Are you sick of kissing frogs and having them turn into toads? Are you finding no matter how many peas you use the latest princess keeps talking to the mirror on the wall? Have you reached a point in your life where it seems that happily ever after is just a fairy tale you only read about in a book? You see there is an evil mathematician in the land. He’s hell bent on making your life miserable by casting spells of statistics at you until you end up lonely, bitter and twisted.
OK maybe I’m not evil but I am having a good chuckle.
I live in a city in Australia called Brisbane. Wonderful place, warm, friendly, lots to see and do, and we have about 2 million people. Not huge as far as cities go but big enough, certainly big enough that if you are looking for love there should be more than a few Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauties here. Come to our fair and beautiful city and love can be found around every corner. Or not.
Now ladies, of course not all of those 2 million people are suitable for love. Half of them are female to start with so I am going to have to whittle some of those 2 million people out. Let’s assume you are a heterosexual 30 year old woman looking for love with an attractive someone around your own age. Someone who is also single and has a decent job. There are 94,450 men in your age bracket, 25-34 years old, but approximately 38% are married leaving 58,559 men. Now if you want your man to have a decent job, not necessarily rich but certainly comfortable, then you are looking at the top 30% of income earners, leaving 17,567 men. Now he should be average or better attractiveness. According to OK Cupid you ladies have a hurdle to jump. You only rate 20% of men as being average attractiveness or better so in Brisbane you are left with just 3,514 eligible bachelors.
Men, we fare a little better, but not much and only because we have lower standards. We have 91,018 women in our 25-24 age group and again 38% of those are married, or 56,431 single women. Now us men generally aren’t as concerned about income but we do like to know women have their crap together and are capable of supporting themselves, so let’s say average income or better. 28,215 women left. Now from the same OK cupid study guys have attractiveness fairly well pegged at finding 50% of women are average or better attractiveness leaving 14,107 eligible bachelorettes.
At this point I have to put in a disclaimer that yes I am using averages to make a point. Your personal situation will of course be different.
BUT. Ladies, we haven’t even started into what you actually want in a man. Now I don’t have statistics for these traits so I am going to use 50 percent—half of men have that trait, half don’t. Independence 1757 men left. Looks was included in attractiveness so I am skipping this. Positivity 878 men left. Communication skills leave 439. Sociability 220. Intelligence 110. Passion 55. Funny 27. Ambition 13 and finally the big one, confidence, leaves just a grand total of 7 Prince Charming’s out there for you to find in a city of two million. I’m sure there won’t be a lot of competition for these men so don’t worry, he’s probably just stopped to ask for directions to the spooky castle surrounded by thorn bushes. Or did I mean the apathetic looking girl surrounded by fifteen judgmental friends; I always get those two confused.
Men, if we look at your top 10 things you want in a woman our numbers look like this. Not crazy 7,053, Wears red (I didn’t foresee this one) 3526, Waist to hip ratio I’m excluding as it forms part of attractiveness, Large eyes and balanced mouth, again I’m excluding because it comes under attractiveness. Body attractiveness excluded as well. Empathy 1,763. Ovulating (really surveyors, really?) 881. Self Sacrificing 440. Appreciation 220 and the last, facial attractiveness is again excluded. There are now 220 sleeping beauties out there for you to find yet none of you are getting laid because you are in jail. Dude you kissed an unconscious girl without consent, WTF were you thinking.
Of course you do not have to lose hope. There are two things that work in your favor otherwise the human race would have died out long ago. The old part of your brain, often called the reptilian brain, is the part that influences courtship rituals and sexual urges. It doesn’t like being lonely and horny so after a while you start getting desperate and needy. You will pretty much ignore that list in your higher functioning brain and end up dating someone who just happens to tickle your fancy. Your brain is very good at rationalizing your feelings so any condition on the list they don’t meet will be brushed aside. The second thing in your favor is that nothing on most peoples lists has anything to do with actually maintaining and keeping a long term relationship. If their reptile brain fires off and they meet someone who’s equally as good at relationships then everything works out.
What do you do if your reptile brain keeps making you fall in lust with crazy witches or ahole sorcerers? You will need to have to have words with it, stern words. We have been given higher brain functions for a reason and if chemistry is leading you astray … Then it’s probably best to keep that list handy and stick to it.
The point of this wasn’t to cause you to lose hope, that there is no one out there, but just to show you a little of what goes on when you go into dating saddled with a huge list of what you want in a partner. The more things you want the more you will be unlikely to find what you want. Keep it simple, keep it small and yeah, maybe you won’t find Prince Charming or Snow White but you might find Mr or Miss Makes Me Happy.
Photo: Getty Images
*A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. The Modern Minstrel observes the world around him and shares it with us as lyrical story. This series was inspired by Luke Davis, whose eye for story and ear for lyrical prose are featured here.
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