Love Life…Or Lack Thereof

Moore’s Law Applied to Dating

For those that haven’t the slightest clue as to what Moore’s law is, “Moore’s law is the empirical observation that at our rate of technological development, the complexity of an integrated circuit, with respect to minimum component cost will double in about 24 months.” (Wikipedia.org: Moore’s Law) In short, if you bought a computer now, you could buy one twice as fast for the same price in about two years. The conundrum is this, if computer technology keeps changing, when do you buy a computer? Well, there really is not answer except to just bite the bullet and buy one right now.

Here’s how it applies to dating. In theory, there is a perfect girlfriend (or boyfriend for the females who might be reading) out there somewhere. And with every passing moment, the chances of running into that girl/boyfriend is slightly higher. One might say that if you wait two years, the odds are significantly better (similar to Moore’s law). So what’s a guy or gal to do? And I think that’s my problem. I’m waiting for the proverbial one pound, 1GHz computer (such a computer is said to be the perfect computer because it is both small and fast, two traits that are highly desirable in a computer. This computer also happens to be a girl). Instead, I need to just “bite the bullet” (I know that sounds somewhat bad, but I’m sticking with my “Moore’s law” analogy here) and go for it.

Thoughts?

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Why Don’t I Have a Girlfriend?

Came accross this on del.icio.us.

I always new there was some calculation like this out there:

Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend

Tristan Miller
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence1
20 December 1999

Why don’t I have a girlfriend?

This is a question that practically every male has asked himself at one point or another in his life. Unfortunately, there is rarely a hard and fast answer to the query. Many men try to reason their way through the dilemma nonetheless, often reaching a series of ridiculous explanations, each more self-deprecating than the last: “Is it because I’m too shy, and not aggressive enough? Is it my opening lines? Am I a boring person? Am I too fat or too thin? Or am I simply ugly and completely unattractive to women?” When all other plausible explanations have been discounted, most fall back on the time-honoured conclusion that “there must be Something Wrong™ with me” before resigning themselves to lives of perpetual chastity.2

Not the author, though. I, for one, refuse to spend my life brooding over my lack of luck with women. While I’ll be the first to admit that my chances of ever entering into a meaningful relationship with someone special are practically non-existent, I staunchly refuse to admit that it has anything to do with some inherent problem with me. Instead, I am convinced that the situation can be readily explained in purely scientific terms, using nothing more than demographics and some elementary statistical calculus.

Lest anyone suspect that my standards for women are too high, let me allay those fears by enumerating in advance my three criteria for the match. First, the potential girlfriend must be approximately my age — let’s say 21 plus or minus three or four years. Second, the girl must be beautiful (and I use that term all-encompassingly to refer to both inner and outer beauty). Third, she must also be reasonably intelligent — she doesn’t have to be Mensa material, but the ability to carry on a witty, insightful argument would be nice. So there they are — three simple demands, which I’m sure everyone will agree are anything but unreasonable.

That said, I now present my demonstration of why the probability of finding a suitable candidate fulfilling the three above-noted requirements is so small as to be practically impossible — in other words, why I will never have a girlfriend. I shall endeavour to make this proof as rigorous as the available data permits. And I should note, too, that there will be no statistical trickery involved here; I have cited all my sources and provided all relevant calculations3 in case anyone wishes to conduct their own independent review. Let’s now take a look at the figures.

Number of people on Earth (in 1998): 5,592,830,000

[WP98, Table A-3]

We start with the largest demographic in which I am interested — namely, the population of this planet. That is not to say I’m against the idea of interstellar romance, of course; I just don’t assess the prospect of finding myself a nice Altairian girl as statistically significant. Now anyway, the latest halfway-reliable figures we have for Earth’s population come from the United States Census Bureau’s 1999 World Population Profile [WP98]. Due presumably to the time involved in compiling and processing census statistics, said report’s data is valid only as of 1998, so later on we’ll be making some impromptu adjustments to bring the numbers up to date.

…who are female: 2,941,118,000

[WP98, Table A-7]

I’d’ve thought that, given the title of this essay, this criterion goes without saying. In case anyone missed it, though, I am looking for exclusively female companionship. Accordingly, roughly half of the Earth’s population must be discounted. Sorry, guys.

…in “developed” countries: 605,601,000

[WP98, Table A-7]

We now further restrict the geographical area of interest to so-called “first-world countries”. My reasons for doing so are not motivated out of contempt for those who are economically disadvantaged, but rather by simple probability. My chances of meeting a babe from Bhutan or a goddess from Ghana, either in person or on the Internet, are understandably low. In fact, I will most likely spend nearly my entire life living and working in North America, Europe, and Australia, so it is to these types of regions that the numbers have been narrowed.

…currently (in 2000) aged 18 to 25: 65,399,083

[WP98, Tables A-3 & A-7]

Being neither a pedophile nor a geriatrophile, I would like to restrict my search for love to those whose age is approximately equal to my own. This is where things get a bit tricky, for two reasons: first, the census data is nearly two years old, and second, the “population by age” tables in [WP98] are not separated into individual ages but are instead quantized into “15–19″ (of whom there are 39,560,000) and “20–44″ (population 215,073,000). Women aged 15 to 19 in 1998 will be aged 17 to 21 in 2000; in this group, I’m interested in dating those 18 or older, so, assuming the “15–19″ girls’ ages are uniformly distributed, we have

39560000 \times \frac{\cup\left (18,21\right )+1}{\cup\left (15,19\right )+1} = 31648000

Similarly, of 1998’s “20–44” category, there are now

215073000 \times \frac{\cup\left (22,25\right )+1}{\cup\left (20,44\right )+1} = 34411680

females within my chosen age limit. The sum, 66,059,680, represents the total number of females aged 18 to 25 in developed countries in 2000. Unfortunately, roughly 1% of these girls will have died since the census was taken;4 thus, the true number of so-far eligible bachelorettes is 65,399,083.

…who are beautiful: 1,487,838

Personal attraction, both physically and personality-wise, is an important instigator of any relationship. Of course, beauty is a purely subjective trait whose interpretation may vary from person to person. Luckily it is not necessary for me to define beauty in this essay except to state that for any given beholder, it will probably be normally distributed amongst the population.5 Without going into the specifics of precisely which traits I admire, I will say that for a girl to be considered really beautiful to me, she should fall at least two standard deviations above the norm. From basic statistics theory, the area to the left of the normal curve at z = 2 is

\frac{1}{2}-\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi }} \cdot \int_{0}^{2} e^{-\frac{1}{2}z^{2}}dz\approx 0.02275

and so it is this number with which we multiply our current population pool.

…and intelligent: 236,053

Again, intelligence can mean different things to different people, yet I am once more relieved of making any explanation by noting that it, like most other characteristics, has a notionally normal distribution across the population. Let’s assume that I will settle for someone a mere one standard deviation above the normal; in that case, a further

\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi }} \cdot \int_{0}^{2} e^{-\frac{1}{2}z^{2}}dz\approx 84.1345\%

of the population must be discounted.

…and not already committed: 118,027

I could find no hard statistics on the number of above-noted girls who are already married, engaged, or otherwise committed to a significant other, but informal observation and anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that the proportion is somewhere around 50%. (Fellow unattached males will no doubt have also noticed a preponderance of girls legitimately offering, “Sorry, I already have a boyfriend” as an excuse not to go on a date.) For reasons of morality (and perhaps too self-preservation), I’m not about to start hitting on girls who have husbands and boyfriends. Accordingly, that portion of the female population must also be considered off-limits.

…and also might like me: 18,726

Naturally, finding a suitable girl who I really like is no guarantee that she’ll like me back. Assuming, as previously mentioned, that personal attractiveness is normally distributed, there is a mere 50% chance that any given female will consider me even marginally attractive. In practice, however, people are unlikely to consider pursuing a relationship with someone whose looks and personality just barely suffice. Let’s make the rather conservative assumption, then, that a girl would go out with someone if and only if they were at least one standard deviation above her idea of average. In that case, referring to our previous calculation, only 15.8655% of females would consider someone with my physical characteristics and personality acceptable as a potential romantic partner.

Conclusion

It is here, at a pool of 18,726 acceptable females, that we end our statistical analysis. At first glance, a datable population of 18,726 may not seem like such a low number, but consider this: assuming I were to go on a blind date with a new girl about my age every week, I would have to date for 3493 weeks before I found one of the 18,726. That’s very nearly 67 years. As a North American male born in the late 1970s, my life expectancy is probably little more than 70 years, so we can safely say that I will be quite dead before I find the proverbial girl of my dreams. Come to think of it, she’ll probably be dead too.


So there you have it, my friends — finally, a cogent, scientific, non-self-deprecating argument for why I will never have a girlfriend. That said, if you happen to be a girl deluded enough to think that you and I have a chance together, feel free to drop me a line, but I warn you, you face odds of 157,060 to 1. I wouldn’t bother if I were you.

Update (2000-04-01):
My sarcastic pleas for some e-mail have finally been answered. Take a look at this letter from a hysterical female reader, which I think perfectly demonstrates the point of this entire essay. (I think the fact that she’s a WebTV user explains a lot — in fact, I was sure this e-mail was an April Fool’s joke until I noticed the return address.)


Bibliography

[WP98]
U.S. Bureau of the Census, Report WP/98, World Population Profile: 1998. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999
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  1. This paper was written when the author was at Griffith University, Australia. 

  2. After a short period of brooding, of course, these males will eventually come to the realization that the real reason they were never able to get a girlfriend is that they were too discriminating with their attentions. They will consequently return to the dating scene, entering a sequence of blasé relationships with mediocre girls for whom they don’t really care, until they finally marry one out of fear of spending the rest of their lives alone. I am convinced that this behaviour is the real reason for today’s alarmingly high divorce rate. 

  3. Due to rounding, figures cited may not add up exactly. 

  4. [WP98] gives the annual death rate for developed countries as 10 per 1000, but does not list death rates per age group. Presumably, the death rate graphs as a bathtub curve, but in absence of any numbers supporting this hypothesis, and for the sake of simplicity, I will conservatively estimate the death rate among this age group to be 1% biennially. 

  5. Despite my efforts to research the matter, I could find no data on the distribution of beauty, either outer or inner, amongst the population. Perhaps attractiveness, being a largely subjective trait, does not lend itself to quantification. It is not unreasonable, however, to assume that like most other traits, it has a normal distribution. Indeed, this assumption seems to be backed up by informal observation and judgment — in any reasonably large group of people, most of them will be average-looking, and a tiny minority either exceedingly beautiful or exceedingly ugly. 

eHarmony

So there have been a lot of eHarmony.com commercials on lately. So I decided to try it out and see how good it really is. Well. They pretty much got me pegged. Check it out:

By analyzing your answers to the Relationship Questionnaire we have created the following Personality Profile. Everyone has a set of subconscious wants and desires that drive their choices and attitudes. By asking you questions about a wide range of emotional issues, this report has established general patterns in your values.

Some of the following information may seem inaccurate or incomplete. Remember, that this profile is a snapshot of your personality at a specific moment. It is not intended as an in-depth analysis of your complete being, but as a tool to aid in self-discovery.

  • You will take issue and not shy away from confrontation when others disagree with how you feel or think.
  • You love challenges and competition. At the same time, you must realize and appreciate that others may not share your zest for challenges and competition.
  • You have a natural enthusiasm for the activities you prefer. Because of your enthusiasm, you may forget that others have different wants and needs.
  • You love challenges and competition. Those who know you may consider you to be a high risk-taker.
  • In social situations, you prefer variety, adventure and the unusual. You may lose interest if you feel a situation is becoming routine. As a result, you must be kept busy and involved with making things happen.
  • Your primary social strategy is making things happen and happen now. Usually very active, you thrive on challenge. When the going gets tough, you get going.
  • You respect those who win out against the odds and show persistence. You set high goals for yourself and others.
  • You have a high interest in the new, the unusual and the adventurous. You may also be curious and have a wide range of interests, preferring an ever-changing environment.

Each person has a unique way of communicating. We use a combination of body language, facial expression, verbal tone and word choice to share ourselves with others. The following statements offer a look at the natural behavior you bring to an interpersonal relationship.

  • You are active in the things you do and in your communication. Your rapid mental activity becomes apparent when, rather than listening to others, you will be thinking of what you might say next.
  • Having a variety of results at stake brings out the best in you. Your great strength is in directing yourself and others toward specific activities results.
  • Not having a climate of challenges and competition may cause you to create such a climate. You perform best under pressure, and may assume that others want the same…your assumption is not always true.
  • You have a natural competitive style. It is important for you to feed that competitive spirit, while also showing more patience with those who choose not to be so competitive.
  • Your high ego traits coupled with impatience may have others read you as arrogant at times. This is only appreciated by others when they understand that you need quick results, challenges and competition.

Many different factors determine the communication styles with which you are most comfortable. Some individuals thrive on the challenge of pointed criticism, while others are at their best in a nurturing environment where criticism is offered as a suggestion for improvement. Each of us has a unique set of requirements and preferences. Below is a list of communication styles that will mesh well with your own. Having a partner who understands and practices these traits is important to your long-term happiness.

  • Offer immediate rewards for accomplishments.
  • Omit the details and get to the “bottom line.”
  • Ask specific questions–preferably “WHAT” questions.
  • Prepare for demanding questions, and perhaps objections.
  • Ask for opinions and ideas.
  • Be prepared to listen to many stories.
  • Be ready at the exact time.
  • Motivate and persuade by referring to objectives and RESULTS.
  • Present ideas logically–be efficient.
  • Support results, not the person, if you agree.

Following are some of the specific strengths and/or personal characteristics that you bring to a relationship. These may form the foundations of many of your friendships and dealings with other people. Some will seem obvious, but you may be surprised by others. Take a moment to reflect on each and consider what role it may have played in your past successes, and even failures.

  • You like to initiate new activities.
  • You are skilled at finding “win-win” solutions when conflicts arise.
  • You tend to be very goal-oriented.
  • You are socially poised and people-oriented.
  • You like to take action and see that things get done.
  • You tend to be tenacious about solving problems, not liking to give up until something is resolved.
  • You often have innovative ideas.
  • You have an excellent sense of humor and tend to see humor in events spontaneously.
  • You are optimistic and tend to make others feel good about themselves
  • You generally dislike the “status quo,” and are exhilarating to be around.
  • You often come up with creative solutions when faced with common problems.

In general, human beings are defined by their needs and individuals by their wants. Your emotional wants are especially important when establishing with whom you are compatible. While answering the Relationship Questionnaire you established a pattern of basic, subconscious wants. This section of the report was produced by analyzing those patterns. Our wants change as we mature and obtain our life goals. You may find it valuable to revisit this section periodically to see how your wants have changed.

You may want:

  • Excitement and variety of activities.
  • An audience to perform to and entertain.
  • Social recognition of your accomplishments.
  • Partners who practice listening and participation.
  • A chance to be seen and heard–to work hard and play hard.
  • Unusual, new or innovative activities.
  • An outlet to vent your emotions frequently.
  • Many and varied activities.
  • Activities involving contact with many people.
  • Equal relations with others.
  • Freedom from many controls and limitations of creativity.
  • Exposure and recognition by those who really appreciate your results and achievements.
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It’s About Time

I, Fergie, finally got a girlfriend. Her name is Sarah, she’s from Northglenn, Colorado, and lives right below me in Morgan Hall. I met her in Calc 1 at the begining of the year. Stay tuned for more information.

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Singles Awareness Day

Another year, another day. Today marks my 19th year of singularity. Some call it Valentines Day, but you have to actually have a Valentine for that to happen. To remedy the situation, the following pubic service announcement is for immediate release:

Andrew Ferguson; 5′ 10″ / 150lbs; Studying Electrical Engineering at The Colorado School of Mines; Picture of Andrew; Serious inquiries only; Batteries not included; Some assembly may be required.

Happy Valentine’s Single’s Awareness Day!

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When All is Said and Done

Well, there are no guarentees, but something is brewing:

(16:30:27) Ferg: hey
(16:30:31) Katie: hey andrew!
(16:30:44) Ferg: econ as boring as rachel says it is?
(16:31:14) Katie: it was horrible.
(16:31:24) Katie: but, I’m done for the day. at least with class.
(16:31:30) Ferg: that is good news
(16:31:56) Ferg: do you have any idea on when you might go up skiing next?
(16:32:35) Katie: No, I’m not training this week and I don’t think I’m going to Telluride this weekend, so maybe we can go then.
(16:33:03) Ferg: ok. that would be awesome.
(16:33:32) Katie: yeah, I’ll try, I can’t promise though, I have so much stuff to do, Rach and I are way behind.
(16:34:14) Ferg: no worries. if it works great. if it doesn’t, there’s always next week (or the week after, add infinitum)
(16:34:35) Ferg: i think we should start a calc study group
(16:35:05) Katie: exactly, we gotta get you back on the teles. Yeah, thanks for you help today, we needed it. OR at least I needed someone to tell rach she wasn’t doing it right.
(16:36:52) Ferg: regarding teles: yes, i really want to get back on them too. I think I was finally getting the hang of it at the end of the last day.
regarding math: glad to help.
(16:38:15) Katie: Thank you, yeah we’ll get you on skis, maybe the tele club will do something in the near future
(16:38:28) Ferg: that would be super awesome
(16:38:46) Katie: yeah, for sure.
(16:40:21) Ferg: i know this is sort of taboo to do over IM, but I doubt I would have the guts to do it in person: would you like to go out some time?
(16:41:34) Ferg: no need to respond now
(16:41:50) Katie: Sure, it’d be fun. No promises on anything, but we should spend more time together, you’re cool.
(16:42:03) Ferg: thanks…you’re cooler though
(16:42:25) Katie: No worries, it’s way easier than you think.
(16:42:49) Ferg: ok
(16:43:01) Ferg: well. that’s one thing i’m not good at, yet.
(16:43:23) Ferg: but thanks for understanding
(16:43:51) Katie: Whatever! you’re fine.
(16:44:13) Ferg: whew

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Hmmm… Part II

I talked with Rachel Doyle tonight, Katie’s roomate. Apparently, there may be some interest. She also concluded that I was "cute" and better then the last person Katie was interested in. Anywho, Rachel said that she’ll keep me informed of what there plans are. I think this holds some promise. Could this be the one? Who knows.

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Hmmm…

Many interesting things have been happening since I moved down to Morgan Hall. First, it takes less then two minutes to get from bed to breakfast. Second, the sense of community is much greater. There have also been many more opportunities to do extracurricular activities, such as IM 5-man soccer. And Telemarking with the CSM TeleClub. On a slightly related note, I saw Rachel Doyle today (duh!). I was worried that she might have left CSM because she was mentioning that she might no come back next year in last semesters Earth Lab. Anyways, she is now rooming with Katie Gallagher who is sort of like Peter Walchenbach, but a girl, much hotter, she teleies (doesn’t alpine), and competed in Junior Olympic Kayaking. Anyways, she seems like someone I would consider dating. We’ll see. I’ve talked with her only a handful of times, however tomorrow should provide some opportunities to learn more.

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