I got some pushback in the comments on my last post. FBNF thought that 100 times a year was a lot more than her experience. I responded that this was probably due to environment: I probably should have said she the 100 dates was probably average for her environment and lifestyle, but the general pattern would still hold.
I haven’t been able to find studies on how often women are asked out. I remember reading a number of threads on the issue, where women were asked how often they were asked out: answers for most were once a week to once a month. I can’t figure out where those threads were. So I did another search.
A quick google of various internet threads says it depends a lot on how one defines “asked out”; “real” asks are uncommon, a dozen or two a lifetime, but “random” ones are fairly common. This thread ranges from uncommonly to multiple times a day.
I turned to a quick search on /r/AskWomen. The answers across threads there were comparatively low to elsewhere. Never was common, a 6-12 in a lifetime was the plurality, a few times a year also common, while once a week or more was rarer. I think one guy from one of the threads had the right of it:
- I’m seeing a lot of people distinguishing between a request to hang out that turns romantic and a request for a formal date, which is probably not a distinction the asker was making.
- Redditors in general tend to identify themselves as introverted and/or shy, and shy people don’t get asked out nearly as often as outgoing people do.
Also, not to be an ass, but on the whole Redditors are probably far less social and far less attractive than average people and would be less likely to be asked out.
Here’s a thread where the bizarre top answer is “Have had 5 or 6 boyfriends in my life, but never actually been asked out on a date.”
It seems that it is common for women to only include explicit requests for a date. Being hit on doesn’t count, being asked for a number doesn’t count, being asked to ‘hang-out’ with romantic intentions doesn’t count, etc. Someone even being a relationship isn’t counted as being asked out. This is bizarre to me. As a man, I would (and did) count some lady on the street asking me to hang out as being asked out.
Anyway, it seems once a week to once every month or two would be “average” if you included hitting on and phone number asks, but a lot less, a few time a year or less, if it’s only for formal dates.
So, in my assessment we could say somewhere between 6-50 times a year would be normal for propositions of all types, but about a dozen “real” requests for formal dates a lifetime. This would of course vary a lot based on the women’s environment, attractiveness, and personality.
The bigger her social circle, the larger her city, the prettier she is (to a point), and the more outgoing a women is, the more she’ll get asked out.
Which brings me to the point of my post: the rationalization of effort.
Unless you are a very experienced player or naturally very social, asking women out is a frightening and draining experience for most men; it has a fairly high mental cost. In addition, being rejected after asking a girl out is both painful and humiliating. Because of this men will often do a quick analysis of their odds of success combined with the ease with which they can ask a woman out and their level of motivation to ask that particular girl out. (This often leads to over-thinking, which is a major problem I struggle with).
This can lead to some weird outcomes. As Heartiste recently noted (NSFW) men will often not hit on the hottest girls, because the odds of success seem so slim. The prize may be great, but if the odds of success seem too low a man will not even try. It works the other way as well, a man may go after someone he might not otherwise chase simply if he thinks the odds of success are high.
What this means is that a man will only ask a woman out if he thinks he has a chance and the situation allows for an easy way to ask a girl out compared to the potential odds of success and his attraction.
He also needs motivation: most men see women around them all the time in their daily lives, including many attractive ones, but they rarely approach them. They will go out of their way to approach a particular women if he has some particular motivation to.
For one example, years ago there was a girl at my church who my mom would occasionally bring up as someone I should pursue. She seemed nice, she was attractive enough, and there was a decent chance she could have hit the points on my list but I never did approach her. There was nothing that really made her stand out to me. If happenstance had brought us into conversation together perhaps something might have happened, but there was nothing motivating me enough so I would put in the effort and take the risk of approaching her. (In retrospect, I probably should have).
As a contrasting example, there was a woman I was friends with for a while, she was attractive and fun to hang out with, but it didn’t even really cross my mind to think of her as a prospect. Then one day she was holding a friend’s baby and cooing over it; that display of maternal instinct peaked my attention and I started to entertain the prospect. I ended up asking her out a month or so later. (A mothering instinct is something I find incredibly attractive.).
One major factor in a man’s thinking is environment. Small, casual social environments (like house parties or games nights) are far more conducive to approaching for most men than most other environments. Church always has some formality, cold approaches are the most difficult ones, work comes with extra baggage, large parties/clubs/bars are good for certain personalities (ie. players and extroverts), but not for most men, etc.
There’s more to the sexual marketplace than a person’s raw SMV/MMV and displays thereof, there’s motivation and risk. A woman may be attractive, but she also needs to demonstrate something to motivate a man to approach (a particularly high level of beauty may be enough) and make it so that the type of man she wants to approach will think there is an ‘easy’ in.
So, based on that here’s a few practical tips for women hoping to be approached more:
Be out in the world. Men can’t approach if they don’t see you.
Get in environments where approaching is easy. A casual, social environment is best.
Smile: A kind smile lowers the expected cost and raises the perceived odds of success, increasing the chances of being approached.
Signal availability: Look pretty, have an open demeanor, put yourself in a physical space where approaching is possible (ie. stand around other people, not on the other side of the room by yourself), walk casually instead of bee-lining: make it easy for a man to approach and it will be more likely.
Don’t signal unavailability: Don’t wear earphones, don’t wear a ring on your ring finger if you aren’t married, don’t stare at the ground, don’t walk around staring at your iPhone, etc., these will all discourage most men (players aside) from approaching. Most men don’t want to intrude on you when you are doing something. By doing this you are self-selecting for the kind of guy who interrupts busy people.
Signal something unique: Signal something that makes you stand out, particularly for the kind of man you are looking for. If you are looking for an physically active man, wear something that indicates you participate in a sport. If you are looking for a bookish man, carry a book. If you are looking for a traditional man, look traditional. If you are looking for a family man, coo over your friend’s baby. If you are looking for a player, show your cleavage. If a man sees you share something in common, something particular that interests hims, or that gives him an easy in to open, he will be more likely to approach you.
Do the opposite of all this if you want to be approached less.
For Christians in particular:
When out of a church setting, it can often be difficult for a Christian man to tell if a woman is Christian or not, and if she isn’t he likely won’t be motivated to hit on her; hitting on a non-Christian would be a waste of time and effort. By displaying something obviously Christian, a Christian woman can give him that much more of a reason to talk to her, increasing her odds of meeting someone.
For Christian women, if you want more Christian men to hit on you, bring along something with you when you go out that makes it obvious you are Christian. Carry your Bible or a CS Lewis book or something else obvious; wear a Jesus fish necklace or a Bible camp t-shirt. (This is probably what the WWJD bracelets used to be for).
I know this from experience; there have been at least two cute girls I’ve cold approached because I overheard they were Christian, where if I hadn’t overheard them I probably would not have.
For men, something similar probably applies. Make it easier for a woman to say yes when you approach. I don’t have a list of specific practical steps beyond what I’ve already thrown out in the Omega’s Guide (if you have one drop it below). Just keep in mind that if you reduce the cost/risk or increase the perceived benefits of saying yes, you’re more likely more likely to get a yes.
Don’t make it more difficult for her to say yes than you need to.