Being Hot in Philly — Finally, Attractive People Get to Have Their Say, Too

A parody of the latest absurdity to strike Philadelphia journalism.

By Frank Lee*
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 21 | Posted Mar. 12, 2013

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*Frank Lee is not a real person. See editor's note for further explanation.


from an organic grocery co-op, where questionable people go in and out all day for the 
ostensible purpose of buying healthy food. I know what the place is really about, though, and the whole thing makes me queasy to my core.

See, if those people were really just after quality organics, I think it’s perfectly safe to assume they’d do it the normal way: They’d take a Jacuzzi bath and do their hair with some good product, put on a nice outfit and some jewelry, 
tweeze their eyebrows, get in their cars and drive to Whole Foods like the rest of us.

But that’s not what they do. No, instead large numbers of them stumble out their front doors, clearly unshowered—I can 
imagine the body odor that undoubtedly pervades their aging stone rowhomes—and, unashamedly clad in nothing more than off-label jeans and sweatshirts, they congregate inside the co-op, picking up bunches of kale, putting them down again, and blocking the narrow aisles for minutes at a time as they jabber to each other about tedious bullshit that you’ll never see on TMZ Live. Plenty of them don’t even have makeup on. 

The message is clear: Not only is this a place where the dowdy, the frumpy, the unappealing to look at, are welcome; it’s a place where, if I’m to be honest, a hot, highly desirable piece of ass like myself is actually made to seem, as unthinkable as this is, like an outsider. And that leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. 

I’ve shared my view of this degradation, this rejection of civilization’s accepted aesthetic norms, with some of my fellow hotties. They claim they don’t see it that way. They talk about empathy. They utter platitudes like “eye of the beholder,” spew politically correct buzzwords like “all kinds of beauty,” mouth well-worn cliches like “My god, Frank, that woman is an Iraq War veteran who survived an IED explosion and saved half her platoon—what on earth is the matter with you?” I think they’re blind. I could almost wish I were blind, too, because shit, the people I have to look at every day are ugly. 

And I think it’s time we admit what we’re all thinking: We glorious, angelic, sexy beasts—we whose presence here is what makes 
Philadelphia look as damn fine as it does—would 
really prefer never to look at anything so unpleasant as our less perfect neighbors.


START TRYING TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE of Philly’s beauty gap with other sizzling-hot sex machines around the city, and you’ll find that everyone has a story to share—whether or not they want to admit it. Take the gorgeous, classy brunette in a leather skirt I saw walking through Rittenhouse Square recently. I’ll call her Alexandra; it may or may not have been her name, but if it wasn’t, it certainly should have been, and I hope she takes that suggestion to heart. Anyway, from my vantage point across the square, I could see how two disgustingly unattractive men were bothering her—an old fat guy in a ratty baseball cap and a 
repulsive young punk with some sort of creeping rash across his face, probably contagious. Not only were they demanding her attention, they were intermittently blocking her MILF-y radiance from view by others, thus impinging upon the general welfare. 

As I hesitated, wondering whether any passersby would back me up if I approached with the intent of shooing the men off, they turned and walked away, finally leaving the hottie in peace. Relieved, I strode confidently up to her. “It’s terrible, isn’t it?” I asked.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“Having to share the city with people like that. The obese old geezer. And that dirty leper, or whatever he was.”

She frowned. “I’m sorry—are you referring to my 
father and my son? My son is 14. He has pimples. And my dad’s a few pounds overweight, but I think he’s earned a comfortable retirement after working hard for decades to support his family.”

“I understand,” I said, sympathy welling up in my voice. “That’s how you have to play it when it comes to family. But we know, don’t we, how it really feels? We know.”

She looked at me with those big round eyes, as rich with vibrant life as the primordial pool from which our genetic forebears sprung, and said, “You’re being really creepy. You’re not trying to hit on me, are you?” 

For the record, I wasn’t. I was doing journalism. I was interviewing her, and like any high-quality journalist, I was prepared to keep interviewing her as hard as I could until she yielded some sweet, sweet quotes. Still, I could understand why she would imagine the possibility of a romantic encounter with me. Because I, unlike so many others, am an attractive Philadelphian. And anyone would be lucky to have me devote some attention to them.


* Frank Lee is not a real person. See editor's note for further explanation.

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Comments 1 - 21 of 21
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1. gtnsteve said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 05:29AM

“What a waste of paper or bytes. Almost as bad as the right-wing op-eds in the Inky.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 08:14AM

“its hard to be pretty in Philly...its like being in a foreign land of ugliness. sad but true.”

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3. diverse nigwisht said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 09:14AM

“Muffin tops with stretch marks.

Tan lines with strapless dresses.

Flip-flops with fleece sweaters.

Wearing pajamas and slippers to the lab or class.

Expensive jeans not hemmed for flats scraping the dirt form the sidewalk.

These are many examples of how horribly the women of Philadelphia dress. I am absolutely certain that the TV show “What Not to Wear” can film at a minimum 30 to 40 episodes in Phatadelphia.

I cannot even forgive the students who study in Philly for their lack of style. Even students I believe should learn the basics in how to present themselves in public.

And please don’t tell me ladies that your feet hurt and that is why you wear $2 flip-flops with expensive dresses. You do more harm to your feet by switching from those heels that kill your feet to the other extreme; flats with no support. Even I know that, and I am a heterosexual male.

The only attractive people in Philly, ARE NOT FROM Phatadelphia.”

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4. MMelangeel said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 09:30AM

“It may be a "joke" cover, but it is no joke: Philly keeps winning the Ugly Award year in and year out. Looks like everybody has just given up and could care less about their appearance. Apathy. That looks attractive on everyone here.”

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5. Juliet said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 10:22AM

“"The only attractive people in Philly, ARE NOT FROM Phatadelphia."

Philadelphia: the town where a guy that looks like Dwight from The Office and has an unimpressive penis, a drinking problem and a dj night can clown you like he's Richard Gere circa 1974. Clown you like you look like a gal from
There are attractive Philadelphia-born girls here, pal. But you are right about everything else. (ps- I am aware it's a parody, also, I'm aware that parody isn't funny unless it's true)

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6. Anonymous said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:37AM

“This isn't worth my time to read (but apparently worth my time to comment stating as such).”

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7. Joe said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:47AM

“You did catch the part (in case it wasn't obvious enough) that the article was a parody, didn't you? It's meant to provoke discussion of the impulse behind a similarly-titled article that a lot of folks have seen - not discussion about the hotness of Philadelphians.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 12:04PM

“Do you hear that? It's the sound of this article swooshing over your head, 95% of comments above”

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9. Anonymous2 said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 12:17PM

“OMFG, how stupid are you people?!? MMel, Juliet, Steve and all, you seriously need to PAY ATTENTION and stop with your knee-jerk reactions when you clearly don't have an effin clue what's going on.

THANK YOU, PW. Now will you address the real problems with the blank stare editorial, writing and art departments of "Philadelphia" magazine? In fact, let's have a contest to see if anyone who lives in Philadelphia identifies with any snot in that rag.”

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10. Jenny DeHuff said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 01:08PM

“hilarious!!! well written and very funny parody on an article that missed the mark for so many.”

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11. Anonymous said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 01:27PM

“being naturally good looking i like to play the game of dressup n dress down n out. To the point where a stranger couldnt recognize me from 1day to the next. I make sure to match personalities also. Amazing to find how shallow most of our 20s -30s crowd are so very objective according to clothes and makeup. Over 40 though appear ro know the game well.”

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12. PhillyMagBlows said... on Mar 13, 2013 at 03:23PM

“Awesome work Frank, spot on!”

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13. jay aich said... on Mar 14, 2013 at 01:01PM

“Reading these responses, I predict the next piece will be 'Being smart in Philadelphia' ...”

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14. Ed said... on Mar 14, 2013 at 04:29PM

“It just wasn't very funny.”

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15. Woo said... on Mar 15, 2013 at 07:54AM

“i enjoyed the article, very funny and very true.”

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16. Anonymous said... on Mar 15, 2013 at 11:10AM

“HIlarious cover. Lame "article". You shoulda quit when you were ahead.”

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17. Anonymous said... on Mar 15, 2013 at 06:10PM

“the reason why a lot of people don't realize this is a joke is cause in essence it's true, as was the Philadelphia Mag article...there's a lot of ugly people (both inside and out) who live here with an axe to grind, and that usually take it out on the people who don't adopt their non-conformist "uniform", or look like them...and if you don't think there's some kind of reverse racism in this city, you haven't gotten out of your stupid neighborhood. the guy in the PhillyMag article may have oversimplified the issue, but there's a current of racism that goes both ways in this city, that does not exist so strongly in places like Chicago and New York...”

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18. Anonymous said... on Mar 15, 2013 at 10:24PM

“I drive taxi in the city and I always get good compliments from girls about my looks and appearance and that is how I was raised to always look after my self but my passengers 1 out of 10 might be looking after them selves the rest are like just a bag of trash just pops in to my clean good smelling car and pops's a shame and some passengers I pick them up from a very high end areas ..”

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19. Anonymous said... on Mar 17, 2013 at 10:49AM

“The comments section is more golden than the article above them, which, in my opinion, was too short.”

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20. Gloria said... on Mar 17, 2013 at 11:25AM

“This was a very funny parody/satire (especially if one lives in Mt. Airy).
Amazing how many people who posted above are humor-challenged.
They're like the people who criticized Randy Newman's song "short people" for being against short people, when he was dealing with racism/prejudice in general.”

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21. DonLouis said... on Jul 16, 2013 at 07:40AM

“This is so sad, but true.

There's alot of frump going on around the 215. Lots of overly pale,overweight people that goto the ever-available slew of buffet restaurants. It's no wonder people look like this! Jeans are "dress up" around here, and the sheer number of less-than-attractive people up here is amazing.

I just moved up from Miami this past year, and I can tell you it's totally different up here. In South Florida, you get a sore neck from seeing all of the pretty people, up here - I'm still looking.

Even people who are kinda cute get recognition like they're hot. OH PUH-LEASE!”


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