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.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

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 how physically attractive you are, 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 exclusively for 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 find attractive 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 how physically attractive you are. 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 traits.

Overweight women, women with large noses, women who are older 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 attractive people 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?