that the concept was stupid. Why would anyone want to sort through photos of total strangers, let alone stoop to the level of rating how they look?

Very, very shallow.

Even though I thought I was above it all, I kept sorting through pictures and rating person after person. By the time I stopped to look up at the clock, an hour had gone by.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself heading over to the site whenever I have nothing else to do. The one constant is that I always find myself saying how stupid it is and feeling bad for wasting my time doing something so mean-spirited. Yet I still go there.

So what’s the appeal of the site? It has to have something to do with America’s obsession with looks. Or maybe it just has the appeal of a circus freak show. I just know that rating how someone else looks, however bad I feel about doing it in person, is frighteningly addicting.