The bureaucratic minders of the State Department's Travel Twitter account @TravelGov are full of 140-character remorse following a controversial bit of advice warning U.S. spring breakers to not get fooled by false flattery while traveling abroad.
The troublesome tweet, which momentarily made me ashamed of my body, basically urges Americans to look in the mirror before going on spring break and ask themselves: "Am I Bo Derek hot?" (millennials click here for help understanding that reference).
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If the honest answer to that question is "No," the State Department wants you to know that you will be equally ugly overseas and should be instantly suspicious of anyone who smiles at you. So don't spend too much money on that nice new bathing suit you've been eyeing online, Tim, because you'll be fat no matter what you wear, I told myself in the mirror, wiping away fat tears with the back of my pudgy hand.
The ugly-people-don't-get-fooled tweet was promptly deleted and replaced by a two-part apology of sorts. But the damage was done. The bad advice was immortalized in a tweetstorm of angry responses, accusing the State Dept Travel account of being misogynistic, tone-deaf and other unpleasant adjectives that people on Twitter use to express rebuke of other stuff on Twitter.
But the real problem with the State Department's tweet is that the premise of their advice is wrong.
As a "Miami 6" and a "Nicaraguan 10," let me tell you that ugly don't travel. On average, depending on the country I'm visiting and where I am in my monthly haircut cycle, I get 42% better looking overseas. In many parts of Latin America I'm considered a solid 7 - 10. It's really the only reason I travel.
When I walk into a foreign bar filled with men who are better looking than I am, I immediately seek out a table of 5-6s and buy them the most expensive drinks on the menu. Hey barkeep, make it a double! Because the more expensive the drinks, the better looking I get, or so I'm told by flattering foreigners.
So my advice to mid-level ugly Americans is, be your best 10! Because everyone is a 10 somewhere. Keep traveling until you get there.