Online dating is incredibly competitive — one gentleman I once went out with told me he had two dates planned after me — but it can also be incredibly expensive and painful; especially if you're trying to join BeautifulPeople.com, the best site for the best-looking people where no one is safe from scrutiny.

It's not unusual for those of us who have tried our hand at online dating to make our pictures as attractive as possible. Unlike a former roommate who lived by the "worst foot forward" dating philosophy, I always tried to make my pictures tell a story about a man who wasn't single because he was unattractive —Tip 1: Black and white only; Tip 2: Cover half your face with something nice and ornate or a small animal — but even if promised the most delightful of online companions, I would probably — probably — balk at the idea of going under the knife to join a site more elite than Match, OkCupid and eHarmony combined. But that's not the case for those who want to join Beautiful People, which is basically Livejournal's storied "Nonuglies" community brought to the business world.

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According to Life&Style, millions of people have been rejected by the community's 800,000 members and anyone who applies has to sit through a nail-biting "am I good enough" 48 hours as the site's elite force of pretties decides whether the applicant is destined to become America's Next Top Dater. If so, the new member is embraced and gets to help decide, too. If not accepted, they're invited to try again...when they're better-looking.

Before you start clicking over to see whether your ratings from HotOrNot (RIP) carry over to BeautifulPeople, you should know that the site might just be a clever marketing hoax. Scandalous news about the service pops up every few months, and it's just a little too hard to believe. People are transforming themselves? Really?

The alleged transformations are extreme, although not everyone has gotten plastic surgery and there don't seem to be any statistics on how many of BeautifulPeople's members are going under the knife, or if any are at all.

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If the site's PR is to be believed (hmmm), some are doing whatever they can to join. One man even views the site as a catalyst for changing his life.

"I was rejected by [the site] so many times, so I decided to change my life to boost my confidence," German student Alexander Siegwardt said about his reason for undergoing a drastic lifestyle change.

"I worked out 7 times a week for 9 months now and I simply enjoy my transformation as much the attention and interest from others that I get."

Now, I'm not any kind of expert on dating, but somehow I doubt that a person who changed his entire life to be accepted by what amounts to the popular table in a high school cafeteria is really as happy as he makes it out to be. Unless it's all the endorphins from working out.

Other members have also discussed how they've allegedly changed their lives to join the site:

Aleksandra Pieczek, an administration student from Poland, said her transformation has changed her life. She said: 'I didn't want to be nobody, so I started to change my life - I changed my diet, my lifestyle, I started to be active, following a Mel B fitness programme, using my bike, swimming, zumba etc.

'After one year I lost about 8 kg, my hair is now so long and healthy, I met someone new who helped me to change - I started studying, I became a cheerleader and photomodel'.

First, why is everyone on this site named some form of Alex? Second, why put yourself through so much rejection. According to The Daily Mail, some people apply more than 30 times before they're accepted. And some of us, no matter what we do, likely won't ever be able to join.

The site's director says that the aim isn't to be heartless but to help people be their best (through a subtle system of reinforcing them by making them feel awful about their fat and ugly faces). The site's even got a "mentoring" service now, where those who want to be beautiful can get tips from those who already are. Hopefully those tips don't include the suggestion of actual surgery, but if you want to be beautiful, you're going to have make some sacrifices.

I just tried to join. Here are my results so far:

The problem is that when you've applied, the site shows you the people who you may potentially meet if you're very, very lucky and yet none of them seem to be anything special. Attractive, sure...but BEAUTIFUL? Well, maybe I'm just not their target demographic. Or maybe real beautiful people don't need to join a site that validates their beauty? Wait is this kind of like MENSA?

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I'm going to go swim laps for ten hours anyway, just in case. There's a lot I can change in 48 hours.

Image via Shutterstock