Since I started blogging, I’ve noticed a large number of posts from women lamenting that there are no good men online. Of course, the stories of douche-baggery and idiocy are amazing. I have many. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about when someone gets to a tipping point of frustration with not finding the right guy, and then laments that none exist.
I wasn’t immune to this. But it’s a bit stupid, really. It’s just statistics.
This realization came to me a couple months ago whilst out in public. In my heels, I’m 6’1″ tall. I was standing in a crowd and realized I looked over the heads of probably 90% of the people I was standing around. It suddenly occured to me that it’s no surprise that I have trouble finding tall guys online. It’s because tall guys aren’t that common. Period.
Those of you who have been in sales jobs know the concept of a “sales funnel”. You take all possible candidates for a sale and whittle it down to actual sales. If you are a consultant, you show this as a funnel. Get the picture? Dating is no different.
Let’s say you have a population of 1,000 men on dating sites in the city you live in. This isn’t really the available population! I hypothesize that even with what seem to be reasonable criteria, you eliminate most of these men before you even give them a chance.
Let’s start with height, since that was my first example. While I prefer guys above 6’1″, I definitely don’t want to be with anyone shorter than me. I’m 5’10”. Using height distribution statistics from the USA, that means I’ve already eliminated 60% of that population. Boom! Down to 400 men just like that (for the record, if my minimum was actually 6’1″, I’m only left with 100 men).
Okay, so now we have 400 men. Next I need to eliminate anyone outside of my age range. For me, that’s 30-49, if I’m casting my net really wide. Assuming the minimum age online is 20, we take 7% off for those 20-29 (28 men) and another 9% for those from 50-69 (yeah, at some point the old dudes are probably not online), which is 36 men. So 400 men minus 28 and 36 is 336.
Down to 336. This next one is an educated guess, so feel free to disagree. But most women have a marital status requirement as well. For me, a man cannot be married or otherwise in a relationship. Most statistics say that approximately 22% of married men have cheated at least once when married. I don’t think 22% of guys on OkCupid are married….at least in my experience, that seems high. Let’s say 15% to be conservative. That eliminates another 50 men. Down to 286 men. (And if you think that’s high, then we’ll assumed that includes those in open marriages, couples, etc., or other things you may not be looking for, are also included in that 15%).
Income also seems to be important to a lot of women. You want a guy with a six figure income? Well then, take 93% that 286 away. So let’s be a bit more reasonable, shall we? How about a man who makes $45,000 a year (which is about what an average teacher makes). That is only achieved by 30% of the population. So we have to eliminate 200 of those 286 men. Yes, I’m serious. We are only left with 86 men.
I have only included height, age, and income, which are absolutes – not up for interpretation – and already have eliminated most of the available population. Women definitely have more criteria than those above. We are down to 86 out of 1,000 and I haven’t even considered if I like the person.
The rest of the criteria are pretty subjective. Intelligence is often on someone’s list. I’ve see so many men and women say they are “sapiosexual” it makes me want to puke. Yeah, I want someone with a quick wit. But I don’t use the term to try to prove that I’m smart enough for them. But I digress.
Using the normal distribution based on IQ tests (and this is no place to debate their merits), you probably want to eliminate the bottom 15% of the population (scores less than 85). No offense. I believe you would assess intelligence, correctly or not, by how men communicate with you online. So, we eliminate 13 of our precious 86. I’m assuming that we aren’t put off by men on the other extreme of the scale either, but I suppose that might be true too. Total male candidates? 73. This is depressing.
I haven’t even considered whether I find their pictures attractive. Likely that eliminates a large number of what’s left. Thinking of my own swiping-left-or-right experiences, I’m pretty sure I’m not at a 50-50 yes-no ratio.
So before we even consider if there is any physical and mental chemistry, you have seriously reduced your prospects. If you go further and look at what they are looking for, it’s even a smaller set of candidates. At age 40, there is such a massive range – men who are still single and want to remain so, divorced or separated guys who just want to have a good time, etcetera. So ultimately, that has to match up as well. Let’s not forget one important thing – them liking you too.
I have 73 guys, after height of 5’10″+, income of $45,000 or above, marital status of single, separated, or divorced, and basic intelligence. This does not seem like an unreasonable set of expectations.
At best, I will find 25 of them attractive based on their looks and how their profile is written. Would half of them respond to me if I reached out to them? Perhaps.
It shouldn’t be a surprise therefore, that we feel there are “no good men”. But it’s just not true.
(and yes, I do know that I’ve double counted some of the statistics by eliminating each group cumulatively. But I stand by my final numbers since I didn’t even take into account things like religion and whether someone wants children…I think the point remains but of course feel free to disagree!)