Ugly and unfriendly need to have pride

A travelandleisure.com poll rated Philadelphia unattractive, but the city has bigger things to worry about other than its looks.

Ah, Philadelphia – the city of unattractive, unathletic, unfriendly, unintelligent love.

Philadelphia scored some embarrassingly low marks in a survey conducted by Travel + Leisure magazine this year. The annual survey, “America’s Favorite Cities,” ranks 30 cities in several categories, including people, nightlife, food/dining and airports.Leah-Mafrica

Now, everyone thinks we’re ugly, fat, mean and dumb.

The results make it seem as though somewhere, someone has some beef with Philly. Bad weekend, bad break-up, un-paid parking tickets – you name it. Someone from Philadelphia screwed up big time, and someone else took it out on us via an online survey. But truthfully, we only have ourselves to blame.

Philadelphia visitors ranked Philadelphia’s people 30th (out of 30) for attractiveness, 26th for friendliness, 28th for athleticism/activeness and 24th for intelligence. Philly’s airport and public transportation were also ranked and – as I’m sure you might guess – the results aren’t even close to favorable. The airport thing can slide – a fact is a fact – but our looks aren’t that busted.

Maybe you’re thinking it just isn’t fair for outsiders to say such horrible things about a city that doesn’t belong to them. Well, you’re right. It isn’t fair. But while Philadelphia’s visitors ranked us 30th out of 30 on the “attractive” scale, Philadelphia’s own residents ranked themselves 29th out of 30.

Sure, you can’t judge a book by its cover – or in this case, a city by its number of hotties – but Philadelphia residents ranked the city considerably low in all kinds of categories. Concerts? Low. Safety? Really low. Cleanliness? Don’t even bother.

In only five (out of 56 total) categories did Philadelphia vote itself in a top ten position: Historical sites and monuments ranked third, museums and galleries ranked fourth, and classical music ranked sixth. But really, who cares about classical music when everyone thinks we’re ugly? And we’re apparently too stupid to even enjoy Philadelphia’s cultural and intellectual features.

Granted, there are unavoidable discrepancies when it comes to surveys and polls, particularly online. Travelandleisure.com doesn’t regulate how many times a person can vote, and there is no way to really tell if the person voting is actually a resident.

Regardless, the results of the survey make it seem like Philadelphia residents either have really low self-esteem, or are totally apathetic. And neither makes us look very pretty.

After receiving low scores the past two years, nbcphiladelphia.com made a stink about getting Philadelphians to vote this year, and that was back in June. But no one came to the rescue.

What city could have possibly stripped us of our dignity this year? Welcome to Miami, which came in first for most attractive people and placed in the top 10 for athleticism, style, diversity and apparently great cocktails. What’s worse is Miami was placed 29th for intelligence. This means that a population less intelligent than Philadelphia’s was smart enough to at least vote themselves to the top of the chart on what’s most important – looks.

It only takes a few muscles to smile, Philly, and it takes a lot more to frown. Just like it only takes one click to vote us attractive, but significantly more to complain about being ugly. So try to look sharp this year, so we can rally for the win in 2010.

Some Philadelphians might still insist real beauty is only skin-deep, but that’s just something ugly people say.

Leah Mafrica can be reached at leah.mafrica@temple.edu.

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