Are Irish men really the joint ugliest in the world?


SMALL PRINTS:IT SEEMS Irish men are the joint ugliest in the world, according to figures published by an online dating service which places a premium on physical appearance.

With close to a million members around the world, the dating site claims to be one of the most exclusive in the world – your profile picture must be deemed “sufficiently beautiful” before gaining admittance. Irish men, along with Polish men, have the lowest success rate in joining the site. Only 9 per cent of all Irish male applicants were accepted, compared with an overall global average of 25 per cent among all nationalities.

But is good bone structure or photography to blame? “It would help if Irish men stopped sending in photos of themselves that they have taken in the pub,” says Miki Haines-Sanger, a spokeswomen for “And they should consider a bit of a makeover before submitting their profile photos.”

Beautifulpeople went global as an online dating agency in 2009. Once you upload your profile photo to the site, existing female members have 48 hours to rate it, using four different responses: “Yes, definitely”, “Hmm yes, Ok”, “Hmm, no, not really” and “No, Definitely NOT”. It is this last putdown which Irish applicants are regularly receiving.

Irish women are doing much better; 20 per cent of them gaining admittance to the site. This is nowhere near as high as the 68 per cent of all Swedish women, but mná na hÉireann are well ahead of German women (13 per cent) and British women (15 per cent).

Irish men can only look enviously at the fortunes of Brazilian men (45 per cent accepted), Danish men (40 per cent accepted) and Italian men (39 per cent accepted). “I’m sure there are a lot of beautiful Irish men out there but maybe they’re just not applying to join the site,” says Haines-Sanger. “I mean you do have Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrell”.

The attraction of joining the site, she says, is that once you’re in you can vote daily on which other “beautiful people” you think should join. “It’s kind of like an X-Factorof beauty and it’s very addictive when you have the choice of pressing the green or red button when judging newcomers and whether they are sufficiently suitable for the site.”

By ruling out variables such as personality and intelligence, Beautifulpeople is quite ruthless, and with Irish men unable to use any blarney or talk their way into people’s affections, the unvarnished truth is that, on physical appearance alone, they are rated as the joint world’s worst.

“I’m sure Irish men, with a bit of thought, can improve their ranking,” says Haines-Sanger.

“A big no-no is the bare-chested photograph, unless, that is, you have the most magnificent six pack in the world. Put some clothes on Irish men and try to take a photo which is from a holiday where you have a light tan, or even better: try to take one which shows you participating in a sport – this signifies that you do have some interests outside of going to the pub.”

And if you don’t? “You should really be asking a female friend or a female colleague at work to give you an honest appraisal of how you look,” says Haines-Sanger. “Irish women are doing much better than Irish men because they tend to put a bit of an effort into how their photo appears. Don’t just take a snap – consider what sort of message you want your photo to convey.”

Apart from the pub photo, the other preferred choice for Irish male applicants is the suit-and-tie corporate shot. “This doesn’t work unless you look like James Bond,” says Haines-Sanger. “And if you do opt for the corporate shot, make sure you leave your top button undone. Try and be clean shaven as well – the beard look is rarely successful. And do try to look friendly and smile – too many photos have the man looking scary and weird.”


Newsflash: Don’t believe everything you read or hear

SATIRE OFTEN has a hard time being understood, especially in the internet age where stories are often taken literally. In the past few days, a tantalising time capsule emerged from the 1980s: voicemails from Hollywood agent Warren Klein. These missives were for almost-stars like C Thomas Howell (who appeared in The Outsiders) and Kirk Cameron (star of 1980s sit-com Growing Pains). The messages had references to other 1980s icons like Emilio Estevez and Matthew Broderick and spoke excitedly about awful films from the era, such as Soul Man, in which a young white man wears black-face to secure a college course. The only trouble is the voicemails were fictitious and the agent never existed.

What many people overlooked was that these voice messages appeared on the website Funny or Die, a comedy sketch site established by Will Ferrell (pictured above) and his frequent director, Adam McKay. It’s not the first time a humorous story – one not even intended as a hoax – has been misinterpreted as fact.

This trend seems to be on the rise. In fact, mistaking satirical stories for fact has become so common that a cottage industry has appeared, with sites like compiling reactions to The Onion, the world’s most prominent satire site.

Here are some examples of the outrageous headlines from The Onion that people assumed were fact, before running straight to Facebook to discuss it with their friends; “Final minutes of Harry Potter film to be split into seven separate films”, “I just want to say that I hated every minute of that piece of shit show” (an Oprah editorial) and “Church cancelled due to lack of God”.

When Orson Welles did his War of the Worldsprank, he wrote a compelling, elaborate and convincing radio performance.

If he was doing it today, all he’d need would be a website. It takes seconds to read a headline, paste it into your Facebook status and write an outraged, knee-jerk response.

The velocity of the internet and the rise of social networking suggest that it’s not just editors and journalists who should exercise editorial judgment.