Yes, appearance often is involved in rejection. Usually it is not the main reason for ending a long-term relationship, but it frequently is a major reason for rejecting a chance at such a relationship or, obviously, a fling. A so-called cold approach by a stranger? Very unlikely to succeed unless the look is good. Speed dating or dating sites? Research links physical attractiveness to success there.
However, rejection is not just about the external. Women might be less superficial than men, but they are almost definitely pickier on other factors. That sometimes leads to giving a man a longer, but rarely long, chance in spite of lack of initial attraction. Waiting for more attraction to be generated somehow, or until someone else who is more attractive appears. Think about it - a great familiarity with personality rarely happens quickly, yet women usually make up their minds after a few interactions. When the rejection was not mutual and does not seem to make sense, when nothing obviously "wrong" happened, when there were no obvious female signs of more than friendliness, chances are that appearance was heavily involved.
Physical characteristics can be hard to change, but much of personality is communicated by clothing, which is easy to change. On dates or requests for dates, appearance-related rejection can be due to lack of physical attraction (probably immediate if it is repulsion), the "wrong" perceived personality (which, in women, usually undermines any physical attraction), or unacceptable suspected life circumstances. Even if there already is familiarity (from work, for example), because most people do not know each other very well. Unimpressive appearance often leads to lousy conversation - distracts (such as showing up dressed in a very unexpected way), causes discouraging non-verbal signs, or prevents mining for information that is presumed not to be there (no point asking a dumb-looking person about a deep topic or trying to engage a lifeless-looking person in exciting discussion). Lack of confidence can also sabotage conversation, and some confidence comes from personal appearance.
When the exterior does not shield by looking good, there is less patience and negatives become the focus. Disrespectful, sex-obsessed, unmanly, lacking positive personality traits, lousy conversationalist - a man has almost no chance when viewed that way. (There is the possibility of the exterior loudly signaling money and women sticking around for mostly financial reasons, making that a potential appearance problem.)
Below are style categories that represent almost all the ways visuals can sabotage romantic opportunities. Often choices will sabotage in multiple ways. Also, be aware that actual personality and physical features influence the success or failure of other aspects of style, which is a major reason why people should get personal appearance feedback. (For example, famous, attractive people can wear clothes that most others cannot.)
Style Choices that Repel Women
- Feminine clothing, in most social circles
- Colorful pants, monk straps, jewelry, etc.
- A style that is very different from the local look, e.g., rural in an international city
- Weird style can be revealed gradually
Typical work or nerdy clothing - not sexy
- Pleated khakis, short-sleeved dress shirts, and most polo shirts (and none is ideal for a first date)
- Double-breasted tailored suits/jackets (the kind worn indoors)
- Suits on dates (except for formal dancing)
- Black dress shoes during daytime
- Ties outside of work (or the ballroom)
- Sweaters, except for some that are fitted and dark
- Very bland colors
Clothing that is not moderately dressy
- If it would be okay for athletic activity (including golf), it probably is not idea for a non-activity early date. That includes tee shirts, polo shirts, cargo pants, white athletic socks, most hats, etc.
- Vacation/resort wear, including sandals and tropical shirts (unless maybe it is a date on a hot day in a tropical location)
Shouting the wrong body type
- Most people have preferences for body types, not requirements. Many men, even without changing their lifestyle habits, could look closer to the ideal body type, 10-20 pounds difference and look significantly more muscular. The important thing is for appearance not to strongly communicate that one is out of shape. Signaling, for example, successful and interesting instead.
- Simple combinations involving standard solid colors tend to cause problems
- Shapeless clothing
Clothing that suggests lack of money or class
- Cheap leather jacket
- Visible undershirt or chest hair
- Plastic watch
- Dirty or damaged
- Hair or clothing like just out of bed
- Leather shoes that are not shined
Trying too hard
- Dressing "bling," outside of clubs
- That includes black suits and shirts, party shirts, shiny shirts, flashy jeans, oversized watches, large belt buckles, etc.
Outdated or age-inappropriate style
- A style not often found on those within a few years of the man's actual age
- Square-toed shoes
- Clothing made years ago
- Dad jeans (light-colored and baggy) and multi-pleat pants
- Large logos
- Sunglasses, which prevent the intimacy of eye contact
- Long hair that specific women don't seem to love
Fix those problems. Fix any other noticeable problems - even a few minor issues can combine to trigger rejection. That is, noticeable to an observer. Get feedback on what is wrong and also guidance on better alternatives for whatever the circumstances and goals are. Expert help is a click away.
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