Is it possible for this to be a cultural thing (women not looking directly at men?) In some cultures (mostly Eastern this is a sign of respect) They may also feel intimidated if you come on too strong.
It may be a good idea to meet women in a somewhat more controlled environment such as (singles meetings, through dating services, work, chruch groups or other locations that provide more of a low key atmosphere)
Women usually look for a guy that they can trust, rely on and feel appreciated by.(of course there are exceptions) Being yourself and honest and going with the flow usually helps. Trying to see what the woman wants and expects (most women think that the men should guess and drop hints etc. )but it is always best to ask directly about their expectations.
As you should have discerned from my initial question there is nothing cultural about this behaviour sir, and I am particularly querying something as minor as engaging with women in a public domain. As a matter of fact I was in New York over the summer and engaged flawlessly with women. However, when I try this in London the women suddenly spin around and look very scared and startled - and move out of your space very quickly, it was not like this a few years ago. The look of disdain and scorn with which they accompany this (if you're lucky) strongly suggests that they know what they are 'telling' you with their body-language. If anyone else is within eye or ear shot you can come across as a stalker. How do I overcome this?