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The Rating System

Having been informed (wrongly) that it was padded (so to speak) with full-frontal nudity involving Uma Thurman, Mira Sorvino, and various thirteen year-old girls (only Danny Devito is actually naked at all, and that only when his skirt flew up over that hot-air vent), I went and rented the movie Beautiful Girls today. As you may know, since you never get out of the house, there is a scene that caused a lot of flack in the media where a group of guys rate various women on that 1 to 10 scale (a 1 being Howard Stern in a dress and a 10 being Brad Pitt in a dress). I have no opinion at all about the so-called political correctness of this scale: what people say or do in the privacy of their own homes is their own business. . . as long as I can still look through that little space where the mini-blinds don't quite reach all the way down to the sill. What I'm trying to say is that, as a technologically and mathematically advanced society, capable of beaming a truly enormous entity like Simon Cowell through that miniscule cable that runs out the back of your TV--and splices into your neighbor's 99 channel service--we should be very, very careful about defining our terms. For instance, is that 1 to 10 scale we use with such careless abandon, flinging around terms with such reckless nonchalance, perhaps without having had all our shots--is that scale, I say, integral? Exponential? Scalar? Tubular? Totally?
      You see? You don't know. You may think your total, and may I say, spectacular, ignorance on this point to be moot (or as they say in India, mooooooot), but I assure you, no matter how firm you are in your conviction, no matter how well thought out your premises, no matter the number of airtight arguments in your favor, you are not in India. No, you are in a country where we treat cows with no more than due respect, never getting lost in our admiration to the point where we might give them a 4 or 5. OK, 6 for one of those cute little Herefords with white socks and that curly little hair between her eyes.
      I came to this conclusion, that there might be some confusion in The Scale, when a buddy of mine (by "buddy" I mean someone who, in a life or death situation, I would kill--but not necessarily eat) gave Uma Thurman a 9, rating just her body. For the record, in the movie there were separate ratings for body, face, and personality. Very few of us have dated faceless, lifeless bodies, but you don't know my buddy, so we'll leave the question open. And according to the pea-sized, brain-like substance inhabiting his simian cranial cavity, Uma Thurman comes in at a 9 on the faceless, lifeless body scale. The first thing I asked him, the thing you are probably yelling at the top of your lungs, alarming the neighbors and scattering the gerbils, is "have you seen Baron Munchausen? Hunh? What about Dangerous Liaisons? Hunh, Hunh? What about Taxi? Wait, that was Danny Devito."
     How can any man with hair on his gerbils give Uma a 9? Where can you go and randomly select 10 women and one of them is better looking than Uma? OK, where besides Charlie Sheen's hotel room? I'll tell you where. Nowhere, that's where. Guys are misusing this scale, and I'm blowing the whistle. They act like its a scale of 1 to 100, or 1 to 1000, and only one girl in a thousand gets a 10. This isn't Olympic diving, boys, where the little Chinese girl does 9 layout flips, 8 reverse twists, and 7 inverse cannonballs, cutting the surface from ten meters without throwing a drop of water, and the judges give her an 8.5 because she crawled out of the pool sloppy.
      Let me give you a little analogy to make it even clearer. Go downtown tomorrow. Pick the first ten women you see. Drive them down to the pool. March them up to the ten-meter platform (making sure they have, in the meantime, acquired the proper swim attire, and you the proper insurance). Then return to poolside with your pencil and notepad, or perhaps your laptop, crane your neck skyward, raise your hand as the jump signal, and calmly, scientifically, rate the wreckage. The floating debris. The flotsam and jetsam. This is a metaphor for what your system has done to these women (one of whom, by the way, is mathematically a ten).
      This is how most guys rate a woman: Start at 10. Her legs are a little flabby, 9. I once had a girlfriend whose breasts were larger, 8. She could be tanner, 7. Actually, I prefer brunettes, 6. She looks a little like Miss August, but Miss August didn't have any of those little pimples on her ass, 5. Maroon fingernail polish? 4. Appendectomy scars make me nauseous, 3. Before you know it, you've taken a perfectly lovely woman, and turned her into a mass of symptoms. But think about it, men. Say the population of your city is 200,000--a small town, nowadays. Out of 100,000 women, there are 10,000 who must be 10's. Never thought about it that way, have you? That means if you rate, say, 6 on the man-meter, there are 40,000 women in your neighborhood who can snub you with absolute impunity. In fact, are mathematically required to snub you without a second thought. 10,000 more women, the 6's, may also snub you with only minor remorse, perhaps without serious inconvenience. Ambitious 5's are allowed to snub you if they already have boyfriends who rate 6 or higher. A 4 may snub you on Tuesday/Thursday, but only if she goes to confession on Sunday.
      Yes, empirically speaking, you're lucky to be getting a look-in. And if you're one of those 50,000 guys who doesn't even hit 6, well... Well, actually you're doing just fine, as long as you're in a band. And if you're a dope addict, heck, just skip straight to the top.
      I certainly think I've made my point, which is that this scale, any scale, must be used properly, or the piper be paid. Actually the piper must be paid regardless, if there is to be any piping, which is also pertinent, if not strictly linear. No, this 1 to 10 scale is not like the Olympic one, where we all know that the little Chinese girl is one in a million, even if she can't fill out a swimsuit.
In a pile
Upon a log
Over the water
Third from the bottom
Secreting my own hard shell
Tom Turtle

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