In 1979 there was a movie released that debuted the hot new sex-starlet-now-grandmother, Bo Derek, called simply "10." The title comes from a scene in which Dudley Moore's character was asked by his psychiatrist to rate Bo's character on a scale of one to ten. Dudley's character was infatuated with Bo's character, despite being married to a woman played by Julie Andrews, or Lily Tomlin, or somebody like that.
(Let me add, at this point, that - and this may already be obvious - that I don't remember the names of any of the characters in the movie. I'm not even sure who played Moore's wife. I am pretty sure that the movie came out in either 1979 or 1980. If I am wrong on any of these points, please bear in mind that I don't care. I don't think I ever even saw the movie, but I do remember seeing parts of it: Bo Derek's boyfriend gets a severe sunburn, and Dudley Moore seizes the opportunity of his absence to have sex with her to Ravel's Bolero.)
The point is, this movie started a whole new trend and topic of conversation: rating women (and men too, of course) on a one to ten scale. (Once again, If I am incorrect about this historical fact, I don't care. I assure you that I am correct, and that I have a great deal of authority on the matter. After all, I'm published on the worldwide web!) People started to use phrases such as "she's a ten," and "perfect ten." Most people were done saying, "groovy." Note that, during the Viet Nam war, "number ten" meant "the worst." Such a practice of rating became an instant controversy, hyped-up by the media as much as anything was in those days. It was described as "sexist," "demeaning to women," "objectifying," etc. Whether these descriptions are accurate or not, is not my point, but one can understand why they were applied. In those days, the women's movement was still called "women's lib," and the practice of bra-burning was not yet completely extinguished. It would be at least seven years before someone would intentionally spell the word "women" with a "y." There was a peripheral connection to sex, and the sexual revolution was still going on.
Andy Warhol said that in the future, every person would be famous for fifteen minutes. I say that, more likely, every idea will be famous for fifteen minutes.
I was in junior high school then (actually, it was called an intermediate school, but so what?), so rating women was not a major concern. Also I was far too young to see this R rated movie without a parent, and my parents had far too much taste to take me to see it. As a result, I have never actively pursued the fine evaluative art of rating women from one to ten. Therefore, I was completely unprepared when a woman friend of mine recently asked me to rate her.
Later that evening I did an extensive analysis of how I rate women and, I believe, how most guys rate women. First of all, it happens subconsciously, without any actual numbers attached. I knew immediately and instinctively how attractive I felt this woman was, but it was quite difficult to quantify it with a number from one to ten.
In terms of physical attractiveness, women fall into one of four categories:
Bear in mind that I hadn't consciously worked out the above categories until later. I instinctively knew that this woman, I'll call her "Leah," was in the final, best, category. It took me a very long time to come up with a number, however, because even though she was at least a standard deviation above the median, her features were not perfect and therefore was not a ten.
I was already in a precarious situation because I took far too long to answer. When I finally came up with "seven," she was quite upset. What's to get upset about? Seven is good! If five is average, and the standard deviation is two, seven is nothing to be ashamed of. What's the problem? What number was she expecting? A ten? I can't just give those out to everyone who asks! Tens have to be extremely rare, otherwise they lose their value. Nines are also quite few and far between.
Now I'm not a total idiot, though I may be a partial idiot. I realize that if Leah was my girlfriend, I would have had to say, "Ten" immediately and emphatically. And if I wasn't dating her, but wanted to, I would have had to say, "Ten" and say it like I really meant it. But I was not dating Leah, nor was I particularly interested, she being somewhat young for me.
(No, I will not make the obvious joke that she's ten years old. All of you already thought of it as soon as you saw the word "young." This is the internet, after all - haven to perverts and child molesters. Surely the TV news media can't be wrong about this, can they? Let's just say, I was born in the sixties, and she was born in the seventies. It could happen, but it does make a difference.)
She then asked me to give a separate rating for her body, the first being for her face. I said, "eight." Now, she was really pissed! Not only did I honestly rate her as less than perfect, but I thought more highly of her body than her face!
There were two other women present whom on hearing my ratings also asked me to rate them. I, having learned my lesson by this time, refused. What could I do? If I gave the second or third woman ("Lila" and "Lisa") a higher rating, Leah would have been even more outraged. If I gave Lila or Lisa a lower rating, they would have been outraged. Again remember that I wasn't involved with any of these women, nor did I want to be, and yet they were all in the fourth category. Just for the record, I would probably give Lila an eight for her face and a seven for body. Lisa gets an eight for both.
In my efforts to placate Leah, I assured her that a seven/eight was a good rating and that, seriously, I'd do her, which when you think about it, is the highest compliment a man can give to a woman based on her physical attractiveness. This took some explaining on my part for her to understand this. She said, "I wasn't talking about sex!" I said, "Yes you were. What do you think those ratings mean? Did you think you were asking me to judge the quality of a renaissance painting? I'd do you. What more do you want?"
Were these women flirting with me? Did Leah, Lila, and Lisa ask for ratings in order for me to actively think about them physically? Should I have said, "Well, in order for me to give an accurate rating, you'll have to take your clothes off"? Out of context, it might seem that, yes, yes, and yes. However, having been there, I believe they were just being catty and annoying.
1. A woman will be upset at anything less than a ten.
One final note that addresses an issue that may have occurred to some of you: My own looks are completely irrelevant, since I had the good sense not to ask for a numerical rating. If a woman will go to bed with me, I'm good looking enough, and that's all I need to know.