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Love maths!

May 29, 2013

That was the entire post; I’m instructing you to love maths… Maybe I need one of those hypnotising thingos?

Ok, maybe that’s not quite the point. Nor is this a post about any of the many equations describing a heart. This is going to be filed under “Silly Calculations” and stems from a recent “headline” that I stumbled upon: Beating his own odds! Maths genius who predicted he had just a one in 285,000 chance of finding love is now getting MARRIED. From what I’ve gathered, an economics PhD student Fermi problem-ed his chances of finding a partner.

These kinds of calculations are fun, so let’s run through an example!

  • The population of Melbourne is about four million, so let’s start with that and then try to figure out how many of them would make a suitable partner.
  • Only half of those are women, leaving us with 2,000,000 potential mates.
  • Anybody younger than 22 or older than 29 is probably out of the question for me; let’s make a crude estimate, and we’ll say that roughly 10% of women are in the right age bracket for me. This leaves 200,000 women to choose from – still optimistic!
  • So what do I want in a woman? Well first of all, I’ve concluded that I could only end up with somebody intelligent/educated. How intelligent am I looking for? I dunno, let’s say that only 1 in 10 age appropriate women will meet this criterion. We’re now left with 20,000 women.
  • Now for the matter of looks – how shallow am I? I really have no idea how to objectively measure this! Let’s just keep rolling on with 10% then. This brings us down to only 2,000
  • So there are 2,000 women in Melbourne who satisfy these basic prerequisites, but it isn’t hard to image that one quarter of them smoke or take the occasion drug – both of which are certainly deal breakers. Strangely recreational drugs are actually more common among the higher educated*this is a citation! – go figure. So we can likely take this number down to 1,500!
  • Hang on, I’m not going be trying to meet (and date) somebody who lives out on the other side of the city; definitely no more than one third of these women will be close enough to consider – 500 women left!
  • A measly 500 women left, many who are likely already spoken for; let’s call it 20% and we’ll say there are 400 potential women out there!

This doesn’t sound too bad does it? But hang on, how many new people am I likely to meet?! I’ve counted one third of the 2,000,000 women in Melbourne as women that I may actually meet; that is, there are about 670,000 women that I may encounter but only 400 of them meet a rudimentary romance rubric! The chance of any given women being compatible is 4/6700=.0006 or 0.06%! Some simple math reveals that I must meet almost 2700 women if I want an 80% chance of meeting one single compatible person!

What if you do manage to meet one of these 400 potential women and it turns out you don’t like each other?! And none of this even takes any kind of  feelings into account!!

Does online/speed dating suddenly look like a good idea?

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