Warning: Math Ahead.
People say “be patient.” “Stop looking for love, and you’ll find it,” they say. “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” they tell me. They are wrong.
Peter Backus, graduate degree holder, had been single for three years and was starting to lose a little faith that he’d ever find someone. Unlike yours truly, who spends an exorbitant amount of time analyzing the whys of my one-woman show, Backus took it upon himself to figure out, statistically, how likely he was to find someone he could enter a happy relationship with. Using a renovated version of the Drake equation, derived by Dr. Frank Drake in 1961 to calculate the probability we have of coming into contact with extraterrestrials (an equation that is still widely accepted), Backus calculated the likelihood he had of finding a potential girlfriend.
As it turns out, in all of London (which is a MAJOR metropolitan city), Backus had 26 potential girlfriends. Twenty-six. That’s it. That translates to a 1 in 285,000 chance of finding the love of his life. To come up with these numbers he used the equation “G = Nf(fa*fb*fc),” where G is the number of potential girlfriends, N is the population, and F is the percentage of people possessing important qualifiers necessary to be his girlfriend. The irony in the fact that “G=Nf” could easily be spelled out to read “girlfriends are not frat” is not lost on me.
To make this simpler to understand (and because I was dying to know), I calculated my own future potential boyfriends. Feel free to fill in the statistics appropriate for you to determine the likelihood you’ll find someone. Most of my variables were the ones Backus had outlined in his initial equation, but I added in salary because, well, I’m a gold-digger. I included the obvious things, of course — he has to be a guy, within my age range, and a college graduate. I was able to look those statistics up, but for everything else, I used some guesswork. I estimated that I probably find 2 in 5 guys attractive (enough), that 1 in 10 find me attractive (because let’s not get too cocky, here), and that I’d be compatible with 1 in 10 guys.
N = Population of Austin, Texas (as of 2011) = 820,611
fm = Fraction of population who are male = .514
fr = Fraction of population who make over $50K = .3
fu = Fraction of population who graduated from a four-year university = .272
fa = Fraction of population who are age appropriate (25-35) = .085
fh = Fraction of population who I find attractive = .4
fb = Fraction of population who find me attractive = .1
fc = Fraction of population with whom I might be compatible = .1
I took these numbers and multiplied them all together to realize I have 11 potential boyfriends in all of Austin. ELEVEN. I haven’t had the tech guy check my work, but I’m pretty sure that means there is a 1 in 74,626 or a .0000134% chance of me meeting Mr. Right, and I didn’t even include half the shit that’s important to me.
Backus found one of his 26 right after doing this research, and will be married next week. On behalf of the rest of us, buzz off.
Image via Yahoo