How Can I Tell How Attractive I Really Am?

How Can I Tell How Attractive I Really Am?
Hi Evan,

I have been reading your blog for over a year now and I have also bought your book Why He Disappeared. I enjoy a lot of the advice and generally agree with most of it.

You generally maintain the reason why people are single is they over-assess themselves and rate themselves higher than what they originally are. Like a 6 thinking she is an 8. So my question today is basically this: how do you correctly analyze yourself? I always feel like asking people I am around (good friends, coworkers etc.) but I am scared it might ruin things/make things uncomfortable and basically they might tell me what I want to hear.

So is there an objective way to quantify yourself so that you are clear in where you stand? –Sharon

Thanks for the self-aware question about not being entirely self-aware.

I’ve always used a metaphor to describe people and their attractiveness ratings.

Think of it like a clothing store.

You’re introducing a new brand of milk. It’s no different than anyone else’s 2% milk, but it’s your unique packaging. You’re targeting wealthy people who want the best of the best in everything. To that end, you price your milk at $10/gallon.

Nobody buys it.

Does anyone that you want to date want to date you back?

There’s nothing wrong with the milk. It’s just not finding its target market.

You lower the price to $9. $8. $7. $6. $5…

Your mind is blown because you thought that your milk was different and special and it turns out that no matter how strongly you felt about your unique brand, other people – your buyers – only valued it at a lesser rate.

It’s basic supply and demand and it’s about the only way to see what your value is.

Sure, you can put your face up on HotOrNot or buy one of those Ugly iPhone apps to gauge your “scientific” attractiveness rating. But that’s not particularly telling.

More telling is this: does anyone that you want to date want to date you back?

If not, you’re overestimating yourself, no matter what “number” you think you are.

Listen, we overestimate ourselves because it’s necessary. No one would want to wake up in the morning, thinking that she’s ugly, stupid, mean, and has bad taste in clothing, music, and décor. But if you look around, there are a lot of stupid, ugly, mean people with bad taste, aren’t there?

So a measure of self-delusion is not only normal, but somewhat healthy for survival.

People respond to confident people and whether the confidence is deserved or not doesn’t really matter, as long as each delusional pot finds a delusional lid.

The only time that this overconfidence bias becomes a problem is when there’s a severe disconnect between reality and fantasy.

The 62-year-old guy who writes to you online when you’re 31? If he starts to take things personally, he’s gonna go through some hard times. He may be a great catch, but if he’s holding out for exclusively women who DON’T want him, he’ll likely be alone for a really, really, really long time.

I don’t judge him. He wants what he wants. But I do feel bad for him.

Everyone becomes choosier online because we’re comparing you to other, younger, taller, richer, smarter people in a way that we don’t in real life.

He’s overestimated himself and forgotten that the 31-year-old could have any man – 30, 35, 40, 45, 50… there’s virtually NO reason she would choose to go out with him.

Flip that over and apply this logic to yourself, Sharon.

If every guy you write to online is a 9 and none of those guys write back, they probably don’t see you as a “9” as well.

Keep going down the list – writing to the 8s, 7s, 6s, and 5s. The ones who start writing back are the ones at your level.

For most people, this reality check is quite a slap in the face.

And that’s exactly why I do it with all my private clients.

I have no tolerance for people who don’t embrace reality and if a fit 50-year-old woman is only going to write to hot 45-year-old guys who claim to want 35-year-old women, she’s most definitely wasting her time.

To put a final point on it, online dating isn’t the best arbiter for your attractiveness number. Everyone becomes choosier online because we’re comparing you to other, younger, taller, richer, smarter people in a way that we don’t in real life.

In real life, your physical attractiveness number is completely affected by your personality.

Overweight women, women with large noses, women who are older – name your physical bugaboo – all become sexier when attached to a bright, vibrant, positive, engaging personality. Which is why the photo test is, at best, limited.

Still, if you’re only holding out for men who have no interest in you, you’re probably overestimating yourself and should take it down a peg. Same exact advice applies to all men, so please, no angry comments, okay? ☺


Join 7 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (212 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 181

    I’m a very good looking, thin but busty, 44 yr old. I’m divorced with three kids, two of them grown. I’m a college grad and I make $98k a yr. Lest you think I’m overestimating myself, every day on OKCupid I get a few of those “someone rated you 4 or 5 stars” notifications.

    All I expect is the male version of me to be interested. I’ll overlook a lack of a degree if the guy at least knows the difference between your and you’re, makes at least half of what I make, works hard and has health insurance. Although I pretty much starve myself and run even though I hate it, I’ll overlook 20 extra lbs. And even though I cover my gray every 3 weeks, I have no problem with a bald guy, as long as he doesn’t have a horseshoe, comb over or a pelt. Would a little fashion sense be too much to ask? One thing I won’t budge on is smoking. I’m a nurse. Plus it’s gross. And decent teeth, please? And guys who put racial preferences on their profiles? No, thanks. Ditto for ones who look for qualities/standards that they can’t live up to. I set all of my preferences at either my level or below, never above. Therefore, I think I’m realistic.

    So to say the men who are receptive are at your level sometimes isn’t true. I think I deserve better than obese men in their upper 50’s who have marginal jobs, illiterate profiles, and an ugly face. Yet these are the men who email me the most, even though it says in my profile they meet none of my categories. Funny, if I don’t meet even one category in a man’s profile, I have enough sense and respect not to respond.

    I’ve emailed men who were a step below me in looks and in all categories and they still aren’t interested because they don’t respond.

    I honestly would rather be alone than be with someone whose appearance, personality amd accomplishments make me nauseated.

  2. 182

    I want to marry Karl!

  3. 183

    I’d be quite interested to hear what any of the men here have to say in response to Amy’s last comment @184.

    It never ceases to fascinate me the circumstances in which men, after a plethora of pontification, suddenly go silent.

  4. 184

    M@186 –  
    Amy stated, “I’ve emailed men who were a step below me in looks and in all categories and they still aren’t interested because they don’t respond.”  Thin, busty, attractive, college educated, and employed — this all sounds good on paper but something in Amy’s profile and/or emails must be turning men off.  I can only speculate what the red flags are  but they must be present or the men would be responding.

    Amy is also weeding out potentials — “Funny, if I don’t meet even one category in a man’s profile, I have enough sense and respect not to respond.”  I might say I have a preference for green eyes and Amy doesn’t respond because she has blue eyes?  Does the fact that a woman has different color eyes than my preference mean that we are not compatible and there would be no chemistry?  

    If Amy were to post some of her emails and her profile name I’m sure that there would be plenty of comments as to what is causing her problems.  Unfortunately we can only speculate. 

  5. 185

    @m186. Not sure what you are looking for here. Amy only had a couple of rhetorical questions. She expressed annoyance that she is something of a “catch” with a pretty broad range of what she is looking for in a guy and yet none of the guys who make the cut for her give her the time of day, and men she is not interested in contact her.

    So all I can offer is that I am 45, make about 50% more than she does, am in very good shape for my age (and better than the average american 25 y.o., but that is a low bar) and nice teeth. I am certainly getting thin on top, but I am not by any stretch bald. A little gray around the temples. I don’t believe in coloring my own hair, and find gray on women somewhat sexy. And the confidence that goes with not coloring it is very sexy!. I don’t believe I am handsome, but I am not ugly either. Probably a five or six in the looks department, maybe a 7-8 if you count my physique and you are like long, lean and reasonably cut and can tolerate skinny lower legs (and maybe a 3 or 4 if you like beefy guys or skinny legs are a turn off!)

    If I was still dating and had a profile posted and she wrote me, I would respond out of courtesy whether her message/profile/attitude put me off or not. Even in the former case I would give her a “no thank you” and maybe even explain how she might want to change her approach. I am conscious of deal breakers other people write into their profiles and never respond if I fit one of them.

    OK m, I responded to Amy’s post as best I could given there was not exactly anything to respond to.

  6. 186

    I personally know a few guys who keep reaching for the girls who have absolutely no interest in them, and they always end up disappointed. And if they actually took a reality check, they would be much better off.
    But I somehow feel that this article is incomplete because it leaves out a few points that come into play in the actual dating scene and so to some people it might send a wrong message. And since you seem to like honesty, I’ll not mince words.
    The women I dated in the past were usually regarded as 8s or 9s. Going by your article that makes me an 8.5 . ( I don’t like the numbering system, and I simply hate it when my friends try to label a girl a number but since it is really helping me out here setting the context, I’ll take the easy route and use it) Okay so then there was this new girl at work and on the same scale she would be a 7 maybe. But there was something about her that made her stand out. I haven’t really figured out what that is, but the way she handles herself, the way she walks, talks, it’s all very different and unique and magnetic. But it was only I who felt that way.
    The point I wanted to put across is that you really can’t say what number you are, a vague estimation maybe, but it’s not like if you are an 8, you are an 8 and every other 8 or 7 will find you attractive and for a 9 or 10 it will simply be unacceptable to date you. Your persona plays a much bigger role in your beauty than people tend to believe. And even that is subjective.
    There is this one more point that I want to make, for which I’ll again use a real life cue (I know this is becoming a long comment, sorry for that)…When I was in college, there was a girl in the senior year who was really attractive, I would say, a 9.5, but well, she wasn’t very photogenic. She wasn’t photogenic at all. In her facebook pictures, she would come off as a 7 or a 7.5 at best. Now think of her in an online dating portal. The very men who would turn their heads when she would walk by would simply scroll down without glancing a second time. And after a few rejections, she might start thinking that she’s not as hot as she thought, which isn’t right. 
    Online, people don’t judge your looks, but your photographs. Just think about it once before that drop in your self esteem.

  7. 187

    There’s too many unattractive men who marries way prettier women than themselves. And I’ve seen way too many successfull attractive men with some really unpretty women. Rarely do I see couples who really deserve each other and are at the same level. And everybody who I have talked to about this topic, agrees that there is some really un-understandable mis-matching going on. I’m only talking about physical appearence now. I know one of the reason attractive people go for someone below themselves is because they probably give more weight to personality, especially in the long run.

    I mean it’s understandable if a pretty woman marries someone not so good looking but who has a great personality, but the other way around is weird. Women are mostly valued for their beauty, as shallow as it may sound.

  8. 188

    After reading a few of the comments, I found common experiences among the readers.  I definitely see where Evan is coming from.  I am a 27 year old man, who has struggled with self image issues and subsequently weight issues.  I dated a Hawaiian Tropic model.  She helped me to realize that I was better looking than most men she had met and dated. But the challenge I faced was my own self image issue.  I truly believe that an attractive person with low self confidence tends to date people who are less attractive than they are and vice versa is also true.                                                                                                                                                                  Here is what I know that has not only worked for me but for many other people I know.  I understand everyone has a different lifestyle, so please find your own comfort level.  Typically people relate to beauty as an exterior quality.  Research has shown time and time again that the people who work-out feel more confident, are happier and have a positive outlook about themselves and their self-image. Also one of the major determining factor when it comes to attractiveness is physical fitness (also known as being fit or height and weight proportionate).  I challenge anyone who is willing to try this.  Observe the people of the same and /or opposite sex around you and see how the confidence level varies from one body type to another.  Also, see how others react to them as well.  A good example is the famous tv show the biggest loser.  The participants in the show  transform from someone who people do not consider to be 8,9 or 10 and once the transformation is complete they become much more attractive (8,9 or 10).  The other good example are the people out there who use photoshop to change their body size and shape and upload those images to different social media networks and dating sites. Another friend of mine is a bikini model.  I’ve known her before her perfect 10 body days. Back in the days, according to most people she was a 5 on her best day. But her determination and hard work has allowed her to achieve a solid 9.    I would like to end by saying we may not look like super models but we can look and be our best selves by investing in on our health (mental, physical & emotional) and without messing with cosmetic surgeries and youth serums.  
    Live your LIFE!
    Love yourself & others!
    Laugh & make others Laugh often!
    Umair S.

  9. 189
    Brandon Marshall

    I don’t get why you say that everyone overestimates their attractiveness. For one I think I underestimate my attractiveness, and I know of other people who do too. I have no idea how attractive, I can’t see, I can see when I notice someone else is attractive but when I look in the mirror, I just don’t know. People tell me I’m attractive but I just can’t see it. I have spent alot of time looking in the mirror trying to figure it out but it just doesn’t make sense. I think it’s because I have low-self worth so than I can’t see what I actually look like because I have negative beliefs about myself clouding my actual attractiveness. It’s basically like a curse that doesn’t go away. Some people can see how beautiful they are, some people can see how ugly they are, and then some people just can’t see at all. I wouldn’t say that everyone is over-estimating themselves, because I know that I don’t. I wish I did because my life would be a lot easier. 

  10. 190

    I don’t think that I’d go so far as to determine my attractiveness based on the attractiveness of the people who write me back. For most of my life I’ve dated guys in the 7-9 range. I don’t even like guys who are “too pretty”. Since I’ve been online dating in Los Angeles (land of the superficial), I get messages mostly from guys who are 3-6. Maybe there’s a lot to be said for my personality, but I sometimes model, so I can’t be that ugly! I think that online dating leaves a lot out of the equation. I still have profiles up, but I tend to try to also put myself “out there” socially, in hopes that maybe I’ll find someone I connect with in person.

  11. 191
    Samantha Hearn

    thanks I may as well kill myself now!

  12. 192

    Well I’m very happy with your way of rating went for 9’s and I guess got pretty lucky  

  13. 193

    You can tell how attractive you are by how attractive are the men who like you. Not how you rate them, but by how other women rate them. The guys who tend to like me are usually really cute, but not 10’s. They are the really cute guy next door look, the you hear girls talk about and have a crush one.  Maybe 8’s if you have to rate it. When I started working out, I would notice 9 or 10’s looking at me, and it made me feel uncomfortable. There was this perfect 10 who really liked me. 6 ft 4in, broad shoulders, deep voice, handsome (like a young Sean Connery), very athletic (does trialthons) and it made me feel intimidated. I felt like I was not good enough, even though I could feel he liked me more than I liked him. I felt he was the one who didn’t know how good looking he was. All the women drooled over him. He was really shy with me.

    I look around all my friends who are in relationships, and they are generally with people of their attractiveness level. My friend Bill is about a 3 or 4 and his girlfriends are all rather unattractive also. He thinks he’s the hottest guy though. LOL I do think confidence helps, but a 4 will never be a 10. Physical attraction is a must in a relationship. 

  14. 194

    This article is pretty ‘tough love’! But unfortunately it is quite accurate. If you’re a 5 you try and get a 9 youre going to be bitterly disappointed. 

    Without getting into a debate id like some guidance. I am a massive ugly duckling and get pretty excited when I get attention. But I always get attention. I regularly recieve comments on my looks. But I also receive negative comments. I don’t wear much make up or make a huge effort on my appearance but because I grew up and got attractive (I think! But def not sure) I get unfairly judged continuously. I have very attractive ex boyfriends but im not really sure why. I’m pretty low maintainance but ive received comments where people have literally asked me how I’ve managed to get such a hot bf! I don’t know and it makes me sad to hear that 😞 it all obviously has a knock on effect on my confidence. I have no interest in looks so it’s hard to be stuck in a group of people where it’s assumed I do care. I am very lucky to be attractive and I’m sorry if this sounds ungratefuL. But I don’t fit in and I find it hard work. I get judged way more because I stand out. it’s harder to be my true self. A lazy geeky tomboy 🙈

    i have no idea how attractive I am 😳 I know it’s subjective but I’d like to know whereabouts on the scale i am 😳🙈 how do you answer that question?

  15. 195

    This is what goes on in my mind that I wouldn’t say out loud.  I’m about to sound super shallow but I promise I am not.  I just think we need to be somewhat attracted at least.      

    I still don’t fully understand.  I ignore the  9’s that write me because I don’t want to date out of my league. However, the guys that become smitten with me are usually like 6-7 imo yet they see me as a 9-10.  That’s crazy to me….I don’t believe it.  They tell me I’m soooo beautiful but I can’t pretend I’m attracted. Its not right. I have low self esteem as it is, now I have to consider that I might be even less attractive than I think.  I’m not attracted to most guys and don’t even consider those out of my league.  

    The only guy I’ve liked in a long time showed little interest in the end.   I considered him an 8.  But is he looking for a 9+? Maybe everyone is aiming higher.  I don’t want to
    “settle”, its not fair for anyone. This attractiveness thing is very objective. How do I really know what I really am?  Maybe its my personality that sucks.

    In the end….I at least want that spark.  Looks are definitely not everything at all.  But is at least having one physical characteristic I really like asking for too much.  I’m not even too picky.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>