flirtThis week, my husband and I celebrated a major milestone anniversary–we’ve been together for 20 happy years.

As a result, it’s safe to say that it’s been a looong time since I was in the dating pool. In fact, the last time I was single, people still carried around beepers. The Internet was dial-up. And, the closest thing we had to social networking was holiday letters.

However, I have spent many years as a wingman, helping my single girlfriends track down love–at parties, professional events, nightclubs and even just walking on the street. So, I got to witness firsthand the often amusing, sometimes bewildering, flirtations between hopeful suitors and my romance-seeking gal-pals.

And, I have to say, there were many times when I couldn’t understand why a friend would turn down an offer of a date from a cutie who seemed like a totally perfect fit. And, other times, she would accept the phone number of someone who clearly seemed all wrong for her.

But, researchers seemed to have shed at least a little bit of light on this phenomenon:

Turns out, you’re about three times more likely to accept the offer of a date when you’re in Week 2 of your cycle–the week leading up to and including ovulation–than you are during other weeks of your cyclereports the journal Biological Psychology. (full study)

How did the researchers find this out?

In the study, 506 women were approached randomly on the street by one of five attractive trained male study volunteers who asked for their phone number using this script:

“Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think
you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later and we can have a drink together someplace.”

The male volunteers were also instructed to gaze into the woman’s eyes and smile while waiting for a response.

After accepting or declining the request, the man would then trot off. But, don’t worry–no hearts were actually broken during the making of this study. Maybe dented, but not broken. After “Antoine” left, each woman was immediately approached by a female researcher who informed her that her meeting with Antoine was just part of a study–and that she shouldn’t wait for the phone to ring. The women were then asked to answer a few questions about their menstrual cycle as part of the research.

This is when it was discovered that women who were in the fertile phase of their cycle were roughly three times more likely to give out their number to Antoine than those who were in other phases of their cycle.

What’s the link? Study author Nicolas Guéguen, Ph.D. theorizes that this higher likelihood of saying “yes” to someone asking you out on a date on these fertile days in your cycle is because your high estrogen is pushing you to find a partner and increases your interest in physical intimacy. As a result, you’re more open to the possibilities of meeting someone new!

[Photo: Andy Cross]