Picture this: you’re out with your friend, you’re both swiping on Tinder, on the hunt for a cute double date for the night and then you match with someone you really like. Just when you think you’ve hit the jackpot with someone who appears to be a rare diamond in the Tinder cesspool, your friends seemingly decide to let you know that clearly, you’re in need of a good pair of glasses. They even go as far as to tell you that you’d be making a big mistake and lowering your standards if you considered meeting up with them.
We’ve all found ourselves in that awkward situation where opinions on attractiveness diverge. Tastes vary from one person to another and what might be hot and attractive to one individual might be ugly and a red flag to another. However, a theory that’s been sweeping the TikTok FYP recently suggests that these seemingly contradictory attributes can coexist. It proposes that individuals have the uncanny ability to appear both unattractive and irresistibly hot at the same time. I know this is big stuff.
Slightly confused? Well, let us decode this one for you. The whole premise has been deemed the “hot ugly” TikTok theory and it started with a viral post by Violet Marmur, also known as The Ugly Hot Theorist on the platform:
Marmur argues that there are men who are conventionally attractive, or “hot hot,” so to speak. Famous examples of conventionally hot men include Taylor Zakhar Perez, Regé-Jean Page, Michael B. Jordan, Jacob Elordi, and Gavin Leatherwood.
“Hot ugly,” however, is an individual who has all the features that are considered conventionally attractive but who some people might still consider to be “ugly” or just not their type. This particular variation probably explains lots of confusing arguments you’ve had with your friends. Famous examples of this type include Noah Centino, Austin Butler, Harry Styles, Liam Hemsworth, Lukas Gage, and Zac Efron.
Lastly, there is the “ugly hot” variant. Ugly hot describes a person who people find attractive despite having what some believe to be “ugly” features. This one always sends the TikTok girlies into a frenzy because no matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to agree on whether Timothée Chalamet and Paul Mescal are hot ugly or ugly hot. Nevertheless, the ones we were able to categorise are Pete Davidson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dominic Fike, and Adam Driver.
Attractiveness is obviously subjective. As a result, many of these choices might not make much sense to you. Maybe you think the entire thing seems totally bonkers, who knows? It certainly took me a while to wrap my head around it. However, it does seem like an unexplainable concept that has always been in the air somehow. Nonetheless, this is just an idea about different perceptions of beauty rather than a hard rule gen Z girlies are trying to implement. It’s important to not take these things too seriously.
Now that that’s settled, let’s take this thing up a notch. From the shadows, another theory has emerged about “hot hot” men and it’s based on one of the world’s most famous actors. Get ready for the Ryan Reynolds straight-men theory. I swear I’m not making this stuff up.
According to proponents of this theory, Reynolds is so “hot hot” that he has a chokehold on straight men. TikToker Matt Jones even stated that there was an interesting test women could apply. “Women, listen to me. This is definitive. Ask your boyfriend how hot on a scale of 0 to 10 he thinks Ryan Reynolds is. If that man says a 9 or a 10, he’s probably straight. If he says between a 0 and a 5, he’s definitely straight but if that man answers and he says between 6 and 8, he’s gay. It’s never been wrong,” Jones stated in another viral clip. Science is clearly making a comeback on the app…
Of course, we had to test this thing out. For journalistic research purposes, I reached out to a few of the men here at SCREENSHOT. This is what I learnt.
“I feel like he is hot, but I’m influenced more by his charisma and personality. He makes me laugh so I think that’s why I perceive him as hot, but in reality, he’s kinda like an older and slightly less attractive version of Ryan Gosling,” Junior Video Editor Joshua responded. “Overall, he’d get an 8.5 of 10,” he concluded. That’s a pass, I suppose.
However, an 8.5 is still not conclusive, so I also reached out to another colleague, Asher, who had this to say: “I wouldn’t say I do,” he responded when asked about whether or not he finds Ryan Reynolds hot. “I actually find him quite annoying, maybe a 5?”
Mildly inconclusive, but it remains to be seen: what is it that makes Ryan Reynolds so attractive?
In an opinion piece titled Why Straight Men Obsess Over Ryan Reynolds and Not Pete Davidson, writer Andrew Wang stated: “Reynolds’ physical appearance is not what warrants the obsessions of straight men, despite arguments that men simply obsess over Reynolds because he conforms to conventional ideals of masculinity.”
“Thus, it may not be an inherent trait of Ryan Reynolds that makes straight guys swoon, but the mere fact that his popularity has become a meme, which makes it safe for straight men to profess their attraction to him without fear of their masculinity or sexuality being questioned,” Wang continued.
While that seems to be a plausible explanation for the obsession around “hot hot” men like Reynolds, it should be said that it’s still all fun and games. If anything, trends like these show us how hard it is to quantify attractivity. At the end of the day, it’s the personality, charm and, in Pete Davidson’s case, big d*ck energy that people feel drawn to. All we know for sure is that as long as there are TikTok girlies, there will be new bizarre and often completely unhinged theories to frame these traits.