Do looks matter? A social experiment - Part 2

Another segment of this documentary that really got me thinking was the scene at the bar.

They used two actors for this. The first was a Brad Pitt look-alike, and the other could have been mistaken for Jessica Simpson. In other words, he was a pretty boy, and she was flat-out gorgeous. They were both fitted with tiny cameras in the buttons of their clothing.

In the first scene, both people entered the lounge separately (about five minutes apart). Both actors made small talk with the doorman as they entered, and it was like they had known each other all their lives. He was equally friendly towards both people. They even shared a few laughs.

For the test, they had both actors sit at opposite ends of the room as they ordered drinks.

The servers were both good-looking young women, and the bartender was a twenty-something jock. Other than that, there were only a few customers in the place.

The male actor relaxed in his chair, looked confidently (bordering on cocky) around the bar and made eye contact with one of the waitresses. She came over and he started flirting with her right away. She was all smiles and giggles, and I’m sure he could have got her number at the drop of a hat.

The female actor was treated almost as well by the other waitresses – it was like they were sisters - just one big happy family.

In fact, both actors got exemplary service.

After about an hour, the male actor got up and approached the bartender. They engaged in a little small talk and a laugh, and then he asked the barkeep to bring a drink over to the young lady (actor #2). He smiled and gave him a wink. He brought it over; she smiled and raised her glass to actor #1. 10 minutes later, she went over to his table amidst smiles from the bar staff. And they lived happily ever after…

Now, a week later, the television crew prepared for the same routine, except that this time they made up the male to look a little less attractive. They gave him some body padding to simulate excess weight, added some latex to his face and scalp area to create a chubby face and receding hairline, gave him an overbite, and dressed him in the most awful outfit I’ve ever seen.

The female actor was different this time, because they didn’t want to skew the test results (the staff may have thought she went off with that handsome guy a few days ago). This woman might have been even better-looking than the previous, if that were at all possible.

They followed the same script as the last time. She entered first and then he entered about 5 minutes after.

She was greeted in a very predictable manner. From the flirtatious doorman to the smiling bartender, she was treated like a queen.

Now, this is where things started to go bad. As the guy walked up the steps, he was greeted by the doorman. Instead of a cheerful smile, the doorman looked him over and, with a gruff voice, said, “Hello sir,” as he held the door open for the actor. Keep in mind that he was only doing his job and nothing else. If there were a requirement to greet customers with a friendly smile, this guy would have failed miserably.

Upon entering the bar, the actor looked around and was greeted with curious looks from the staff. He sat down in the same chair and waited for someone to come over and take his order. He waited…and waited.

After a few minutes, a waitress came over, looked him up and down, and said, “What can I get you?” No smile. No flirting. No small talk. He gave her his order, she nodded and left without saying a word.

Throughout the meal, the guy was being ignored, while actor #2 enjoyed some nice friendly hospitality.

The icing on the cake came when actor #1 went to the bar and tried to strike up a conversation with the bartender. The barkeep was civil enough, but kept the conversation very professional.

When the guy asked him to bring the lady over a drink, he smiled (on the verge of laughing) and said, “I think you got your signals crossed, buddy. I don’t think that’s a good idea. He turned his back and walked away.

Actor #1 then went over to actor #2 and started talking to her. The doorman was there in 2 seconds and asked if the gentleman was bothering her.

Not wanting to upset everyone, she said no, and actor #1 went back to his table.

The waitress came over to actor#2 and started talking about how much nerve some people have. It was almost like she assumed the women would never go for a guy like that, and “how dare he approach a beautiful woman so much out of his league.”

Actor #1 had no further communication with anyone. His server asked if there was anything else then handed him the bill.

He left a few minutes later amidst stern looks from the bar staff.