If you've been on GAG long enough you've probably seen both sides of this question. On the one side, you have us guys who don't bother approaching attractive girls because we figure you all have a line up that stretches out the door and around the block of guys actively trying to get with you. On the other side we have girls, even by all accounts attractive ones, who claim that guys never approach them or ask them out, but instead just look at them. So how can we have two polar opposite stories here? Surely only one of them can be right. So this is the problem that I ventured to solve: do women get approached a lot or not and is this related to how attractive she is?
Last week I asked a question: Who wants to be part of another social experiment? on here hoping to collect some data. I went through all of the responses and analyzed the data to give you a clearish answer to this burdensome question. Firstly though, I should disclose all of the shortcomings with the analysis.
1) Small sample size: I only got 29 responses from guys and 51 responses from girls.
2) Response bias: Since all of this was self-reported there will be biases in the answers.
Regardless, I think the overall picture could be instructive in dispelling some myths we might have about who approaches who and how often.
I broke it up to explore 4 different degrees of "approaching" in real life. I discounted online "approaches". Obviously if you took part in this you'd know I asked for how often you catch someone staring at you, how often you're approached, how often you're asked for your phone number, how often you're asked out on a date, and what degree of attractiveness you see yourself. I did this for both guys and girls just to compare but this was all motivated to look at the female case.
Coming into this I had my own personal hypotheses that I developed over my time on this site, which were
1) The number of stares is positively related to attractiveness
2) The number of approaches is positively related to attractiveness up to a certain point and then it begins to decline
3) The number of times a woman's asked for her number is positively related to attractiveness up to a certain point and then it begins to decline
4) The number of times a woman's asked out on a date is positively related to attractiveness up to a certain point and then it begins to decline
The decline in 2-4 was rationalized by guys being intimidated by really attractive women and would go for less attractive women who were viewed as "safer".
So now that we've got the framework, let's look at the meat and potatoes.
In order to generalize the data, I took the median (due to skewed data) and scaled everything up to per year (see Table). It appears that from the sample data, women get looked at fairly frequently, certainly far more than us guys do. One thing to bear in mind is because this is how frequently do you catch someone looking at you, the number of times you're actually checked out is almost certainly an underestimate. This number drops off spectacularly as we move to approaches. Women get approached a whopping 5 whole times per year, on average (not really average but you know what I mean). That means at most 2.5% of guys who check out women actually approach them. This reduces to 0.5% when looking at how many guys ask these women out. Now obviously there's variability to this and these numbers aren't a hard rule but it's interesting to see the massive dropoff between looking and approaching.
Looking at how attractiveness plays into this we can see that there isn't really a strong correlation (see graph). As an aside, something that should be mentioned but isn't visible on the graphs is that there are data points that overlap. Due to this overlap the y-axes are right-skewed, which isn't abundantly apparent in the graphs.
Continuing, it seems that once a woman's considered at least a "6", that's when guys might start approaching her and asking her out. However, based on the graphs an "8" has just as much chance at being approached and asked out as a "4" or a "5", so looks by themselves aren't a sufficient factor.
So what does all of this mean?
To go back to the original question: do women get approached and asked out a lot? The answer appears to be no. Guys look but that's about as far as they go. The common perception that guys have about attractive girls is that they have a lot of guys after them but this doesn't appear to be the case. If 10 guys want to go after the same girl and all of them think that the other 9 are going to make a move and don't do it then that little hottie has no guys approaching her. The take away here, guys, is that your perceived competition doesn't really exist, even for the most attractive girls. We're psyching ourselves out. Sure, there might be some girls that do have guys after them as the graph clearly shows but they're unlikely to be the rule. So I think this should boost some guys confidence that if you're willing to make approaches then you'll have more success than you think (though none of this insulates you from the possibility that that little hottie you have your sights on doesn't already have a boyfriend/fiance/husband).
Now, this isn't to say that girls don't have a role in all of this too. There's a reason why you're not getting approached and asked out, and it doesn't necessarily have to do with your looks. Clearly there are some less attractive women getting more attention than more attractive women. Based on sifting through the answers it appears that it's in part due to lifestyle. Some women reported being approached a lot at their work (bars/clubs) while if you're a homebody, no matter how attractive you are, you're not going to be approached. Then there's your general body language and putting yourself in positions to being approached. I won't go into specifics because there's a myTake: Why you aren't getting approached - Ladies on being approached and another one Girls, Why You're Not Getting Asked Out on being asked out (shameless plug on the second myTake!).
Guys, it's all in our heads. Just figure out how you want to approach and do it. So much of this is just mental. If you can get over your insecurities then the whole playing field opens up for you.
Girls, if you want to be approached, show it. It makes things easier for everyone. Or if you're feeling particularly brave, approach yourself. Just like guys, the only person who's stopping you is yourself.