A man walks into a bar. He spots a seated brunette that he’d very much like to get to know. He approaches, says something witty, offers to buy her a drink. Looking bored, she declines. She’s waiting for some friends. Thanks for the offer, though.

“Shot down!” he thinks. “Women in this city are so cold.”

It’s been long believed that women are pickier than men when selecting sexual partners. This makes perfect sense from a biological standpoint; women have more at stake.


When it comes to reproduction, females invest nine months, plus 18 or so years of child rearing. Men invest approximately nine minutes. That women are more discerning than men about their choice of mate seems logical. But a new study published in Psychological Science puts this idea through the wringer.

In their study on romantic selectivity, Eli J. Finkel and Paul Eastwick put a fascinating spin on the activity of speed dating. Generally, women are seated during speed-dating events while men rotate around the room, a trend that likely stems from the social construct that men typically initiate approach. Finkel and Eastwick experimented by also having the women rotate while the men remain seated.


At the end of the sessions, they had the participants indicate their levels of interest in the people they “dated.” The results were surprising. No matter the gender, the Rotaters demonstrated a higher interest in the people they approached than the Sitters demonstrated in the people who approached them.

Wait, what?

“It’s true that we approach people when we’re interested in them,” Finkel told Metro via email. “A more subtle effect is that the mere act of approaching people makes us interested in them.

Our bodies influence our mind in mysterious ways, and one of them is this effect of physically approaching on romantic attraction … perhaps women tend to be choosier than men because they (women) are much less likely to engage in physical pursuit — for example, by approaching a man in a bar.”


Approaching someone increases adrenaline, confidence and triggers a host of other physiological and psychological reactions the person being approached does not share.

Don’t let this study deter you from chatting up the dreamy dreamboat of your dreams, however.

As The Great One once said: “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.” But maybe the next time you’re interested in someone, you can beckon them over, seated comfortably at your table all the while.