Single women the world over will thank God for these two researchers: In a study of speed daters, Paul W. Eastwick and Eli J. Finkel, PhD, of Northwestern University, found that people who selected a large number of candidates for follow-up meetings were less likely to be picked themselves for another round. People who chose only a few contenders were more successful in getting attention and responses. It turns out that singles who show interest in every partner they encounter may come off not as eager and open but as just plain desperate.
"What's interesting about that is it actually differs from platonic liking," says Finkel. "In nonromantic contexts, if I like everybody, then everybody likes me back. After all, who doesn't like the guy who likes everybody? But in a romantic context, if I say, 'Yeah, she's hot! And she's hot...and she's hot...and that other girl over there is hot, too,' there's now hard statistical evidence that, in general, the women I meet will not find me sexually desirable."
Does this mean that grandmothers who've warned single women not to be too picky have been wrong? "I don't think your grandma meant, 'You have to go on dates with everybody under every circumstance,'" says Finkel. "But in a situation in which there are a bunch of eligible men, like a party, be selective." Finkel warns against interpreting this data as an invitation to sit home or play hard to get: "What you want to do is be easy for one person to get and hard for everyone else, which will increase the likelihood of that one person's liking you."