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Everyone knows dating is a crapshoot, so Mary and Leah Woods decided they needed a better way to figure out if a man was worth their time — and the internet has embraced it.
During a road trip, the sisters from Huntington Beach, California, were playing the game “He’s perfectly perfect, but,” which Leah learned from friends, where they said the phrase and followed it with an attribute that would make someone reconsider if the man actually was so perfect.
“We were playing that for a little while, but we were like, ‘Honestly, if we’re being realistic, if he’s a 10 out of 10, but he just won’t get his driver’s license, that’s just so impractical,’” Mary said. “It was a group effort of how can we make this more realistic?”
That’s when the scale came in, and the Woods sisters created a memeable game: Start with a number and then add a characteristic that will shift it.
“OK, the game is: He’s a 6, but he drives a nice truck. What does that make him?” 23-year-old Leah says in the TikTok.
“An 8,” replies her friend Lucy.
“7.5,” Mary adds.
Almost instantly, the game spread like wildfire across social media.
He’s a 2, but he has a trust fund. He’s a 10, but he only communicates via Snapchat. He’s a 9, but he has a picture with a fish in his Hinge profile. He’s a 3, but every time you and your friends go out, he pays the bill.
At first, users would tag Leah and Mary on TikTok. But like every other trend before it, giving credit isn’t a priority and creators don’t own memes.
“If people just knew that it was us, then who knows how our lives could change even more?” said Mary, who is 25.
Brands like Netflix Canada and New York City Center have also taken on the game. Shania Twain used it to reference the lyrics to her song “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” And even musician Jessia wrote a song based on the game called “He’s a 10.”
“It would be so cool if we were getting paid for every time (a brand) used this,” Mary said. “But I think it comes with the territory of posting something online. Unless we trademark it, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Leah and Mary hinted at a possible official game in the future. Mary said hopefully that will make up for them not receiving more credit thus far.
Leah said her favorite take on the game is a TikTok from @johnnybjohn, where he created a spreadsheet with all the different characteristics people had rated.
“If you get a job as a lifeguard, put on some cologne, and walk on the outside of the sidewalk, you could start out at a half point, be a literal Muppet, and move up to Chris Hemsworth,” he said.
But for every supportive TikToker making the trend their own, Mary said there is a troll or hater commenting that she and her sister are 5s.
“They feel they need to go out of their way to directly judge us, instead of them just not taking it personal, a hypothetical that they might fall into,” Mary said.
Like other trends, there has been some backlash — with this game, it’s mainly people taking issue with men playing it, since dating is often a misogynistic nightmare. TikTok users have even begun to make satirical videos of men taking part, such as “'She’s a 10, but she’s a girl.' 'Zero,'” and “She’s a 9, but she, like, respects herself.”
But the Woods sisters are OK with anyone joining in, as long as they’re respectful.
“If it’s about body shape or things like that, it’s like, no, that’s just mean,” Leah said, noting that they deliberately wanted the game to be lighthearted. “If it’s something funny, then I think guys are totally able to play it because that’s how we’ve kept it. We’ve kept it funny, and we’ve kept it things that, 99% of the time, you can change.”