The Pie Chart of Attraction

by GK on May 3, 2011 · 5 comments

The one scenario in my social-coaching days that seemed to vex my students the most, and even some female friends I’ve had, is this: what to say when they’re first meeting an attractive member of the opposite sex.

Our vexing makes perfect sense — no one wants to be a blubbering mess, vomiting like Stan from “South Park” every time he saw Wendy. And I’ve spent more energy than a nuclear reactor giving people ideas of what they could say.

I’d also tell them they could say whatever they want. Now that I’m mostly out of the biz, and with so much pickup information out there on the Web, I figured this truth would have sunk in by now.

But it seemingly hasn’t, because I still hear guys putting way too much emphasis on the content of words. So I want to make this really clear: All things considered, talk is cheap. There’s a good chance the woman made up her mind about you before you said anything.

I was having coffee with Tall Anna last week, and we used a notepad to scribble a pie chart (mmm, pie) that explains what women are really attracted to in the early stages. By early stages, I would say the initial meeting and perhaps the first one or two dates. We started off with seven traits, then narrowed it to four, and finally to three very basic ones. (We excluded logistics because they don’t determine attraction — merely whether she acts on it.)

Those three traits are the following:

  • Physical attractiveness: Looks, height, race, how much hair he has, fashion, tattoos, etc.
  • Non-verbal communication: Body language, eye contact, voice tone, touch, confident vibe.
  • Conversation skills: Sense of humor, asking good questions, telling good stories, etc.

Then we assigned a percentage to how much we think each trait matters to the average girl, and we came to a quick agreement based on our vast experience and our overall geniusness. Here it is in pie-chart form:

The Official Female Attraction Breakdown

Looks are 50 percent, non-verbal is 35 and verbal is 15. So if you’re spending your days worrying about conversational topics or presuming you got rejected because you weren’t witty enough, you’re really only working with 15 percent of the pie. That’s too small a slice for me to eat.

The bottom line is this: All things being equal, if a woman doesn’t think you’re good-looking, and if you don’t carry yourself in an attractive way, you stand little chance of getting her. Not even if you’re the world’s best conversationalist.

On the other hand, if you do pass the initial sniff test, you don’t need to have Jon Stewart’s wit to end up with her. Simply sounding like a normal human being who has a life is often enough.

Perhaps this equation gets lost because it’s tougher to explain non-verbal skills over the Internet. As for the importance of God-given looks, that gets swept under the rug because it’s a sensitive topic. Few people will tell a guy that he’s been rejected because he was too short, too Asian or too old. Thus, men lose sight of how women are really judging them.

During and since my Charisma Arts days, I ran into lots of otherwise smart guys who misunderstood what we were teaching. Many thought that if they could only become master conversationalists and learn the right funny lines for every situation, women would throw themselves at them. (Indeed, there are expensive and less-qualified “gurus” and companies guaranteeing such results.)

That’s why in-person coaching is so important, either with a real coach or a trusted friend. While I could only do so much with a student’s physical traits, I could at least see how he was presenting himself non-verbally and point out any bad habits. As for conversation, all that I cared about was that the words came from him and not from someone else, and that he was showing interest.

I recently opined on certain men’s preference for meeting women during the day. And I think a lot of guys are scared to meet women in louder places like bars and nightclubs because they can’t use conversation as much. But I see that as the best training. Because that’s where you can really focus on having a good vibe.

I put this into effect with a guy I recently coached in San Francisco, and the results surprised even me. Like the typical student, he was nervous about what to say, and much of what he was saying looked disingenuous because he was trying too hard to be seductive. No woman talked to him for long the first day.

I pointed out some non-verbal mistakes he was making (talking too low, not having fun, not facing the girl) and told him to keep it simple with the conversation. To make it truly come from himself, and to not be afraid of silence.

He kicked butt the second day, and where I was truly impressed was at the club we went to. Forced to sink or swim based on the non-verbal, he had the time of his life and women reacted much better to him. He was Mikey from “Swingers,” dancing the night away, and I was Vince Vaughn, crying with pride. 

Remember, the pie chart above only applies to initial attraction. The pie gets more complicated as a relationship evolves, and verbal connection will play a larger role then. So conversation definitely has its place.

All this talk of pie is making me hungry.


1 Erich May 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

Yeah… I remember briefly buying into the whole “It doesn’t matter what you look like, because a woman is attracted to who gets her emotions going.” Now I know that’s nonsense from people trying to peddle their methods. Even though women may vocalize their physical preferences for the opposite sex less than guys, doesn’t mean those feeling aren’t just as strong.

2 Gavin May 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I think a lot of guys take the “she’s judging you based on your looks” thing to mean “if you don’t look like George Clooney, no woman will be interested.” Looks are a huge factor in whether or not a woman is into you but that doesn’t mean that “looks” are some objective quality that either you have or you don’t.

A lot of guy seem to use it as an excuse: “I’m not good looking enough so I don’t stand a chance with that woman/any woman.” But the looks thing is subjective to the girl’s taste. It has less to do with how you look and more to do with whether or not she’s into how you look.

3 SF student May 19, 2011 at 4:43 am

I think I know that guy you coached in SF recently lol…he’s still reading those noted from that weekend over and over and lifes changing left and right- in a good way!
Thanks GK!

4 Jerry January 7, 2016 at 10:46 am

You keep it up now, undtdseanr? Really good to know.

5 Tilly January 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm

You’re the gratetse! JMHO

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