Everyone knows that putting someone else on a pedestal, being way too available, basically begging them to be with you, is unappealing. Even if you’re “hot” compared to them.
But the reverse, having your own space and not being super available, and making them have to work a little for you, is supposed to be attractive.
But nobody ever says there’s a specific boundary of attractiveness at which this stops working. If one partner in the relationship/situationship/whatever is less attractive (whether physically or in terms of status and personality), and they attempt to be hard to get, well…. it’s difficult to be “hard to get” if you’re already hard to want.
Maybe for some people, say if you’re a relatively unattractive woman, the only way to get an attractive guy to even look at you is to be way too available and desperate. He won’t date you, of course, but he may see you once or twice. If this same woman plays hard to get, obviously he won’t bother.