First go here
and read the entry to get an idea of what I was going to do, and if your fairly smart you will see exactly what I was getting at and at the same time realize the absolute stupidity as well.
Well this evening I got inspired and picked up work on the project, and found out that my initial number of 90 Million was so far off it wasn't even funny, which should have been the first tip-off to me that I was letting personal opinion and bias obscure my thinking. After digging through the census data from 2006 I discovered that there were about 29.7 Million females in the United States between the ages of 20 and 34, which was roughly the age range I intended to work with from the onset. Roughly 59% of those were not married at the time of the census and were either widowed, separated, divorced or never had been married in the first place.
With the overall pool of available females narrowed down to about 17 and a half million from my previous guess of about 90 I went in search of data on sexual preference in the US. Due to my lack of research skills I only managed to find a vague number of 1 to 5 percent for females in the US from a Wikipedia entry, so to be safe I averaged that and shaved off a little under 500,000 from the final number. With it all said and done save for taking into account those who are incarcerated, hospitalized, etc as well as margins of error I was down to about 17,057,646 potential mates just within the 20 to 34 age bracket.
Armed with the dating pool size I headed over to IRC to talk to a close friend who happens to be majoring in math and computer science about how best to code the program that would search for the match to the equation. Without posting the logs the general conclusion was reached (much to my chagrin I might add) that it was just as likely to find that 'special someone' on the first try in terms of dating as it was on the 400th
try, the 80000th
or even on the 17,057,646th
try. The cold hard truth of the matter was that my own personality (see also: cynicism and pessimism) were making it impossible for me to see that instant success at dating was just as likely as spending an entire lifetime trying and still coming up short in the end.
One one hand I'm rather disappointed that I didn't see this coming, and it makes me look like the worlds biggest loser to have such a bleak outlook that I personally consider it more likely to look for that 'special someone' your entire lifetime and never find them rather than the possibility that the first person you ever date will be the one you spend the rest of your life with. On the other hand however I still intend to stick to my guns and maintain my stance that dating is completely stupid and more of a waste of time and resources than anything else. When you are dealing with odds just as bad as the lottery (or just as good if you aren't a pessimist like myself) it seems pretty pointless. I've seen a lot of people take the piss out of those who play the lottery because the odds are so bad, yet I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the same people advocate dating because its 'better than doing nothing' even though its the same game with a different payout; you can either find that 'special someone' or you can get that massive jackpot of millions - both of which have astronomically bad odds of success.
So for those who are about to go out and buy a lottery ticket or ask that person you've have had your eye on out for a date stop and think for just a second, will this be the lucky day or will it be another wasted $5 or evening out?
Labels: project, refute hope