It seems that people have a mismatch on their expectation of attractiveness. The stereotype is that a man wants (and often gets) a woman who is much more attractive than he is. Women often put money, status, demeanor and sense of humor ahead of attractiveness, when looks are often at or near the top of the “must haves” for men.
In college I duplicated a study matching couples by attractiveness. I took the pictures of 10 long-term couples from my high-school yearbook and had subjects rate the attractiveness of all 20 people. Then I had them put together couples who seemed to go together. While few people matched the true couples, they did match approximate attractiveness levels. So those rated 8-10 (10 being high) were put together, as were the 5-7s, 4-6s, etc.
So why do men who would be rated a 6 seem to think they can get a woman who’s an 8? They think they’re “all that” when really they’re so so. Because the woman only thinks she’s a 5, 6, or 7.
In a recent study, school children were asked what kind of student they were. The girls consistently rated themselves lower than the boys rated themselves. An A-student girl said she was a B or B+ student. A B-student boy said he was an A student. So girls and boys have a skewed image of themselves, with boys thinking more highly of themselves than warranted, and girls thinking lower of themselves.
So women (generally) think they aren’t as attractive or as desirable as independent raters would assess them.
How would you rate yourself? Whatever the number, bump it a bit. You’re no doubt a better catch than you think yourself to be!