59.8. That’s my average score, as calculated by the swaths of people using a selfie-judging app called Spontana. I’ve spent the past few days sharing pictures of myself on the service and receiving the unvarnished truth in response. Thankfully, I’m also able to dish it out, and have helped my fellow app users learn how other people rate them.
“I’m not a four — I’m a five! I’d climbed a whole rung in the social order.”
Spontana’s premise is a weird mishmash of Instagram and Tinder, in that you can share selfies and have them rated, but it’s also something of a dating service. Should you find someone who rates you as highly as you rate them, you’ll be put in contact with one another. In addition, you can click through to someone’s social media profile from their selfies, via Facebook, Instagram or VKontakte, Russia’s Facebook equivalent.
The first thing you do is take a selfie and upload it. Between 30 seconds and a minute later, you’ll get your rating. The majority of the service’s users seem to be located in continental Europe, including Spain, Russia, Georgia and France.
The selfie, taken at lunchtime on a Monday after a restless night and no morning shave, gave me a score of 63, which felt fair. I will admit, I’m now deeply in love with the French woman and the Spanish woman who both rated me a seven out of ten. Gripped by the buzz, I uploaded a second, slightly older selfie and got a score of 56, suggesting that I’m not a four — I’m a five! I’d climbed a whole rung in the social order.
From there, it came time to rate other users, which presented me with a series of unexpected ethical quandaries. Living in the glass house of being
unattractive neither ugly nor pretty, it seems wrong to impose my standards upon other people. The first image I rated was pretty easy, since it featured a couple wearing animal masks that had been Prisma-filtered into meaninglessness. Ergo, it got a one.
The next image was of a pair of kids who appeared to be well below the age of 18. I immediately looked for a way to report the picture. First off, I’m not going to think about these kids as anything but kids and, less important, there’s two of them in the shot, so which one was I supposed to judge? I reported the snap for inappropriate content and moved on, not learning until much later that you can swipe the pictures up to avoid rating them.
This is all incredibly messed up when you think about it. We’re judging people based on their looks as if that’s a viable metric for judging someone’s character. It’s a shallow, hideous expression of how debased we’ve become, although it’s not as if we haven’t been doing this since the beginning of time.
Then there’s the fact that my totally objective opinion of someone’s attractiveness is actually going to contribute to their online score. Who made me the arbiter of whether some Russian Instagrammer is prettier than a Spanish mother of two? Also, we all know there isn’t a universal scale of attraction to begin with.